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Northern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report - October 2nd, 2015


Minnows are producing a few walleyes on Balsam Lake in 14 to 16 feet, and muskies continue to hit large sucker minnows and topwater baits in 12 to 15 feet on Deer Lake, the Apple River, and Lake Wapogasset. Crappies and sunfish continue to hit in 7 to 10 feet on Balsam, Wapogasset, and Bear Trap Lake.

Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231


Brown trout and salmon have started moving into the streams, Fish Creek, and the Sioux River. Anglers are trolling river mouths, casting from shore, and fishing in the river. Smallmouth fishing is good in deeper areas of the breakwall, rock pile, and tip of Long Island. Northern pike action is very good by the breakwall, with smallmouth anglers catching them by accident while drifting suckers over the weeds. Anglers are catching walleyes along the Ashland shoreline at night.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754

River Rock, (715) 682-3232


Look for suspended crappies over 10 to 12 feet on Beaver Dam Lake and Lake Vermilion, bluegills on Staples Lake in 7 to 10 feet, and bluegills and crappies on the weedlines of Big Round Lake. Bear hunting continues to be good, and many hunters continue to wait for bigger bears.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164


Water temps are falling, but the warm spells are keeping lakes in the turnover process. Hunters are not happy with the amount of leaves still on the trees. Visibility in the woods is pretty limited. 

Walleye fishing has not been great. The walleyes seem to be waiting for the temps to fall more and for turnover to end to get to their winter spots. This includes the fish on the Eagle River chain. They haven’t moved to the holes as they normally do in September. All bait types are still working. We’re getting some fish over mud flats in deeper water, a few still in the weeds, and a fair number of fish on drop-offs in 15 feet on the bigger lakes. The best advice we can give you is to wait for colder weather.

Bass fishing is holding up well. With this warm fall, the largemouths are still hitting well in the weeds. Action has been great for these fish on all types of baits, even surface baits. They also continue to be located in quite shallow weeds. Smallies are in deeper water over hard bottom, but have changed their feeding pattern to minnows.

Northerns have been hitting well on artificial and live bait in the weeds on all lakes. Chubs work well at this time of year. Try some with slip bobbers over deeper weeds on lakes like Anvil, Franklin, and Butternut.

Muskie action is good, especially since we are in turnover on most lakes. The best suggestion is to turn to brighter lures; they seem to be producing the best. The water temps are declining, so it is time to slow those lures down a bit. All bait types are still working, including surface baits. Sucker action has started slowly.

Panfish action continues, with crappies leading the way. This action has been very good in deeper weeds. Find weed flats in 9 to 12 feet of water and you will find crappies in them. Bluegill action has improved after a slowdown as the lakes turned over. Perch are in deep weeds.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804


Muskie anglers are doing well, reporting numerous sightings, follows, and hooked fish. You will find fish along weed edges, bars, breaks, humps, and drop-offs in 15 to 20 feet. All baits are working – even suckers. 

Walleye action is fair to good and improving, with fish in 12 to 25 feet. Look for weeds, wood, brush, cribs, gravel, and other structure, working shallower water at night. 

Northern fishing is fair to very good. Look for fish around weeds and panfish out to 20 feet. Try suckers, spoons, spinnerbaitscrankbaits, and buzz baits. 

Largemouth fishing is fair to excellent on most waters. Target structure such as weeds, weedlines, wood, brush, cribs, docks, and slop in depths from 3 to 12 feet. Baits of choice include plastics, drop-shot rigs, swim jigs, crankbaits, crawlers, and small suckers. 

Smallmouth action is inconsistently good. Work drop-offs and the edges of wood, rock, and gravel in 3 to 10 feet, but near deeper water. The most productive baits include plastics (tubes, rigged worms, frogs/topwaters, finesse baits), spinnerbaitscrankbaits, swim jigs, fatheads, and small suckers. 

Crappie fishing is good to very good, and best in early morning and evening hours. Fish are hanging on weed edges, cribs, and brush in 12 to 25 feet and suspending over deeper water. 

Bluegill fishing is good once you find the fish. Small fish offer great action in shallower weeds, but you will find larger bluegills around weeds and weed edges in depths to 20 feet. Small jigs with waxies, leaf worms, crawler pieces, and plastics will catch fish

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921

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


Marinette County anglers report smallmouth bass and northern pike being caught from the municipal landing in Peshtigo down to Klingsborn’s Landing. Surface baits and spinnerbaits have been working well. Perch anglers are having success fishing out of the Little River landing. Once the fish are located, some nice catches have been reported. Shore anglers on the Menominee River report catching some perch, bluegills, catfish, sheepshead, walleyes, and smallmouths by using minnows and crawlers fished on bottom. Boaters on the Menominee are catching smallmouths and some walleyes by trolling crankbaits and casting tubes and jigs.

In Oconto County, bluegills and crappies were being caught below the dam at Stiles, but the fishing dropped off with the rain and an open gate on the dam. Anglers at the mouth of the Oconto River enjoyed some good smallmouth fishing when 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 depths from 4 to 14 feet of water. Locating the fish is key. Crappie rigs and jigs tipped with minnows have been working best, but some sorting has been necessary. The walleye bite has been slow. Multiple muskie anglers fishing Geano Beach reported multiple follows; however, hookups continue to be low. Spinners and double Colorado blades produced all noted follows. Water clarity is good.

Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073


While it’s still a bit warm, temps are falling a bit on area lakes. Once again, wind was the biggest problem for anglers last week, with bouts of high pressure also making things a bit difficult. Overall though, fishing has been good.

Walleyes: Very good. Cast weedless jigs tipped with redtails or large fatheads along wind-blown shorelines of smaller, shallower lakes and flowages. Larger, deeper lakes are seeing the best action in 28 to 34 feet on larger chubs on Lindy rigs or jigs. Nighttime walleyes are hitting glow jigs or lighted slip floats with large fatheads.

Pike: Very good. Cast spinnerbaits, swim baits or Mepps Aglia spinners over weedy flats of 5 to 9 feet. Suckers or chubs jigged in same areas also have been effective. We’re seeing lots of numbers, but also some nice pike up to 32 inches were caught last week.

Muskie: Good. No reports of big fish lately; mostly fish of 34 to 42 inches on bucktails, Rizzo Tails, and spinnerbaits. Some fast-moving twitch baits and gliders also are moving fish.

Crappies: Good. Reports are improving. High winds are the biggest draw-back to fishing deep wood. On natural lakes, key in on green weeds that remain in 8 to 12 feet. Thumper jigs tipped with minnows or crawlers are working along deep weed edges for crappies up to 14 inches.

Largemouth bass: Good. As waters cool, topwater action has slowed, but crankbaits are producing fish. Plastics are still a good choice, as wacky-worming is still working.

Smallmouth bass: Good. Big smallies are being caught on flowages on X-raps, spinnerbaits, and swimbaits. On natural lakes, rig for deeper water (22 to 34 inches) using 4- to 6-inch suckers on Lindy rigs.

Perch: Fair to good. Pieces of frozen soft-shell crayfish or crawlers dragged around wood or cribs are working best.

Cold, clear nights in the 40s are being checked by daytime highs in the 70s. The sucker bite for muskies is just getting started. 

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797

J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616


Muskie fishing is good on bucktailsjerkbaits, soft-bodied lures, and large suckers. Walleye-fishing success is improving around mid-depth structure and gravel bars with leeches, crawlers, and minnows on small jigs. Northern fishing is fair on spinnerbaits near weeds. 

Fish largemouths around mid-depth weeds and structure in 5 to 10 feet and along deep weedlines and wood with soft plastics and worms. For smallies, fish finesse plastics near mid-depth wood close to deep water. Panfish anglers are catching nice crappie, bluegills, and perch along deeper weed edges. 

Sturgeon anglers report a fair number of small fish and just a few 60-inch and larger legal fish, mostly only on cut bait or crawler gobs fished in deep holes or river bends.

Muskie fishing has been drawing quite a bit of attention, and action has been generally good. Nearly all muskie anglers are seeing fish and are having follows, and numerous catches of mid-size fish have been made. The most successful baits continue to be artificials, with bucktailsjerkbaits, 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. 

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

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

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Central Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Central Wisconsin Fishing Report - October 2nd, 2015


Salmon fishing out on the big lake has been tough as of late, mainly because of the strong winds that seem to never end. It’s been tough to even get out. When able to get out, fishermen have been fishing in the 150- to 200-foot range and mainly fishing the top 60 feet of water with a mixture of flies and spoons. The 4-year-old salmon are now in the ship canal, making their final swim to the spawning grounds. Trollers and shore fishermen are having success trolling and casting with spoons and plugs in or on the edges of the canal.

Bass fishing can still be classed as good and should just get better as they move into their fall patterns. It was a tough tournament for the Bass Master Elite series due windy conditions. The best areas continue to be deeper shorelines, reefs, shoals, and points all over the county. Chartruese and white spinnerbaits, drop-shot baits, tubes, and suckers have been producing fish.

Pike fishing has been good at Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point, the Sturgeon Bay canal, and the Sturgeon Bay flats. Use spinnerbaits, large swim baits, large crankbaits, and suckers.

Perch fishing has been going very well for the past month. Best spots have been Chaudoir’s Dock, Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor, and the flats.

Walleye fishing has been a bit slow, but should ramp up as it usually does this time of year. Rip jigging and trolling reefs and shoals throughout the county will be the best bet.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916

Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090


In Brown County, angler pressure was low on the Fox River at Voyager Park. Once again, casting and retrieving crawlers on jigs with different color tails produced the most fish, 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 by using three-way swivel rigs tipped with 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. Walleye anglers continue to have spotty action. Boaters out of the metro ramp are trolling crawler harnesses in 14 to 18 feet of water and had the best catch rates, with the early hours continuing to produce the most fish. Walleye anglers heading out of the Suamico launch had mixed results. Trolling crawler harnesses produced the majority of fish. Water temperatures have dropped significantly, thus slowing walleye action. Muskie anglers are having increasing luck as the water temps continue to drop. Spinnerbaits and topwaters fished in the late evening hours continue to dominate. Muskie anglers continue to work the Long Tail Point area. Many more are reporting follows, but hookups continue to be low. Perch fishing continued to be hot at Duck Creek; however, cooler weather brought a slow-down. Minnows and crawlers continue to produce equally well. Shore anglers are casting worms and minnows for perch. 

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


Brown trout are up the East and West Twin rivers in Mishicot and Shoto and have been running up to 8 pounds. They are hitting orange yarn flies and spawn sacs. Maribou crappie jigs in white and orange also are working. There hasn’t been much salmon action to report. Just a trickle of salmon have made the run. The rearing pond in Manitowoc at the zoo has 30,000 browns in it.

WCUB Radio, (920) 683-6800.


Water temperatures have been near 70 degrees and it’s really hindering the fall bite on Castle Rock and Petenwell flowages. Lots of undersized walleyes are being taken with a few crappies and white bass on both flowages. Muskie action is picking up below the Petenwell and Castle Rock dams on smaller suckers.

Smallmouth bass continue to be active below Castle Rock dam on crayfish-colored twister tails. Crappies are just starting to show up. Walleye and smallmouth fishing has been good just north of the Two Rivers landing on the Wisconsin River.

Panfish are beginning to eat in Parker and Peppermill lakes in Adams County. Panfish action has been slow on Mason Lake.

Youth waterfowl hunters had good results. There were lots of wood ducks in the area, along with some blue-winged teal.

Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707

Castle Rock Dam Bait Shop, (608) 339-2967

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Southern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Southern Wisconsin Fishing Report - October 2nd, 2015


In Sheboygan, fishing has been slow on the north and south piers, but a few fish were caught. The morning has produced better than the evening, and at least one rainbow was caught on the lake side of the south pier on 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. Few anglers have been seen fishing the Pigeon River, but a few Sheboygan River anglers have been targeting smallmouths and northern pike. A few chinooks have been seen in the river near Esslingen Park.

In Port Washington, shore fishing has been steady near the power plant discharge. A few small cohos and chinooks were caught, and the best baits have been spawn sacs or skein. Crankbaits 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 out, and few anglers have been seen in Sauk Creek.

In Milwaukee, water levels rose on the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers after recent rains. Anglers fishing the Milwaukee River at Kletzsch Park reported a few chinooks 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 3- to 5-pound browns also have been taken behind Summerfest on shiners or spoons. McKinley pier anglers continue to catch a few chinooks on alewives, spoons, and tube jigs. The early morning hours have been most productive. Boating activity in Milwaukee dropped off; those who did go out were primarily targeting chinooks in the gaps and at the mouth of the river. Several boat anglers were skunked or only caught one fish. South of the city, nice catches of chinooks and brown trout were landed on spoons along the Grant Park shoreline this week.

In Racine, fishing pressure was low at the ramp. Most boaters were trolling near shore for chinooks 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. Chinooks and cohos have been caught on alewives fished on the bottom, but success has been inconsistent.

Kenosha trollers have been able to land a few chinooks 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 chinooks 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. Chinooks could be seen surfacing about 100 yards off of the beach. The mouth of the Pike River is open.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218

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Archive »Fishing Tips

Fishing tips: Catching fish around the challenging “fall turnover”

The turnover is a big change that especially affects deeper lakes, but remember that fish still need to eat!

Eat, hide, repeat: Walleyes in the weeds

Rigging for weed walleyes demands nuance and the right tackle, but properly prepared anglers can expect dynamite action the entire open water season.

Fishing for fall bass? Don’t forget the docks

Docks draw baitfish on sunny days; baitfish draw bass

Fishing tips: Upsize your baits to catch more and bigger fall walleyes

Hit the water now to enjoy comfortable autumn fishing conditions and catch active walleyes.

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