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Northern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report - April 29th, 2016


Crappies and sunfish are being caught in 3 to 6 feet at Bone Lake, Bear Trap Lake, Lake Wapogasset, Balsam Lake, and White Ash Lake. The bite is best when the sun is out or later in the day when water temperatures are warmest. Most anecdotal reports indicate a good start to the turkey season.

Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231.


Spring has sprung on Chequamegon Bay and smelting season started last week. With the ice out of the bay, fishing has also started. Anglers trolling for trout and salmon, when the weather allows, report a good deal of success on brown trout, splake, steelhead, and cohos from Bono Creek north to Houghton Point and the Sioux River out to Long Island. Look for mud lines and troll the edges. Depths change depending on water temperature and water clarity, with success reported in as shallow as 6 feet. Most anglers use shallow-running crankbaits (6 to 10 feet) such as Scatter Raps, Bombers, Thundersticks, Husky Jerks, and Bay Rats. The Ashland side of the bay is still fairly dirty, but it will hold trout and salmon around Fish Creek. Fishing for perch, pike, and walleyes should pick up as water temperatures warm. Steelhead stream fishing is good on the Sioux River and Fish Creek for anglers using spawn, yarn, flies, and spinners. 

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


If the sun is shining and water temperatures spike, most lakes are producing sunfish and crappies in shallow water. Look to Big Round Lake and Staples Lake among others for good numbers of fish. Most people continue to see large groups of turkeys and few individual birds.

Indianhead Sports, (715) 822-2164.


Temperatures on the Eagle River chain varied last week from the mid- to high 40s on the main basins to the low 50s in the bays. It will be higher in the absence of any cold fronts and that is more than enough to bring the perch in. Lake levels seem pretty high, but that can change quickly without rain.

On the fishing front, look for perch. They have already moved in on some lakes. The trick is to find the warmest water on the warmest part of all lakes. There can be significant temperature differences – as much as 8 degrees from the main lakes basins to bays. Look at old stumps, inlets, and the back ends of the bays. Generally, the north sides of lakes are warmer at this time of year because of the angle of the sun. Fish as shallow as 2 feet. Old weeds will hold fish because they absorb the sun and are warmer. Use minnows or worms. Plastics will also work with these fish in the shallows. Afternoons are best.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Nelson Lake and the Chippewa Flowage are producing crappies and sunfish in 10 to 12 feet. As shallow bays warm, fish start moving shallower in preparation for spawning. Look for the warmest water in the lake, usually on the north side, and in the back of bays. Trolling crankbaits not far off shore has produced splake and coho salmon in the Saxson Harbor area of Lake Superior. Steelhead are active on the Brule River and other Lake Superior tributaries. Anglers report good success with spawn, yarn, wet flies, and hardware such as Mepps spinners and Panther Martins. Turkey hunting has been good and most hunters are seeing plenty of activity. 

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

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


Walleyes have been caught in the boundary waters of the Menominee River. Best action has been from the Hattie Street dam to Stephenson Island. Zip lures, jigs, and crankbaits have attracted attention.

Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) 792-0467.

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


Ice left the last of the area lakes last week and fishermen have been bouncing all over the place in search of bluegills, perch and crappies. All three species have been cooperative. Some of the best action has been coming in the afternoon. Things are stacking up well for the May 7 fishing opener. The walleye spawn will be over by then and the fish should be willing to feed. There could be male walleyes hanging around the shallows on large, deep lakes.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


The Yellow River below the Necedah dam is producing large pike on suckers and spoons. Water temperature is around 51 degrees on the Petenwell Flowage. Lots of short walleyes are being caught on the flowage. Below the Petenwell dam some slot walleyes area being caught, along with some crappies and catfish. Castle Rock Flowage has been producing lots of short walleyes in 10 to 15 feet of water. A mixed bag is available below the Castle Rock Dam with white bass, walleyes, and catfish being caught. Many incidental muskies are also being caught. Bowfishermen are reporting larges catches of common carp throughout the area. Lake Mason is producing big bluegills near The Cove on small jigs with plastics.

Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.

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


Ice-out progressed slowly on lakes across the Northwoods. Many of the shallow, stained lakes have been ice-free for a week or two, while the larger, deeper lakes just lost their ice cover last week. Water temperatures have been slow to warm, so early spawning species, such as northern pike and walleyes, have also been slow to get started. Fishing activity began picking up as water temperatures crept into the mid-40-degree range last week. 

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

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


Crappies are hitting in less than 8 feet on Big McKenzie and Middle McKenzie lakes. On Spooner Lake, anglers are catching a mixed bag of panfish in 3 to 6 feet. Some turkeys are being shot, but the early part of the season has not been as good as expected.

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.


Most small lakes are ice-free and the big lakes should be open by this weekend. Kamloops and steelhead are starting to nose into the rivers so yarn flies have started turning fish on the Knife and Sucker rivers. Boat fishermen  are catching some cohos from Superior to Two Harbors, Minn., on crankbaits, close to shore, in the top 15 feet of the water column on Lake Superior. 

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

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Central Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Central Wisconsin Fishing Report - April 29th, 2016c


Well, we finally experienced some very nice weather in Door County and it really set the fish off. The walleye action has started to pick up now that water temps are on the rise. Trollers are finding some good action at night and now the day bite is starting and will get better, especially to the south of Henderson’s Point. Trolling 10 to 20 feet of water with Flicker Shads and Flicker Minnows is a great way to get a bunch of bites. Also, rip jigging is another great option and a very fun way to fish. Dragging around large suckers is another good option.

Brown trout action is consistent on the bay and lake. The best depths continue to be less than 20 feet while trolling floating Rapalas and Thundersticks

Pike fishing has been going pretty good. They are starting to move into their post-spawn feeding pattern. Areas that have been good are downtown Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon and the Riley’s Bay areas.

Fishermen are still seeing decent action in the Door County streams. And with the rain that is forecasted, we most likely will see another fresh run of steelhead. Try drifting spawn sacs and Gulp eggs or cast spinners.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

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


The walleye spawn is winding down on the Fox River, but anglers are still catching walleyes from the river. Now, walleyes are spread out as they move back toward Green Bay. Casting jigs or crankbaits and trolling are all working.

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


Walleyes seemed to be in full spawn mode on the Mississippi River early last week and that has slowed the bite. Look for it to pick up again as the spawn winds down. Jigs and plastics are turning white bass below the dam, you’ll find crappies in the backwater areas, and channel catfish in the deeper pockets off wing dams. Turkey hunting reports have been very good.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.

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


Walleyes and white bass have been hitting in the Fox River near Oshkosh and in Lake Winnebago near the river’s mouth. Most anglers have been using jigs tipped with leeches or crawlers. Sturgeon were spawning furiously on the Wolf River last week. Wolf River walleye fishermen were finding fish all along the river.

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 - April 29th, 2016s


Look for water temperatures to rise above the low to mid-40s and help put fish into a feeding frenzy. The key to catching panfish is to look for warmest water and green weeds in 12 feet or less. During warm, sunny days bluegills and crappies will move into shallow bays, channels, and marsh areas in search of warm water and food. Afternoon and evening hours are best times to fish. 

Bluegills were caught using an ice fishing jig or No. 10 hook baited with a spike, wax worm, red worm, or small plastic tail. A bluegill bug or black ant fly tipped with a wax worm also worked well. Suspend these under a Rocket Bobber or casting bubble and make long casts for best results.Crappies were caught using a small minnow baited on a No. 8 Aberdeen hook or light jig suspended under a pencil Bobber. Casting a jig and plastic combo can also be effective.

Brown trout were being caught in the Lake Michigan harbors. Casting a darter head dressed with a 4-inch Gulp minnow, Power Bait twitch tail, or Keitech paddle tail worked well. Soaking a spawn sac or golden shiner on a No. 6 Octopus hook suspended under a slip bobber was effective, as well. Casting CleosKastmasters, or Krocodiles can also produce.

Walleyes, white bass, crappies, and catfish can be caught from area rivers. White bass can be caught using a three-way rig or jig baited with a large fathead. Jig and twister combos can also work well. Fish for crappies in shallower water along fallen trees using a light jig or No. 6 Aberdeen hook baited with a small fathead. Catfish can be caught using a river rig with stinkbait, cut bait, or nightcrawlers.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


Crappies, bluegills and catfish have been hitting on the north end of the Madison system. Catfish action was picking up on Lake Mendota, but there still wasn’t a lot of panfish action last week. Lake Monona has been one of the better places to go. Boat anglers were fishing the bays and The Triangle for bluegills and some crappies. Guys fishing the bays were over 4 feet of water and any remaining weeds. There has not been a lot of news from Lake Waubesa, but things should be going good there, too. On Lake Kegonsa, look at inlets and the river on north end for bluegills.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403

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Archive »Fishing Tips

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North country perch late ice-angling advice

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Pre-planning your winter fishing rigs for ice walleyes

Prepare your hard-water rods in advance with these line, lure, and terminal tackle setups.

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