There are cooler nights now and fall is in the air. Smallmouths are out deeper now and looking for cool water in the 12- to 15-foot range. Use suckers and crankbaits. Smallmouths will get more active now. They put their feed bags on and turn into eating machines. We are starting to see weed growth in the 12- to 15-foot range, which gives the smallmouths some cover. Due to some inclement weather that came in, smallmouths bass fishing has been a bit tough but it will pick up. We are also seeing good numbers of northern pike in the same depths. Even though live bait is an excellent choice, artificials are working well. Trolling for walleyes in Chequamegon Bay has brought in some nice fish.
We were getting some rain and seeing activity in some of the local streams with reports of some nice brown trout in Fish Creek and the White River.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
The 10-foot weedlines on Beaver Dam Lake are producing bluegills, muskie action is slow, and a few walleyes are coming off Shell Lake in 18 to 20 feet with leeches or minnows. Buzz baits are turning largemouth bass on Staples Lake and Big Round Lake.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Walleye fishing has been very good to the south, but anglers are also starting to pick up walleyes all along the off-shore structure from Larson’s Reef on north past Sister Bay. A lot of guys are jigging now; the rip-jig bite has really caught on. Perch fishing remains excellent on fathead minnows and crawlers. Pike fishing is starting to heat up. Guys are trolling steep shorelines along Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Bay, and downtown Sturgeon Bay. Salmon fishing has been fair from Sturgeon Bay on north in about 180 feet and deeper on a mix of flies and spoons.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
There are still perch in the weeds and you can find some moving into the rock piles using a slip bobber tipped with minnows, or tossing a jig with a small minnow seems to be doing the job. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around structure. Slip bobber rigs with a hook and minnow or a jig and plastic should do the trick. Bluegills are up in the shallows on the warmer lakes; slip bobber rigs baited with red worms or waxies will catch these.
Largemouths can be found in shallow weeds and around docks; they will be caught using topwaters and spinnerbaits. Smallies are in and around the rocks and can be caught by using small crankbaits and jerkbaits.
For walleyes, anglers are casting jigs tipped with live bait. Depending on the depths, go heavier with those jig.
Muskies are hitting bucktails, jerkbaits, and topwater lures. The muskie action has been better than decent.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
Crappie action has been good. They’ve been active in early morning on small jigs and waxies, then switch to minnows in the afternoon.
Trout action has been good. Fishermen have been doing well with brown and brook trout on area streams and rivers.
Muskie action has been improving. Fishermen are reporting catches of more fish longer than 40 inches. Trolling with crankbaits in deeper water and using topwater lures in the weedbeds have been great tactics.
Northern pike action has been fair. The best bite has been on spinnerbaits or suckers.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
When weather was good there were 10 to 20 rigs at the metro launch. During poorer weather the launch averaged only a few trailers. Most anglers were after walleyes, while the others were after muskies. The walleye anglers found consistent success with some boats catching more than 10 fish for half a day on the water. The muskie anglers, on the other hand, didn’t fair so well and had trouble finding fish. Walleye anglers who were trolling also caught white bass and freshwater drum. Anglers from shore were mostly out to have a good time. They found themselves catching white bass, freshwater drum, and black crappies.
At Bayshore Park last week, the walleye catch was very consistent. Some limits were reached, but most boats kept three to six fish for half a day out on the water. Fewer “shorts” were caught compared to previous weeks, so it is presumed anglers are finding groups of larger fish. Yellow perch fishing hasn’t been so hot. About half the boats were lucky to find any fish, while the ones that did caught fewer than a handful of perch. While out fishing for walleye or perch, anglers also caught a mixed bag of rough fish, including freshwater drum, catfish, white perch, white bass, and round gobies.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Trolling crankbaits along the 10- to 14-foot weedlines has produced walleyes at Lake Lac Courte Oreilles, Grindstone Lake, and the Chippewa Flowage. Bass, panfish, and pike are being caught on the deep weedlines of most lakes. Muskies are hitting topwater baits and bucktails on the Chippewa Flowage, Lost Land Lake, and Teal Lake.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
IRON COUNTY AREA
Success has been spotty. The fishermen are working their tails off to catch what they’re catching. The best luck has been in 10 to 14 feet of water on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage where they can find wood. Minnows are starting to show an edge over crawlers and whatever leeches are left. Muskies started moving a little more in the last week.
Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Bluegill fishing continues to be decent on the area lakes. Look for them tucked into weedbeds in 8 to 15 feet of water or in deeper water 25 to 30 feet. Larger bluegills were found towards the bottom in both locations. Crappies were suspended around weed beds in 8 to 12 feet of water during early morning and evening hours. During the day, look for them suspended along deeper weed lines or over deeper water.
Largemouth bass fishing will be best around piers and slop, or deeper water with the warmer weather. During early morning and evening hours, fish topwater baits over 4 to 8 foot weed flats for explosive action. Smallmouth bass were found around edges of drop-offs near rock/gravel areas. Northern pike were active around mid-depth weed beds. Larger fish were caught on deeper structure, 18 to 25 feet, using a sucker or chub fished on a slip sinker rig with a circle hook.
Walleye fishing was best along deeper structure in 12 to 25 feet on a jig, slip bobber rig, or live bait rig baited with a jumbo fathead, leech, nightcrawler, sucker, or golden shiner. Muskie fishing picked up in the last week. They were on weedlines or deep structure. Try fishing topwater baits during night-time/early morning hours.
The Lake Michigan harbors of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Port Washington and Sheboygan have all been producing king salmon and a few browns. The best action has been in low light conditions.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE PEPIN AREA
The bays and marinas on Lake Pepin are producing panfish and northern pike. Catfish and sturgeon remain active below the dam on the Mississippi River. Crankbaits are turning some walleyes in 12 to 16 feet on Pepin.
Four Seasons Sports, (651) 388-4334.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Fishermen have been catching a lot of walleyes on the lakes, but they’re also picking up a few walleyes in the river. The catfish action on the river has also been very good. Panfish are hitting on thunder bugs. White bass from Lake Winnebago are starting to stack up at the mouth of the Fox River.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Water temps were in the low 70s last week, but a few guys have been turning in good perch reports on Lake Mendota – mostly on the weed edges, but they have also started moving out onto the flats. Bluegills are also hitting on the Mendota weedlines. Walleye anglers have been catching a lot of little smallmouth bass. Lake Monona bluegill anglers are still catching a few fish on the weed edges, but the action hasn’t been as good as it had been. Monona bass have been active tight to shore and around piers thanks to higher water levels these days. Northern pike and muskies on Monona, Mendota, and Waubesa have started making a little bit of noise.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MANITOWOC COUNTY AREA
Fishing over the past week was fairly slow out of Manitowoc and Two Rivers. Anglers on the lake have been able to find some 2- to 3-year-old kings and a few rainbows by trolling 180 feet or more, and down at least 80 feet. Action has been better in Manitowoc, but is still inconsistent. Fishing pressure has been light with the recent weather. Water temps remain high with surface temps in the mid 60s. Pier fishermen are starting to see a little success
The Menominee River still had a gate open last week, but anglers have caught a few walleyes and smallmouth bass at the Hattie Street dam when using jigs, spinners, and crankbaits. Those trolling crawler harnesses and spoons reported catching a mixed bag of walleyes, smallmouth bass, catfish, and sheepshead.
The lower stretch of the Peshtigo River is still producing walleyes, perch, catfish, drum, and smallmouth bass on live bait and jigs with plastics. Look for deeper holes and structure. Panfish are being caught below the dam at Peshtigo using crawlers and small spinners. Anglers at Little River report catching perch in 6 to 14 feet of water using mainly crawler chunks and minnows; find the weeds and you should find fish. Sorting has been required, as a lot of the fish are small. Reports of a few browns being caught along the Trout Bar, but no reports of salmon yet.
In Oconto County, bluegills and smallmouth bass are still the main draw below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River. Live bait and plastics have been working well below the dam all the way to the Hwy. 141 bridge. Fly anglers report catching a few brown trout using streamers in the Iron Bridge area.
Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) (906) 424-4108.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
It’s been a slow summer for muskie reports, but things started kicking into gear last week as good reports came flooding in. Not only for the big muskies; walleye, bass and crappie action also picked up. Good news there. Water temps are slowly cooling; most reports are of temps in the 67- to 68-degree range. It could have been the corresponding moon phase, but it was a nice pick-up in action all the way around.
Muskies: Good to very good. Hair and blades provided the best action, with fish up in 7- to 12-foot weeds. Some good topwater reports came on Whopper Ploppers. Nice fish were caught, including a 50-incher that took top honors in the World Musky Hunt.
Crappies: Good to very good. Big slabs are being found in among deep wood, deep transition breaks, and suspended over deep water.
Walleyes: Good. Work deep gravel humps during low light and mud flats and transition zones during daylight. Use jigs with large fatheads or half of a crawler. On flowages, work deep wood, as well wind-swept weeds.
Bass: Good. There is a good spinnerbait bite going on for largemouths over weed tops. Find smallies on gravel humps feeding on remaining crayfish and sculpins.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
The trolling bite has been decent for walleyes, with some bigger walleyes being caught more recently – fish up to 29 inches. Fishermen are also catching some whitefish. The catfish action has also been very good, with a number of cats hitting trolled lures, which means they’re really clobbering live bait.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Sturgeon anglers started showing up on the North Fork and South Fork of the Flambeau River for the Sept. 2-30 season. Sturgeon have been active. Remember that the size limit is 60 inches on these fish.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
Chubs or nightcrawlers are producing walleyes in 25 feet at Island Lake or 15 feet on Fish Lake. Work the rocks on Island, Fish, and Alden Lake for smallmouth bass, and muskies are hitting bucktails on the St. Louis River and Island. On Lake Superior, spoons are producing a few lake trout about 75 feet down.
Chalstrom’s Bait, (218) 726-0094.