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Northern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report - May 13th, 2016


You can throw a dart and find a lake that’s producing panfish in shallow water at this point. Some of the best reports are coming off Balsam Lake, Big Round Lake, Lake Wapogasset, White Ash Lake, and the Apple River in less than 6 feet.

Lucky Baits, (715) 268-6231.


Rain and high winds kept anglers off the water last week. We are looking forward to sunny skies, warmer temps, and calmer winds this week so the mud lines have a chance to develop. This should provide great fishing opportunities, particularly for trollers, who report Bay Rats are hot. The smelt run is done and fishing should pick up as the natural food supply moves on and the bay clears. The rain brought fresh fish into the streams and they should be in good shape.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Crappies and bluegills have just started moving into the shallow, dark-bottomed bays on most small lakes. Lakes such as Round, Staples, Vermillion, and Beaver Dam are all good starting points for some good panfishing this weekend.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164.


It would be difficult to go wrong fishing shallow water this weekend for just about any type of game fish or panfish. Area waters are still warming and anglers will find male walleyes hanging around spawning areas – a little deeper during the day, but then move up shallow towards dusk. The female walleyes have moved off to a little deeper water to recover from the spawn, but they should be “waking up” by this weekend and should be active along any type of cover or emerging weeds in 5 to 12 feet of water. Anglers are reporting crappies, bluegills and some perch in shallow, warm areas in the afternoons.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Grindstone Lake and Lac Courte Oreilles are giving up crappies and sunfish in 10 to 15 feet. You’ll also find a mixed bag of panfish in shallower water at Nelson Lake and Lost Land Lake. Perch action is good on minnows fished in as shallow as 2 feet of water. Use very light line and small bobbers. Crappies are staging for the spawn and have started to move into the weeds. The walleye bite should be good in mornings or early evenings with fatheads or leeches on jigs or crankbaits. The Chippewa Flowage is at full pool and water temperatures were in the high 40s to low 50s last week. The walleyes have completed spawning; anglers will probably find fish heading out of the river channels into deeper water. Try outside of Moores Bay, Chief Narrows, and Hay Creek Narrows. During the day, try between the Banana Islands with crankbaits, Beetle Spins, and minnows. 

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

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


Walleye spawning is almost completely done throughout the Lakeland Area. Expect a post-spawn bite for the most part. Surface temps ranging from 47 to 53 degrees on many of the area lakes and flowages. Following a brief recovery time after the rigors of spawning, walleyes should be on the feed. Light jigs tipped with large fatheads, small suckers or chubs fished near emerging green weeds will be the top choice amongst most anglers. Look for the warmest water on the lake (can change daily with wind direction). Casting shallow-running crankbaits at dusk and after dark is usually a good tactic early on. If water temps on the lake you choose hits the low 50s, take along some leeches as they will start emerging from the mud in shallow bays. Crappie action has been very good, with crappies becoming active in the afternoons and moving into the shallow bays – sometimes in as little as 4 feet of water. The crappies, bluegills, bass and muskies are being seen in the shallows.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


There are lots of white bass below the dam in Nekoosa. Crappies are moving into the shallows on the east side of Petenwell Flowage. White bass, catfish and short walleyes are being caught below the Petenwell dam. Some white bass and walleyes are holding near the Buckhorn bridge. Smallmouth bass are active along the southeast corner of Castle Rock Flowage in the rocks. Crappies are active in Steiner’s Bay near woody structure. Smallmouth bass are active below the power plant at Castle Rock dam. The number of channel cats are also increasing. Bowfishermen are reporting success throughout the Wisconsin River system on carp and bighead buffalo.

 Small crappies are hitting on Lake Mason in the shallows. Nice catches of bluegills are being made on wax worms in Jordan Lake in 10 to 14 feet of water.

Newly hatched goslings are being seen throughout the area. Turkey hunters are reporting average success.

Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.

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


Most lakes and flowages have been free of ice for almost three weeks now and water temperatures have warmed into the low to mid-50s. Walleyes have completed their spawning activity on all but the largest of lakes, though many males are still being found along spawning areas, such as rocky shorelines and islands. Most of the larger females have retreated to deeper water for a short recovery period, but a few are starting to show up in the shallow, mud-bottomed bays and flats. 

With a continued warming trend, look for an excellent walleye bite with live bait and artificials. Northern pike are also well past their spring spawning ritual and muskie are about toward the end of theirs. Northern pike action should be good and plenty of medium-sized fish should be found along emergent vegetation lines and over old weeds beds.

With water temperatures nearing the mid-50s, smallmouth and largemouth bass have started to show up in shallow water in increasing numbers and both species have been observed around woody structure and rocky shorelines. Bass action should be good if water temps rise another couple of degrees. Crappies are about a week away from starting their spawning activity, while bluegills and pumpkinseed are about three to four weeks away. 

Some nice crappies and bluegills have been showing up in the shallow, warmer bays and action should be fair to good. Trout stocking has been completed on all managed trout lakes and most streams. Mayfly nymphs have been seen moving in many waters so that may be a clue as to the type of lure to use (small spinners, as well as the usual worms and nightcrawlers).

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

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


The shorelines and bays on Lipsey Lake, Spooner Lake, Middle McKenzie, and Lower McKenzie lakes are providing consistent panfish action. The afternoon and evening hours have been best with small jigs tipped with live bait or plastics.

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.


You’ll find crappies in less than 6 feet on Fish Lake and Island Lake. Salmon are being found suspended over 30 to 40 feet in the Park Point and Two Harbors areas on Lake Superior. Trolling with small crankbaits is working best for the cohos and kings.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

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Central Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Central Wisconsin Fishing Report - May 13th, 2016


Walleye fishing has been going good during the day and night for the trollers, jig fishermen and shore fishermen. At night, anglers have been trolling the shorelines around the Old Stone Quarry, Sherwood Point and Henderson’s Point south to Chaudoir’s Dock. They are trolling with Husky Jerks and Smithwick Rogues and Flicker Minnows. During the day, fishermen are finding active fish around the Henderson Point area south past Chaudoir’s Dock. Look for some warmer water with active pods of fish and stay on top of them. Flicker Shads and Storm Smash Shads have been the best trolling baits. And for the jig fishermen, concentrate in those same areas, use your graph to locate fish, and throw Rippin Raps and swim baits and hold on. Brown trout fishermen are still having success trolling on the lake side and bay side of the peninsula in the usual spots. Concentrate on transition areas like rock to sand or dirty to clean water. Floating RapalasThundersticks and Mauler spoons have been the best baits.

The lake trout reports from some of that deeper water just to the south of Sturgeon Bay are starting to come in now. Fish in 70 to 90 feet of water with Howie Flies and Mauler spoons near the bottom. Fishing slow is the key. There are also some lakers coming from a little shallower water, like less than 40 feet. Spoons and crankbaits will work there.

Pike fishing is holding its own. Little Sturgeon, Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor are all good spots to try. Live bait rigging with suckers and or casting or trolling with large suspending crankbaits all are good options

The bass opener is just around the corner and it looks like it’s gonna be a good one. There are already a bunch of fish being caught by pike fishermen who are seeing lots of fish piling into shallow water hot spots such as Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and the Sturgeon Bay Flats. Look for the warmest water, make long casts and hold on.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

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


Walleye action has picked up again on the Mississippi River in the Wisconsin Channel from Evert’s Resort to Lake Pepin. Hair jigs or crankbaits are working best on the current seams and edges in 10 to 14 feet. White bass are hitting jigs along the shorelines below the dam, and channel catfish have bitten more consistently in the river channel.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.

Bob’s Bait and Tackle, (608) 782-5552.


Anglers are finding a lot of walleyes and white bass in the Fox River in Oshkosh from the Hwy. 41 bridge to the mouth of the river. Most anglers are jigging live bait or pulling flies. Anglers are also just starting to catch both species on rocky shorelines and points on Lake Winnebago along the west shore. A lot of the bays and channels are just starting to heat up for crappies and other panfish.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311

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Southern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Southern Wisconsin Fishing Report - May 13th, 2016


Bluegill fishing was best in warmest water spots. North ends of lakes warm fastest, so concentrate on these areas first. Weeds, piers or wood will also hold bluegills. An ice fishing jig or No. 10 hook baited with a spike, waxworm, red worm, or small plastic tail will work. Crappies were found above weeds in 15 feet of water or less near warm water areas. White bass have been caught from the Rock, Wisconsin, and Wolf rivers. Anglers did best using a three-way rig with a streamer fly baited with a large fathead minnow. Catfish were caught on the Rock and Crawfish rivers, along with Koshkonong, Cherokee Marsh and Beaver Dam. Largemouth bass will be in pre-spawn mode. Smaller males will be cruising the shallows. Larger females will be found along drop-offs, points, or weeds outside the warm spawning areas. Smallmouth bass will also be in pre-spawn patterns, but look for the smallies suspended in deeper water around points and rocks. Walleyes are now in post-spawn patterns. Look for them around weed beds or rock bars in 5 to 10 feet of water, especially areas near current. A jig, Lindy Rig or slip bobber rig baited with a jumbo fathead, golden shiner, chub, sucker, leech, or nightcrawler will work best. Muskie fishing should be great this weekend, as long as you are willing to downsize your lures. Target drop-offs or weed beds for best results.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


A cold front last week slowed things down, but anglers were still catching catfish from shore on Lake Mendota near Governor’s Island and on Cherokee Marsh. The catfish have bumped 30 pounds. Crappie action slowed on Lake Monona and Lake Waubesa, but that will pick up as soon as the warm weather returns. Quite a few anglers have been heading to the Prairie du Sac dam to fishing for walleyes. Lake Wisconsin crappies have turned on here and there, with some good size and numbers showing up.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.

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