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Wisconsin Statewide Fishing Report

Wisconsin Statewide Fishing Report 9.18.15

Fishing success was generally good on most waters across the Northwoods. Water temperatures have remained in the upper 60s to low 70s and this has maintained some consistent feeding activity for most species. Nearly all musky anglers are seeing fish and having follows, and numerous catches of mid-size fish have been made. A few anglers have started using large suckers, but most continue to use artificial baits. Sturgeon season is into its second week and many anglers were having mediocre success catching these ancient fish. A few 60-plus-inch legal-size fish were reported and a 13-year old angler caught and released an 87-inch sturgeon in Burnett County. Bass fishing has started to become erratic, with largemouth a bit more consistent than smallmouth. Walleye success continues to improve with some decent catches reported from on and around mid-depth structure and gravel bars. Panfish success has been generally good.

The waters of Green Bay were busy last weekend with two bass tournaments going on and another will take place this weekend. Smallmouth bass fishing remains good, with some of the boats last weekend catching 10 or more fish. Perch fishing was spotty this week but anglers reported catching fish at Sawyer Park piers in Sturgeon Bay and at Egg Harbor, Bayshore Park and Chaudoir's Dock.

On Lake Michigan, chinook salmon continue to stage at the mouth of rivers, but there have only been a few reports of fish being seen moving up rivers. Anglers have been catching fish near the mouths of the Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Milwaukee rivers.

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With the continued mild and mostly pleasant of the past week, fishing success was generally good on most waters across the Northwoods. Water temperatures have remained in the upper 60s to low 70s and this has maintained some consistent feeding activity for most species. Musky fishing has been drawing quite a bit of attention and action has been generally good. Nearly all musky anglers are seeing fish and having follows, and numerous catches of mid-size fish have been made. The most successful baits continue to be artificials, with bucktails, jerk baits, and soft-bodied lures being the favorites of late. A few anglers have started using large suckers, but the warmer water makes it hard to keep the bait alive. However, look for the sucker bite to improve as water temperatures cool down into the 50s in the next month or so. Sturgeon season is into its second week and many anglers were having mediocre success catching these ancient fish. The local rivers have been most popular, with a fair number of small fish being caught and just a few 60-plus-inch legal-size fish being reported. The best success has come on cut bait or a gob of night crawlers, fished in the deep holes or the river bends. Bass fishing has started to become erratic on local waters, but some excellent action has been experienced on a couple of days. Largemouth have been a bit more consistent than smallmouth, with the larger lakes and flowages providing some decent action around mid-depth weeds and structure in 5 to 10 feet of water. Soft plastics, 7-inch worms and craws have been the more successful lures, especially when fished slowly along the deep weed lines and near the woody cover. Smallmouth fishing has been an on-again, off-again experience - with some good days of fishing mixed in with some poor days. The most consistent action for smallies has been near mid-depth woody cover that is close to deep water. Small finesse plastics have been the best bait. Northern pike fishing has been fair and casting spinner baits in or near any weeds has provided some good action. Walleye success continues to improve with some decent catches reported from on and around mid-depth structure and gravel bars. Small jigs tipped with leaches, crawlers or minnows have all provided some fair action. Panfish success has been generally good, with some nice perch, crappie and bluegill showing up along the deeper weed edges. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by Daniel Olson, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Marinette County - Anglers report smallmouth and northern pike being caught from the Municipal Landing in Peshtigo down to Klingsborns Landing. Surface and spinner baits have been working well. Perch anglers are having success fishing out of the Little River Boat Launch. Once the fish have located some nice catches have been reported. Shore anglers on the Menominee River report catching some perch, bluegills, catfish, sheepshead, walleye, and smallmouth using minnows and crawlers fished on bottom. Boaters on the Menominee are catching smallmouth and some walleye trolling stick baits and casting tubes and jigs. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Bluegill and crappie were being caught below the dam at Stiles early in the week, but the fishing dropped off with the rain and an open gate the dam. Anglers at the mouth of the Oconto River enjoyed some good smallmouth fishing using tubes and jig heads. The perch bite has improved from the Pensaukee Landing to Oconto Park II. Anglers are reporting fish being caught in various depths from 4 to 14 feet of water. Locating the fish is key. Crappie rigs and jigs tipped with minnows has been working best, but some sorting has been necessary. The walleye bite has been slow; anglers report water temperatures on the Bay in the low 60s. Multiple musky anglers fishing Geano Beach reported multiple follows; however hookups continue to be low. Spinners and double Colorado blades produced all noted follows. Water temperatures have dropped to the low 60s and water clarity is good.- Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Angler pressure was low this week on the Fox River at Voyager Park. Once again, casting and retrieving night crawlers fished on jigs with different color twister tails produced the most fish throughout the week, while bottom fishing crawlers produced catfish just about anywhere in the park. Anglers at the mouth of the river continue to catch drum and catfish using three-way swivel rigs tipped with night crawlers, with the best catches coming in the early morning hours. With the lower temperatures, ever increasing numbers of smallmouth bass continue to be caught late into week. Walleye anglers in the area continue to have spotty action. Boats out of the metro ramp trolling crawler harnesses in 14-18 feet of water had the best catch rates this week with the early morning hours continuing to produce the most fish. Walleye anglers heading out of the Suamico launch had mixed results. Trolling crawler harnesses at 0.8 to 1.0 MPH and in 12-16 feet of water produced the majority of fish this week. Coming into the weekend, water temperatures in the area have dropped significantly, thus slowing walleye action down. Musky anglers are having increasing luck as the water temps continue to drop. Spinner baits and top waters fished in the late evening hours continue to dominate. Musky anglers continue to work the Long Tail Point area and with dropping water temperatures many more are reporting follows, but hookups continue to be low. Perch fishing continued to be hot through the beginning of the week at Duck Creek; however, cooler temperatures brought a slow down toward the week's end. Minnows and crawlers, suspended below a bobber, continue to produce equally well. Shore anglers are casting worms and minnows for yellow perch. Sizes have dropped late into the week for perch however multiple bluegills in the 8-10 inch range are being caught near the boat launch.

Door County - Smallmouth bass fishing remains good. Saturday tournaments out of Carmody and Sturgeon Bay led to an increase in fishing pressure. Several boats caught 10 plus fish. Tubes, jerk baits and live bait were all effective. Anglers fishing the flats, working north on the west side of the canal, reported the best success with smallmouth bass. They focused their attentions in 20 feet of water and primarily used a variety of plastic bait. Pressure from shore anglers was moderate this week, with anglers focusing their attentions on smallmouth bass and perch. Angler found the best success with smallmouth bass at the stone quarry, while using live baits and plastic tubes. Perch fishing was spotty this week. Anglers reported catching perch from both the Sawyer Park piers in Sturgeon Bay and dock/break walls at the Egg Harbor Marina. Finding schools was the key to catching good numbers. The schools are often on the move, so a productive spot one day may not be the next. Limits were caught out of Bayshore Park and Chaudoir's Dock. The most common approach was minnows or crawlers near the bottom in 20-plus feet of water. Many perch caught this week were on the smaller side (particularly on Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor). Pier anglers were catching perch at Sawyer Harbor. Minnows and crawlers are the favored baits. Perch anglers fishing from the shore at Little Sturgeon Bay caught fish. Most were small. Nightcrawlers are the most common bait. Walleye anglers found success on Larson's Reef in 20 to 24 feet of water while using crawler harnesses. A few boats launching from Bayshore Park and Chaudoir's Dock caught double-figure fish. Crawler Harnesses and crank baits were both effective. Early day trolling, 15-20 feet, in 30 feet or water was able to bring a few fish up. Walleye weighed and measured this week ranged from 15 to 28 inches and 1 to 8.4 pounds. On the Lake Michigan side, angler pressure was moderate this week for chinook salmon on Lake Michigan. They focused their attentions in 150 feet of water and ran their lures approximately 40 feet down. The majority of chinook salmon anglers focused their attentions in the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal itself. Anglers trolling from the mouth of Strawberry Creek to the end of the Shipping Canal reported moderate success with a variety of spoons. There was a considerable increase in pressure from shore anglers attempting to catch chinook salmon along both sides of the south end of the canal and Sturgeon Bay piers. Unfortunately, they did not see substantial returns on their efforts regardless of the lures used. Anglers reported catching a few chinook salmon early in the week but by the weekend the bite had substantially decreased.

Kewaunee County - Reports have been that the fishing has been slow but anglers have been catching some salmon, rainbows and browns using spoons and spawn sacs. Salmon have been seen at the surface near the river mouth and by the harbors but have been difficult to catch. Although some anglers have been trying their luck on the Kewaunee River, there have been no reports of success as of yet. A few salmon have been seen at the Besadny spawning facility. Few anglers have been fishing out of Algoma but those who have gone have been having some success catching kings, browns, and rainbows in about 60 to 150 feet of water at varying depths in the water column using both spoons and flies. There has been slow but steady success coming off of the piers in Algoma. Most anglers have been catching a mix of browns, rainbows, and kings coming on spoon, flies and spawn sacs. Although the salmon haven't begun running yet, they appear to be staging. Some anglers have begun fishing the Ahnapee River but they have not reported and success yet and no salmon have been seen running the river. The Ahnapee River has a moderate flow and the temperature ranged from 60 to 68 degrees. No salmon have been observed Stoney Creek which has a moderate flow and is about 65 degrees.

Manitowoc County - Last week's rain helped raise water levels in area rivers. The Manitowoc River is still the most heavily fished river in the area. Most anglers are staying near the mouth of the river up to the Budweiser Tower. King salmon have been caught closer to the harbor. The Manitowoc River has a strong flow, is dark in color, and the temperature is 69 degrees. No activity has been spotted upstream near Manitou or Manitowoc City Park as of yet. The Branch River remained quiet this weekend. The water in the Branch is clear, and water temperature is 63 degrees. The West Twin River in Shoto had one person fishing near the Sportsman's Club this weekend. The water temperature in the West Twin River is 67 degrees, and the water levels are good all the way to the dam in Shoto. Anglers on the East Twin River spotted some fish jumping near the dam on Sunday; but no fish were visible downstream of the dam in Mishicot Park. The water is clear in the East Twin, and the water temperature is 61 degrees. Silver Creek remains inactive. The water is clear, and low. Silver Creek's water temperature is 61 degrees. Manitowoc Harbor temperature is 66 degrees. Many boaters are sticking close to the harbor mouth and inside Manitowoc Harbor as well and finding success with the salmon. Many shore anglers moved from the piers to fish closer to the Manitowoc River this weekend. The water temperature in the Two Rivers harbor is 69 degrees. Anglers launching from Two Rivers were not marking a lot of fish this weekend. Most boaters are trolling near the harbor mouth in Two Rivers. The action on the piers slowed down compared to the past two weeks. The alewives are not as abundant in the harbor as they had been one or two weeks ago. Pier anglers are still landing king salmon. Most of these fish are being caught on alewives.

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians,

Please keep in mind that the night time fishing rules for Lake Michigan tributary streams and rivers went into effect on Sept. 15. Fishing is prohibited on the tributaries from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise from now until the first Saturday next May.

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan fishing has been slow on both the north and south piers, but a few fish were reportedly caught. The morning has produced better than the evening, and at least one rainbow was caught on the lake side of south pier using alewives. Most anglers continue to cast spoons inside of the harbor. The fishing pressure near the mouth of the river remains high, but only a couple of chinooks were reported. The surface water temperature inside of the Sheboygan harbor was 56 degrees on Sunday. No anglers have been seen fishing the Pigeon River, but a few Sheboygan River anglers have been targeting smallmouth bass and northern pike. A few chinook have been seen in the river near Esslingen Park. The Sheboygan River is at 60 degrees, and the Pigeon is 55.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington shore fishing has been steady near the power plant discharge. A few small coho and chinook were caught over the last week, and the best bait has been spawn sacs or skein. Crank baits have worked outside of the current as well. Fishing was less productive in the north slip, along the coal dock wall, and off the breakwall. Very few trollers have been fishing out of Port Washington, and no anglers have been seen in Sauk Creek.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee water levels rose on the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers after rainfall early last week. Anglers fishing the Milwaukee at Kletzsch Park reported a few chinook swirling under the falls but fishing has been slow. Chinooks continue to stage at the mouth of the river, and the most productive bait has been alewives. Some three to five pound browns have also been taken behind Summerfest on shiners or spoons. McKinley pier anglers continue to catch a few chinook on alewives, spoons, and tube jigs. The early morning hours have been most productive. Boating activity in Milwaukee dropped this past week, and those that did go out were primarily targeting Chinooks in the gaps and at the mouth of the river. Several boats were skunked or only caught one fish. South of the city nice catches of chinook and brown trout were landed on spoons along the Grant Park shoreline this week. Boats launching from Bender Park were targeting lake trout and rainbows in 70 to 90 feet of water off the Oak Creek Power Plant, and they averaged a few fish per trip.

Racine County - In Racine fishing pressure was low at the ramp this past weekend. Most boats were trolling nearshore for chinook or fishing in 130 feet of water for lake trout. The south pier has been loaded with anglers, especially around sunrise with an average of more than 50 anglers on the pier at first light. Chinook and coho have been caught on alewives fished on the bottom, but success has been inconsistent.

Kenosha County - Kenosha trollers have been able to land a few chinook while fishing a couple hundred yards off the mouth of the Pike River. Shore anglers in the Kenosha harbor have been catching a few browns on tube jigs as well as some chinook on Gulp minnows and green and silver spoons. Many anglers have been working the shore at the mouth of the Pike River, but few reported any success. Chinook could be seen surfacing about 100 yards off of the beach. The mouth of the Pike River is open.

Minocqua area fishing report

Lake Michigan Fishing Report and tips

Information compiled from the WDNR Outdoor report and private sources

Land Big Fish