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Northern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report - December 26th, 2014

The Second Landing area has a good foot of ice, and anglers have been catching perch, walleyes, and browns out there. On the east end of town, anglers are fishing toward the breakwater where the action has been primarily for northerns. Closer to town, it’s been mostly whitefish, with a few perch and walleyes mixed in. The ice softened up out toward the “S curve” during the warm weather. There is mostly open water toward Washburn and out farther. Some guys trolling near Bayfield had some action for browns and salmon.
    Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
    River Rock, (715) 682-3232.

Lakes throughout the area still have ice despite the warm weather. The landings did get broken up a little bit, but that will tighten up with colder weather. Guys have been catching bluegills and crappies over deep water on most lakes. Overall, the panfishing has been pretty good on most lakes from Chippewa Falls to Menomonie. Walleyes have been biting pretty well in the Menomonie area. Bluegills and northerns are hitting on the Chetek lakes.
Buroker’s Taxidermy and Bait, Eau Claire, (715) 835-0847.

Unexpectedly warm weather has improved ice conditions somewhat, in that it has compressed the snow on the ice to a minimal amount. It is pretty easy to get around on the ice at the time of this writing, so a lot of people took advantage of that. With so many people getting out, the fishing was pretty good, with a lot of panfish and northerns caught during the daytime. Walleye fishing was OK, with the usual patterns holding well through the weekend. Tip-up anglers using shiners or suckers caught fish in decent numbers, but not much size. A few anglers also reported catching some walleyes on jigging rods in 12 to 20 feet of water in the afternoon. Anglers are now using ATVs to reach some of the deep holes on the Eagle River chain, where they’re getting some walleyes and crappies. Northern fishing has been good. Afternoons are best, with anglers getting fish on shiners and suckers under tip-ups. These fish are being caught in areas with weeds, with some of the deeper weeds producing well.
Panfish action also has been good. Crappie action has started well, with anglers getting crappies in slightly deeper water off the weeds or on the deeper ends of the weeds. Bright jigging spoons with waxies on them have been working. Dead-stick fishing with minnows also has produced some decent numbers. Bluegills have been in the shallower weeds and are hitting well on waxies. Look in the 5-foot range for these fish. Perch are in the deeper weeds and are hitting waxies and minnows quite well.
    Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

Ice conditions on Green Bay have been less than desirable, with ice ranging anywhere from less than an inch to a foot or more. The lower bay has been where most anglers have been setting up shop and have had success with whitefish and the occasional perch. Gold and copper spoons and natural-colored baits are always great choices for Green Bay.
    Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.

Walleye-fishing success remains good to very good on most lakes. Anglers are catching fish during the day, with the best bite window in late afternoon into the evening. You will find fish near the bottom in 5 to 30 feet of water on weed edges, points, bars, cribs, and mud flats. Suckers, shiners, and large fatheads fished under tip-ups are all producing catches. Northern pike fishing is good and getting better, and they will hit throughout the day. Anglers are catching good numbers of fish, many 30 inches and longer, especially on the Chippewa Flowage. Work cabbage beds and edges in depths of 3 to 18 feet. Tip-ups with suckers, and shiners are working well. Crappie action is good on the smaller lakes, with fish on weed edges and mud/wood flats in depths to more than 20 feet. Check for fish suspending just off the bottom. The most productive baits include minnows, waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits on plain hooks or small jigs. Use Jigging Raps to target bigger crappies. Anglers fishing the smaller lakes are catching bluegills on weedbeds and edges, breaks, and mud flats from shallow water out to more than 20 feet. Check all depths. Look for perch on the bottom, out to 25 feet, on weed edges and mud flats. Use fatheads and waxies on plain hooks or small jigs, with or without slip bobbers.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.

Northern Wisconsin experienced some odd weather through early last week, with temperatures in the 40s for several days with rain and fog, melting snow and some ice. Anglers returned with tales of having a hard time seeing flags and finding their way off lakes due to the fog – and having no snow to follow their tracks back. Walleye action is fair to very good. There have been reports of lots of large walleyes being released. Several fish from 26 to 31 inches were released after hitting chubs, suckers, and shiners along 8- to 12-foot weed edges at and just after dusk. Mornings also produced walleyes. Jigging Raps, Slender Spoons, and Tinglers tipped with minnow heads producing well for the jigging crowd. Crappie action is good to very good. While it’s not a consistent bite all day, when the bite is on, the crappies are vulnerable to minnows on tip-downs. Pike action is good to very good on big chubs or suckers on tip-ups in pockets or openings in big weed flats. Jigging large Slender Spoons and Jigging Raps (use a wire leader) is effective and fun on a rod and reel. Bluegill action is good to very good. Sorting is necessary to collect a meal. Perch action is fair to good. The best action has been surprisingly deep (20 to 30 feet) already.
We lost 1 to 2 inches of ice with the warmup. Since then, the temps are back into the 20s and should firm things back up. Most lakes are still averaging 8 to 10 inches. There are a few reports of ice thicker than 12 inches, but that is not confirmed. While some people are driving cars or trucks on certain lakes, we can’t recommend it. What we do recommend are ice cleats for now.
    Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.

Panfish action has been kind of slow. The crappies are scattered. Anglers are getting them, but they are scattered and are holding tight to the bottom. Hole-hoppers who are using plastics are getting the most fish. Walleye action has been OK, with the best action coming mostly at first light and at dark in 3 to 7 feet of water. Pike have been on the slower side, but the fish that are being caught have been awfully nice fish. Guys have caught quite a few longer than 30 inches, mostly on weed edges while using golden shiners. Some of the ice pulled away from the shorelines during the warm spell where there was run-off and current areas, but that will tighten up quickly with last week’s low temperatures.
    Bridge Bait, (715) 762-4108.
    Ross’s Sport Shop, (715) 339-3625.

There is decent ice and lake access throughout the area. Anglers are driving on most of the lakes with wheelhouses. Yellow Lake has seens some good action for crappies and walleyes. Guys are catching walleyes and pike on Big Clam Lake. A good panfish bite has kicked in on Mud Hen.
    Big Mike’s, (715) 349-2400.
    Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.

Mild temps and rain last week only made lake conditions more wet. Colder temps since then should firm things up. We still do not recommend main-lake travel. Some fishing is being done on the bays, but with caution. For walleyes, use suckers or Jigging Rapalas in 4 to 12 feet of water. A few anglers have ventured out to deeper water on foot for perch, but reports have been light.
    Bear’s Nine Pines, (906) 842-3361.

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Central Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Central Wisconsin Fishing Report - December 26th, 2014

Ice-making around Door County stalled due to higher-than-normal temperatures the past week, but there is still some relatively safe ice in some areas and fishermen are making the most of their limited opportunities. There are some perch fishermen having some success on some of the smaller bays like in Sawyer Harbor, Riley’s Bay, and Little Sturgeon. Fish anywhere from 2 feet of water out as deep as 16 feet – wherever there is enough ice to safely walk on. The best baits and methods have been ice jigs tipped with wax worms and minnow heads, and tip-up fishing with lake shiners. As the weather turns more “winter-like,” fishermen will start venturing out into some deeper mud flats and reefs in search of bigger schools of perch and the abundant whitefish for which Door County is known. The pike fishing has been pretty good in all of those same areas mentioned above. Fishermen have been having their best action on suckers and golden shiners under tip-ups in 2 to 15 feet of water. Last winter, we saw a significant increase in the numbers of pike caught, and we expect it to be another good year, with some big fish caught in the typical, productive areas.
Once we get safe ice throughout the county, there will be thousands of anglers looking to fill their buckets with whitefish. The most popular areas have been the Henderson Point area, Riley’s Bay, the Larson’s Reef area, along with the deeper shoreline structure from the Old Stone Quarry north all the way up to Sister Bay. Walleye fishermen are patiently waiting some more ice so they can venture out to their favorite rock pile, reef, shoal, or mud flat. The Sand Bay area is well known and is one of the area’s top walleye spots, but there are many other areas that hold a good number of fish. We try to tell fishermen to try new spots and show them different areas because there are many, many spots that get overlooked and hold lots of fish.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934.
    Stevenson Pier, (920) 824-5222.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.

There is ice on Lake Onalaska, but there is open water on the channel. Anglers have been catching northerns and panfish all over the lake.
    Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.
    Bob’s Bait & Tackle, (608) 782-5552.

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Southern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Southern Wisconsin Fishing Report - December 26th, 2014

On Fox Lake, guys are looking at 7 to 9 inches of ice, and they’re fishing deeper water for crappies. Walleyes and northern pike are hitting in shallow water. Lake Emily has had good action for northerns, largemouth bass, and bluegills. Anglers also are fishing on Beaver Dam, but a lot of “goose holes” are opening up and there are a number of ice heaves. Fishermen have been fishing off of Beaver Dam’s Hickory Point for crappies and perch.
    Tim Nehls’ Fish Tales Bait, (920) 520-0015.

Most of the small, shallow lakes and bays had between 3 to 5 inches of ice. Do not venture out over the main bodies of deep lakes. With the freezing, thawing, freezing, and light snow cover, bad areas may be hard to detect. Avoid areas around springs or near current. Use caution and fish with a friend. Bluegills will be found near green weeds in 4 to 8 feet of water. A spring bobber, light line, and a small ice jig must be used to entice bluegills. Wax worms, mousies, red or white spikes, and ice plastics work best for bait. Small jigging spoons have enticed aggressive bluegills. Crappies will be most active during early morning and evening hours. Look for them around weeds, just a foot or two below the ice. Tip-downs, or dead-sticking with a fathead or rosy red on a treble will work. Perch will be found around sand flats with scattered weed clumps. An ice jig or small jigging spoon baited with spikes or piece of minnow will work well. Tip-ups or tip-downs rigged with a light fluorocarbon leader, No. 14 treble hook, and baited with a fathead or lake shiner will produce bigger perch.
Pike will be found around weedbeds. Tip-ups baited with golden shiners or suckers will produce the most action. Brined jumbo smelt on a smelt rig also can work great.
Walleye fishing will be best during dark hours. Shallower weed flats or rock bars will produce the most fish. Tip-ups baited with lake shiners, golden shiners, or suckers will work best. Jigging lures or spoons will attract aggressive walleyes.
    DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
Anglers found 11 to 12 inches of ice on Lake Poygan last week, and travel has been good. They are catching quite a few white bass and walleyes in the deeper holes, or they are going after crappies on the south side of Poygan. Use jigging Rapalas and Rocker jigs. Action has been consistent.
On Winnebago, the main lake was not in good shape last week. High winds broke up the ice and moved much of it to the east shore. There were large areas of open water out on the main lake last week. Anglers were walking on some of the bays, including Asylum Bay, where they were catching bluegills, but that action has not been hot and heavy. Guys were walking off of Wendt’s up to a half-mile for perch before the warm snap, but that’s on hold for now.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
    Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
The ice held up through the warmer weather and guys are still fishing on Cherokee Marsh for bluegills and crappies. A few guys even caught largemouth bass on tip-ups out there. Lake Monona bays have seen good bluegill action. A lot of guys are hitting Mud Lake, with good success on bluegills and crappies. Lake Waubesa was still ice-covered, but there has not been a lot of talk about good action, just a few fish here and there. Lake Kegonsa is iced over, but the reports have been few. Bluegills were hitting on Rock Lake and Lazy Lake.
    D&S Bait & Tackle, (608) 244-3474.

Gremore Lake is about the only place fishermen were getting onto the ice last week. Gremore has been a productive spot for bluegills. The ice conditions are going to get better now that lower temperatures have returned. Boat anglers were catching northern pike at the Lynxville and Genoa dams.
    Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.

Last week the fishing was good on the Wisconsin River with the warm weather – anglers were catching sauger and walleyes from boats. Ice fishing also was good, although the rain slowed things down a bit. But lakes are still solid, with 6 to 7 inches holding in most places. Still, be careful when heading out. Bluegills and crappies are offering the best action. Use jigs and waxies or plastics.
    Wilderness Fish and Game, (608) 643-5229.

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