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6/24/07 Madison Chain of Lakes Fishing Report - Lake Mendota

By Paul Strege

Conditions: Winds Calm, Water Temp 72 deg, Visibility Good.

I spent this morning pursuing Lake Mendota ’s famed smallmouth bass population. Conditions were almost ideal: a very slight breeze and low light / fog until mid-morning. Although the conditions were to my liking, the fishing was sub-par. I found only two smallies. Both fish, however, were holding on similar structure: rock flats adjacent to weedline edges. Those locations produced a fish within minutes of arrival on the spot. I located these areas with my Humminbird 997c Side Imaging unit. This piece of electronics never ceases to amaze me with how fast I can dissect a completely new area. Once I had located an area to my liking, I threw out my Fishermans Marker and started fishing. Both fish fell victim to a Carolina Rigged Gambler Ugly Otter. For those that consider themselves smallie fanatics, you must give this lure a try. I like to think that the smallies see it as an attention-seeking crayfish. Although the numbers weren’t great, both smallies I landed were a healthy 17 inches and bright gold in color.

Carolina Rig Gear: Rogue Rods Magnum Bass MB704C with 15 lb P-Line FloroClear leader and 5/0 Owner J-Hook. Ripe Melon Gambler Ugly Otter.

The two attached photos are from my side imaging unit taken this morning. Note that in both cases, the rock flat (white, small, granular-looking bottom) extends from the weedbed (appearing as a puffy wall). I had the boat positioned in 20’, but the weedline edge was actually 14’ +/-. Since the SI unit actually displays shadows, it is much easier to see the bottom when looking “up-hill” (from deep to shallow).