of the area lakes are free of ice! It’s time to hit the water in search
of panfish! Just a reminder that gamefish season is closed on most inland
waters. This means you cannot fish for Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass,
Walleye, Northern, or Musky. Gamefish season opens Saturday, May 3rd.
Bluegills will be found in warmest water locations. These will usually be
found in shallow, dark bottomed bays, channels, and marsh areas. Northern
ends of lakes generally warm fastest, so concentrate on these areas first.
Weeds, piers or wood will also hold gills. Small baits must be used this
time of year to be successful. An ice fishing jig or small hook baited
with a spike, waxworm, redworm, or small plastic tail will work best. A
black ant fly baited with a wax worm also works excellent. Suspend these
under a small bobber and make long casts for best results. Afternoon hours
is the best time to target gills when the water will be warmest.
Crappies were mostly found suspended outside warm water areas. On warm
sunny days, the crappies may move in shallower searching for warm water
and food. A small fathead minnow or wax worm baited on an Aberdeen hook,
ice jig or hair jig suspended under a small pencil or slip bobber will
produce. Casting a 1/32oz jig and plastic combo such as a Dick Smith’s
Panfish Grub or Cubby Mini Mite will also be effective.
Perch will be found in deep water locations. A 1/32oz jig and plastic
combo tipped with spikes or #8 hook baited with a small fathead minnow or
giant redworm will produce. Vertical jigging or a slip bobber rig will
work best to present these baits.
The Rock River in Fort Atkinson and Jefferson has produced a variety of
fish. Hungry, post spawn walleyes were caught using a hair jig &
minnow, jig & 4” ringworm or paddle tail, or a three way rig with a
streamer fly or #4 colored hook baited with a jumbo fathead minnow. Many
whitebass have been caught. Three way rigs with a streamer fly with or
without a large fathead minnow works excellent. Casting a jig & large
fathead minnow, twister tail, or ˝ a nightcrawler also produced. Catfish
were caught using river rigs baited with nightcrawlers, cut up suckers, or
stinkbait. A few crappies have been caught and will improve with warmer
weather. Look for them near fallen trees. A 1/32oz jig or #6 Aberdeen hook
baited with a small fathead minnow and suspended under a bobber works best
PRACTICE CATCH AND RELEASE
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