Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report — March 10, 2017
Chequamegon Bay ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly; check with the local bait shops before going out.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Most shorelines and main lake ice was still holding up well last week. ATVs or walking continue to be safe means of travel, but with vehicles no longer recommended, fishing pressure has dropped way off. Reports have been limited to a few northern pike and panfish off Big Round Lake in 10 to 14 feet, but even that hasn’t been consistent.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
As the ice departs from Door County waters, boat fishermen and shore fishermen are getting geared up and are already getting in on some pretty decent action. Brown trout action has been going good from the Bailey’s Harbor area south to Algoma by trolling the shallows in about 5 to 15 feet of water. Clean to dirty water transitions have been the best along with the mouths of streams. Shore fishermen are also having some pretty decent success fishing from the piers and wade fishing along the shorelines while casting spoons and crankbaits.
There are some pike being caught in downtown Sturgeon Bay along the shipping channel, along with a few walleyes and some brown trout.
With the recent warm spell, the Lake Michigan tributaries are starting to run; a few rainbow trout have been spotted throughout the county. And as the weather continues to warm up, more and more fish will pour into the rivers and streams.
And as we move into March, pending on ice cover, there will be lots opportunities to catch big walleyes as those fish push shallow.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
It is a great time of the season, because we know that warmer weather is not too far away. We have some decent snow at the time of this writing, but the forecast of some rain makes it hard to forecast what conditions will be like. Many guys start to turn their heads to the open-water fishing that is available in March, such as the rivers fishing for walleyes. Northern pike action was very good heading into the last weekend, but now panfish are the ticket and action has been pretty good, with bluegills leading the way. This is normal for this time of year. Waxies or spikes are best for these fish, and look for weeds. Perch are feeding over softer bottoms on wigglers on many lakes. Crappies are in deeper water and hitting pretty well on minnows or vertical jigs tipped with a waxie.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
Ice conditions are still good on area lakes. Fishermen are still reporting an average of 14 inches. However, the ice on nearby rivers and their flowages has deteriorated with the warm weather and rain. Please use caution on all ice as conditions can change rapidly. Consider carrying a set of safety picks with you. They are inexpensive and could save your life. Pike action was steady through the final weekend of the ice fishing season. There’s been plenty of panfish action with lots of crappies being caught, most of them during the early afternoon hours. Minnows and wax worms on moon jigs were working well. We have seen just average action for bluegills and perch. Jigs with wax worms, spikes or wigglers seem to be the favored live bait of anglers while others prefer a jig with a small plastic tail tipped with a waxie or spike.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Voyageur Park and the Fox Point Landing saw most of the action recently. Boaters and shore anglers alike were catching perch, whitefish, and walleyes by jigging and using live bait such as minnows and wax worms. A few anglers were fishing pike out of Sunset Beach and Long Tail using large shiner minnows or dead smelt in the round.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
You have to watch any current or channel areas, but walking or ATV use remain options on most lakes. Northern pike were being caught on the 15- to 20-foot flats of the Chippewa Flowage, Lac Courte Oreilles, and Round Lake as the game fish season came to a close March 5. Walleye action was slow, but look for suspended crappies over 20 feet on the Chippewa Flowage. A few bluegills are being caught in 15 feet on Smith Lake, Nelson Lake, and the Chippewa Flowage. For bluegills, fish around weeds, brush, cribs, and holes in 12 to 22 feet.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LA CROSSE AREA
Water levels rose about 5 feet on the Mississippi River since last week, but it started to recede early this week and should be very fishable this week. The majority of walleyes and saugers being caught are coming off the slack water or eddie areas next to current with a jig and minnow.
Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.
Bob’s Bait and Tackle, (608) 782-5552.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Inland lakes: Call ahead for ice/fishing conditions.
Kenosha: The harbor is open and free of ice. A few brown trout and steelhead have been caught on spoons or using a bobber with a tube jig. The Pike River is open and should have a few steelhead in it.
Racine: Fair amounts of steelhead have been caught in the lower sections of the Root River, but there should be fish throughout the river after last month’s warm-up. Watch the flow rates on the USGS website, as with more rain or another warm-up the river can become unfishable, but many fish should move up as flows drop. The harbor is free of ice. The harbor and breakwater have been producing some steelhead, brown trout and cohos.
Milwaukee: The Bender Park ramp has been fairly busy as of late with quite a few boats targeting the Oak Creek power plant area for brown trout or cohos with smaller spoons or crankbaits behind planer boards. The Oak Creek power plant fishing pier will reopen around March 15 (weather pending). The Milwaukee River was high, but clarity is not too bad. Steelhead have been caught from the mouth all the way up to Kletzsch Park dam. The Menomonee River had some decent action steelhead with fish throughout the system now from Miller Park all the way past the Mayfair Mall stretches. The Milwaukee harbor is clear of ice, even in McKinley Marina and the Summerfest lagoon, but any cold nights could produce some skim ice again. Brown trout have been caught by anglers around the MMSD discharge and even a few off McKinley pier.
Ozaukee County: The Port Washington harbor has been producing a fair amount of brown trout and steelhead and the occasional coho salmon. Anglers have been using spawn sacs on the bottom near the power plant discharge or casting jigs with plastic minnows or crankbaits throughout the harbor. The North Pier will be closed until the end of June. A few boats have tried trolling around the harbor and have done well for brown trout on small spoons or crankbaits.
Sheboygan County: The Sheboygan River has been producing a few steelhead when the water hasn’t been high and muddy. The harbor area has seen little effort lately, but typically brown trout or steelhead can be found around the harbor or even off the beaches.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
The ice fishing season has more or less ended for the season – most guys are heading to the Prairie du Sac dam to fish walleyes on the Wisconsin River, or they’re heading to the Rock River for walleyes. Some guys were doing well below the Wisconsin Dells dam.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
The Menominee River was producing a few brown trout and steelhead up near the Hattie Street dam. Anglers were using small spoons, crankbaits, streamers or nymphs.
Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) (906) 424-4108.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Winter came back! A week after the balmy 50s were here, temps dropped into the teens and 20s. Snow and wind made it feel even colder. Despite the conditions, some surprisingly good reports came from the hearty souls who toughed it out recently.
Crappies: Very good to good – best in the afternoons and through dark. With cold and wind effecting tip-down use (which was still good when manageable) anglers fishing minnows below small floats were doing well as were “dippers” with rocker jigs tipped with plastics or Lethal Cecils tipped with waxies. The bite has been good with lots of limits reported.
Walleyes: Good – first time this high up on the charts in a long time heading into the last weekend!
Yellow perch: Good – still two distinct bites. The shallow, cabbage flats of 7 to 10 feet producing numbers with some real big perch mixed in. Use minnows, but a Demon Tongue or Vingle Spoon with waxies threaded on are also working. Or fish the mud flats of 16 to 32 feet with Hali jigs, Swedish Pimples, or Flash Champs tipped with wigglers or red spikes.
Bluegills: Good to fair – wind affected these anglers the most, keeping them from moving about. After last week’s heat wave, some bodies of water with incoming stream saw bluegills move in as shallow as 5 to 7 feet.
Ice is a concern for anglers, even up here. We have reports of ice thickness from highs of 20 inches (on heavy traffic lakes) to as little as 10 to 12 inches. Caution is advised! So far, ATV, snowmobile and foot traffic is fine. We can’t advise safe truck travel.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
Warm temperatures and large amounts of rain have made things very tough. Water flows of over 30,000 cubic feet per second at the Petenwell dam and flows of over 35,000 cubic feet per second have helped to open up large areas of the Castle Rock Flowage. Open water areas below the Castle Rock dam were in flood stages with area roads being closed. The Yellow River has caused road closing in Pittsville.
Ice conditions on smaller inland lakes have also deteriorated quickly and made things unsafe.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.
Castle Rock Dam Bait Shop, (608) 339-2967.
All area lakes are fishable with light ATVs or walking safe bets. Hit Rice Lake in 5 feet for perch, while Fish Lake and Caribou Lake are producing crappies in 16 to 18 feet. Anglers fishing from shore in front of the French River on Lake Superior continue to catch cohos and Kamloops on waxies, crawlers, or spawn sacs and Looper Bugs.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094