Friday, February 8th, 2019
With the warm temperatures and the snow/slush melt, the ice on the local lakes is in good shape and has “hardened”. The area lakes have on average about 8-10” of ice. The ice is slick, so wearing creepers is a must ! ATV travel, where permitted, has been good – except for areas of deep water such as Nagawicka, Okauchee, North, Delavan, Lake Geneva and Oconomowoc. We don’t recommend auto travel on the area lakes.
Bluegill action is best around weeds in 5 to 12 feet of water. Find the holes in the thick weeds for best success. There are some lakes in the area where the gills were found in 20 to 30 feet of water. A flasher is needed to catch these fish as often they are suspended off the bottom. A spring bobber, light 2# to 4# test line, and a small sized ice jig must be used to entice bluegills. Tungsten style ice jigs were preferred while fishing deeper water. Waxworms, Red or White Spikes and small rosie red minnows work best for live bait. Ice plastics such as Little Atom Wedgies, IJO Plastics, Ratso tails, and TJ’s Plastics worked great. Aggressive bluegills hit small jigging lures such as Z-Vibers, Little Cecils, #3 Rippin Raps, and 1/32 oz Kastmasters tipped with red or white spikes or waxworms.
Crappies are most active during early morning hours or just before dusk. Look for them suspended above weeds or wood in 8 to 15 feet of water or suspended over 20-30 feet, often just a few feet below the ice. Using tip downs with a #14 red or gold treble hook baited with a Small Fathead or Rosy Red minnow work best. A Rocker, Moon Jig, Ratfinkee or 5mm Tungsten jig baited with a Wax Worm, or Ice Plastic work as well. Small jigging lures such as a Lil Cecil, Z-Viber, Forage Minnow, Swedish Pimple, Jigging Rapala or Shiver Minnows produced aggressive crappies. Present your bait above the school as crappies feed up.
Perch are found in deep water, depending upon the lake. Small Jigging Raps, Shiver Minnows, Kastmasters, Hali’s, Swedish Pimples, or 4mm Tungsten jigs loaded with spikes or a minnow head have produced. Tip-ups or tip-downs rigged with a 4# fluorocarbon leader, #14 gold or red treble hook, baited with a small golden, large rosy red, or large fathead minnow produces larger perch.
Northern pike will be found around shallower weed beds. Tip-ups rigged with a 40# fluorocarbon leader, #6 or #4 treble hook and baited with a large or jumbo golden shiner or medium sucker will produce the most action. Using Dick Smith’s leaders with beads or small spinner blades along with DK’s Magic powder on the tail of the minnow work great as added attractants. Place your bait just above the tops of weeds for best results. Brined jumbo smelt on a smelt rig can also work great, especially for big pike.
Walleye fishing was best during dark hours in shallow water while deeper water was best during daytime. Tip-ups rigged with a fluorocarbon leader, #10 or #12 treble hook, and baited with a minnow will work best. Walleyes prefer a medium golden shiner, baby chub, small sucker, or large rosy red minnows. Jigging with a Jigging Rapala, Shiver Minnow, Buck Shot Spoons, Kastmaster, or Swedish Pimple tipped with a minnow head will attract aggressive walleyes. As a reminder, all Waukesha County lakes have a minimum length of 18” with 3 daily bag limit for Walleye (exception Lac LaBelle – 28”)
Brown Trout fishing has been good on the Lake Michigan harbors. Use caution when venturing out as ice conditions can change rapidly. Automatic Fisherman units rigged with a 6#-8# fluorocarbon leader and a #8 octopus hook or a #12 treble hook, and a small golden shiner, baby chub, or a spawn sacs worked best. Ice Stopper Reservoirs help prevent ice up during cold conditions. Jigging with a Kastmaster or Swedish Pimple tipped with a waxworm worked as well.
Please visit the WI DNR website for rules on possession, bag, and minimum size limits.
Please practice Catch and Release for the Future of Fishing
Mike & Becky Smith