STRUCTURE-FISHING

Lake Geneva Fishing

Lake Geneva, located in Southern Wisconsin, is without a doubt a fishing gem.  It is by far the best all around fishery in Southern Wisconsin with a very diverse list of species.  With a size of 5,401 acres and a maximum depth of 135 feet, it is the second deepest lake in all of Wisconsin only behind Big Green Lake.

Lake Geneva fishing can be challenging, but also very rewarding.  With the exceptionally clear water, understanding the structure and holdings of the lake are very important.  For this reason, this is the lake of choice for my Lowrance On the Water Training and guided fishing outings.  The lake has more to offer with regards to structure and of course quality fish than any other lake in the area.

For more information on my Lowrance On the Water Training or guided fishing (or combined), contact me via my contact page, email at mark@structure-fishing.com
or call at 847-458-7559.




Lake Geneva Bait Shops

Geneva Lake Bait and Tackle - http://lakegenevatackle.com/index.html



Information Sites for Lake Geneva



Wisconsin DNR Information site on Lake Geneva - http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/LakePages/LakeDetail.aspx?wbic=758300

Lake Geneva Weather - http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/hdfForecast?query=Lake+Geneva%2C+Wisconsin

Village of Williams Bay (this is where I launch) - http://www.williamsbay.org/



Lake Geneva Fishing Report



9/24/17  Water temperatures are still in  the mid 70's with this warmer weather we are having here in late September, so I am still fishing deeper water for SMB.  But, once again I came across some nice largemouth in the deeper weeds that occupy this water and they can be fun to catch.  Fish of the day was a 21.25 inch 5 lb 12 oz largemouth, which hit my bait literally seconds after taking this screen shot.





Also did manage to catch some nice pike, but we did struggle some catching numbers of smallmouth.  It was a hot day calm day with very little chop to the water, which made it somewhat uncomfortable on this late September day.  The smallmouth bite was very light, but we did manage to find some fish.



As in previous weeks, the key to the smallmouth was finding the bait fish.  I am still amazed every time I go out on Geneva with the amount of forage that is available for these predators, simply amazing.  I could see the schools of bait fish on my Lowrance sonar screen and every time simply just look over the side of the boat and see just hundreds of minnows in the water below the boat.




9/17/17 Went searching on Geneva for some smallmouth and ended up coming across some nice largemouth.  Caught a number of nice LMB in the 20 inch range and then I came across one of the largest I have caught on Geneva, a 21.5 inch, 6 pound largemouth.  These fish were at the very edge of some deeper weeds and if I went a bit deeper, I would find some smallmouth and if I went too deep, I ran into pike.  So from what I see, the fish are still very much in what I would consider the tail end of their summer patterns. 



Once again, the key to the success was bait fish.  There were larger bait fish (my guess perch) all over the area with the LMB cruising around the edge of the deeper weeds.  Many of the bait fish were suspended (as shown below), but at times they were scattered lower in the water column, and that is when I had the best success.









 
8/13/17 One statement can sum up my day on the water, find the bait fish and you will find the predators.  Good day on the water, water temperatures are starting to drop as the nights get cooler, but so far the SMB are still hanging out in their deeper summer areas and the deeper main lake basin.










8/7/17 The larger SMB are still being found in deeper water as well as the larger pike.  Water temperatures seem to have stabilized some with the nights now being cooler and the days not being as warm as they have been in recent weeks.  Caught a bonus fish this week, a nice healthy walleye that was caught while fishing for SMB.  This is nice to see as this can be very common on more northern lakes with the two species living in common areas.  So how does one tell the difference on the sonar screen?  Based on my experience, the SMB will appear more active on the sonar screen and appear to be more off the bottom




Walleyes can tend to be tighter to the bottom and as a result, many people will miss them on their sonar screen.  This is another great advantage of using downscan, with the downscan view shown below one can easily see the fish off the bottom surface








7/23/17   Well the SMB are finally starting to group up in some of their normal summer areas.  Water temperatures are in the high 70's which usually means bigger SMB will be in deeper water on Geneva.  Caught fish every spot I tried today with a number of SMB up to 19 inches and a few bonus Pike up to 34 inches.  Main depths for the SMB were 26 to 32 feet deep with the larger pike came out of 36 foot of water.  No pictures today as I was by myself doing software testing and was more interested in getting the fish back in the water asap in this heat.








7/16/17
  What I would call the summer fishing pattern on Lake Geneva has definitely started.  Water temperatures are creeping higher and currently the water temperature is higher for this date than in most recent years. 

Smallmouth fishing has been very good, but the fish appear to be more scattered these days and are in varied depths.  Most fish have been caught in the 24-26 foot depths, but I am seeing many fish with my Lowrance in depths up to 40 feet and also many suspended fish.   As I have always stated, use your electronics to help show you not only where to fish, but also where not to fish.






Pike continue to be on the comeback as far as I can see, with a number of fish being caught over 30 inches.  These fish will congregate more towards the thermocline as the water temperatures continue to rise and that pattern will continue until the water temperatures start to drop later in the year.  





The Geneva panfish population still continues to be as healthy as ever, with the pumpkinseeds leading the way.  Large numbers of these are available if one so chooses and they are just solid fish.  Have seen a number of pumpkinseeds in the 9 inch range and numbers of perch in the 10 inch range being caught.







11/20/16  Only fished for a few hours today, was testing a new Lowrance unit which kept me pretty busy.  All quality fish today, between 18 and 20 inches but the bites were very light and one really had to be patient, except for the largest one that just nailed the bait!  Fish were scattered throughout the water column, but all my catches were in the 20-24 foot range.  Water temperatures were in the 51-52 degree range, which is definitely above what it should be they should be this time of year.  Air temperatures when I started were at 26 degrees and when I got off the water it was 32 degrees out, still it was a pleasant day without any high winds.  Water temperatures will continue to drop, but unfortunately the piers will be pulled shortly.    As of today, the docks were still in at Williams Bay, but based on history, they will be removed within the next week or so. 








11/6/16  Fishing continues to be productive on Lake Geneva, actually it is very good with fish all over the water column.  Water temperatures continue to slowly drop and are now in the 57-58 degree range with our September like weather.  All quality fish today with the best success being in the 25-28 feet range with various types of minnow presentations. 

Docks are still in at Williams Bay and in downtown Lake Geneva, I would assume at this point the others around the lake are still in as well.  My guess is fishing will remain quite good and get only better as the weather gets colder, but unfortunately all the docks are usually out by the end of Thanksgiving weekend on the lake.










10/16/16  Fishing has been productive last few weeks on Lake Geneva.  Water temperatures are dropping very slowly with this warm weather we have been having, but still the SMB has been very good and improving.  The larger fish I have been catching are still in the deeper 30+ depths with the smaller ones shallower.  My guess is that in the next week temps at night will be changing and we will then approach the 60 degree water temperatures  where we should normally be at.  Once that happens, my guess is that the SMB will start to move into what I would consider their normal depths for this time of the year.










10/2/16
  Well water temperatures are dropping and the days are getting shorter, so that usually means the fall bite is setting in.  That is the case from what I have seen during the last two weeks of fishing on Lake Geneva.  Larger smallmouth are starting to group up and are feeding up for winter with water temperatures now dropping into the mid-60's.  Had a productive day yesterday on Geneva while doing some software testing, every smallmouth in the boat was between 18 and 20 inches, all nice solid fish.  The bigger fish were deeper than I would have thought this time of year (30+ feet), but they were there.  Again I have to say, find the fish then catch the fish.  So yesterday I took that one step further than usual, as part of my testing sequence, I added  an Aqua-Vu Multi-Vu camera to my Lowrance HDS Gen 3.  The Lowrance will display the underwater camera image on my HDS Gen 3 and further aid me in finding not only fish, but the right species of fish.  Another bonus to this setup is that this will also help you learn to identify different fish arch characteristics (size, color, thickness etc...) with the different species.

So anyway you look at it, this is when you want to be fishing Lake Geneva, the fish are biting, there is no boat traffic and it is just an overall great time to be on the water.











7/10/16 It has been a challenging year thus far for smallmouth on Lake Geneva year, have caught many, but they have all been smaller fish.   Nice to see some bigger girls coming in today up to 21 inches.  Also caught a mix of largemouth and pike, a decent day on the water.  Water temperatures around the lake are at 76 degrees as summer sets into full motion, so we may actually see a normal summer-like pattern this year.  The larger Smallmouth were off deeper structure edges in depths from 26 to 30 feet of water as seen on the Lowrance screen shot below.  The SMB are active and chasing, which is good to see. 

I can't say this enough, to make a more productive day on the water, use your electronics to eliminate dead water and find fish, no sense fishing where the fish are not.












10-18-15  Water temperatures have finally dropped to around the 60 degree mark and based on Sundays fishing results, the fall bite appears to be finally kicking into gear.  The Smallmouth still seem to be scattered, but when you find them they are feeding and all caught were nice fat fish and on Sunday, all fish in the boat were over 18 inches with the best topping out at 20.5 inches.  The magic depth for us was in the 27-28 foot range, but also managed a few deeper than that.







I also did some testing of the soon to be released Lowrance StructureScan 3D.  Using that technology, I attempted to find the to find the Lady of The Lake which is a 98 foot long steam paddle boat that sank on Lake Geneva in 1891 which sits in 35 foot of water. I had no trouble at all finding it with the large scanning ability of the StructureScan 3D SideScan and what I found was just amazing detail of the wreck site.





So what you are seeing on the first image above is the StructureScan 3D SideScan view which clearly shows the vessel and the image directly above shows the 3D image  as well.  Pretty cool stuff and that was without even trying very hard, will be interesting to see what I can do when I take my time and actually fine tune the process.






09-27-15  Water temperatures are gradually dropping and the thermocline continues to develop on Lake Geneva where one can clearly see the separation in the water column.



Still seeing many fish on the sonar screen, but finding the larger active fish has been a challenge as of late.  But my persistence did pay off yesterday, where I was able to find active larger fish.  All fish caught were over 18 inches in length and by the looks of them, all were in the fall feeding mode.  Biggest fish was 20.5 with a handful just short of that. 

Once again, the key is to use your electronics to separate to areas you need to target as opposed to the areas you don't.  Fishing areas where there are no fish or no active fish, is not a good way to optimize your time on the water.









09-19-15  So this has not been what one would call a normal year on Lake Geneva, or for even most of the entire Midwest to say the least.  Water temperatures never even got close to rising to their typical highs and on Lake Geneva they peaked out at a low 78 degrees this year.  So the normal typical summer pattern that one would expect to see in August, never happened and now we are already in the pre-fall conditions where the water temp's are now in the low 70's with the thermocline just starting to setup.  Not really sure how this really affects the fish, but from what I have seen from many people, things are slower than typical and the size of the fish is somewhat down as compared to recent years. 

Was out on Saturday doing some product testing and saw many fish on my sonar screen in various depths, but the magic depth that they were active and actually went after my bait was from 27-31 feet of water.  Only managed four Smallmouth and one Largemouth for the few hours that I was out and when  I actually did fish,  it was frustrating to say the least to see many active fish in the water column and the bait right in their face without many strikes.   

So what I saw was many shots like this, plenty of fish, just not many takers.  Just hoping for a great Fall.....








07/25-26/15  Was out this past weekend, Saturday was testing products and did a little fishing and then on Sunday had a On the Water Training session in the morning.  Managed to catch eight SMB and two nice Pike (up to 36 inches) on Saturday and then a handfull of SMB on Sunday while doing the training.  Now that we are in full summer mode, I am seeing some things that I am not really sure I like.  Over the last few years I have seen an increase in deeper weeds, I assume this is because of the increased water clarity, but this year they have dramatically increased.  In recent weeks I have talked about catching SMB at the deep weed edges, but now that the weeds are in full bloom, we now have weeds in deeper places that I have never seen weeds before.  This screen shot shows an area that last year had very light weed cover and those weeds stopped at about 25 feet.  Well this shot shows the edge of the weeds and the SMB that are associating with that edge, but now we are talking about that edge being in roughly 30 foot of water.  In addition, these are very tall weeds, where in the past they were only a couple of feet tall.  With these SMB being at the deeper edge, this will increase the chances for one to run into Pike, which is exactly what happened to me.  This will more than likely change as the water temperature goes above 80 degrees, which is typically when the SMB will move out to secondary structures.   But the bottom line is, from what I am seeing, Lake Geneva is going through a dramatic change with regards to deeper weeds  this year that I have not seen before.








07/3-5/15  Had two days of On The Water Training sessions on Friday and Saturday, so not much to report for those days as far as fishing goes, but did manage to get out on Sunday to do some more software and hardware testing for Lowrance.  Water temperatures are still struggling to get out of the lower 70's and yes we are still behind with regards to that as compared to most typical years.  Did manage to fish two different locations on the lake and caught Smallmouth Bass at both locations.  The magic depth was once again in the 28 foot range and they were all right off the edges of the deeper emerging weeds. If you went into the weeds, you caught nothing, but if one concentrated right outside those weeds, that is where the SMB were.  Ended up with six SMB with the sizes ranging from 18-19.5 inches.  The key was to eliminate dead water and only fish locations where one can find active fish.  Use your Lowrance to find those fish and don't even start to fish unless you find a reason to.  Using this approach, you are making better use of your time on the water and in the end you will catch more fish.





06/20-21/15  What a difference a day can make.  Saturday's outing we found mid-size SMB that did not cooperate entirely, caught a few but missed many more.  Very light bites and fish seemed scattered and not grouped up.  Out yesterday testing some new products for Lowrance and it was the complete opposite, fished seemed to be grouping up, more aggressive and ended up catching a number of larger Smallmouth up to 20 inches.  The magic depth was in the 28 foot range and they were all right off the edge of deeper emerging weeds.  Looks like the summer pattern has started to kicked in, great timing considering the 21st was the first official day of summer.  Water temps were just below 70 degrees, but I would guess by the end of the day they went above.







05/10/15  First time out fishing this year on Lake Geneva.  A wet morning, but the fish co-operated and we ended up with a nice mixed bag of Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass.  The areas we were in showed water temperatures in the 53 degree range, which is ahead of last year by a few degrees, so I would expect a more typical start of the season as compared to last year.  The typical pre-spawn depths and areas one would expect on Geneva and from what we saw today, we are off to a great 2015 fishing season.












11/09/14  Well the lake has turned-over as of the other week, so all patterns typically go out the window.  The key now is when you find the fish, fish for them where they are in the water column.  That could be shallow, deep or suspended and out on the water today, I saw all of the above.  Have managed  to get some nice quality fish between last weekend and this, with a 20.5 from last weekend and 21 incher from today being the best of both days.  All the fish you catch now will all be of quality, but the quantity will be down.  Water temps today were at 50.5 and I imagine with the weather we are set to get this week, the temperatures will continue to drop.  Time is running out, no doubt.  Dock at Williams Bay are still in, Lake Geneva downtown docks are gone and the last I heard Linn Pier still had their dock in. 







10/26/14
 
Very nice weekend as far as air temperatures, but not so sure it has helped the fishing.  Water temperatures still maintaining in the 56-57 degree range and with this warmer weather the fish seemed to have stopped their packing up in groups and seem  to have scattered some.  Still managed 8 nice Smallmouth Bass and all were caught in deeper water than I would have expected, based on what I have seem so far this year.  All fish for the day were caught in over 28 foot of water, both on live bait and artificials.  Water clarity is just amazing now that the boat traffic has slowed, which may have some bearing on the depths the fish are at.   Again, the trick is to find the fish using your Lowrance sonar or down/side scan and concentrate on those areas.  You will be way more productive doing that as opposed to just casting an area just to cast that area.

Screen shot showing the  clarity of the water column now that the boat traffic has gone away, pretty amazing.  This will be the norm until the lake turns-over, which should not be that far off.







10/19/14
 
Weather forecast called for low winds out of the Southwest and what we actually had was winds from 15-17 with gusts up to 25 mph.  Made for a challenging day on the water, but still had success.   Boat control was the key today without a doubt and the day turned out to be a day of quality, not quantity which is sometimes what the fall brings.  Fish seemed to be more scattered than in previous weeks, but still can be found.  Finally got into some of the fall big girls today, up to 21.75 inches and weighing in just under 6 lbs.  All the fish were relating to deep structure with weeds that were still green, and the larger fish were all on the deeper edges of the those groups of fish by themselves.

The season is winding down and all the fish are feeding up for the winter, get out and go fishing!










10/12/14
 
Was a cool morning, but it turned out be a nice fall day on the water. Morning fishing was okay, but the afternoon was a flop. Nine bass in the boat up to 20 inches, one LMB and eight SMB. All but one came before noon, should have quit at that point. Still, all in all a good day on the water.

Found plenty of fish, but they were just hanging out.



Looked deeper, and that was the ticket, fish were more spread out, but they were larger and feeding.  Sorry for the bad picture.....








10/05/14  Challenging day on Lake Geneva, temperatures have dropped dramatically in the last two days and the water temperature is now in the 62 to 63 degree range.  Expected light winds today, only to find continual high winds which made things interesting.  Still managed some nice fish in the boat, 8 Smallmouth and 2 Largemouth up to 19.5 inches, on both live and artificial baits.  Many fish missed on both, the bite was very light, not what you would expect this time of the year.  The plan today was to fish areas that I have not fished in a few years, and it worked.  Once again the magic depth was in the 27-28 foot range and again not to preach, but the trick was to find them using ones Lowrance and then fish, which made all the difference.









9/28/14  Banner day on Lake Geneva, 22 SMB in the boat today up to 20 inches, with very few "teenagers" as we like to call them.  FALL FISHING HAS STARTED ON LAKE GENEVA!  The magic depth seems to be around the 27 foot mark, but again use your electronics to search for active fish and you will have better results.  Water temperatures are in the 66-67 degree range and the lake fall colors are just starting to kick in, can't think of a better time to fish Lake Geneva.










9/27/14  Did some testing of some new Lowrance products and just could not resist the urge to fish.  Saw many active fish on the screen, so just had to fish.  Managed 12 SMB in just a few hours by myself and the noticeable thing was, they were all very solid fish.  Will give it more of a valid shot tomorrow, great day today!  Nice clear shot below from one of the tested units, looking good....








9/14/14
  Well finding the fish has been easy, but catching them consistently has been a challenge.  Massive cold front at the end of last week came through and has made things interesting.  Still ended up with 12 SMB in the boat up to 19 inches and a few Pike as well as some bite offs.  Key to success, use you Lowrance electronics to find the fish before you even start and don't waste your time until you see a reason to fish, this time of year, you need to find active fish.  The image below shows what you need to see, active fish moving around and searching as opposed to the second image.  The second may show some nice fish, but they are not actively feeding, don't waste your time.









9/7/14  Well the air temps may not seem like Fall, but it has kicked in on Lake Geneva with the days getting shorter and the water temperatures slowly dropping.  The water temperature peaked at 76 degrees this year, well below the norm and the fish are starting to start their Fall feeding pattern.  They seem still somewhat scattered, but when you do find them, there are plenty of active fish to catch.  When your Lowrance screen looks like the image below and you have fish moving around on the sonar screen, those are active fish.  Note my bait sinking right down to meet the fish, great stuff.....

Nineteen fish in the boat today with the split being 16 Smallmouth and 3 Largemouth with the largest being 20 inches on the Smallmouth and 19.5 on the Largemouth with all the fish showing expanding bellies.








8/2/14  The fish continue to be moving deeper setting up for their summer pattern with water temperatures slowly rising, this weekend we saw water temperatures in the 75 to 76 degree range.  Total of 19 fish in the boat, 16 Smallmouth and 3 Largemouth, the best of each species coming in just under 21 inches with the Largemouth coming in at just over 5 lbs.  The weather and wind cooperated which led to a very pleasant day on the water.  Still haven't really seen any consistency with the larger Smallmouth, but we all know they are there, it is just a matter of finding them. 

Shown below is a nice screen shot from my Lowrance HDS-8 of the bait and weight sinking down to the fish and then that actual fish which was caught, as shown out of the water.



 






7/4-5/14  The fish are definitely starting to set up for the summer pattern and moving deeper.  Had two nice days on Geneva, Pike were the main catches on the 4th with Pike up to 35 inches and today on the 5th, had a trifecta with Pike,  SMB and a limit of LMB all between 4 and 5 pounds each.  Water temp's have dropped just a bit, but we ended up today at 74 degrees, basically just about on-par for what it should be this time of the year.  Was out today with long time LOTW guide and fishing buddy Scott Smith, had a great time.



   



6-29-14 
One of my favorite times of year to fish Lake Geneva, between now and the end of July, this is prime time, there will be more active fish in this period than any other time of the year.  Was out this morning testing some new Lowrance units and of course, I had to fish.  Ten Bass in the boat, 8 SMB and 2 LMB ranging from 17 to 19 inches.  As seen by this screen shot, they are active and the larger fish are moving deeper as the water temps rise.

 





6-15-14 
Fished Fathers Day with my youngest daughter, Emily.  The day started out with a big surprise that I discovered after we were on the water.  With getting things together for the both of us in the morning, guess who forgot the bait, yours truly.  Oh well, I made it work.  With very high winds predicted I knew we would have a limited day and basically one shot to get her a nice fish and then get off.  Sure enough I found some nice fish using my Lowrance and just like that, she had her largest SMB to date, a nice 20 incher.  After that we fought through 2-3 foot waves going directly into Williams Bay and we were done.

A word of advice with regards to fishing Lake Geneva, If you are not experienced in rough water and weather forecast is calling for winds over 15 MPH, especially if it out of the west or east, do not venture out that day for your own safety.  Fish another day, your life is worth more than a day of fishing.


 




6-8-14 
Upon returning from LOTW, of course I had to go to Lake Geneva and from what I saw last Sunday, the Smallmouth have spawned but my guess is by now the LMB should be done as well.  From here on out, this is where it gets good…..  I have caught some nice fish so far this year and look for great things from Lake Geneva, if last year was an indicator of anything.

     


2013 Lake Geneva Season


The 2013 fishing season was the best year I have ever seen on Lake Geneva, with almost 300 SMB in the boat this year and single day numbers of fish up to 39 in the boat.  The size of fish was again pretty solid with a number of coming in over 5 lbs this year.  The best of the year was the fish below that weighted in at 5 lbs 4 oz.  Looking forward to see what next year brings, but I am confident we will once again have a banner year.


 
 
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