Madison, WI Fishing Report 5/11/2018
Spring is officially here in Madison and with it, spring fishing! Although the bite hasn't been easy in some cases it certainly feels good to be chasing big fish again! Here is what has been going on here on the Madison Chain!
Water temperature is key this time of year. Find the warmest water, find the fish. Lake Mendota has been very dirty as result of an early cold-water algae bloom. Due to the dirty water, temps have been slightly higher on Mendota than the rest of the chain (mid 70's in some cases). That said fishing on Mendota has been hit or miss due to the turbity of the water. Channel Catfish have been on the feet in the shallows towards the north end of the lake and into Cherokee Marsh. Cut bait on the bottom has been producing the most fish. Walleyes are holding true to their shallow patterns in the spring. Trolling stick baits like Rapala Husky Jerks and Rapala Shadow Rap Shads in bright colors after dark has been producing fish, as well as slip bobbers in shallow water with leeches or minnows.
Madison Angling Guide Noah Humfeld with a Mendota Cat
Panfish are holding tight to structure, and many are up shallow. The docks along Mazonet Marina all the way up to Cherokee Marsh are holding lots of large Bluegills and Crappies. Small jigs with plastics rigged under a Rocket Bobber are a big producer. Pike have been spotty with most being caught while walleye or bass fishing. The bass are still pre-spawn but wont be for long with the warming weather (minus this weekend). Smallies are being caught deep 18-12 feet of water on both jerkbaits and dropshots, while Largies are being caught in shallow weeds on plastics and jigs.
Lake Monona is considerably more clear than Lake Mendota and has made fishing a little easier. Some walleyes are being caught up shallow after dark trolling, while the most walleye action has been on Lake Mendota. Squaw Bay, Monona Bay, Turville Bay, and the Triangles all seem to have good weed growth already and are holding plenty of panfish as they are getting ready to spawn. Live bait on small jigs have been a better producer with the clear water as opposed to artificials.
Muskie action hasn't been hot and heavy yet (as is typical this time of year), however lots of fish have been seen paddling around all over the lake, especially up shallow. Small crankbaits have produced the most fish thus far. Bass have been prowling the shallow weeds as well in search of food and bedding areas. Texas rigged plastics and spinnerbaits have been top producers.
Lake Waubesa actually has some pretty good weed growth already. Muskies have been holding tight to weedy cover, while some are cruising shallow flats hanging out in the sun. Again, action hasn't been hot and heavy, however most of the action has been on small walleye-size crankbaits on light tackle. As the water warms expect the action to pick up quickly. Walleyes are cruising the shallow weeds and flats as they are on Mendota. Most fish are being caught after dark, however on overcast days they can also be caught during the day up shallow. Stick baits are producing lots of fish, while casting dropshots with fathead minnows is also working for sight fishing shallow walleyes. Panfish are again holding to shallow weeds, while some are still hanging out deep in 15 to 20 feet of water.