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Wisconsin Statewide Fishing Report
Wisconsin Statewide fishing report 7.25.14
Northwoods fish activity has been relatively steady. Water temperatures have been hovering in the upper 60s to low 70s on most waters, and this has kept most species spread out from the shallows to deeper water. Musky action showed a bit of a spike in the last week, with some nice fish being seen. Northern pike action has also stayed steady and walleye fishing has remained consistent as well with decent catches of 12- to 16-inch fish.
The mayfly hatch dropped Mississippi fishing success for the time being, but smallmouth bass fishing on the Wisconsin River was really heating up, with water levels in the river finally starting to get consistent. Cooler temperatures in the last few days chilled the air but not the fishing on Lake Winnebago, where the walleye bite remained consistent, though the perch bite has yet to pick up.
Fishing was hot this week in in Door and Kewaunee counties as anglers came out in high numbers for a salmon tournament, with boats bringing in anywhere from 4-12 salmon. Chinook were the predominant catch though some rainbows and a few coho were also in the mix. Sizes were averaging about 10-16 pounds, but with some in the 17- to 23-pound range not uncommon. Good numbers of perch were being caught off Bayshore Park on the east shore with the majority ranging in the 5-9 inch range and anglers at Little Sturgeon Bay have begun to catch better numbers of perch but sizes continue to be small.
In southeastern Lake Michigan harbors, fishing efforts increased in the past week at Milwaukee, and catch rates have shown signs of improvement. Trollers were catching a mixed bag of chinook and rainbow and lake trout. Trollers out of Racine reported the water temperature remains very cold; 80 feet down in 140 feet of water the temperature this past week was 40 degrees, making fish hard to target.
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) -
The continually changing weather and almost constant wind have made for some very challenging fishing conditions for most of the past week. However, fish activity has been relatively steady and anglers that have been out battling the breeze have found some decent action. Water temperatures have been hovering in the upper 60s to low 70s on most waters, and this has kept most species spread out from the shallows to deeper water. Relatively light rainfall in our area in the last few weeks has allowed stream and rivers levels to drop a bit, though many lakes and flowages continue to be somewhat above normal summer levels. Fishing success has been rather consistent in the past few weeks, though largemouth and smallmouth bass have been a bit of a challenge with the changing weather. The largemouth have been slowly moving to firm overhead cover, with more and more fish being found under docks, around logs and stumps, near the bog edges and in the reed/bulrush beds. Finesse techniques with soft plastics have still been able to produce some decent catches, and the surface bite did show a slight increase in the last week. Smallmouth bass seem to be holding near the mid-depth cover, and finesse plastics have been used to lure a fish nice fish to the boat. Musky action showed a bit of a spike in the last week, with some nice fish being seen by many anglers. Bucktails and bulldawg-type baits have been the lures of choice and fish up to 46 inches have been boated in the past few days. With the generally cool water temperatures so far this summer, northern pike action has also stayed steady, and quite a few small to medium-size pike continue to be found along the weed edges. Walleye fishing has remained rather consistent as well, with some decent catches of fish in the 12- to 16-inch size being made. A slip bobber with a leach or night crawler half have worked best, and the mid-depth rock bars and deep weed edges have been the productive areas. Panfish success has also remained relatively good, with some nice bluegill, crappie and perch being found on the deeper mud flats and along the deeper weed edges as well. Wax worms and night crawler pieces fished below a slip bobber have produced some decent catches. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
- Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Marinette County - Anglers at the mouth of the Peshtigo River are catching catfish, sheepshead, and smallmouth bass both from shore and in boats using crank baits or fishing live bait fished on the bottom. The Menominee River continues to produce walleye mainly during periods of darkness trolling with stick baits or crawler/harness. Shore anglers on the Menominee are catching sheepshead, and some smallmouth mainly using live bait. King salmon and brown and a few rainbow trout are being caught around Green Island to the Peshtigo Light using a variety of spoons and colors. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers at the Stiles Dam are catching bluegills and some smallmouth bass fishing mainly live bait and slip bobbers with most fish coming from around structure. With the warmer days kayakers, and tubers are making good use of the Oconto river. Some perch are being reported out of the Pensaukee Landing in 9 to 12 feet of water, minnows have been working the best. Some walleye have been reported out of Breakwater Park trolling in 12 to 16 feet of water very early in the morning. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Fishing has been tough out of Geano Beach, especially for walleye anglers. The best luck for walleye has been in 18-22 feet of water by the big buoy. Some northern pike and musky have been being caught in the flats. – John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Brown County - Shore anglers fishing the mouth of the Fox were catching decent numbers of crappies using mostly minnows, (12-15 fish/ angler) earlier in the week. The same anglers reported the crappie bite had slowed considerably by mid-week. Other anglers chose worms off the bottom as their go-to bait. Different fish reported caught at this location also included white bass and white perch. Most fishermen at Voyager Park continue to favor fishing off the bottom with a simple hook, line and sinker setup…or…put their bait a few inches of the bottom using a three-way swivel setup. These anglers reported catching ok numbers of catfish. A few anglers were using jigs and shad raps for smallmouth and walleye. A fisherman off of the pier by Main Street mentioned that he had caught an 18-inch smallmouth and a couple of nice walleye in the past week or so using stick baits. At Duck Creek, anglers reported catching several perch a week earlier, including a couple in the 12-inch range. Anglers targeting smallmouth bass and northern using top water baits (fake frogs and rats) had no luck. Walleye fishermen launching out of Green Bay Metro continue to have a tough luck. It appears the flicker shads, crawler harnesses and jigs have not been as appealing to the fish as the growing bait fish. Warm weather and low winds brought many perch fishermen to the Bayshore Park area late in the week. Good numbers of perch are being caught with the majority ranging in the 5-9 inch range. Minnows have been the dominate bait of choice. Finding schools and staying with them has been the key to large numbers with most anglers reporting that the perch are continually moving, forcing a constant chase. Anglers believe this is an indication of the impending arrival of larger numbers of perch that will eventually settle into their summer holes. Walleye action continues to be slow but the fish being caught have mostly been of larger caliber. Multiple catches in the 27-30 inch range have been reported. Crawler harnesses in the 18-22 foot depth range have produced the highest number of fish. Using a hook, line, sinker and worm has been the preferred method of Suamico River Shore anglers targeting yellow perch. There were mixed results, and most of the yellow perch caught have been in the 7-inch range. Brown bullheads and freshwater drum are also being caught. Yellow perch fishermen launching out of Suamico did not report high catch rates. Most were using minnows and crawlers. Walleye fishermen are also having a tough time. It seems angler’s lures are not looking as enticing as the natural bait fish. Good numbers of freshwater drum and gobies are also being caught. – John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Fishing was hot this week in northern Door County as anglers came out in high numbers, particularly for the salmon tournament in Door and Kewaunee counties. In northern Door, Bailey’s Harbor had the most pressure, with boats bringing in anywhere from 4-12 salmon. Some rainbows and a few coho were also in the mix; however chinook were the predominant catch. Anglers were expressing satisfaction with the overall size of the salmon and the fight they were putting up. Sizes were averaging about 10-16 pounds, with some sizable fish in the 17- 23-pound range not being uncommon. Anglers were having luck in 100-200 feet of water, with the most success in 140-200 feet, fishing the top 80 feet. Anglers were also hauling in the salmon out of Rowley’s Bay, fishing the top 30 feet in 60-80 feet of water. Spoons and flasher flies of various colors proved the most successful. Anglers throughout the peninsula are also targeting the tail-end of the smallmouth bite, with the most success being seen in Rowley’s Bay and Ephraim. Anglers targeting smallmouth have also reported catching rock bass and gobies. Catches are ranging from two to four fish. Popular baits include night crawlers, leeches, and a variety of other artificial bait, with leeches being the most successful. Anglers targeting walleye in Sister Bay said the catch is slow. - Aaron Suehring, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
At Sawyer Harbor, the water in the area continues to be clear and the increase in water levels has allowed boaters access to previously unattainable areas. Smallmouth bass anglers in the harbor continue to have great success. Finding water temperatures in the 68-70 degree range has been key to high catch rates. Leeches and soft shells under a slip bobber have been producing the best numbers. Green and hot pink tubes have also been producing good numbers of bass while minimizing fresh water drum by-catches. Little Sturgeon Bay anglers continue to have mixed success with all targeted fish. Water temperatures vary from 58 degrees in the channel to 74 degrees in some bays. The clarity of the water has been said to be the driving force behind the deeper depths that walleye are being found in. Crawler harnesses have brought in the best numbers; however, some fish are being caught on perch colored cranks. Perch anglers have begun to catch better numbers of fish yet sizes continue to be small. Minnows on a plain hook have been the bait of choice. At Chaudoir’s Dock water temperatures in the area continue to hover in the mid 60s. Perch anglers have had little success; however, communications from anglers to the south have given hope for the arrival of perch in the next couple weeks. Minnows and helgramites have produced the most fish. Walleye action also continues to be slow. Anglers are reporting large schools of baitfish and the walleye that are being caught are stuffed with bait. The heavy competition for attention between the baitfish and anglers has been mentioned by many anglers as a driving force behind the reduced catch rates over the last couple weeks. – John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - This weekend was the start of the Kewaunee/Door County Tournament and the numbers of anglers out on the water showed it. In both Algoma and Kewaunee anglers were out in high numbers for their chance at catching the big fish. Numbers were down this weekend from last, as the average per boat was 1-2. Still most boats were coming in successful. Anglers were out in 100-400 feet of water catching fish 10-90 feet down. Flies still seemed to be more popular than spoons and color didn’t seem to make a difference. Rainbows seemed to make up most of the catch with Lakers and kings being caught as well. Anglers are reporting water temps at the surface out at 200 feet were 52 degrees. Anglers on the Pier in both Kewaunee and Algoma had limited success this week. They were trying salmon and trout mostly but some were out for anything. Most were throwing spoons with little success. Shore anglers were trying their luck for perch and carp in Kewaunee with some success for perch off of the south wall of the marina. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Brown County - The past week has brought some very humid weather, leaving many anglers inside instead of on the boat or shoreline. For those few who did venture out, fishing success was minimal. Walleye anglers pre-fishing for a tournament this weekend out of Suamico reported very few being caught. Along the Fox River, people reported more success catching catfish earlier in the day. Lily Lake in Brown County still has not been stocked with fish, although tiny minnows have been spotted by the docks. Fishing success for inland Kewanee County lakes was also slow, with steady fishing pressure only being observed on East Alaska Lake. For boaters that are going out to enjoy the hot and humid weather, a reminder to stay hydrated and designate a driver. The sun and wind can increase the effects of alcohol on the body. - Cara Kamke, conservation warden, Green Bay
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
- Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - Trollers in Sheboygan had more success this past weekend than they had been having recently. They could be seen fishing close to shore from just outside the gap and as far north as Whistling Straits Golf Course. Chinook were taken in 50 to 60 feet of water, and rainbows were found around 110 feet. Shore fishing has picked up off of both the north and south piers. Anglers fished off the end of the north pier have been catching chinook on spoons, and a few whitefish were taken as well. The chinook bite has been best at first light. South pier anglers fishing the lake side have been catching brown trout on spoons. Green and silver, moonshine, wonder bread, and orange and silver have been popular colors.
Ozaukee County - 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 cleared up, and shore fishing has improved near the power plant and around Rotary Park. Brown trout and a few rainbows have been taken on white tube jigs, night crawlers, alewives, spinners, and spoons in green and silver, orange and silver, or gold. The ramp in Port Washington was closed on Friday and Saturday due to Fish Day, and it reopened Sunday morning. Those trollers who caught the most fish on Sunday were working around 100 to 110 feet of water, and out to 150 feet. They were catching a mixed bag of chinook and rainbow and lake trout, and spoons and flies took the most fish.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee fishing effort has increased in the past week, and catch rates have shown signs of improvement. Trollers have had the best success fishing north of the harbor in 65 to 90 feet of water. Early in the morning, the chinooks have also been caught as shallow as 50 feet. Coho, rainbows, and lake trout have been caught consistently around 75 feet of water. Anglers have taken the most fish early in the morning using bright flies and spoons near the surface, and the trolling with more depth as the day goes on. Trollers working out of Bender Park have been catching large steelhead and coho around 75 to 90 feet of water. Milwaukee shore anglers have been catching browns and a few steelhead off McKinley pier, and browns have also been caught off the pier in Veterans Park near the Sailing Center. Brightly colored spoons and alewives have both taken fish. Some anglers have had success catching perch from the rocks at the end of McKinley pier, and both minnows and plastics have taken fish. In Grant Park, anglers have reported some smaller steelhead coming in around the mouth of Oak Creek, and they have also reported bullhead biting on live bait under the pedestrian bridge. Steelhead and brown trout in Grant Park have been biting brightly colored spoons, such as watermelon patterns. Perch anglers fishing from shore in Bender Park have been catching some small perch around 8 inches early in the morning. They have been hitting a variety of baits including raw shrimp, minnows, and jigs. Boats fishing for Perch off the South Milwaukee boils have reported slow catch rates, with boats often returning to the launch before reaching their limit. At the Oak Creek Power Plant Pier, both trout and salmon have been caught over the past week. Silver or gold spoons cast into the current have been effective.
Racine County - Trollers in Racine have reported that the water temperature remains very cold; 80 feet down in 140 feet of water the temperature this past week was 40 degrees, making fish hard to target. Some trollers traveled out to 350 feet of water to find warmer water and a few fish. Fishing closer to shore picked up a bit over the weekend, with browns taken in 10 to 30 feet of water, and more of a mixed bag of trout and salmon in 30 to 150 feet. The piers in Racine continue to produce a few browns, coho, and small chinooks. A few 12 to 15 pound catfish have also been caught off the south pier. The surface water at the Racine lakefront warmed to 63 degrees by the end of last week, and perch have moved back into the area. Anglers reported decent catches from the water treatment plant all the way to the Racine Zoo. Minnows, crab tails, and small jigs worked well for many anglers. Those fishing in the Pershing Park boat harbor caught some nice 13 to 14 inch perch, and some limits were taken. Nice catches of perch and a few crappies were landed recently by anglers fishing the Root River shoreline from the lakefront up to the Main Street Bridge. And few perch, bluegills, and rock bass were caught by anglers fishing with crappie minnows at the Reichert Court fishing pier.
Kenosha County - Perch fishing for boaters in Kenosha has been spotty over the past week. Some are able to catch their limit one day and only two to three perch the next. Kenosha trollers have been catching a few more fish lately, but there were no reports of boats limiting out during the week. Browns have been found in 25 to 35 feet of water, and chinooks can be found in shallow water after dark. Fishing pressure on the Kenosha piers remained heavy during the week. Early in the week anglers were catching decent numbers of perch, but numbers dwindled by the weekend. Minnows and small plastics took the most fish. Brown trout have been caught off the piers and around the harbor by anglers using spoons or white tube jigs tipped with wax worms. The morning and evening bites produced the most, and the browns have averaged around five to six pounds.
Columbia County - Smallmouth bass fishing on the Wisconsin River is really heating up with the warm weather. However, walleye and sauger are getting hard to find. Water levels in the river are finally starting to get consistent.
Juneau County - The fishing report is slow for Southern Juneau County. Anglers are catching the usual mixed bag of catfish, drum, white bass and crappie in most locations. Walleye action has slowed significantly, but they can still be found. The Wisconsin River in Juneau County including the flowages is finally reaching its normal summer lows so caution should be used when boating, as sandbars and debris are either exposed in many areas or just below the water line.
Minocqua area fishing report
Lake Michigan Fishing Report and tips
Price Co. Fishing report
Information compiled from the WDNR Outdoor report and private sources