Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 1, 2017

ASHLAND AREA

Anglers can find some good fishing on Lake Superior and Chequamegon Bay if they can dodge the weather. Bring cold-weather gear. Brown trout, splake, and a few cohos are finally showing up off the Onion and Sioux rivers. Most anglers who were reporting success are flat-lining shad-style crankbaits. The tributary river fishing  season closed Nov. 15 – and there is some anxious anticipation of ice fishing, with a few people already venturing out on some of the inland waters!”

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.

CUMBERLAND AREA

The small lakes have about 2 to 3 inches of ice on them, and the bigger bodies of water were still open early last week – there hasn’t been any reports of fishing activity at this point. Deer hunting reports have been mixed, with some groups seeing a lot of deer and others indicating they’ve seen fewer deer than expected.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164.

DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA

It’s hunting season here in Wisconsin and since about 95 percent of Door County’s fishermen are also hunters, there is not too much to report as for recent updates. But this is what has been going on and what can be expected in the future. Perch fishing was very strong leading up to the 2017 gun-deer hunt and for the few who don’t participate in the hunt, the fishing is still very good depending on the weather. Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay and Sawyer Harbor are just a few of the hot spots this time of year. Fathead minnows are the best baits

Pike action is very good, too. Troll and casting large spoons and crankbaits or drag large suckers. Fish areas that are holding perch. Other options include the Henderson’s Point shoreline, the state park shoreline, and the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. Bass are schooled up in the deeper water now and are biting very well, especially up on the north end of the Door County, including Washington Island. The best depths have been in the 20- to 40-foot range along deep drop-offs and along off-shore structure.

Walleye action has been good, especially at night for trollers and shore fishermen. Casting and trolling big crankbaits has been the ticket. Areas to try are downtown Sturgeon Bay, the state park shoreline, Sherwood Point, Larson’s Reef, and Henderson’s point

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.

EAGLE RIVER AREA

Perch are hanging around the deeper weeds. Use slip bobber rigs tipped with minnows or a piece of red worm. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around lay-downs, so a slip bobber rig tipped with small minnow or plastic will work. Bluegills are up in the shallows, so a slip bobber rig tipped with a small piece of worm or wax worm will work on them.

Largemouth are being found around structure such as lay-downs and docks. Throwing spinnerbaits and plastics will work in those areas. Smallmouth are going to be in and around the rocks, so jigs tipped with live bait, plastics, and crankbaits will work there.

Northern pike have been active on the deeper weeds as the shallow weeds are starting to die. Walleye anglers will catch them while jigging, or use smaller spinners like a No. 3 Mepps. Spinnerbaits are also an effective choice.

Walleyes are on the deepest weed edges, in the deepest holes on the Eagle River chain, or and on the rock piles in the big lakes. Minnows are working better now. Early mornings and later evenings will be the best times to catch a few for a fish fry.

There is ice on many lakes, but the ice is not good enough across the board to get out on yet. There are a few small lakes that guys have gone on, but that water is cold at this time of year. Take safety spikes and spuds along to test the thickness.

The gun deer season seemed to start slowly. Hunters who came into the shop didn’t hear many shots over opening weekend. It will be interesting to hear the results from the DNR.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA

With water temperatures dropping daily it is only a matter of time until the lakes and rivers begin to lock up, but until then fishing remains very good. Muskie anglers continue to troll big crankbaits and cast big rubber baits to catch fish in the lower bay and in the Fox River. Though muskie fishing hasn’t been on fire, anglers are catching big fish (48 inches and up) when the fish are feeding. A reminder for muskie anglers – the Green Bay muskie season closes Nov. 30. Anglers who have been targeting walleyes; however, are finding one of the best bites that has occurred all year long. Anglers fishing in the Fox River have been locating hungry fish in 8 to 16 feet of water on or just off the channel break. Many presentations have boated fish, but the best have been hair jigs (tipped with minnow or bare), jigs and plastics (ringworm style) and big crankbaits (No. 9 and up). Most colors have been catching fish, but fire tiger and chartreuse have been the best for numbers. Walleyes have ranged from 15 to 22 inches. Whitefish are entering the river every day and are starting to congregate by the De Pere dam. Whitefish are pushing into the rivers to begin their spawning run and will remain in the river for the majority of winter, feeding on the abundant forage the Fox River has to offer.

Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.

HAYWARD AREA

People have been walking on some small lakes and bays, but extreme caution is advised. The big lakes still have some open spots, although most of them are covered with a thin layer of ice – fishing action has been limited. Anecdotal reports from opening weekend of the firearms season have been consistently good, with hunters reporting to have seen and shot good numbers of deer. Keep in mind that Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend is Jan. 20-21.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.

LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES

Walleye fishing has been the best during low light conditions. Walleyes have been found around green weeds or rocks in 4 to 8 feet of water. Soak meat on a No. 4 hook under a lighted bobber. Casting a crankbait over the tops of weeds will also work. On sunny days, concentrate on deep structure in 20 to 35 feet of water using a jig or Lindy rig baited with a minnow.

Northern pike were active near weeds or along breaks. A slip sinker or slip bobber rig baited with a chub, sucker, or shiner has produced fish, as has casting spinners, crankbaits, and spoons.

Bluegills are in various locations. Look for them around green weeds in 4 to 12 feet of water, or along with deep structure in 18 to 30 feet. Fish towards the bottom for larger bluegills. Crappies were suspended around mid-depth weeds early and late, and suspended over deeper water during the day.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.

MADISON AREA

There has been a little bit of walleye action over the breaks, and along any green weeds that remain. There has been a little bit of pike action in the same areas. There has also been a little bit of bluegill action on Lake Monona for shore fishermen. The bass fishing has been fairly quiet. Lake Kegonsa has seen some bluegill, perch, and walleye action, with the walleyes coming on vertically jigged fatheads. Lake Wisconsin has had some better walleye action lately in all of the usual spots.

D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.

MARINETTE/OCONTO AREA

Anglers have been catching light numbers of Chinook salmon, brown trout, and walleyes in the Menominee River. The better fishing was between the Hattie Street dam and the Hwy. 41 bridge with small spoons and minnows producing good action. Gun deer hunters turned in varying reports from opening weekend, depending on what area of Marinette County they hunted.

Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) 792-0467.

MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA

While most of the focus has been on deer season (pretty quiet out there for the most part), Mother Nature has been toying with the ice anglers for the past two weeks. Just enough ice forms on some bays and small lakes to lure anglers out, then one day with temps in the 40s or strong winds blow it all out. A few areas have held enough ice for anglers to safely fish (3 to 4 inches) and the results have been good. But caution is necessary. Make sure to take safety spikes, spud bards, creepers, and rope if you go.

Walleyes: Very good. Where anglers are finding 3 to 4 inches of ice over 5 to 7 feet of water, they’re catching good numbers of fish up to 19 inches at dusk on suckers, chubs, and mud minnows.

Yellow perch: Good to very good. Fish the same areas as for walleyes, but there is more daytime action on crappie minnows, medium fatheads or grubs.

Northern pike: Good to very good. Not as many good pike areas had safe ice last week, but where ice runs thick enough for tip-ups, pike are clobbering big live bait.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.

PRICE COUNTY AREA

Bears are denned up, and the weasels have turned white. Beaver and muskrat are starting to prime-up, so it seems that all indications imply that sportsmen will see a normal winter. Some walkable ice has formed on smaller lakes, but most of the outdoor attention has been focused on the gun deer season. It looks like a good number of hunters will be have valid buck tags available for the muzzleloader season.

Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.

Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.

SPOONER AREA

Ice has taken hold on all lakes, but it’s pretty thin on the big lakes and flowage areas. Anglers have started walking on 3 to 5 inches of ice and are catching panfish on lakes such as Spooner and Bashaw or the Yellow River right in town. Opening weekend of deer hunting went well, with most groups happy with the deer they were seeing.

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.

SUPERIOR / DULUTH AREA 

Anglers are reporting as much as 5 inches of ice on the small lakes and bays and some foot travel has started. A few walleyes have been caught on shiners on Rice Lake and Boulder Lake. The big lakes also have capped, but the wind was a concern. If they did pop open or bust loose, it shouldn’t take much for them to lock up again.

Chalstrom’s Bait, (218) 726-0094.

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