For all of you who have been out fishing the past couple of weeks, you already know how awesome the action has been! For the rest of you, here is where the hot bites have been and what they have been biting on!
The bluegill bite has been nothing short of phenomenal on Lake Monona lately with the suspended bite in full swing. Most fish are being caught on the North end of the lake out of Olbrich park with fish in 20 to 40 feet of water, about 10 to 15 feet below the surface. The "Monona Rig" has been a top producer when tipped with Gulp angleworms, waxies, or a small piece of nightcrawler. Other productive areas include the wall along the Monona Terrace as well as the rock pile near squaw bay.
There has also been some MONSTER bluegills caught on Lake Mendota while fishing with dropshots for smallmouth bass and walleyes. The rock bars tend to hold these fish in anywhere from 15 to 20 feet of water. Want a shot at a legit 10" bluegill, Mendota is your best bet. It is also important to remember that in order to keep our lakes full of these fish we need to practice selective harvesting and limiting the number of fish we take. Do you REALLY need 25 bluegills per day?
The walleye action has been outstanding across the Madison Chain with fish being caught all over. The fish are into their summer patterns of holding to deeper structure and in some cases suspending over deep water. Jigging with live bait has been a big time producer as well as dropshots with fathead minnows or half a nightcrawler. Targeting deep weed edges, rock structure, and main lake points (15 to 30 feet of water) will produce fish. Also, trolling leadcore with small crankbaits like Salmo Hornets and Vexan Wasps has been very productive. Running at 2mph in 20 to 25 feet of water with 2.5 colors of lead and varying colors on the crankbaits has been the ticket. Also, don't be afraid to run a line or two about half way down in the water column on planer boards to target suspended fish.
Also, snap jigging with 1/4oz jigs tipped with any type of curly tail soft plastics over rocks in 15 to 20 feet of water has been very effective for getting otherwise reluctant fish to bite, particularly mid day. Cast, hit bottm, sweep the rod hard, let the jig fall on a tight line, and BAM!
With the water temps hanging in the low to mid 70's it has been safe to target muskies and the activity has been pretty good. In fact, over the past couple of weeks at least 2 confirmed 50" fish have been caught! Lake Monona has been producing fish fairly consistently along weed edges. Hot baits include bucktails (Esox Assualt double 8's, 9's, 10's), rubber (Mini-Regular Medussas), dive and rise (Suicks), and of course topwater (Lee Lures Flaptails, Choppers). Activity varies as is typical with muskies, however there has been a consistent morning bite, mid-day bite, and evening bite. Watch those moon phases and keep your baits in the water!
Bass like the other species are fully into their summer patterns. Bigger fish are being caught off deep weed edges and rock while plenty of mid sized fish are being caught shallow and on surface baits. Dropshotting, ned rigs, and a simple curly tail grub on a jig have been putting lots of nice smallies in the boat on deep structure, while weighted texas rigged 6-8" worms have been taking big largies off the outside weed edges. Swimjigs, punch rigs, and topwater frogs have been hot for fishing around the slop and over the top of the weeds.