Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Fall fishing has been good, hunters doing well statewide


Trolling in the shallows for cohos, splake, browns, and
steelhead has been decent. Fish are being caught from Bayfield,
along the shoreline all the way to the head of the bay. Some days
the fish are shallow and planer board and crankbait combos are
doing the trick; other times the fish have been suspended over
deeper water, from the surface to 40 feet down over 40 to 80 feet.
Planer boards, Dipsies, and shallow riggers with long leads have
been doing the trick. Small, hot-colored spoons, crankbaits, and
Dodger/fly combos trolled fast have been triggering the bite. The
recent rains do have the water a little cloudy, but conditions are
steadily improving.

In the bay proper, the water is still muddy and fishing has been
spotty. Walleye action has been a little more consistent during the
day, with crankbaits working on deeper flats and channel edges all
over the bay; from Long Island to Washburn, and over around the
breakwall and in front of Ashland. Smallmouth fishing has picked up
on the warmer days. Fish are spread out over structure in the bay,
mostly in deeper holes and off drops. Drag Carolina-rigged
plastics, or Lindy-rigged minnows, rip-jigging spoons, or drop-shot
over the sand grass flats.

Stream fishing has been decent. Pikes Creek is winding down for
kings, but cohos and browns have started showing up in the other
rivers. There was a good push of fish that came through with the
recent rains; most of them are now above the open areas of the
rivers, but more are staging off the mouths and in the slower water
the first few miles up.

Hunting reports have been spotty. There are not a ton grouse
around again this year, but hunters are starting to see a few more
birds with the leaf fall about complete. There have been a few
divers on the bay, but they are not sticking around because of
heavy hunting pressure. Lots of geese are still around. Bowhunters
are still seeing plenty of deer.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

Outdoor Allure, (715) 373-0551.


Walleye activity continues to remain steady, and predictions are
that this trend will continue through ice-up. Best action right now
is in 10-12 feet and in or near green weeds on minnows. Smaller
minnows have produced some crappies. If you can find baitfish,
muskies won’t be far away. Time of day is noted as the biggest
factor, with reports of many strikes in the late afternoon. Suckers
are the bait of choice for this species right now in the warmer
lakes, while jerkbaits in the cooler waters are working best.

With the leaves dropping, grouse hunters are reporting greater
numbers of flushes. Woodcock numbers have been good. Rut activity
for deer is picking up. The acorn crop is very good, and hunters
should concentrate on oak stands. A few diver ducks are moving
through right now.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.


Cool and wet weather seemed to limit a lot of fishing activity.
Water temperatures have now dropped into the low 50s and upper 40s.
Muskie anglers have continued to provide most of the pressure on
local lakes, and their success has been inconsistent. Most anglers
have reported some slow conditions. Many anglers are still tossing
artificials and their slow action is being echoed by many of the
sucker anglers. But there have been a few positive reports with
some upper 40-inch fish being sighted last week. There has been a
recent surge in crappie action. Some nice crappies have been found
along and near the mid-depth cover, such as weedlines and brush in
4-8 feet of water. Walleye success continues to be slow, with only
a few reports of catches being made.

Pastika’s Sporting Goods, (715) 634-4466.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.


Bald eagle sightings have been increasing during the past
several weeks as the fall bird migration progresses. Good numbers
of eagles can be seen along the Mississippi and Kickapoo. Fall
turkey hunters have been reporting good success and plenty of
birds. The acorn crop is huge, so turkeys may be spending most of
their time feeding in the woods. On the Mississippi, duck numbers
continue to increase. Canvasback numbers likely peaked on Lake
Onalaska last week. Numbers on pools 8 and 9 will peak within the
next two weeks. Scaup numbers will peak later.

Schafer’s Bait Livery, (608) 781-3100.

R&L Riversports, (608) 783-3349.

Bob’s Bait & Tackle, (608) 782-5552.


In Sheboygan, fishing has been slow off the piers. Only a few
chinooks and rainbows have been taken on spawn. Water levels are
low on the Sheboygan River, and anglers have been taking a few
chinooks and cohos on dark flies.

In Port Washington, shore anglers fishing the harbor and near
the power plant have been catching a few chinooks, browns, and
cohos. Spawn sacs have been most productive.

In Milwaukee, anglers fishing off McKinley ramp, near the
Sailing Center in Veteran’s Park, and off the ramps at Bender Park
have been catching chinooks and a few browns on spawn under
bobbers. Anglers on the Milwaukee River have been taking a few
chinooks at Estabrook Park. The gates on the Estabrook Park dam
were opened on Oct. 17, and good numbers of chinooks have made
their way up to Kletzsch Park. Despite low water, fair numbers of
chinooks are holding in the Menomonee River at Miller Park.

In Racine, 870 fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead
Facility on Oct. 24. So far this season, 3,092 chinooks, 233 cohos,
nine steelhead, 122 browns, and one pink salmon have been passed
upstream. An additional 91 skamania-strain steelhead and 49 cohos
have been taken to the hatchery for later spawning. Water levels on
the Root are still low, and anglers have been taking most chinooks
and cohos on slowly drifted flies or spawn in the Washington Park
golf course.

In Kenosha, the Pike River is low, and only a few chinooks have
been taken near the mouth. Shore anglers have been catching a few
brown trout on tube jigs.

In Walworth and inland Racine and Kenosha counties, northern
pike and muskies are active in 5-20 feet of water on crankbaits and
live bait. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are hitting artificials
and chubs near shore at night. Bluegills are dispersed in water 15
feet and shallower.

In Waukesha County, walleye fishing has picked up on some lakes.
Anglers were fishing drop-offs in 8-10 feet using slip rigs with
big golden shiners. Best action was noted on Pine, Oconomowoc,
Golden, and Nagawicka. Muskie anglers reported good luck fishing in
14-22 feet with big crankbaits and sucker rigs.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait Shop, Delafield, (262) 646 2218.


Almost all of the wetlands are dry due to the drought, and it
appears they will remain dry going into winter. Duck hunters were
having limited success in locating birds due to the mild weather.
Most of the local birds have gotten pushed out by hunting pressure
and lack of water. Some hunters have begun to see more gadwall,
ringnecks and pintails, but numbers are limited. Goose hunters were
having fair success on fields now that the crops are coming off.
Squirrel hunters have had some success. Pheasant hunters have had
good success lately with the cooler weather. Pheasant hunters are
seeing more birds with the increased stocking on many of the public
lands. Archery deer hunters are continuing to shoot antlerless deer
to earn their buck tag.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Anglers have had good luck fishing for chinook at the Mill
Street and Manitou Park access points. While most fish have been
caught in the lower river, a few fish have made it as far as Cato
Falls and Clarks Mills dam. Action continued to be good on the East
Twin River in Mishicot and at downstream bridge crossings for
chinook salmon. Try using yarn balls on a single hook beneath a
split shot. On the West Twin River, good numbers of fish were still
being caught at Shoto, and with colder weather temperatures there
were fewer anglers out. Salmon fishing in Manitowoc Harbor slowed a
bit during the past week, but those anglers who put the time in
were catching fish. Successful anglers were using mostly spawn

CUB Radio report, (920) 683-6816.


A 29-inch walleye was caught last week, and other good-sized
walleyes also are coming being caught – mostly on typical fall
patterns, but on some lakes fish are not relating as well to rocks
or gravel, preferring mud in 21-30 feet. Muskie action picked up
after a slow week. Action is still good on suckers with quick-set
rigs, but artificials also are working well. Largemouth bass are
very active, with some anglers reporting fish up to 20 inches
holding along 8- to 12-foot weeds. Fish with slow presentations –
plastic worms, craws, and live bait. On the panfish side, the only
action has been on crappies from shallow lakes on tube jigs.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.


Water temperatures were cooling rapidly, and lakes have turned
over. Rivers have stabilized. Walleye fishing has been good for
those hearty enough to endure the colder temperatures and windy
conditions. Anglers have had good success with minnows. Deer are
exhibiting aggressive rutting behavior. Does are avoiding close
contact with bucks. Grouse hunters are reporting flushing some
birds in the area. Success has been better for hunters who are
using dogs.

Bridge Bait & Tackle, (715) 762-4108.


Walleye and sauger action picked up later in the week, with
anglers switching over to minnows. There has been some sauger
action on Rotten Slough just off the main channel. The Roseau
Slough, the Black Slough, and wing dams around the Prairie du Chien
and Lynxville/Ferryville have produced walleyes at times. The
islands along the main channel outside Lynxville, north and south
of Cold Spring, and all the way up to Lansing have been producing
some nice walleyes and sauger, but not every day. Walleye and
sauger action at the Lynxville dam was pretty good. Bluegill action
was disrupted early last week due to high water. Gremore Lake and
Cold Spring have been the hottest spots for bluegills. Most anglers
were using small pieces of crawlers, but many are starting to
switch over to wax worms or spikes. Some white bass were being
taken up near the Lynxville dam and in the Prairie du Chien area.
Channel and flathead catfish continue to bite fairly well. Catfish
were being caught in Pool 9 outside of Ferryville and in the East
Channel outside of Prairie du Chien. Most catfish are being taken
on cut bait, stink bait, or nightcrawlers. The Spring Lake area,
Garnet Lake, the main channel, and most sloughs have produced bass.
Some largemouth bass have been taken along woody shorelines and
weeds in the back sloughs. Anglers fishing on Pool 9 have found
bass along the weed edges along the small channels. Smallmouth bass
have been active along the main channels, especially on rocky
shorelines and wing dams. Northern pike action was spotty last
week. With the opening of the second duck season, hunters found the
high water dispersing the birds. The water is coming down, and
there have been some northern birds moving into the area. Wood
ducks, some teal, mallards, shoveler, widgeon, and gadwalls were
the mainstays for most hunters. Hunters in the Pool 9 area around
Ferryville report pretty good action. A large group of canvasbacks
moved into Pool 9 along with some bufflehead, redhead, scaup, and
goldeneyes. In the Prairie du Chien area, duck hunting success was
spotty. Most hunters are finding a wood duck or mallard here and
there. Archery hunters were finding more scrapes. Bucks are
becoming more active. Deer numbers look very good, and there have
been reports of hunters filling bonus tags on does. Most of the
soybeans have been harvested. The corn harvest has started.

Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.


The muskie fishing has been picking up pretty well. A 48-incher
was released on Shell Lake, and a 46-incher was released on Big
Sissabagama. The panfishing has been super. Anglers are catching
big panfish. Long Lake and Lower McKenzie and the pond in Spooner
have been good spots for bigger bluegills. Walleye fishing has been
a little iffy. Hunters are getting some nice deer, but ruffed
grouse numbers still seem to be low.

Spooner Sports, (715) 635-6500.


Anglers trolling the Sturgeon Bay ship canal continue to have
luck on salmon, along with some nice northern pike, although the
salmon action seems to be tapering off. Anglers fishing the many
harbors of northern Door County are having some luck on chinook
salmon and brown trout. Small spoons, along with spawn, corn, and
even flies appear to be the best bets in the northern harbors.
Perch fishing was still good with catches of 7- to 9-inch perch
being reported from Sturgeon Bay south along the shores of Green
Bay. Minnows, worms, crabs, and jigs all seem to be producing fish.
Up north, the harbors at Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, and Sister Bay
continue to produce some perch. Northern pike fishing was still
heating up, with good action reported from Sturgeon Bay, Little
Sturgeon Bay, and the area around Henderson Point, Egg Harbor, and
the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. A 40-inch northern was caught from the
shore at Sawyer Park in downtown Sturgeon Bay. The walleye action
continued to heat up, with anglers fishing the points, reefs, and
along the shorelines of Green Bay and in Sturgeon Bay. The bigger
fish are being taken at night. Smallmouth bass action continued to
slow down, but a few bigger fish were starting to show up near
shore. Spinnerbaits and tube jigs continue to produce a few fish,
along with nightcrawlers and minnows.

Stevenson Pier Mini Mart, (920) 824-5222.

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