Northern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report - April 18th, 2014


The few anglers in Chequamegon Bay reported varied results. On the good days, anglers fishing in 30 feet of water in the channel are catching loads of smelt on waxies. At the hot pond and the head of the bay, anglers fishing in 10 to 15 feet of water report mixed results on cohos with lake shiners and waxies. Fishing river mouths has been productive with shiners, waxies, and spawn, particularly on warmer days.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Area lakes had 2 to 3 feet of ice as of April 9. Although there is a lot of ice, the river was cutting down into Lake Altoona as of April 9. Anglers were starting to fish the Chippewa River a little bit last week; the Eau Claire is up and moving.
Buroker’s Taxidermy and Bait,
Eau Claire, (715) 835-0847.
Big Mama’s Bait Shop,
(715) 231-0839, Menomonie.
Bill’s Sport Shop,
Chippewa Falls, (715) 723-9033


April 4 snowfalls came in at 8 inches in the Minocqua area and up to 14 inches in Boulder Junction. That set us back. It took the next three days to get us back to where we were before the storm. Ice thickness had not begun to diminish as of April 9. Most lakes were still averaging 34 inches, with some areas still at 38 to 40 inches. With some rain, we may get a little chance at open water come May 3. Crappie action is excellent. The bite isn’t 24-7, but lots of anglers are reporting hot action on crappies in bays in 8 to 12 feet of water with standing weeds. Lots of fish under 10 inches ( let ’em grow), but there are enough 10- to 11-inchers for anglers to bag limits, with fish of 12 to 13 inches mixed in. We have seen a few 14- to 15-inchers, plus one 151⁄4-incher last week.
Yellow perch action is very good.  There was still some mud-flat bites in 18 to 24 feet. Use small heavy spoons to get down quickly with shine or glow to attract attention. Wigglers are tops; red spikes are the next best. Anglers using rosy reds on tip-downs in deep water are also producing. A good bite also is developing in the 7- to 10-foot range on weed edges.
Bluegill action is good, and has been the best on small dark jigs tipped with red, black, or purple plastic in the 7- to 10-foot range. Some anglers are using larger tungsten jigs gobbed with waxies to plummet through smaller fish in order to reach bigger bluegills below.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
Great Outdoors, (715) 356-6818.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616


Winter weather April 3-4 slowed the spring melt considerably. It was hard to get around on the ice before the storm; it was much harder afterwards. We need a lot of melting to have even the slightest chance for a “wet” opening day on May 3. Meanwhile, be patient. Some serious melting has started and we’re now able to move around on the ice. Wear rubber boots when you go. We expect there will be some serious winterkill on some of the shallower lakes. Anglers have been mentioning for a month or so that some lakes looked really bad when they dug holes in the ice. Crappie fishing has been pretty good for those few who slogged out on the ice. They were still deeper last week, but we are getting near to the time that they will move shallower on a daily basis to the weeds to feed. Fish the greenest weeds you can find near the deeper edge of the weed in the evenings. Slow dropping flashy lures work best, and many evenings if they’re aggressive they’ll even hit lures with no bait on them. This action will continue right up to the ice turning black. We’ll also have some pretty good bluegill fishing in the weeds. Afternoons are better. Waxies work well for this fishing.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248


The foot (or more) of new snow April 3-4 did nothing to help travel conditions on the lakes, but sunshine and mild temperatures last week went a long way toward making a correction. Crappies are still suspending over deep water at various depths, with minnows, waxies, and plastics the baits of choice. Bluegills are holding in mid-depths (to 15 feet) and taking waxies, spikes, and plastics. Perch anglers are catching fish near the bottom in various depths on minnows, waxies, and plastics.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992


The ice was shaky in some spots on the flowages where the river channels started opening up, but ice on the natural lakes was good last week. Crappies are hitting over deeper water on minnows or plastics, about 8 to 10 feet off of the bottom in 20 to 30 feet of water. The bluegills are coming up into 8 to 15 feet around mud and wood. Ice on the Phillips chain could be gone quickly because of current from the Elk River.
Bridge Bait, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, (715) 339-3625


Area lakes still had a quite a bit of ice as of April 10 and guys were fishing for panfish last week. Some lakes had as much as 30 inches and ice was still tight to the shorelines.
Big Mike’s, (715) 349-2400.
Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports,
(715) 349-8445

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Central Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Central Wisconsin Fishing Report - April 18th, 2014


Whitefish action continues to stay consistent for ice anglers who have been venturing out. As of last week, the ice was still hanging in there on Green Bay, though it is slowly deteriorating. It could be classed as fair and walkable as of April 8. Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Bay, Larsen’s Reef and the shoreline north of the Old Stone Quarry are still a few of the favorite spots.
The late-ice walleye bite in Door County is good right now and will be good until the ice is unfishable. Good numbers of fish are being caught, with a quite a few 10-plus-pound fish mixed in. The hot spots have been Henderson’s Point, Sand Bay, Sawyer Harbor, and areas north of the Stone Quarry – like the Monument Shoals area – along with some of the harbors like Egg Harbor, Fish Creek and Ephraim. Oddballs, Rapalas, Buckshot spoons and Moonshine Shiver Minnows tipped with shiners or fatheads have been the best baits.
Pike action is still going pretty well. Fishermen have been concentrating in most of the Door County bays from Little Sturgeon north to Ephraim. Large suckers under tip-ups have been a good method. Some steelhead are showing up in a few tributaries. With a few more days of warm weather and some more run-off that fishing will get better. There have been a few fishermen shore launching small boats and chasing brown trout.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934.
Stevenson Pier, (920) 824-5222.


Warmer weather has fully opened many rivers in the area, making them boat accessible. Anglers have been hitting the Fox and Wolf rivers for good numbers of walleyes. The Fox River in De Pere has had great fishing, with many big female walleyes being caught. The night bite has been bringing in more fish lately. Trolling, casting crankbaits and jigging have all been producing fish. The ice conditions around Green Bay and north have been deteriorating quickly. The walleye and northern pike bite in Door County has been very good.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.


The Black Deer Channel is producing some nice bluegills and crappies, and bass on spinnerbaits. Walleyes and sauger are hitting hair jigs and minnows below the dams at Dresbach and Genoa. Anglers could try drifting the dredge hole on Lake Onalaska for crappies, too. Fishing is really picking up.
Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.
Bob’s Bait & Tackle, (608) 782-5552


River anglers are battling a lack of water; we need current to get the fish going. The slow melt down over the last two weeks didn’t help water levels in the river. The river is about a foot low from summer levels; probably 21⁄2 feet low for this time of year. Most of the ice was gone mid-week last week from lakes Poygan and Winneconne. The channels were opening up, so anglers should see crappies and perch moving in soon.
Lake Winnebago still had a lot of ice as of April 9. As of then the ice was loosening up where streams enter the lake, and the shorelines were loosening up. Anglers were no longer walking out.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311


There was ice covering the main part of the Petenwell Flowage as of April 9. The flowage was open from the Lure Bar north, but from there south only the river channel was open in some areas. The ice was starting to turn black. The water temperature below Nekoosa on April 7 was 37 degrees. Guys were catching a few walleyes. There were fishable areas below the Nekoosa, Petenwell, Castle Rock, and Dells dams.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.

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Southern Wisconsin Fishing Reports

Southern Wisconsin Fishing Report - April 18th, 2014


The Rock River in Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Watertown, and Indianford  is ice-free and open to anglers wanting to target walleyes and saugers. Anglers fishing in boats will do best by drifting near deeper holes or current breaks while vertical jigging. A jig or river rig baited with a jumbo fathead, lake shiner or rosy red will produce the best. Be sure to use a heavy enough jig to keep your bait near the bottom. There is no trolling on the Rock River. So, if you have your trolling motor in the water, make sure your line is vertical. There are many places to fish from shore on the Rock and catch a variety of species. Shore anglers have done best using three-way rigs with either a streamer fly, floating jig or hook baited with a minnow or nightcrawler. Casting jig and plastic combos can also be effective.
The Milwaukee harbor has produced many brown trout. Anglers have done best using a Darter jig dressed with a 4-inch Gulp minnow or Paddle tail. Soaking a spawn sac on a No. 6 octopus hook suspended under a slip bobber also worked great. Casting Cleos, Kastmasters, or Krocodiles can also produce.
The Root, Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Pike rivers have produced steelhead. Soaking a spawn sac under a slip float will produce, as will flies, wax worms, and spinners.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


No one was ice fishing as of last week. The Madison lakes still ice, but not the kind of ice to be fishing on. Shorelines were open about 20 yards. Cherokee Marsh was fully open and anglers were catching crappies by the bridges. Monona Park was open.  Monona Bay was open; Squaw Bay was starting to open. Lake Waubesa had too much ice to fish open water last week, but should be open soon.
D&S Bait & Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Guys are on the backwaters already looking for panfish, but they’re not doing well yet. The only place fish are being caught is below the dams where walleyes and saugers are hitting jigs.
Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.


Walleye fishing has been good on the Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac dam on hair jigs and minnows, along with purple twister tails and grubs. Wading and casting with Husky Jerk Rapalas at night has been producing some big fish. The water on April 9 was 42 degrees. Two weeks ago a fisherman from Lodi caught a 32-inch walleye near Sauk City that weighed about 12 pounds. Walleyes are also biting below the Dells dam.
Wilderness Fish and Game,
(608) 643-2433.

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