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Madison Wisconsin Fishing Report

Summer is in full swing, and the fish have started to heat up! Water temps are around 80 degrees all over Madison, and we have at least two more hot months in front of us. We are pretty much at the point where muskies should not be targeted. Water temps 80 degrees and higher have been shown to increase fish fatality after a catch. Don’t worry, there are plenty of other fish to target here in Madison that will be tons of fun for the rest of the summer.

If you are hungry for a good fish fry, you are in luck. Nice 9” bluegills are already schooling up in offshore summer patterns. Look for schools of bluegills migrating between 10-15 feet of water and also 25-30 feet of water. Travel around the lake scouting with your electronics before you just throw the anchor. You will see these nice sized gills balled up all over the lake. Once you find a school, you can try several different tactics. Live bait will always catch some fish so try worms and minnows rigged with size 8 octopus hooks. Also try gulp bait, both minnow and worm varieties. Down size your jig and lure combos when the bite gets tough.

Rough fish (Carp, Catfish, Dogfish, Gar, Freshwater Drum, and Bullhead) are fair game all year round. And when the dog days of summer start to set in, a hard fight from an alternative species might be just what you need to rejuvenate your spirits. Pick out your favorite live bait rig or fly rod. Personally, a fly rod on light tippet and a crawfish pattern is a great way to diversify your adventures and produce some sizable fish. Don’t forget those big channel cats on Lake Mendota will eat all year round. Cruise around with your electronics and try to find the schools. Use cut bait, live bait, or even some crank baits and other artificial lures to target these huge, under fished monsters.

Bass are pretty much on deeper weed edges, rock piles, and humps through out the lakes. Some fish will stay shallow (0-4 feet) all year round relating to protective cover such as shoreline trees, stumps, rocks, docks, and weed beds. These fish will most likely be largemouth bass, while smallmouth bass tend to seek deeper water this time of year. However a good 6-12 foot weed bed will hold both species of bass all summer long on the Madison Chain.

If you have an affinity for brown bass, look to deeper water and your electronics to find boulders, fish cribs, and main lake structures and humps. There may be a timing component to catching these fish. Many times you will drive up on a spot and the fish are there, you can see them on your graph, but they are not eating. When this happens you can either empty your tackle box until something works, or leave and come back later. Hot summer baits include, soft plastic baits rigged several ways (drop shot, Carolina rig, and Texas rig), swim jigs, spinnerbaits, and top water baits. Summer can be one of the best times to load the boat with big bass using hollow body frogs and buzz baits. Throw these baits over the sloppy weed growth in the backs of bays in Madison and around any shoreline structure.

Walleye are in their summer patterns as well. Main basin trolling is producing fish in 25-30 feet of water, and live bait rigs on humps and rock piles are also producing fish. Try trolling crank baits and crawler harnesses for an effective way to cover large stretches of water.

You can also find schools of white bass through out the Madison lakes. You will usually find them in the same areas as the deep water bluegills and smallmouth bass this time of year. They usually will be 0-5 feet from the surface even if your total water depth is greater than 10 feet. Use live minnows or minnow imitating lures such as spoons and small crank baits and a medium rod to target these fish.

As always try to have fun! Take the family or take out friends and enjoy the great opportunities Madison, WI fishing has to offer. Also don’t forget to like us on Facebook and twitter to get updates and future fishing reports.

We also offer guided trips good for up to 5 people on the Madison Chain. We fish out of a very comfortable and stable pontoon boat that you are sure to enjoy. We also offer 2-hour evening trips during the week. Check out our website for more info.

Relax this summer, and let us guide you to the fish and you do the catching.

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