A lingering cold front dominated the early week near Lake Winnebago, bringing wind and rain to the region. By the weekend the weather had improved, and anglers were out in large numbers. Water clarity was nearly gin clear by the end of the week, with visibility nearing 8 feet. Water temps were hovering around 60 degrees. Lake flies were thick on select areas of the western shore.
Anglers had mixed results this week with the cold front. Time and location were major factors for catch rates. Many “hot” bites on the system only lasted a day, with some only lasting hours.
In most areas, crappies have moved to deeper water and are suspending in the water column on Lake Winnebago. Typically we saw these fish in the 10-12 foot ranges and they could be targeted by trolling baits like Salmo hornets or other small sized baits. One unique presentation reported was locating a school and dropping a 1/16 oz jig tipped with a crawler, and allowing the jig to fall slowly. Most times, the crappies would hit the bait before reaching the bottom.
We also found active perch in the southern part of the lake. These fish were accidental catches while fishing for walleyes. The size was impressive, going almost a foot on one of the fish. This was a flicker shad #5 bite in purple hues.
Largemouth bass are starting to move into the shallows along the weed lines. Spinner baits were popular to attract these fish along the weed lines and future spawning areas.
The area feeder creeks, especially on the west shore, have had an insurgence of crappies and bluegills. Nearly every feeder creek and public access area had fishermen working the shorelines. In addition Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac had massive amounts of shore anglers pounding on crappies in the channels.
I continued to be haunted by walleye opportunities missed this month. I have been in the right place at the right time, but haven’t been able to produce quality fish, as I watch others put on a clinic. This week was no different. We had concluded that the walleyes had moved out of the shallows this week with the cold front and decided to target 13 feet of water. We had the right decision making process, but ran our lures too deep and did not get the action we needed as the walleyes were suspended. It just goes to show how minor details make big differences.
The south end of the lake has been solid in the “deeper basin”. Walleyes have been suspending in the 13-16 foot ranges, and were active. The reduced number of lake flies made these fish a little hungrier than their counter parts in the central basin, which were full from all of the flies. Crank baits and crawler harnesses are working equally well.
There was a solid trolling bite near Sonneberg’s Reef and Gene’s Reef running crank baits on the outside of the reef. Mainly walleyes were taken, with crappies, white bass and sheephead mixed in. There was a similar bite in deeper water outside of Columbia Park in Pipe, WI.
The reefs had a limited number of fish, especially on days with less wind. As the waves grew, so did the populations of game fish. Long Point had periodic action, mainly on slip bobbers, along with Kalibus Reef.
The mouth of the river continues to hold walleyes, catfish, white bass and sheephead consistently. Pumping flies remains the dominate presentation for walleyes. Echotails (Vibration Tackle) were also productive or other blade type baits.
I have had few reports from the north shore this week. The only item to pass along is active crappies in Asylum Bay.
In the Wolf River, the white bass run is nearing completion, but many white bass remain in the river. These fish are mainly post spawn now and it is likely the run will continue for maybe another week or so. There still are some large numbers being caught, at the right times. Shiners are the preferred live bait choice right now.
This past weekend, Terry’s Bar Walleye Tournament was held in Oshkosh. 21.9 pounds was the winning weight, with a non-confirmed location of the river mouth. Next week is The Beer Run tournament, Houge’s Bar Tournament and the Memorial Day Weekend. Launches will be busy. This is the official launch of Walleye tournament season on Lake Winnebago.
Have a great week. email@example.com is my email. We encourage your reports to ensure we can cover the 88 miles of shoreline just on Lake Winnebago alone. Even if you didn’t catch any fish, that is a report we can use. Have a long holiday weekend and we will see you next week.