fishing report 3.5.16
Ice conditions have improved on most waters across the Northwoods and ice depths have been ranging from 12 to 16 inches. Strong winds have blown a lot of the snow from the surface, and cold nighttime temperatures have frozen many slush areas, greatly improving travel conditions. Fishing pressure spiked with the nicer weather and rapidly approaching closure of the general inland gamefish season this Sunday, March 6.. Walleye provided some fair action at times but with the changing weather, fishing for northern pike was real variable. Panfish action has been a hit or miss.
More than 50 boats were out open water fishing on the Fox River in Green Bay with some walleye being caught. Along Door County, areas to the north of Sturgeon Bay are seeing open water and ice shifting and cracking. Anglers fishing south of Murphy Park reported 12 inches of ice at the most remaining with pockets of open water and less ice. The shipping channel from Bay Ship to the lake is open and continues to loose ice at a steady pace with the warm weather. Anglers in the southern Lake Michigan counties are casting off the harbors. Variable catches of brown and steelhead are being reported.
Warmer weather brought an abrupt end to ice fishing activity along the east shore of Lake Winnebago. As a reminder all fishing shelters must be removed from inland waters south of Highway 64 by the end of the day Sunday. Many of the area fishing clubs removed their tree lines and pulled their bridges following the closure of the recently completed sturgeon spearing season, which came to a close on Sunday Feb. 28 after a maximum 16-day season. The season on the Upriver Lakes closed after just seven days. This year’s harvest included 703 fish including 19 fish that were 100 pounds or larger. The largest fish of this season was a 147.9-pound, 77-inch fish speared from Lake Poygan on Monday Feb. 15.
Fishing has been spotty on area lakes. Individuals fishing deeper weed lines are picking up a few northern and walleye. With better travel conditions, anglers are able to get to spots they couldn’t access a couple weeks ago, which has improved some catches. Lake producing fish have been Lake Winter, Lake of the Pines, Conner’s Lake and the Chippewa Flowage. *Note* walleyes can’t be kept on the Chippewa Flowage from December 1 until the opening of fishing season in May. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Ice conditions have improved on most waters across the Northwoods and ice depths have been ranging from 12 to 16 inches. Strong winds during the week have blown a lot of the snow from the surface, and cold nighttime temperatures have frozen many of the areas of slush. This has helped travel conditions and anglers have been able to move around and get to more of their favorite spots. With some nicer weekend weather and the approaching end of the gamefish season (March 6), fishing pressure has spiked up on waters across the Northwoods. Both panfish and gamefish anglers were out trying their luck – but success was a bit tough to come by for many of them. Walleye have provided some fair action at times during the past week, but success seems to have been confined to short periods during the day and at specific depths in a given body of water. Tip-up fishermen have been seeing the most consistent action and many have downsized to fathead minnows or small suckers to entice bites from the finicky fish. The active bite seems to be concentrated in the hour before dark and the productive depths have ranged from 5 to 10 feet of water in the stained water lakes (& a bit deeper in the clear water lakes). Most of the walleye being caught have been in the 12 to 16-inch size, but a few up to 26 inches have also been landed. With the ever changing weather, fishing for northern pike has also been real variable. Catches have generally been low, though a few pike up to 30 inches have been reported. Panfish action has been a hit or miss proposition, with anglers really having to work to catch fish. That means a lot of moving around and searching for the active fish. A few nice crappie have been found suspended a couple feet off the bottom in the deeper parts of the lake, and some decent perch have been found on the mid-depth mud and weed flats. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Brown County - At least 50 boats were observed this past week on the Fox River, and Voyageur Park was all open water fishing. Some walleye are being caught using a myriad of baits and presentations. Jigs with plastics or live bait in a variety of colors, stick baits, small spoons and deep divers are all being used. There were a few anglers at Long Tail off of Lineville Road, standing water on the ice and mud adjacent to the landings will make travel difficult. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Anglers fishing off of Volk’s Landing are parking either on shore or just on the ice now and taking ATVs or sleds out to their destinations. Bayshore Park and Dyckesville have slowed down with fewer numbers of anglers seen taking to the ice in these locations. Red River continues to be steady with the number of anglers accessing the ice with moderate success rates for Whitefish have been reported. Some anglers are still driving on the ice here but most are taking ATVs or sleds out. Sugar Creek and Rite’s Cove continue to see high fishing pressure with good results of Whitefish being caught in these locations as well. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Door County - Many anglers took advantage of the warm weather once again this week and got out fishing on the remaining ice. Areas to the north of Sturgeon Bay are seeing open water and ice shifting and cracking. Anglers fishing off of White Cedar Road south of Murphy Park reported 12 inches of ice at the most remaining with pockets of open water and less ice. Those fishing for walleye off of White Cedar Road had little success and moderate success for whitefish. Anglers fishing out of the Stone Quarry reported mixed results for whitefish using wax worms. Anglers were spotted accessing the ice out of Sunset Park heading west along the canal. The shipping channel from Bay Ship to the Lake is open and continues to loose ice at a steady pace with the warm weather. There were no anglers seen fishing off of the Yacht Club this week and there still is some ice in and around the dock area. A few anglers were seen at Bullhead point fishing tip-ups. Potawatomi Park and Idlewild remain very busy with anglers accessing Sawyer Harbor. Also Cabot’s Point and Oak Ave remain busy as well with anglers accessing the ice here and have been seen heading to Larson’s Reef. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Potawatomi State Park - Ice fishermen are catching whitefish as well as some perch and walleye.
Winnebago Sturgeon Spearing Season update
The 2016 sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago came to a close on Sunday Feb. 28 after a maximum 16-day season, while the season on the Upriver Lakes closed after just seven days. This year’s harvest included 703 fish (396 from Lake Winnebago and 307 from the Upriver Lakes) including 19 fish that were 100 pounds or larger (8 from Lake Winnebago and 11 from the Upriver Lakes). The largest fish of this season was 147.9 pounds (77 inches) and speared from Lake Poygan on Monday Feb. 15. Overall, the season went as predicted with the less than ideal water clarity, 7-10 feet on Lake Winnebago, but was still a success despite the below average harvest on Lake Winnebago. There was question in early January whether we would even have ice to support a season. However, some timely cold weather created ice and spearers were able to renew spearing traditions and make memories of another spearing season. Many are already looking forward to the 2017 season.
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
This report was compiled and submitted on February 29, 2016.
Ozaukee County - The Port Washington harbor is open near the power plant discharge. Brown trout and occasional steelhead are being caught, and anglers have been using a variety of baits such as spawn, shiners, and crank baits.
Milwaukee County - Ice is degrading quickly in and around Milwaukee. The lagoon behind Lakeshore State Park has pockets of open water, and most of the Milwaukee harbor and inner harbor are open. Anglers have reported open water in the Milwaukee River in the vicinity of Estabrook Park, and there are steelhead in the river this time of year. The Bender Park launch is reportedly open, and boaters have been catching fair numbers of browns off of the Oak Creek Power Plant.
Racine County - Upstream stretches of the Root River are ice free, and steelhead have been reported in the river.
Information compiled from the WDNR Outdoor report and private sources