Wisconsin Statewide fishing report 7.11.14
Periodic rain and thunderstorms have continued to keep stream and rivers relatively high across much of the state. Most lakes and flowages in the Northwoods are a few inches above normal. The Mississippi and Rock rivers remain high. The Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers have begun to drop.
The Bois Brule River is high for midsummer and is continuing to provide some excellent paddling opportunities in the Brule River State Forest. The lower Wisconsin River is high but has been dropping some and there are increasing numbers of sandbars available, which is good news for the 48th Annual Wisconsin River Canoe and Kayak Race (exit DNR) that will take place from Muscoda to Spring Green this weekend.
The warm and nicer weather over the long Fourth of July weekend made for a high level of boating and fishing activity on many waters of the state. Water temperatures have been holding in the low to mid-70s on most lakes and this has made for some comfortable swimming conditions.
Fishing activity has been relatively steady. The warm water temperatures have spurred on bass activity in the north and anglers have started to see some very good action. Walleye fishing has continued to be rather steady, with some decent catches of fish. Musky action has also improved with anglers reporting a lot of follows and some decent catches. Panfish success continues to be good, with some nice bluegill and perch being found on the deeper mud flats. Crappie have been found over the deeper weed beds or suspended near any mid-depth cover. The hex hatch is about over on central Wisconsin trout streams, but rains have kept streams up and trout fishing has been very good.
Perch action has finally started to pick up on Green Bay. Smallmouth bass fishing has begun to slow but decent action continued to be reported. Good numbers of chinook salmon were being caught out of Kewaunee and Algoma, with fish generally in the 13-18-pound range, with up to a 29 pounder reported. Trolling for chinook was also good out of Sheboygan were some areas were quite crowded over the weekend. Charters out of Sturgeon Bay were bringing in good numbers of walleye. Trolling slowed out of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha, but shore fishing was picking up at those harbors with nice catches of brown trout and some coho salmon reported.
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report
(Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The warm and nicer weather over the long Fourth of July weekend made for a high level of boating and fishing activity on nearly all local waters. Water temperatures have been holding in the low to mid-70s on most lakes and this has made for some comfortable swimming conditions. Periodic rain and thunderstorms have continued to keep stream and rivers at a rather high level, with most lakes and flowages also staying a few inches above normal. The wet conditions have also maintained the biting insects at a high level, with lots of deer flies, horse flies, ankle-biters and mosquitos still around. With some pleasant weather in between the storms and rain showers, fish activity has been relatively steady. The warm water temperatures have spurred on bass activity and anglers have started to see some very good action. The largemouth have been mostly related to the weeds and lily pads, though some are beginning to move to firm overhead cover such as wood, docks, brush and bog edges. Smallmouth bass are also becoming more wood oriented and look for this to increase as the water further warms this summer. Plastics worked slowly around this cover have produced the best success for bass in the past few days. Walleye fishing has continued to be rather steady, with some decent catches of fish in the 12 to 18 inch size. The most consistent baits have been leeches and crawlers, fished on a slip bobber along the deep weed edges and break lines. Musky action has also improved with the warmer weather and many anglers have reported a lot of follows. Some decent catches have also been made, with most fish in the 30 to 38-inch range. Many different types of lures have been successful, but bucktails, topwaters and bulldawg-type baits seem to be the favorites in the past week. With the warmer water temperatures, northern pike action has cooled off a bit as the bigger fish tend to move to deeper water. Good numbers of smaller pike are still being found along and in the weed edges and spinner baits have been the hottest bait. Panfish success continues to be good, with some nice bluegill and perch being found on the deeper mud flats. Crappie have been found over the deeper weed beds or suspended near any mid-depth cover. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Catfish, sheepshead, and the occasional smallmouth bass were being caught at the mouth of the Peshtigo River with most anglers using crawlers fished on bottom. Walleye are still being caught on the Menominee River in the evenings trolling with stick baits and crawler/harness. Salmon anglers out of the Menominee River have yet to report catching any fish. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
A few panfish and smallmouth bass were being caught in the upper reaches of the Oconto River using live bait and casting small spoons and spinners. The mouth of the Pensaukee River produced some nice bass drop shooting with plastics. Anglers were catching sheepshead and catfish at Breakwater Harbor fishing in the river with crawlers. No reports of perch from the Oconto Landings. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Anglers in the Suamico River area continue to target walleye with limited success. The uncooperative weather continues to keep everyone guessing and has forced many anglers to shorten their trips. The switch to crawler harnesses has produced more walleyes, however numbers are still considerable low. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Very limited fishing was seen at the mouth of the Fox River and the anglers that did get out had very little success. Perch have yet to arrive in numbers; however, most anglers believe that movement has been late due to the extended winter. It could increase within the next two weeks. Large numbers of freshwater drum continue to be caught on just about anything tossed into the water. Increased numbers of smallmouth bass continue to be caught in the slack waters below the dam on the Fox River at Voyager Park. Multiple catches in the 18-inch range have provided great action for those lucky enough to hook into one. Crawlers and buzz baits are generating the most action. Large numbers of catfish are also being caught with the crawler/sinker combos being the most effective. One angler had his pole broken by an 18 pound catfish, yet managed to still hand pull the fish in. At Bayshore Park angles were primarily looking for walleye with limited success. Most of walleye boats are trolling shad raps and flicker shads or/ and crawler harnesses. Boats were trolling after dark. A few perch have been caught on minnows. Water temperatures were reported from 68-72 degrees. Pier anglers favored the hook, line and sinker method as well as the bobber and hook approach. Worms were the bait of choice. They were catching gobies and freshwater drum. Shore anglers have been increasing. Their target fish has been channel catfish, with several caught. Fishing crawlers off the bottom is the preferred method. The average size catfish observed was 23 inches, with the largest at 25 inches. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Anglers in Sturgeon Bay were also targeting the tail-end of the smallmouth bite. While not as good as the previous weeks have been, anglers have been most successful from the Stone Quarry using worms and night crawlers. Anglers targeting smallmouth were also reporting high numbers of rock bass and gobies. Anglers were also successfully targeting perch from the Stone Quarry shore using night crawlers and minnows. The perch are averaging 11-12 inches, and while many were being caught early in the week, the bite has slowed during the weekend. Charters in Sturgeon Bay are also bringing in high numbers of walleye. - Aaron Suehring, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Anglers throughout northern Door County are still predominantly targeting smallmouth bass. Popular pier fishing areas include; Sister Bay, Egg Harbor, Murphy Park and Gills Rock. Anglers have reported having good success using worms, grubs, drop shot, leeches and tube bait. There have been a few reports of perch being caught off Peninsula State Park docks as well as Egg Harbor pier using worms however catches tend to be smaller. Popular boat landings for anglers targeting smallmouth bass and perch were Ephriam, Egg Harbor, and Rowleys Bay launches. Anglers are having most luck catching perch, smallmouth and some rock vass in 5-10 feet of water. There continues to be low salmon fishing pressure with the exception of the occasional angler using Baileys Harbor boat launch. - Bobbi Kolstad, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Walleye fishing has been tough at Chaudoir's Dock. One boat caught seven fish in 1.5 hours before being forced off of the water due to weather. Perch numbers continue to climb, with anglers finding success using minnows and crawlers. A few boats reported between 12 and 20 decent sized perch. One gentleman reported that he had been keeping a fishing journal for years and the current water temperature (70 degrees) is about 4-6 degrees off of the normal average (74-76). The cooler than normal water temperature maybe causing a little later perch action. The average sized perch observed was about 9 inches with the largest being 11.5 inches. Many freshwater drum continue to be caught. Pier anglers using worms on a hook with bobber are catching plenty of gobies, some small perch, bullheads, and carp. Boaters heading out on Sawyer Harbor had walleye, perch, smallmouth bass, and freshwater drum on their minds. Walleye anglers had very little luck. Perch anglers were seeing an increase in action, but a little smaller than hoped. Minnows and crawlers are the bait of choice for perch. Smallmouth bass have been hit or miss. One smallmouth was brought in at 21.2 inches. While it is getting pretty far into summer now, one angler reported still catching some on their beds. Surprisingly, a few channel catfish were caught using shad raps. One of the 'cats observed was over 32 inches long and more than 15 pounds. Anglers fishing off of the launch docks are finding success catching rock bass. The sizes observed have been very good. Some small perch and plenty of gobies are also being caught here. At Little Sturgeon Bay smallmouth bass anglers launching here had mixed results. Anglers looking for northern pike and walleye had little or no luck. Lots of freshwater drum continue to be caught. Pier anglers are finding luck catching yellow perch. Floating worms under a bobber seems to be the chosen method. Some rock bass and sunfish are also being caught and kept. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay
The weekend of July fourth and the beautiful weather brought people out to the water in high numbers. While many were pleasure boating, the majority of boats were in search of salmon. While the water remains relatively cool, anglers were bringing in chinook by the boat load. Some charters and private boats are limiting out on chinook while others are coming in empty-handed. Anglers are reporting the most success while fishing the top 100 feet of water anywhere from 100 to 250 feet of water for chinook. Most successful baits are dipsy diver flasher flies. The chinook being caught were generally in the 13-18-pound range, with up to a 29 pounder being caught in Algoma. Rainbows were also being caught in high numbers, primarily out of Kewaunee with some being landed in Algoma and Sturgeon Bay. Anglers targeting rainbows were having the best luck fishing the top 60 feet, in up to 400 feet of water with cut bait and flasher flies. The occasional coho and lake trout have been caught out of Algoma and Kewaunee, although numbers remain low. - Aaron Suehring, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan most trollers have been fishing straight east of the harbor in 130 to 160 feet of water. Others fishing northeast of town in 170 feet of water caught good numbers of chinook, and those fishing north of the Chamberlain wreck in 180 to 275 feet of water caught good numbers of both rainbows and chinooks. For those looking for a shorter trip out on the lake, some trollers did well for rainbows and chinook fishing straight out of the harbor in 100 feet of water. This area became somewhat crowded, making it difficult to navigate. Shore fishing picked up off the lake side of the south pier on Saturday evening. Anglers reported catching one to three brown trout and an occasional lake trout using green or glow spoons. Water clarity is still poor in the harbor near the river due to the heavy rainfall. Lakeside the visibility goes approximately 3 feet down. North pier anglers have been bagging some whitefish on live alewives or on small white Gulp minnows.
In Port Washington the north pier is closed to public access. Signs have been posted at the entrance to the pier to remind the public that no one is allowed on the pier because it has stability issues. Numbers of alewives in the area have tapered off, but there are still a few lingering around. The harbor water has been clearing up, and shore fishing has improved near the power plant and around Rotary Park. Browns and a few rainbows have been taken on worms, night crawlers, alewives, spinners and spoons. Trollers fishing out of Port Washington have been having the best action south of town near Concordia University, although fishing has been generally slow. The catch has been a mix of chinooks and rainbows, which have been in about 100 to 250 feet of water and have been hitting flashers and flies in blue, green or pink.
Both catch rates and fishing pressure has been very low in the past week. Most of the fish being caught are biting early in the morning, with action being sparse for the rest of the day. Both poor water visibility and cold temperatures are contributing to poor fishing conditions. Trollers have been catching a few chinook 150 feet of water and deeper, with fewer numbers of rainbows, coho, and lake trout taken. Shore anglers have taken a few salmon and brown trout off the end of McKinley pier. The most productive time has been early morning and later in the evening, around 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., and fish have been hitting green and silver spoons. Perch anglers have been catching a few off of Cupertino pier near the Milwaukee Coast Guard Station, and off of South Metro Pier in Oak Creek. A few browns have been taken off of South Metro Pier as well. Minnows fished under a bobber and jigs have taken the most perch, and early morning hours have been most productive. Perch fishing in South Shore and Bender Parks has been slow. Boats have taken perch at the boils, but fishing has slowed compared to the past couple of weeks. Anglers fishing at the Oak Creek Power Plant pier have taken a few browns on worms, minnows or jigs. Some salmon have also been caught on brightly colored or gold spoons.
Fishing in Racine has slowed for trollers. Most boats caught only 2 to 4 fish over the weekend, and some were skunked. Fish were reported to be close to the bottom in 65 to 140 feet of water. Pier fishing in Racine has improved somewhat, with some nice size browns and an occasional coho taken late in the week. The average size of the browns was 7 pounds and 22.5 inches. Fishing effort off the piers for perch has been minimal; most perch anglers have been concentrated around the Pershing Park boat harbor or near the DeKoven Center. The perch bite tapered off after strong west winds dropped the near shore water temperature from 63 degrees to 49. Anglers who fished before sunrise or late evening caught the most fish, and small jigs tipped with plastic and small fathead minnows were the most popular bait.
Kenosha trollers report the salmon and trout are still scattered and hard to find. Several boats came back with nothing to show for their efforts, and most boats had only one to two fish. Perch fishing has been slow for boaters working the breakwall, the bubbler and the mouth of South Port Marina. The near shore water temperature in the lake has dropped considerably, and many perch disappeared. Shore anglers in Kenosha have been catching a few browns in the harbor and off the piers. White tube jigs tipped with wax worms fished under a slip bobber has been effective, as have green and silver spoons.
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway
The water levels on July 10, at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 12,400 CFS. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac dam. The sandbars have begun to reappear throughout the Riverway providing good locations for camping. There is rain possibly forecasted for this weekend so canoeists should monitor the water levels carefully and always secure your canoe and equipment well. Please remember that camping is restricted to no more than three days on State owned islands and sandbars. Camping at these locations is restricted to persons and their equipment arrived by watercraft only. A camping permit is not required. Fishing reports have been mixed due to the high water but there have been reports of catfish and bass biting in the Lone Rock area. - Matt Seguin, property manager
Anglers are catching panfish at Clear Lake and Storrs Lake with small plastic worms and night crawlers. Indianford continues to be good spot to fish for catfish. Anglers are catching numerous catfish in the 10 inch range and few larger sized ones as well. Also remember that the bag limit for catfish on the Rock River is 10 catfish per person, per day. Water levels are still high on the Rock River, so before going out on the river, check for slow-no-wake restrictions. July 15 will mark the season opener for turtle harvest in Wisconsin. The possession limit for snapping turtles and soft-shell turtles is 3.
Minocqua area fishing report
Lake Michigan Fishing Report and tips
Price Co. Fishing report
Information compiled from the WDNR Outdoor report and private sources