Welcome Lake-Link Jamboree 2012

By Dave Duwe - January 1, 2012
Delavan Lake is one of the finest fisheries in Southeastern, Wisconsin. This awesome fishery is playing host to Lake-Link's 2012 Ice Fishing Jamboree. The lake is an hour from Milwaukee and one and a half hours from Chicago. Delavan Lake is roughly 2100 acres with a maximum depth of 52 feet. The lake has many different fishing opportunities, whether it's deep water yellow perch or weedline walleyes. The shallow bays make available a lot of Northern Pike and bluegill action.

In early February, northern pike action will be on the weed flats or on the first break of the weedline. The best depth is 6-12 feet of water. They key locations are by the outlet by North Shore Drive, the west end near the island, or in front of Lake Lawn Lodge Resort; provided there is still green weeds present.

The basic presentation is a simple tip up presentation. With the clear water and the availability of different fish species, I always use a monofilament leader in 17 lb or 20 lb diameter. I have a two food leader attached to the Dacron line with a snap swivel. Use a #6 or #8 treble hook with enough sinker to place and keep your bait 1 foot above the weed growth. For bait, you can try suckers, golden shiners, or chubs. Dead bait like smelt also can be very productive. My personal preference is for using golden shiners, hooking the shiner by the dorsal fin seems to make them swim harder and attract more fish. The size restrictions on the lake are very large at 32 inches and one fish daily.

Bluegills in February are almost exclusively a shallow water, weed flat bite. The west end in the Highland or Viewcrest Bays are almost always a sure bet. You will be fishing in 3-5 ft of water, perfectly suited for long pole fishing and hole hopping. Wax worms and spikes are the baits of choice. Small purple or red plastics seem to catch fewer fish , however, they tend to be larger gills. The key to fishing the shallow weeds is finding areas with pockets of weeds. Once I have figured out the most productive holes, I will make a "milk run" fishing a hole for only 3 or 4 minutes and then moving to the next. Favorite jigs are #14 Lindy Genz Bugs in black, chartreuse or purple. Keep moving for the most success.

Midwinter crappies vacate the shallows and school outside the weed beds or suspend in the main lake basin. Key locations on Delavan are again the west end in 10-12 ft of water or the main lake basin near Willow Point or the Yacht Club. Schools of crappies move a lot while trying to stay with their food source. The best bait on Delavan is minnows, you can catch crappies on wax worms but it isn't as productive. I like to fish the minnows on a small treble hook and Thill bobber, this will help catch the crappies which hit upward. An upward biting crappie will make the bobber lay flat instead of getting pulled down like normal. Like most lakes, Delavan is no exception; the best bite is first light or dusk.

For perch fishermen, there is ample supply of them if you're willing to search for them. The main lake basin is the best spot to start the hunt. Begin in 20 ft of water and start moving deeper until you find a feeding school. Delavan perch are usually feeding on small blood worms on the bottom. A Vexilar is a must in locating the deep water perch. When fishing in deep water, you must use a pencil weight or the Tommy Harris agitator to get the bait in the feeding zone of the constantly moving schools. Tie a glow rat-finke 3 to 4 inches below the weight, any longer and it will create major tangles for you. The bait of choice for me is spikes. The skin on them seems to make them stay hooked. Bounce the lure off bottom a few times to get the shy biters active. Remember if fishing a school, always fish the upper fish first so you don't spook the fish lower in the water column. Good spots are the Southwest part of the lake, by Belvidere Park and off of Willow Point. I have had great success fishing the pressure crack which forms from the Yacht Club to the Village Supper Club point. This spot can be dangerous, so be careful.

Walleyes on Delavan Lake can be difficult to catch. My best success has come off the weedline by Assembly Park or by the Village Supper Club. The pattern I choose to use is a jigging Rapala in black / chrome or blue/ chrome. Work the weedline in 15-20 ft of water. I like a stiff rod and 6 lb Silver Thread monofilament. Work the jigging Rapala from 3 inches to 1 ft hops, then a 3 to 4 secnd pause. A Vexilar is important here too to determine where the fish are in the water column. Like crappies, Walleye bite best at first light or dusk. Make sure you keep mobile to find the active fish.

There are two really nice bait shops in the area; Lakeside Bait and Tackle or Geneva Lake Bait and Tackle. Lakeside is right across Highway 50 from Delavan Lakes Public boat launch. Geneva Lake Bait and Tackle is south of Highway 50 on Highway 67 near Williams Bay.

If weather cooperates, fun should be had by all. I will be around most of the weekend at Lake Lawn Lodge, when I am not fishing! Stop by and say "Hi" perhaps we can tell fish stories over a cold one!

As always, Be safe on the ice.

Author Dave Duwe
Dave Duwe
Full-time guide Dave Duwe owns and operates Dave Duwe's Guide Service, featuring the lakes of Walworth County, WI. Dave has been guiding for over 20 years and is one of Southeastern Wisconsin's best multi-species anglers. Dave is an accomplished outdoor writer and seminar speaker. He is a member of the Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Association and Walworth County Visitor Bureau. Sponsors include: Lund Boats(Jerry's Sport Service Inc.), Mercury Marine, Arkie Jigs, and Vexilar Marine Electronics, a pro-staff member of Minn-Kota trolling motors,Hummingbird graphs, Cannon downriggers, Lindy, Pure Fishing and All Terrain Tackle. For more information, please check out Dave's website www.fishlakegeneva.com .