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Happy Cinco De Mayo!
It’s like Cinco De Mayo! Oh wait, it is the 5th of May and this year that’s cause for double celebration as it coincides with opening day of fishing season for inland lakes in SE Wisconsin. After a long winter it’s time to catch some game fish.
As is typically the case in Walworth County on opening day, lake selection is important. With Lake Geneva being the deepest lake in the state and other shallower lakes warming quicker (think Lake Como or Whitewater Lake), a case can be made for fishing some lakes a bit off the beaten path.
In early May, Lake Geneva has some disadvantages being so deep and big. The water tends to be really cold and the fish aren’t usually that active. Most of the smallmouth bass are being caught suspended, not associating with any structure. They can also be very active chasing bait fish pods near their spawning flats. I work the suspended fish in 12-15 feet of water. My preferred presentations are Kalin Grubs in Avocado color fished on a darter head or Arkie Jigs Shinee Hinnee (a small crappie hair jig that resembles a shiner). The spawning flats I focus on are the near the South Shore Club, Elgin Club or near Knollwood.
Largemouth bass will be the most active in the shallows, in such places as Trinkes, Abbey Harbor or in Geneva Bay. I like using baits such as a Yum Dingers or a Texas rigged plastic worm. Green pumpkin or watermelon are always my best colors.
The larger bluegills will be in the warmer shallow waters around the emerging weeds and shallow structure. The best presentation is Thill slip bobbers with Lindy’s Toad ice jigs. I prefer using wax worms or leaf worms. My favorite bluegill spots are Abbey Harbor, Geneva Bay near the library or by the South shore club.
Due to the cold spring, the walleye in Geneva are in 3-5 feet tight to hard bottom. They have just completed their spawn. Look for them near Cisco Beach or Buttons Bay. As always, the walleye bite on Geneva is best after dark, between midnight and 3 a.m.
Statewide, Delavan Lake is known as one of the best fishing lakes. Since it is so well known as an awesome fishery, it will also be one of the busiest lakes on opening day. The crappie fishing has already been pretty good for the first few weeks of April. The best depth is in the 8-12 foot depth range. I like mini-mites or small plastics in purple or yellow. For live bait fishermen, Thill slip bobber rigs tipped with small fat head minnows also produce a lot of fish. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or by the island on the west end of the lake.
Walleyes in early May are shallow. Delavan is very clear this time of year and that can make the walleyes a bit skittish. The fish are in the emerging weeds in 5 to 10 feet of water. Night or low light conditions produce the most fish. Trolling shallow diving crankbaits typically produces the most fish.
Largemouth bass will be cruising the shallows in pre-spawn. The best approach is Yum Dingers fished Texas rigged in 3-5 feet of water near the outlet and by Lake Lawn Lodge.
While Delavan and Geneva are both great for fishing, personally I prefer some of Walworth Counties shallower lakes for early season. The lakes tend to have a much higher water temperature and that helps keep the fish more active. The smaller lakes also receive a lot less fishing pressure and can be very productive. My favorite lake choices are Whitewater, Como and Lauderdale lakes. Work the shallow emerging weeds in 3 to 5 ft of water for largemouth bass. My lure choices are a Booyah white spinnerbait in ¼ oz or a Texas rigged Yum Dinger in Green pumpkin. Being such shallow lakes, the weed growth can be tremendous, so early May can be the best fishing of the year on these bodies of water.
Shore anglers in Walworth County can have good action as well on opening day throughout the county. Turtle creek has a decent smallmouth and pan fish bite along with the requisite suckers and carp. Shore anglers are welcome to fish in the Town of Delavan’s community park for a small fee. The Kettle Moraine State forest also has some great shore opportunities on and near Whitewater lake.
The opportunities are abundant here is Walworth County. Come and enjoy fishing for game fish, the season is open. For guide parties contact Dave Duwe of Dave Duwe’s Guide Service at 262-728-8063.
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