It was another tough week for shoreline fishermen at Lake Michigan trying for yellow perch, coho salmon and brown and rainbow trout.
Near-shoreline water temperatures have finally warmed and the baitfish are still here, although yellow perch numbers are down and the trout and salmon are reluctant to move in from the deep.
On inland lakes in Kenosha County and southeastern Wisconsin, both panfish and gamefish continue to move from their spring feeding and travel patterns to a summer pattern associated with deep dropoffs. The fish are suspending off lake bottoms and are also located in deeper areas of water away from shorelines.
A boat is almost a necessity at this time, and you may also want to bring out your electronic depth/fish locator to best position your presentations in the strike zones.
A few shoreline anglers relayed to me recently that panfish found in near-shoreline areas over the last couple weeks have receded back to greater depths. These changes do not occur at the same time for every lake, so check the shallows first and then move to dropoff areas if need be, or try drift fishing over the deeper holes.
Bill’s best bets
Nightcrawlers, red worms, waxworms, spikes and small minnows are all being used successfully for bait this week at most waters in Kenosha County.
Your best bet will be to use the bait you are familiar with, and also try to match your bait to the liking of the species of fish you will be fishing for. The overall inland bite is picking up along with higher water temperatures, and you may experience a multiple bite just from one type of live bait.
The yellow perch bite is picking up, although a five-fish limit has been hard to locate as fishermen are averaging one to three perch an outing.
A few successful fishermen are using what is dubbed a “drop shot” technique. This method is how most “cane poles” were set up back in the day. Your weight is on the bottom of the line, and then about 20 inches above the weight you attach a two-way swivel with a leader line about 12 inches in length with a small hook.
This combination can be cast out to settle on the lake bottom or drifted beneath a bobber. Become familiar with the lake or river bottom, and also experiment with your weights for how you choose to fish. This set-up is primarily for live bait, like minnows, worms and pieces of crab meat or shrimp.
Yellow perch also like helgrammites and wigglers when available. Your best bet will also be to start early in the day, and you may have to make multiple trips back to Lake Michigan in quest of a five- fish limit of yellow perch.
On our inland lakes, continue to work the edges of the green weed beds for gamefish and panfish. You will get bluegill and crappie to chase worms or a small minnow when drift fishing from a boat.
When drift fishing, I like to attach either a nightcrawler or a live minnow to a nightcrawler harness to first attract the fish, then I decide whether to anchor if the water is not too deep. Otherwise, I will keep on drifting.
You may have to scout an open area to fish from the shorelines, and take some extra bobber floats along with you if the weed cover is too heavy. Your best shoreline area to fish from may be an accessible pier.
Good luck, and take a kid fishing!