The variable weather has continued to keep anglers guessing--but overall success has been good when they have been able to get out on the water. In the north, the mayfly hatch and pressure has weaned off, prompting increased activity from walleye anglers. Musky success was also increasing as the fish start to feed more actively. The smallmouth season opened in the northern zone last weekend, following the completion spawning. Largemouth have started to settle into their early summer pattern of cruising the weed beds and have been active on surface baits and soft plastics. Though the smallmouth season is on, the larger fish seem to be taking their time moving to the surface and it may take another week or so before they start occupying mid-depth areas.
In the south, fishing activity slowed on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River due to higher water, though some walleye were still being caught. Anglers on Lake Koshkonong have still been getting into good numbers of 12- to 14-inch walleyes. Bluegills are spawning along the shorelines. Some larger channel catfish were being caught on the Rock River.
On Green Bay anglers continued to catch walleye off Marinette and Oconto as well as off Bayshore Park on the east shore. Smallmouth bass fishing was moderate along the Green Bay side of the Door Peninsula, with the best action around Sawyer Harbor but slower at Sturgeon Bay and Little Sturgeon Bay.
On Lake Michigan, anglers were out in high numbers at the Kewaunee, Algoma and Manitowoc ramps, with good success being reported for a mix of steelhead and king salmon with the occasional lake and brown trout. Trollers out of Sheboygan, Port Washington and Milwaukee have been catching a mix of chinooks and coho salmon, and rainbow and lake trout, with most boats landing at least two or three fish. Trollers out of Racine and Kenosha continued to catch mostly coho. Despite the opening of the perch season last week, no perch were reported caught in the Milwaukee harbor.
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The variable weather has continued to keep fishermen guessing - but overall success has been good when anglers have been able to get out on the water. All species have been getting a moderate amount of interest and some nice catches have been made. The mayfly hatches have subsided on most lakes across the area and this seems to have spurred on walleye action on many of these waters. Anglers have been seeing more consistent success on 12 to 16-inch fish, and the best rig has been a leech or crawler-half on a floating jig head and fished near weed edges and muck/hard bottom break lines in 6' to 12 feet of water. Musky action has also been heating up with more fish starting to get into an active feeding mode, especially on the Flambeau and Chippewa rivers and their flowages. Bucktails, jerk baits and top waters seem to be the preferred baits and the late afternoon hours have provided the best action. With the opening of the smallmouth season in the northern zone this past weekend, interest in bass fishing did pick up a notch in the last week. Both largemouth and smallmouth have completed their spring nesting ritual and are quickly recovering from the stress of spawning. Largemouth have started to settle into their early summer pattern of cruising the weed beds and have been active on surface baits and soft plastics. Many male largemouth have still been observed guarding their schools of young, but those should be dispersing in the next week or so. Smallmouth have been a bit more of a challenge as the larger fish seem to be hanging in deep water following the rigors of spawning. But look for the smallies to start moving to mid-depth rock and woody cover, and becoming active on finesse plastics and spinner baits. Panfish action has continued to good. Some bluegill have still been found in nesting colonies and some nice catches have been reported. Perch have also been active and are being found along the deeper weed edges. Crappie are being found over mid-depth structure and in shallower water along any emergent weed lines. A small minnow fished 1 to 2 feet below a slip bobber has 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 on the Peshtigo River report a few smallmouth, rock bass, and catfish being caught at the dam in Peshtigo using live bait. Catfish and sheepshead are also being caught at the Peshtigo harbor fishing on bottom with live bait. Anglers out of the Little River Boat Landing are catching walleye trolling in 9 to 20 feet of water using crawler harnesses and stick baits; purple remains a good color to use. Smallmouth, sheepshead, walleye and some panfish are being caught the length of the Menominee River by boaters and shore anglers alike. Water flows on the Menominee River are still strong. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Bluegill and smallmouth bass are being caught at the dam at Stiles using worms or crawler pieces fished in slack water. Smallmouth are also being caught at the mouth of Little River where it meets the Oconto River; spinners and small stick baits are working well. The mouth of the Oconto River is producing some nice catfish and smallmouth along with a few nice sheepshead using live bait. Walleye are being caught in 9 to 20 feet of water from the Pensaukee Boat Landing to Oconto Park II. Most anglers are using crawler harnesses; others are having success using stick baits. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Anglers targeting walleye near Bayshore reported highly varied catches. Best results were seen using crankbaits and crawler harnesses trolled over humps in 18 feet of water or more. Side catches by this group of anglers included many freshwater drum, catfish, white bass, yellow perch, and a few northern pike. Perch anglers had a more difficult time. Best results were seen using live bait. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Anglers fishing on the Green Bay side of the peninsula were concentrating on smallmouth bass and rock bass with the best success coming in Egg Harbor but others from the Ephraim piers to the Fish Creek Piers were also having moderate success. Anglers were also catching fair numbers of rock bass and low numbers of perch. Most anglers chose to use artificial baits but some were using a bobber and worm with moderate success. Rowley's Bay has seen moderate pressure but the smallmouth bite remains tough. Best results have been seen with plastics and crank baits. Anglers in Baileys Harbor fishing from the piers had success form smallmouth and rock bass using tube jigs and artificials. Anglers targeting bass around Sturgeon Bay have been reporting a difficult bite. Those who find success have found it primarily on the flats using tubes, crank baits, jerk baits, and live bait. Shore anglers looking for bass have found the best luck fishing the old stone quarry using tubes and live bait in the early morning. Salmon anglers have been seen launching out of Sturgeon Bay and there have been reports of fish being caught. Most anglers at Sawyer Harbor were targeting smallmouth bass. They had moderate success using soft plastics and live bait. Those targeting yellow perch had mixed results using minnows and worms near the bottom. Pier anglers had decent results fishing for yellow perch using worms and a bobber. The smallmouth bass fishing has been slower than previous weeks at Little Sturgeon Bay. Best results were seen using plastics and jerk baits. Walleye anglers at Chaudoir's Dock reported decent results fishing a variety of depths greater than 20 feet using crawler harnesses and crank baits, northern pike and catfish were also reported catches. Perch anglers reported some success using worm and minnows. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Anglers were out in high numbers at the Kewaunee and Algoma ramps, with good success being reported. Anglers were catching a mix of Steelhead and King Salmon with the occasional lake and brown trout. Many anglers reported different depths working for them, some stayed in 70-120 feet of water with a few anglers reporting going out up to 350 feet with little action reported out in deep water. Spoons and dodger flies were reported as favorites from some anglers as well, with the average per boat being three to four fish. Surface temperatures remain in the low to mid 50s. Anglers at the piers have been fishing, but the fish have been elusive.- Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Manitowoc Harbor and piers saw little to no activity this weekend. The water temperature in the harbor is 70 degrees. Anglers at the ramps in Manitowoc are having luck catching chinook salmon and rainbow trout out on the lake primarily in the early morning. The fish have been of good size; most kings weighing in the low to mid-teens and most rainbows around 5 to 7 pounds. Manitowoc Harbor and piers saw little to no activity this weekend. The water temperature in the harbor is 70 degrees. The ramps at Two Rivers have been seeing good use and most anglers are having success with most catches consisting of a mix of kings, rainbows, and lake trout. Surface temperature has been in the mid-50s. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Waupaca County - Trout streams are still high and somewhat murky, but look great for spinner fishing. Walleyes are biting well on Lake Poygan on crankbaits. No report on the smaller inland lakes. With this warmer weather, the catfish should start biting on the Fox and Wolf rivers. There are deer everywhere! Many does with twins are being seen, along with many yearlings feeding in fields. Saw my first turkey brood on Monday. Three poults, but not a complete count. Lupine, indigo, and butterfly weed area all currently blooming. Should be a nice weekend to visit central Wisconsin, but be forewarned - bring your mosquito repellent! - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - Sheboygan trollers have been catching mostly rainbows, chinooks, and lake trout. Most boats landed at least two or three, and they have been most successful around 75 to 100 feet of water. Spoons have been used most commonly, and red, white, orange, and pearl colors have produced. Along the Sheboygan shoreline fishing has been slow off of the south pier, except for an occasional brown trout being caught. North pier anglers have been targeting whitefish and catching two or three per outing. Alewives, shiners, and plastic gulp minnows were most effective for whitefish when fished close to the bottom. The water temperature inside the Sheboygan harbor was at 60 degrees on Sunday.
Ozaukee County - The majority of fish caught by trollers in Port Washington have been coho, followed by a mix of rainbows and lake trout. Most boats trolled around 100 feet of water, but a few went out to 200 feet and generally did a little better. Flies were effective in blue and green colors, as were brightly colored spoons in silver and orange. Flicker minnows in gold, black, and purple were reported to work as well. Shore fishing in Port has been slow off the breakwall and near the power plant this past week, but a few 5 to 6 pound rainbows were caught on alewives fished off the breakwall near the lighthouse. The harbor temperature was 58 degrees over the weekend.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee, trollers have been catching mostly lake trout and a few chinooks, rainbows, and coho mixed in, with an average of three to four fish per boat. Most fish have been taken north of the city in 80 to 120 feet of water off of the filtration plant. Some other trollers have fished in 30 to 40 feet of water around the Green Can Reef, and they have caught a few coho, rainbows, and small chinooks. Despite the opening of the perch season last week, no perch were reported caught in the Milwaukee harbor. Some bluegills and nice size rock bass have been caught on night crawlers and wax worms around the old Coast Guard Station and in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon. A few large browns, rainbows, and a whitefish were taken by McKinley pier anglers fishing with spoons, alewives, and shrimp. On the south side of Milwaukee, fishing off the Oak Creek Power Plant pier has slowed, and only a few small browns were caught over the weekend. A few decent size perch have been caught off the Cupertino Park fishing pier and the Grant Park pier, but fishing was generally slow. Fatheads fished under a bobber took the most perch. Boats launching out of Bender Park have been finding some perch on the boils off the South Milwaukee water treatment plant as well as on the south side of the Oak Creek power plant.
Racine County - Racine trollers continue to catch mostly coho, but more small lakers and chinooks have begun to show up in the coolers. Almost all success has come from spoons recently. Fishing off the Racine piers has been rather slow, but a few small browns and rainbows have been landed by the mouth of the harbor on the south pier. Spoons and alewives were the most productive, but alewives have moved offshore and have been hard to catch off the piers. Boats fishing for perch in Racine have been catching about two to three perch per angler, and the best action has been around 6 a.m.
Kenosha County - Kenosha trollers have been reporting large numbers of alewives offshore and large numbers of fish as well, although bites have been intermittent. Most boats have been trolling around 70 to 100 feet of water, with the majority of fish down about 40 feet. Trollers have been bringing in mostly coho, but a few small chinooks have been starting to show up as well. Shore fishing in Kenosha has been slow overall, and many anglers out over the weekend failed to catch any trout or salmon. About 10 perch anglers were fishing in Kenosha Saturday morning, but they only had one fish among them.
Rock County - Anglers on Lake Koshkonong have still been getting into good numbers of 12- to 14-inch walleyes. Bluegills are spawning along the shorelines. We saw some larger channel catfish being caught in the past few days on the Rock River. Most catfish are being caught on stink bait.
Minocqua area fishing report
Lake Michigan Fishing Report and tips
Price Co. Fishing report
Information compiled from the WDNR Outdoor report and private sources