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Northern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report - August 21st, 2015


Smallmouth fishing is still steady with some days better than others, but that’s typical for this time of year. The fish are following their summertime patterns, utilizing deep weeds, current areas, rock piles, and structure around Ashland. Sometimes it pays to move around and try different spots if you’re not getting any action. This past week we’ve seen some pretty good winds out of the west, and it’s been just a little rough to get out on the bay some days, but we’re still fishing. A fun alternative to fishing the bay is to take a drift boat down one of the area’s great smallmouth rivers south of Ashland.

Trolling for lake trout and the occasional salmon has been excellent offshore and out deep around the Apostle Islands and beyond. Trollers are doing well right now out among the islands in a wide range of depths – from 30 foot of water all the way up to 200 feet. The fish are all over, you just have to find them. There has been a good late bite in the afternoons for smallies and walleyes.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754

River Rock, (715) 682-3232


Work the 10-foot weed edges for bluegills on Beaver Dam Lake, Staples Lake, and Big Round Lake. Surface lures are turning bass on most lakes, and muskie action has slowed. Look to Shell Lake for suspended walleyes and smallmouth bass over deep water. Most are hitting crankbaits.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164


We have unusual conditions in that the water temps have gone down already and range from 70 to 76 degrees. This is quite cool for this time of year. My guess is that we will have that warm weather that has eluded us for most of the summer in late August or early September, but we do not want it then, as it messes up the fishing. 

Water levels are lower, too, as we’ve had only a little rain up here. This means the weeds are right on the surface and have become more difficult to fish through. We’ll also experience a drop in daylight water activity as the summer winds down. Right now, the low-light periods are still the best bet, especially for walleyes and muskies.

Walleye fishing has been OK, with most fish locating in the deeper weed areas and on the edges of soft/hard bottom. This means fish in the 8-foot range on the Eagle River chain, and in the 12-foot range on the clear lakes. The fish will soon move to the holes on the chain, but we’ve got a while to wait for that move. While minnows are still working throughout the area, we also have seen a big switch to leeches or crawlers everywhere. The night fishing is better on these clear lakes, so reserve your evenings for walleyes.

Bass are the stars right now. Largemouths have been in the cover, so you should fish piers, trees, and other cover. Weeds are holding fish everywhere on all types of lakes, so start at the shore and work out to deeper weeds in your search for these guys. Surface baits have been working well, along with plastics. Smallies are in deeper water over hard bottom. These guys are feeding heavily on crayfish, so any crayfish imitation will work well.

Muskie action is good, but it’s better in the evening or at night at this time of year. All types of bait works well now, but many prefer bucktails or surface baits over weeds for action. The large plastics work well now out in deeper water, as many fish are suspending. Night fishing for the trophies is recommended.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804


Muskie fishing is best in early morning, evenings, and after dark. Concentrate on weedy areas – beds, bars, edges, shorelines, and gravel bars – in 2 to 18 feet. Bucktails, Bull Dawgs, gliders, crankbaitsjerkbaits, and topwaters are all catching fish. 

Walleye action is best in low light and after dark. Fish are scattered in 6 to 25 feet around weed edges, brush, stumps, cribs, river channels, rock/gravel bars, and rocky shorelines. Use leeches, crawlers, suckers, and fatheads on jigs, Lindy rigs, and slip bobbers, or cast/troll crankbaits

Largemouth fishing is very good around thick weeds, bogs, logs, brush, stumps, and slop in 2 to 12 feet. The most productive baits include weedless plastics, rigged/scented worms, spinnerbaitsMepps spinners, swim baits, twitch baits, buzz baits, and topwaters

Smallmouth action is fair to excellent, with fish scattered on wood, stumps, humps, hard bottoms, cribs, and bars in 6 to 20 feet. Baits in crayfish colors work well, such as soft plastics, swim jigs, tubes, and crankbaits, as well as rigged worms, frogs, poppers, drop-shot rigs, leeches, and crawlers. 

Crappie action is best during morning and evening hours. Look for fish in or suspending over depths from 6 to 30 feet around weeds, brush, bogs, and cribs. 

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921

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


Smallmouth bass and northern pike are leading the way on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, the Gile Flowage, and the smaller natural lakes. Muskie action is improving, with some of the best stuff happening early and late on surface baits. Walleyes can still be caught by anglers willing to spend a little time sifting through cover for the willing biters.

Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123


Trout and salmon fishing in Lake Michigan’s Green Bay has been good. Fish have been caught in 40 to 80 feet of water. Bass fishing has been good below the Hattie Street Bridge and the mouth of the Menominee River. A few walleyes have been caught in the river, too. 

Bluegill fishing on Lake Noquebay was sporadic last week, but slip bobber fishing in 12 to 16 feet of water 2 feet off of the bottom has been productive. Bass are still hitting spinnerbaits and all types of plastics. Fish the weedlines in 8 to 12 feet of water. Wacky-worming for smallmouth bass has been working great up and down the river system. Cooler weather is in the forecast, and that could improve fishing on all the area lakes.

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


Last week was not a noteworthy week in many respects. The wind finally laid down enough for better boat control, but some storms (and the threat of storms) changed plans and patterns.

Muskie baits and topwater tail baits (Whopper Ploppers and Pace Makers) have worked well over thick weed mats, especially during pre–frontal conditions. Big-bladed bucktails that move water also are good choices.

Largemouth bass: Good. Wind was not a friend early in week. Once things calmed down, plastics in the form of Sweet Beavers, creatures, and Carolina rigs produced well. Use buzz baits and other topwater offerings on warmer evenings.

Walleyes: Good. The bite is picking back up some. Redtails are a good choice on weed edges on windy days. Or try crawlers or leeches along sand grass edges in 14 to 22 feet of water.

Smallmouth bass: Good. Some evening topwater action for big smallies. Daytime? Try drop-shotting with plastic craws. Big leeches are hard to resist.

Crappies: Good. Deep wood has been the best, though some big slabs are being caught along deep weeds on chubs meant for walleyes.

Bluegills: Good. Action would be better if it were less windy early. Evenings are still good for topwater poppers and dry flies. Small leeches along deep coontail edges also are working.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797

J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616


With quite a bit of wind and some thunderstorms in the past week, fishing and recreational activity has been at just a moderate level on area waters. And with the constantly changing weather, fishing success has continued to be rather erratic. Muskies and panfish have been getting most of the attention for the past few weeks, with the muskie fishing continuing to be rather tough. Nearly all of the muskies that anglers have been seeing are follows, and most of the catching has been of smaller fish in the 28- to 38-inch size. Jerkbaitsbucktails, and surface baits have been the more popular lures, with the deep weed edges and the less-dense weedbeds producing the best action. The panfish action has been fair. Most people have had no trouble catching bluegills and rock bass, but fish have generally been small. Look for the bigger panfish to be suspended near cover in the mid-depth ranges in 8 to 14 feet of water. 

Walleye fishing has been variable,  though some decent fish in the 16- to 22-inch range have been reported. Some success has been reported on the deep weed edges and deep rock/gravel bars, with leeches and nightcrawler halves being the best baits. A few walleyes have been caught on crankbaits fished along weeds edges after dark. Bass fishing was generally erratic with the variable weather; some days provided some great action, while bites were hard to come by on others. The largemouths continue to be found near heavy cover such as logs, stumps, and bog edges, with soft plastics and crayfish-imitation lures being the best baits of late. The lily pad and reed beds have become hard to fish as the stems seem to have “hardened” and made it hard to get a lure through, and even tougher to pull a fish out of. Smallmouth bass fishing continued to be fair on local flowages and rivers. The smallies are still settling into their midsummer pattern and have been relating more to wood, especially near deep water and hard-bottom areas. Small crankbaits and finesse plastics have been getting most of the action.

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 - August 21st, 2015


Crappies and sunfish are hitting over 16 to 18 feet on Bear Trap Lake, Pike Lake, Balsam Lake, and the Apple River. Walleye action has slowed, but muskies are hitting bucktails on Lake Wapogasset and the Apple River. Hit the shallow slop on Long Lake with topwater baits for largemouth bass.

Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231


Salmon fishing can be classed as good throughout the Door County peninsula. Not crazy action, but consistent action, never the less. The best depths have been in 90 to 140 feet while fishing the top 60 foot of the water. The best baits continue to be Howie Flies behind flashers, along with an assortment of spoons like Maulers, Moonshines, and Silver Streaks.

Bass fishing is getting better and better as the days go on. The better areas have been the deeper shoreline drops, reefs, and shoals throughout the county. The best baits to have in the boat are tubes, drop-shot plastics, swim baits, and topwater baits. Fish from 15 feet out to 25 feet of water.

Perch fishing is getting better as we move through summer. Try Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor, the flats, Little Sturgeon, and the deep mud off of Chaudoir’s Dock. Minnows and worms have been the best baits.

Walleye fishing has been really good. Try Chaudoir’s Dock, Henderson’s Point, Larson’s Reef, and all of the off-shore structure north of Sturgeon Bay. Trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses has been the best, but there is also a fair jig bite going right now.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916

Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090


Perch action is getting better with some nice catches being reported on the east side of the bay. Chaudoir’s Dock area and Bayshore are areas that have been producing fish. 

Walleye action is continuing on the west side, with nice “eater” fish being reported in the Oconto area. Best action has been found in the deeper areas. Concentrate your efforts in the 25- to 30-foot areas. Crawler harnesses and crankbaits have been working.

Muskie action has been slow, but reports of some fish being taken are starting to come in. Weed growth is the key. Most of the action is being found there. Look for it to take off in the next couple of weeks. Bucktails and rubber are the baits of choice. Stick with the natural colors for now.

Shore action by the river mouth has been good. Crappies up to 15 inches have been reported. Catfish action continues to be good at the mouth and farther upriver.

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


There have been reports of an early morning bite for king salmon, but that’s hit or miss. Before sunup, use glow spoons and glow J-plugs or silver Horde plugs run off of surface boards with leadcore (two to four) colors or up to half an ounce of lead 150 feet behind the board in 30 to 60 feet of water. Water temps are in the low 60s. There may be some cold water in between the power plants near shore in 20 to 35 feet. Rainbows are hitting on anything orange or green and silver in the top 30 feet over deeper waters out to 250 feet. Boaters launching at Two Creeks have caught up to six fish per boat by fishing from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Coming into the Two Creeks launch at night can be a bit dicey; there are no lights and there are pilings from an old 18th century pier on the north side, at least 250 feet out. Plus, it’s all rocks north and south of the launch. Bring a spotlight. Pier anglers are picking up a few fish by casting green and silver Mr. Champs or Cleos and soaking an alewife off of the bottom. Commercial nets are still in front of Two Rivers in 70 to 120 feet from off south water tower to off the north radio tower.

WCUB Radio, (920) 683-6800


The Petenwell and Castle Rock flowages have been tough to fish the past weeks. Low water levels, cloudy water, and high winds have made things tough to fish. On the decent days, walleyes were active on Petenwell in 10 or more feet of water on trolled crankbaits. Castle Rock also has been producing walleyes for those drifting with a jig and minnow in deeper water. Smallmouth bass are hitting on crankbaits early and late in the day along the rocks on the east side of the lake, just north of the dam.

Water levels below the Castle Rock dam have been very low. Water levels increased recently, and the muskie action really picked up during the weekend with some boaters boating two fish in an evening trip. Bucktails and topwaters seem to be the ticket.

Lake Mason crappies are still being caught by those drifting with a jig and small minnow. Largemouth bass have been active in Crooked and Peppermill lakes west of Oxford on frog imitations. Larger flocks of local Canada geese have been extremely active as some of the small grain and vegetable crops in the area are being harvested.

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 - August 7th, 2015


Catch rates remained low at the ramps in Sheboygan, with around two fish per boat. Lakers and rainbows were most common, with one or two chinooks mixed in. Most fishermen seemed to be fishing more shallow water than the previous two weeks; anywhere from 60 to 100 feet of water was most common. Spoons remained the most popular lure, notably in orange or green glow. Catch rates off of the north pier increased throughout the week. Rainbows were most common catch. Most were caught using alewives on the lake side. On the south pier, the majority of fish were browns, but a few chinooks were reported off of the end of the pier during the early morning.

Fishermen at the piers in Port Washington reported higher catch rates off of the breakwall last week. A mix of salmon and trout were caught. The harbor side and lake side produced fish, and alewives were just about the only bait used. The fishing inside the harbor remained slow, but as usual some small trout around 10 inches were caught near the utility discharge. Just a little north at the Amersterdam Road ramp, a few fishermen reported two fish per boat on average. It was an equal mix of chinooks and cohos, and most of the fish were caught in 50 to 70 feet.

In Milwaukee, browns were taken on spoons and alewives fished on the bottom. Both sides of the pier were loaded with alewives recently. The winning coho in the Salmon-A-Rama shoreline division was caught on McKinley Pier. It weighed 5.5 pounds and was caught with an alewife. Some nice catches of perch were landed from the rocky areas on the harbor side of McKinley Pier, but the catch rate has been spotty. Small rock bass, bluegills, and northern pike were landed in McKinley Marina near the old Coast Guard station.

For trollers, the majority of fish caught were lake trout, with the numbers of chinooks starting to increase. Most of the boaters trolled in shallow water. A kayak angler landed four kings while trolling 25 feet down with glow-in-the-dark spoons in 40 to 55 feet of water on the opening day of Salmon-A-Rama. A 25.58-pound lake trout won the Salmon-A-Rama grand prize on the final day. 

In Racine County, boaters are still reporting a wide variety of species being caught, with many of the anglers fishing in less than 150 feet and catching browns, rainbows, cohos, and chinooks. The most fish were caught by anglers who were willing to travel at least 4 or 5 miles out in the lake to target lake trout. Boaters staying closer to shore reported the best success catching fish while trolling in less than 100 feet early in the morning, and then following the fish out to deeper water as the sun rises. 

In Kenosha, almost every boat coming back in is still reporting catches under the limit. Anglers have reported success with a large variety of species, although the most productive fishing appears to be coming from the boaters traveling into deep water and targeting lake trout. Other species have been biting intermittently throughout the day, although action has been steadier in Racine, where the majority of anglers have been launching. Fishing inside the Kenosha harbor has been rather hit or miss, with decent numbers of fish biting one night, and nothing biting another. Most angler pressure and success has been recorded along the rocks behind Best Western, where browns and a few rainbows have been biting in the evening.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218


The Lake Mendota perch bite has been a struggle for the most part for the last week or two. The best bite also seems to be moving around the lake. Last week it was more on the east side and downtown near the Union and in University Bay. They’re not tearing them up, but guys are getting some good fishing here and there. Smallmouth bass action is still pretty good, but the walleye action tapered off a bit. The best action continues to be on Lake Monona for bluegills and perch.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403

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