Madison, WI Fishing Report 5/30/2018
Overall fishing on the Madison Chain has been outstanding the past few days! Despite the boat traffic and heat there is plenty of solid action from lots of different species. Here's the scoop on what has been working and what it has been working on!
Hard to beat a day of chasing big bull gills in the shallows
The panfish bite on Lake Monona and Waubesa has been excellent with a mixed bag of everything from bluegills and pumpkinseeds, to crappies and perch. They are hitting just about anything you drop in front of them. Anybody who has been out has probably seen that the bluegills are bedded up anywhere from 1 to 5 feet of water. It is important to remember that these fish are spawning and we should be selective about which fish we keep. Females full of eggs should be released, while males, particularly smaller males (7-8") are the best keepers. We are extremely lucky to have such an incredible panfishery here in Madison and the only way to keep it going strong is to practice selective harvest. People have the single largest impact on panfish populations (not muskies or pike contrary to popular belief).
This Smallie couldn't resist a 3" Berkley Power Grub on a dropshot
Largemouth bass seem to be mostly post-spawn and on the feed. Lots of them are cruising the shallows prowling around the bluegill beds and surrounding weed edges. Lots of bigger bass are being caught on secondary weed edges on swim jigs and crankbaits, otherwise texas rigged plastics thrown up shallow around structure is also producing fish. The smallmouth bass on Lake Mendota, Monona, and Waubesa are also coming off the spawn and have been cruising deeper structure including weed edges, rock bars, and sand flats. Dropshots have been particularly effective rigged with small plastics and 3" Gulp minnows. Also, a good handful of BIG smallmouth have been caught trolling 5 to 10 feet of water after dark while targeting walleyes.
High boat traffic, mid-day walleyes
Speaking of walleyes the bite has been falling more into the typical summer pattern here on the Madison Chain. A vast majority of the fish are hanging out on the outside weed edges and some are starting to work their way out onto the deeper rock structure. After dark lots of fish are pushing up shallow (5-7 feet), while some are also hanging tight to the outside weed edges as they do during the day. Trolling with Rapala Husky Jerks in muted colors have been working the best after dark, while slip bobbers with half a night crawler as well as lindy rigging with fathead minnows have been producing fish during the daytime.
Whitebass have been on the prowl all over Lake Mendota, especially after dark. Running the same program with for the walleyes with Husky Jerks trolled behind planer boards you can put a serious hurt on these hard fighters. Most have been in the 5 foot of water range over hard bottom (rock/sand). During the day they can be caught casting the same crankbaits or under a bobber with live bait on a small jig.
The early season Muskie lineup: Lee Lures Fish Stick, Lee Lures Flaptail, Narcan 5" Glider, Esox Assault Double 9, Esox Assualt Single 8.
Muskies are continuing to be jerks and are still in the post-spawn funk. It's expected to see 8+ fish per day, however they just aren't keen on eating. Some have been caught after dark on smaller bucktails and slow topwater. With the influx of heat and water temps riding in the mid 70's the bite should switch on any day. Also, with the heat the algae should also start blooming adding some turbidity to the water and hopefully making the Muskies easier to trick. Smaller glide baits, bucktails and topwater are typically top producers this time of year.
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