Some very nice weather brought out lots of anglers for the opening of Wisconsin's inland fishing season. In the north, walleye anglers found action to be generally good, with some decent catches of walleye in 12 to 18-inch size reported. Northern pike action was only fair, but some s surprisingly good bass action was reported, with smallmouth being a bit more active than largemouth. Panfish action was just starting to pick up, as crappie have started to move up into the shallow bays in pretty good numbers, and bluegill have also been moving up to the shallows in greater numbers.
Anglers continue to hook into nice trout on the Bois Brule with the warm weather bringing on insects hatches. Trout anglers also did well on some of the managed trout lakes and spring ponds, with most success for brook trout in the 8 to 10-inch size.
Fishing pressure was also heavy on Green Bay and Lake Michigan, where smallmouth bass fishing was good along Door County. Walleye anglers were also reporting some success in deeper water in the lower end of the bay.
Lake Michigan trollers were fishing primarily nearshore areas and have been catching a mix of browns and lake trout. Some trollers have begun targeting coho, with boats out early in the morning catching decent numbers. Anglers on the piers have reported catching browns, lake trout, and coho salmon on spoons. Steelhead fishing on tributaries has been tapering off.
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties)
Sunny skies and warm temperatures made for a great opening weekend and fishing pressure was rather heavy on many waters across the Northwoods. The highest angling activity was on the larger walleye waters, as well as the managed trout lakes and spring ponds. On the trout lakes, anglers found some very good success and most fishermen were catching some fish. Most of the trout were "brookies," in the 8 to 10-inch size, but some nice browns up to 18 inches long were also caught. While stream and river water levels were near normal, fishing pressure on the trout streams was rather light and reports of success were hard to come by. Walleye anglers found action to be generally good, though success was best in the evening hours as the sun started to go down. Live bait combinations such as jig & minnow and slip-bobber rigs seemed to work the best, and some decent catches of walleye in 12 to 18-inch size were reported. The crankbait anglers did find some good action as well, especially when casting the shallows and mid-depth flats in the low-light periods. Northern pike action was only fair, with the fish seeming to prefer the live baits rigs and slower moving spinner baits. And somewhat surprisingly, bass action was pretty good, with smallmouth bass being a bit more active than the largemouth. Quite a few anglers reported catching some good sized "smallies" during the middle of the day when the walleye bite was slow. Panfish action was just starting to pick up, as crappie have started to move up into the shallow bays in pretty good numbers. A few crappie have already started spawning and some fair catches have been made along emergent weed lines, with small minnows fished a foot or 2 below a bobber. Some nice perch have been found on the mud flats where the green weeds are just starting to grow, and bluegill have also been moving up to the shallows in greater numbers. The best bet for these is to use a slip bobber with a small night crawler piece, and fish it over the mud flats and in the shallow bays. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Oneida County - Fishing in the Minocqua is good. Anglers are reporting good catches of walleye, crappie, and bass. Water temperatures are in the mid 50's so the crappie fishing should continue to improve. Turkey hunters continue to hear from active toms and hunters are reporting moderate success. Migrating waterfowl numbers are high and geese have been seen siting on nests full of eggs. - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This past weekend was the traditional fishing opener, which brought out a lot of anglers all around Green Bay and the Lake Michigan side of Door County who had great success on smallmouth bass and good success on other species as well. As the water warms the steelhead bit has dwindled with only a few fish left in the streams. Those venturing out nearshore on Lake Michigan are still catching brown trout and lake trout. - David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Marinette County - Sturgeon can be seen at the north side of the Dam in Peshtigo, few anglers are fishing the upper portion of the river. Anglers at the Peshtigo Harbor have been catching a few walleye jigging with live bait at the mouth of the river, those anglers who are trolling out of the mouth of the Peshtigo River report a decent bite when you locate the fish. A few browns are still being caught north and south of Little River on small spoons or stick baits. Walleye are being caught in the Turn Basin on the Menominee River using jig heads and live bait. Trolling out of the mouth of the river is producing some walleye and brown trout. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Angler numbers were low on the upper portion of the Oconto River this past week. A few crappie were being caught on the north side of the Stiles Dam along with an occasional small bass. The gates at the Dam at Stiles are closed and the river is running clear. At the mouth of the Harbor some walleye are still being caught using jigs and minnows although catch rates are low. Some pike are being caught using smelt fished on bottom from the Breakwater. Walleye anglers from Pensaukee to Oconto Park II are finding the fishing to be slow. Most anglers are fishing stick baits in water from 6 to 20 feet. Finding fish has been a problem. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Opening weekend saw heavy angler usage in the Chaudoir's Dock area with low to moderate catch rates. The increased average water temp, along with very little wind, has forced most of the walleye action towards deeper water. The best catches were reported in 18-22 feet of water with hot pink/purple cranks. Many anglers are picking up large schools of fish on sonar, however getting them to bite this week has taken more effort than the last two weeks. Changing tactics though out the day has proven effective. Bay Shore Park area continued to produce many good-sized walleye this week. Cranks trolled in 18-22 feet of water continued to produce the most fish with sizes averaging in the mid-20s. Large amounts of baitfish continued to travel the area causing the walleye to be a bit more finicky. Early morning and late afternoon have seen walleye in 10-14 feet of water, while midday depths are ranging closer to 22 feet. The water clarity in most areas continues to be poor with most anglers reporting less than 5 feet visibility. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Voyager Park has seen light-to-moderate fishing pressure this week. Most of those who decided to give the river a few casts were looking for white bass. Catch rates on these fish was low. Crank baits were the favored option. A few crappie, carp and freshwater drum were also reported. While the sturgeon spawning run appears to be over, the carp run is still going strong. They can be seen in very large numbers in the Fox River and below the De Pere dam. Musky are now in their spawning run. The Green Bay DNR office set fyke nets on Monday, May 4. Fish were collected from them on Tuesday, May 5. Twenty-eight musky were brought back to the Fox Point boat launch for tagging, weights, lengths, egg collection and health samples before being released back into the river. The group included three over 50 inches. Other than musky, the nets contained freshwater drum, long-and-short nosed gar, smallmouth bass, crappie, carp, walleye, and catfish. White bass anglers of off Polier Street reported catching fewer fish than a week earlier. Casting crank baits was the method of choice. One quillback was also caught. Fishermen at the mouth of the Fox River were primarily looking for walleye. In one morning three were reported caught between four walleye anglers. The average size was 22.4 inches and 3.4 pounds. The largest was about 27 inches. Jigging plastic or jigheads tipped with a night-crawler seemed to be the ticket. Fishing live bait of off the bottom, other anglers at the mouth were casting for freshwater drum. Catch rates on these fish were pretty good. The average size was 20.2 inches and 4.2 pounds, with the largest measuring just over 24 inches and weighing over seven pounds. One large 28 inch carp was also caught. On Monday morning fishing pressure at the Suamico River boat launch remained rather high. Forty trailers were in the parking lot at around 11:30 a.m. All boaters interviewed were targeting walleye. Catch rates were pretty good. All boats reported landing at least one. Fishing cranks in shallow to mid-range depths produced the most fish. Most walleye anglers continue to keep fish in the 16-22 inch range. The average walleye kept was 19.6 inches and 2.5 pounds. The largest one kept was 25.6 inches. A couple of catfish were also caught and kept, the largest measuring 27.6 inches and around 10 pounds. Freshwater drum, one yellow perch and a bullhead were also reported. Water temperatures were in the mid-50s. Using worms, shore anglers at the Suamico River caught freshwater drum. Geano Beach: Early in the past week Geano Beach boat launch had very little fishing pressure, but on opening day the trailers filled the lot and were lined up along the road sides. Most all boats were looking for post-spawn feeding walleye. Some boats were able to land a handful of fish others struggled to find one. Crawler harnesses seemed to outperform cranks on this day. Other fish caught included northern pike and freshwater drum. - John Taylor and Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technicians, Green Bay
Door County - Anglers returning to Baileys Harbor boat ramp reported mixed success with brown trout this week. In fact, shore anglers appear to be having better success with brown trout currently. Northern pike were taken from fishing boats along the shallow reed beds in Baileys Harbor and Moon Light Bay. Water clarity remains good this week with the average water temperature hovering around 49 degrees. The extremely low flow of Northern Door County creeks made it difficult to fish the few large steelhead trout that are still running. Anglers focused their attentions at Heins and Whitefish Bay creeks. They reported seeing large steelhead trout in Heins creek and only small individuals in Whitefish Bay creek. No large steelhead trout were observed in either Shivering Sands or Hibbards creeks this week. Anglers that reported success were floating spawn sacks in Heins creek. The smallmouth bass are in the Sturgeon Bay and Little Sturgeon Bays areas heavy and a few have even begun to bed. Water temps in most areas are hovering in the high 40s, however smaller bays are seeing mid to upper 50s. A variety of soft plastics and crankbaits continue to work well with some anglers reporting catching and releasing 40-plus smallmouth a day. DNR field crew are currently conducting a smallmouth netting survey in the area and results are showing so far a lot of fish with many large 20 plus inch fish present and also good numbers of smaller size fish as well mostly ranging from 16-18 inches. Anglers fishing the Sturgeon Bay shore with live bait had success with brown trout, northern pike, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Northern pike and walleyes were also taken from the shore using a variety of stick baits. Anglers fishing from boats were observed vertical jigging and trolling for walleye and northern pike. Walleye anglers have been having good success with in the Sturgeon Bay channel, with most anglers targeting 20-24 feet of water. Average walleye sizes though the weekend continued to be higher than other areas, with multiple catches of 31+ inches reported. Anglers are also catching walleye in Green Bay areas adjacent to the mouth of Little Sturgeon Bay. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - At the Kewaunee River Angler pressure was focused at Brummer Park and the Footbridge (County Road C) with individuals reporting moderate success. Steelhead trout success came to a variety of techniques this past week with anglers reporting success with spinners, stick baits, and yarn. And a few anglers were having good luck with flies and weighted line. White suckers were still present, though in smaller numbers than last week. The water temperature averaged 52 degrees and the water clarity was high, while the flow was low. The Ahnapee River has received low fishing pressure in recent days. The piers in Algoma did not see very much fishing pressure these past few days. The ramp saw moderate use but those that did venture out were successful for browns and lake trout. Shore anglers with some high catches and large fish observed. Anglers reported still seeing a few steelhead in Stoney Creek, though they did not have much luck enticing them to bite. The white sucker run appears to have finished with only a few stragglers seen in the mouth of the creek. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Few people are fishing the West Twin River right now. The water is still low with low visibility and sediment floating midstream. The water temperature was about 67 degrees. Fishing pressure on the East Twin River has significantly decreased. A few anglers are working hard to get the remaining trout to bite. These fish are very reluctant to bite. The water temperature near Mishicot is 65 degrees. Manitowoc and Two Rivers Harbor piers and ramps have remained quiet with little fishing pressure. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Waupaca County - Trout fishing opener went very well, many anglers reported limit catches. With some rain coming this upcoming weekend should bring excellent fishing. Walleyes are biting well throughout the Wolf/Winnebago system.
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan trollers have been catching a mix of browns and lake trout. White, blue, or green spoons fished in 20 to 35 feet of water have been producing. Shore anglers have been catching some brown trout off of both the north and south piers, and spoons and shiners have each taken fish. A few steelhead remain in the Sheboygan River, but not in significant numbers. Some anglers have started to target smallmouth bass and northern pike instead of steelhead. The river temperature was up to 59 degrees on Monday at Esslingen Park, which was about 10 degrees higher than last week. The area had a small amount of rain this week, but it hasn't affected the water clarity much, as the water remained relatively clear.
Ozaukee County - Port Washington trollers have been working the nearshore waters around the harbor. Good numbers of browns and a few lake trout have been caught on spoons and crank baits in 20 to 25 feet of water. Shore anglers fishing near the power plant and off the rocks at Rotary Park have been catching mostly browns and a few rainbows. Shiners and fathead minnows have been popular live baits, and spoons, spinners, and crankbaits have also been used. Gold has been a productive color. Anglers on the piers have reported catching browns, lake trout, and coho salmon on spoons. Sauk Creek is fairly low and clear, and anglers continue to catch some steelhead on spawn sacs.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee anglers on McKinley Pier have reported good luck landing lake trout and nice size brown trout on the lake side of the pier when the winds are out of the west and the water is clear. Small browns, about 14-19 inches long, have been landed at Veterans Park by anglers casting black and silver stick baits. A few brown trout were caught recently in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon by anglers casting green and silver spoons, and browns have also been caught along the shoreline behind the Summerfest grounds on minnows. Anglers fishing off the Oak Creek Power Plant pier have been catching browns and coho on white tube jigs tipped with wax worms. When the lake is calm, trollers off Milwaukee have begun targeting coho with dodgers and flies; however, when the lake is rough browns are still biting in the harbor and around the gaps. The fish cleaning station at McKinley Marina is now open. Steelhead fishing has been tapering off in the Milwaukee area. Anglers fishing on Oak Creek have reported that the steelhead remaining in the stream have been skittish in the clear, shallow water. Fishing in the deeper holes with spawn sacs, wax worms, or small raw shrimp has worked well for some. In the Milwaukee River, most fishing pressure has been in Kletzsch and Estabrook Parks, and some steelhead are still being caught, along with smallmouth bass.
Racine County - Racine trollers have reported marking a lot of fish in shallow, nearshore waters, although few fish have been interested in biting any time after 10 a.m. The boats out early in the morning continue to catch decent numbers of coho. Pier fishing has generally slow lately, however some browns and coho have been taken off the end of the north pier early in the morning. The Root River temperature is up to 58 degrees, and steelhead catch rates have been progressively dropping as the spring run draws to a close. A few lucky anglers have been able to find some small steelhead in Island, Lincoln, and Colonial Parks. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility for the last time on Monday, April 27. A total of 711 steelhead were processed this spring. Over 326,000 Chambers Creek strain eggs and 328,000 Ganaraska strain eggs were collected. The facility is now closed down until the fall salmon run.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha trolling has been less productive than in Racine, but a few coho salmon have been picked up close to shore. Shore angling effort in Kenosha increased over the past week. A few browns have been biting early in the morning, but fishing has been slow overall.
Sheboygan County - Opening weekend fishing on Sheboygan County inland lakes was slow with water temperatures around 57 degrees. Anglers are hoping the warm weather forecasted for the next few days will get the fish biting. - Michael Clutter, conservation warden, southern Sheboygan County
Columbia County - Portage reports that fishing has been fairly consistent in Columbia County. Water levels on the Wisconsin River will continue to fluctuate depending on rain events. Turkey hunters have been doing well with the seasons so far.
Chippewa County - This weekend was the Wisconsin fishing opener and many anglers were out trying their luck. Crappies have recently been found in the shallows and biting on minnows and wax worms. Many anglers reported catching walleye on minnows and jigs on the Chippewa River and flowages. As a reminder, all waters in the Ceded Territory in Chippewa County have a daily bag limit of three Walleyes.
Eau Claire County -Fishing action has been great at a lot of locations in and around the City of Eau Claire. Some popular fishing locations are the City Shops, Maple and Oxford shoreline, Lake Street Bridge at Half Moon Lake and the confluence at Phoenix Park. Anglers have been catching perch and some 20-inch walleye just downriver of the Lake Altoona Dam - the south shoreline of the Eau Claire River. Small mouth bass under the 14-inch minimum size limit are caught and released at the north falls of Big Falls County Park. Hooks baited with small minnows or night crawlers are catching a lot of fish. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Minocqua area fishing report
Lake Michigan Fishing Report and tips
Price Co. Fishing report
Information compiled from the WDNR Outdoor report and private sources