Fishing Report April 18, 2017

The panfish bite continues as we move closer to game fish opener here in the next few weeks. Shallow bays are holding the most fish, with the majority of fish being taken in 4 to 6 feet of water. Light spinning tackle rigged with Rocket Bobbers and small jigs tipped with Berkley Gulp Angleworms and 1" Fish Fry are killer, with actual fly fishing flies such as the Prince Nymph and Hair's Ear Nymph fished below a bobber are working great for big Bluegills.

An Eagle Claw 1/32oz jig tipped with a Berkley Gulp Angleworm is hard to resist

If the bite slows considerably with live/soft plastic presentations, give the flies a shot! That said fly tackle is also a great alternative to spinning tackle for big Bluegills and Crappies this time of year.

A GIANT 10 inch Bluegill caught on the fly off of Winnequah Road

Also, a friendly reminder that all game fish species in the Madison Chain are currently out of season until May 6th. This means you cannot intentionally target game species such as Bass, Walleye, Pike, or Muskies. Panfish and rough fish are, however, fair game.

Big Channel Catfish are starting to be caught around the north end of Lake Mendota and up the Yahara River into Cherrokee Marsh. Cut bait (especially suckers and Bluegills) rigged on large circle hooks are producing the most fish. With water temperatures continuing to increase as well as seasonal precipitation, the Catfish bite will continue to improve over the next couple of weeks. Shallow wind-blown bays are also great places to find these spawning cats.

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