First off to let everyone know who is wondering Lake Onalaska was not impacted by the heavy rains south of here, and the fishing is improving daily. If you are after bluegills guys are catching a lot of them, and there is not much sorting going on. I think with the difficult conditions this spring and summer means that there will be more quality fish to be caught this fall. There have been crappies being caught but we are not yet to peak crappie fishing yet. I have also started to see some nice perch, don’t be afraid to target them in shallower water. Stop in to get the latest report and hot baits!
We have started to turn the corner into what I call the “fall fishing cycle”. The bluegill bite has steadily improved over the last couple of weeks, and the crappies have started to filter back into the east side of the lake. It is still a bit early to get into a steady perch bite, but you will pick up a jumbo or two while you fish for other panfish. The fishing should continue to get better and better as we get more cool mornings and we get closer to fall. The river is FINALLY back down to normal levels and I have fished out there a bit myself. The flow is good and the walleyes and smallmouth are biting on the wing dams. Guys targeting northern are getting them deep, and the bass bite on the lake has remained good. Stop in and get the latest report!
Lake Onalaska has been one tough cookie to figure out so far this year. The bluegills remain elusive, I really think late summer into fall is going to be phenomenal. That all depends of course on water level and how the weather cooperates. Those two factors have not been in our favor so far this summer which has resulted in unpredictable bites. A good example is a week and a half ago is a guy came in with 40 nice crappies that he and his wife caught out in the dredge lines. I have not talked to anyone who was able to reproduce those results unfortunately, and it is rare to see that many crappies in the lake this time of year. The bass and northern bite has remained good with topwater performing well. Hopefully the water drops soon and the fishing becomes a bit more consistent.
If you haven’t been paying attention to water levels the biggest factor for fishing in the next few weeks will be water height. We are forecasted to get to 12.5 ft at the La Crosse gauge, which will be 6 inches over flood stage. It will be really interesting to see how the Bass Masters tournament goes with water rising as fast as it is. Just because the water is going up doesn’t mean that there won’t be fishing opportunities. I always like to take the opportunity to explore new areas when there is high water as well. The fish will be moving off of the main channel and into the backwaters to get out of the current. I know of guys who do really well on panfish and bass in flooded timber as well as the chutes and sloughs. If you can target the areas that the fish are moving into you can have a day that will be hard to beat! Stop in and get the latest water report and find out whats working best!
The hot weather definitely slowed down the fisherman so I haven’t been hearing as much as usual. It has also affected the bluegills, with the warm water they have moved off of the shallower beds and are hanging in 2-3 feet of water. I have not heard of any spawned out females yet, and the gills that I have gotten are not even leaking eggs yet. Your guess is as good as mine as to when they are actually going to start spawning. If you like to popper fish for gills they are hitting them. Topwater has turned on for bass and northern as well, they seem to be in their summer cycle so weed beds or any sort of cover you will find them. I talked to some guys who have been doing well on crappies off of the main channel in the sloughs. If you don’t know your way around out there be careful, you can get into trouble real quick in those waters. I added a power anchor and a remote on the trolling motor for my 30 HP rental, it is really nice to fish out of. Give me a call if you would like to rent it!
The Bluegills are getting into full swing, however the cooler days have moved them off of the beds several times. With 90 degree temps coming up this weekend they should be very active. Guys are still bringing in crappies that are really dark which means they are still in spawning mode. Unfortunately they are not being caught in their normal areas, most of the ones being caught are by guys who accidentally stumble on them. Northerns continue their hot streak, I got in on the action Sunday night and caught a bunch in 2 hours with the biggest being 34″. I have seen multiple pictures of 40″ plus in the last week. The perch are getting into the weed beds as they thicken up and are getting harder to catch. The mosquito bite is also exceptional so bring along plenty of bug spray!
It looks like the weather is going to steady out for a bit which is good news for fishing on the lake. If you have ever wanted to catch a northern, or if you are looking for a 40″ Lake Onalaska is where you want to be. They are going absolutely crazy. That being said whether or not you are fishing for them most likely you will be catching some. The male bluegills are shallow and the females should be spawning in the next few days. Guys are catching very nice gills with minimal sorting. The crappies are beyond confusing this year, I saw some that were caught that were still in spawning mode. I was thinking that they were all done spawning but it shows you what I know. Besides that the bass are biting well, and guys are still catching nice perch. Stop in the shop and see what I have to offer!
Fishing is really starting to pick up with the water warming quickly due to multiple days above 80 degrees. The bass and the northern pike are very aggressive and this is the time of the year to be throwing spoons and mepps spinners. Finally the bluegills are starting to bite, and guys are catching good sized ones in numbers. The perch have finished spawning and the schools are starting to loosen up, if you can find where they are feeding its a lot of fun. The crappie bite has been frustrating so far with some days being decent and other days they just shut down. As far as I can tell they have not spawned yet, they should go anytime now. Water clarity is excellent for being at flood stage and it should remain that way as the river continues to draw down. Good luck, and stop in at the shop to get the latest report!
We got the warm temps that everyone was looking for, and high water with it! Thankfully the water clarity has stayed good throughout the rise in the river, and guys are still catching fish. Very few boats going out, but the ones that do most are getting on some crappies. I know that the bass clubs have been doing pretty well on their outings on the lake this week as well. If you decide to go out in the next week or two you will need rubber boots or something along that line to launch here at the landing. It looks like we will be above flood stage until at least Tuesday, hopefully it clears out quickly. The magic line for the lake is 10′. If we can get below that the lake returns close to normal. I am finishing up on a remodel of the shop, stop in and see the changes!
It’s nice to see some warm weather head our way, although the quick warm up is dumping a lot of snowmelt in the river. So far the lake is fine, once the river hits 10′ in La Crosse you start to see more dramatic changes on the lake. I am cautiously optimistic that fishing will keep on improving through the high water, with water clarity being the big question. I have heard upstream that they are keeping decent water clarity instead of chocolate milk that you can get with high water so cross your fingers. As soon as it warmed up last week the crappies turned on. I have been getting good reports from the few guys who have been out. The pressure has been really light for whatever reason, which has been nice for the guys who are fishing. The northern bite has been ok, it seems like they are really thrown off with this weird weather. The bass have started picking up especially in Brice Prairie Channel. Another interesting tidbit that I heard is that some guys who were floating for crappies last weekend were dragging crawlers on the bottom and picking up some nice perch. I don’t think there was a ton in the way of numbers but there was size there. Stop in and get the hot colors and the latest report!