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This is usually the best time of year for big fish. Musky fishermen have been waiting for this time of the fishing year for the best chance to land the really big ones. Unfortunately, the reports say the musky bite around here has not happened. In fact, unless you travel to northern Wisconsin you won’t even get a follow around here. Fortunately the panfish, great for eating, are biting like crazy on most of our area waters.

Busse Lake has been excellent for crappie and bluegill, with early morning being the best bite. The best area to try is near the spillway. Skokie Lagoons have also been producing nice catches of crappie and bluegill in the 10-12-inch range. The walleye bite has been slow, but a minnow under a slip bobber fished near the Tower Road dam/spillway might just surprise with a nice catch.

The Mississippi River has finally dropped below flood stage, so fishing is a lot easier, but the water is like chocolate milk. The best reports of quality fishing were in Pools 6, 9 and 13, and all three reported best results in the backwaters, where the water color was a little better. They were getting 20-30 fish per afternoon on minnows fished below a float in 10-12 feet of water. The walleye bite in the Mississippi has been really tough because of the extremely high water. Hopefully, it will pick up in the next week or so.

The perch bite on Lake Geneva has been off the charts the past week or two. Docks are still in the water in Williams Bay for launching; most other ramps have already pulled their docks making a launch a lot more difficult. The perch bite on Lake Michigan is mostly the smaller males. The water temperature has to drop below 52 degrees before the larger, female perch move in to the shallower water, making them accessible for the harbor fisherman. Take advantage of what fishing is available while the weather is still reasonable and most of these areas are accessible from shore.

Next time will be about wrapping up the year and preparing for the frozen water. Until then, keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.