Trout, salmon heading for rivers, inland fall patterns emerge
A week of cooler temperatures and high winds let anglers know
that September has arrived. The water has cooled down considerably,
and fish are starting to move in close. Pier anglers in Algoma and
Kewaunee had a nice week of fishing. Kings were being caught in
fairly good numbers, and some browns and rainbows are being caught,
as well. Casting with spoons has still been working the best, but
crankbaits also are accounting for some fish. Anglers trolling out
on the lake have been coming in with kings, but there have also
been some browns, cohos, and steelhead. Most of the fish were found
between 60 and 120 feet, with fish being caught from about 20 feet
down all the way to 80 feet on fly and dodger combos, or
Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce hotline, (800) 626-3090.
Billy Goat Bait, (920) 487-9710.
Algoma Hardware and Sporting Goods, (920) 487-3374
Fall patterns are starting to appear now that the water temps
are cooling a bit. Trout and salmon trolling is picking up a little
closer to shore as fish start appearing off the river mouths and in
the bay. Kings have been staging south of Bayfield and in the south
channel. A few cohos, splake, steelies, and browns are showing up,
as well. Lake trout fishing continues to be good all over outside
the bay around the islands and over the flats. This will continue
to get better. Many tactics are working now, depending on where
you’re fishing. Lake trout fishing near the bottom in 60 to 120
feet remains good with spoons and dodger combos. Shallower species
off river mouths and in the bay are best targeted with crankbaits
and spoons fished off planer boards. In the bay proper, walleye and
northern trolling remains fair to good in 12 to 30 feet.
Stream fishermen are using terrestrials with the boom of insects
this year. A few lake-run fish have shown up in Pikes Creek early,
as usual, but the bulk of the runs in the other streams should be
starting with the next big rain. Right now the fish need legs to
Inland fishing remains good, but fish are deep. Look for bass,
panfish, and northerns on the deeper weed edges and over sand grass
flats. Walleyes are deep during the day, but are coming up on bars
and points at dusk to feed. Muskie reports have been getting
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
Outdoor Allure, (715) 373-0551.
CHIPPEWA FALLS AREA
The game fish action has been good after the recent rains. Bass
action on spinnerbaits and small minnows has been productive;
walleye action has been good on live bait. Panfish have been fairly
active in mornings and evenings near weedbeds.
Gordy’s Hardware Hank, (715) 726-2515.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
The bass bite is good. Largemouths continue to hit small
spinners, topwaters, or plastics in weeds in depths to 6 feet. Key
on structure. Smallies are in deeper water, sometimes down to 20
feet. Crawlers are working best. Find reed areas and try lipless
crankbaits. Timberdoodles also work well in the reeds where
crankbaits can’t go. Northerns are hitting big chubs. Panfish
action is A-plus right now. Nice perch remain in the weeds in
depths to 18 feet. If there’s gravel or sand around, even better.
The bluegills diet still consists of small leaf worms, tube jigs,
and Cubbies. Bobber fishing is the most effective. Anglers are
getting lots of bigger crappies on large fatheads and suckers. This
is an excellent time to try for muskies. Use any number of noisy
topwaters or jerkbaits. Work weedlines and follow through with a
figure 8. The most productive times have been 5:30-8 a.m., but it’s
changing rapidly as we lose daylight. For walleyes, park over sand
flats or rocks in 10 to 15 feet of water. Slip-bobber rigs are
almost required now, but jigging works, too.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Fishing on the bay was slow. Poor weather made fishing
difficult. The perch bite was hit or miss. Water temperatures
continue to drop, and many anglers report great luck one day and
none the next. The fish seem to be in deeper water around 30 feet
at Bay Shore and Chaudoir’s launches. Walleye action has tapered
off, although some decent fish were still reported. Many anglers
concentrated on the reefs up north. Geano Reef has produced all
summer and continues to be steady. Some moderate northern pike and
muskie action has begun. The smallmouth bass bite was fairly slow,
but some great fish were reported.
Fathead Fran’s, (920) 498-9999
The Sportsman, (920) 734 3299
Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934
Fishing hasn’t been bad, but anglers have to react to quick
changes in the weather. Muskie fishing has been good, with some
movement of fish into shallow water. The better walleye action is
Pastika’s, (715) 634-4466.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
LA CROSSE AREA
Mississippi River bass, bluegill, and catfish fishing has been
fair since the flooding in the area. Crappie fishing is improving.
Some nice bluegills have been hanging in submerged dead trees along
sloughs near Goose Island. As the water is clearing up and flows
are decreasing, the fishing has been improving. Boaters have been
enjoying Mississippi River water temperatures at about 75 degrees,
but water temperatures will begin to drop with the cooler days this
week. Backwater boaters will find a number of changes due to the
flooding. There are some new sand bars where local rivers and
streams deposited their silt loads from the erosion caused by local
Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.
Bob’s Bait & Tackle, (608) 782-5552.
LAKE MICHIGAN / METRO AREA LAKES
In Sheboygan, fishing in the Pigeon River has been slow, but on
the Sheboygan River anglers have taken a few chinooks and browns on
spoons near the Eighth Street launch and at the base of the south
pier. Water levels remain low on both rivers. The lake side of the
south pier also has produced a few cohos and browns on alewives.
Trolling has been slow, with boaters finding kings scattered from
the harbor out to 110 feet of water.
Shore anglers in Port Washington have been catching kings on
spawn in the power plant area. A few cohos and brown trout have
been caught off the pier. Trolling has been hit or miss, with most
chinooks caught in 30 to 40 feet of water on J-plugs or spoons.
Shore fishing in Milwaukee has been improving. Good numbers of
cohos have been caught on crankbaits off McKinley pier. Trolling
action has slowed. Most boaters have been able to catch a few fish
in 40 to 55 feet of water, or chinooks and browns in the
In Racine, pier anglers have been catching trout and salmon on
spoons and crankbaits. Trollers working around the harbor mouth and
in the Root River have been catching kings, along with some browns,
on spoons and J-plugs. On the Root River, the water remains low,
but anglers have been catching chinooks and a few browns just below
the Horlick dam, in Quarry Lake Park, and in the Washington Park
golf course area.
Shore fishing in Kenosha has been the best before sunrise. Some
kings have been caught on spoons near the mouth of the Pike River,
and a few browns have been taken on tube jigs in the harbor.
Kenosha trollers have been catching chinooks in 30 to 50 feet.
On inland waters in Waukesha County, fishing was been spotty.
Bluegills are moving into their fall patterns on Pewaukee,
Oconomowoc, and Beaver lakes. Walleye action has been good for
anglers willing to fish late on Pine, Lac Labelle, and Little
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait Shop, Delafield, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Perch and bluegill fishing has been pretty good on Lake
Winnebago in 10 to 14 feet of water. Use crawlers or leaf worms.
There have been a few more reports of walleye catches. The water in
the Fox River was a bit too warm for the white bass run to get
started, but that should happen soon.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Anglers were catching suspended bluegills and crappies on Lake
Mendota, with preferred depths varying depending on location.
Smallmouth bass are hitting on the points, as are a few walleyes.
On Monona, there has been some muskie action. Monona bluegills also
are hitting. Lake Waubesa bluegills have been moving into shallower
D&S Bait & Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MANITOWOC/TWO RIVERS AREA
In Two Rivers, pier fishing was good early on, but then
declined. Anglers caught good-sized kings and some nice cohos. One
angler who fished the north pier was able to pick up a nice
smallmouth bass. Two Rivers trollers found success with large
catches of chinooks and a few browns and cohos. Anglers were
picking up salmon in 35 to 80 feet of water on spoons. In
Manitowoc, anglers had a good week for salmon and trout. Pier
anglers who landed chinooks were using green and silver spoons,
casting halfway down the far segment of the south pier, inside
toward the harbor. Manitowoc trollers also had a good week, with
most boats returning with fair-sized catches of chinooks and a few
rainbows and cohos.
CUB Radio report, (920) 683-6816.
Chinooks were being caught in 70 feet of water near the ‘green
can’ near Green Island on various lures. A few were caught on
flies. Size ranged from 24- to 30-inch fish. A few chinooks were
being caught off the Michigan side of the pier along the Menominee
River. A few nice walleyes were coming from the Green Island area.
There also are a few salmon and browns in the Menominee and the
Peshtigo rivers at the dams.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
The walleye bite has been good, but the bite has really bounced
around. Try shallower weed edges during the day, or over mud flats
in deeper water. Night anglers are finding good action on large
fatheads below lighted slip bobbers. Largemouth bass have responded
to cool weather by moving into weeds. Use jig and pig combos and
heavy rigs in weed pockets. Smallmouth action has slowed, but some
fish still are holding on gravel humps. Muskie action is also slow.
The best reports have been from shallow-water fish in 3 to 7 feet
of water, hitting twitched crankbaits.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
R&K Great Outdoors Sports Shop, (715) 356-6818.
From the Nekoosa papermill all the way to the Petenwell Flowage,
crappie action is hot right now. Most crappies are in the 10- to
12-inch range. Look for current breaks by the paper mill, or at any
tree in the water along shore. Outside bends that have submerged
brush have been holding crappies. Use light jigs tipped with
crappie minnows or plastics. Smallmouth fishing is very good just
below the Nekoosa mill on spinners and crawlers. Catfishing has
been excellent all year. A few walleyes have been showing up, and
that should really pick up now. Muskie action has started to pick
up, with bucktails being the most popular bait.
Sunrise Bait, (715) 886-5440.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.
RICE LAKE AREA
The early goose season has been very good, with good access and
plenty of geese. Northern pike are still putting on a good bite.
Troll in 40 to 50 feet of water on the deeper lakes, using an
orange Flatfish. Some nice fish are being caught. Anglers also are
getting action on the weed edges, in 4 to 12 feet of water, using
spinnerbaits, spoons, or chubs. Largemouth bass are hitting in the
lily pads, weeds, and stump areas. Fish in 8 to 12 feet of water,
and use a spinner or tube jig. Smallies are still hanging off the
humps in 16 to 20 feet of water. Large numbers of crappies are
being caught by anglers casting spinners in 20 feet of water, where
the crappies are suspending about 5 feet down. Walleyes have slowed
down after a good week of action. Fish mainly low-light hours,
targeting humps in about 16 feet of water. Jig a fathead or
crawler. Other anglers are trolling with a Wally Diver or crawler
harness and are having some success. Some of the walleyes are
moving shallower around dusk, to weed edges adjacent to deep water.
Muskie action remains OK. The fall ‘breakout’ is not quite here.
Fish early mornings or evenings, targeting shelves, drop-offs,
wood, and weed edges in 4 to10 feet of water.
Rainbow Ace Home Center, (715) 234-8116.
J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300.
STURGEON BAY AREA
The action on Lake Michigan was fair to good. Anglers fishing
the Bank Reef brought in some fish by trolling from the surface to
60 feet of water with fly and dodger combos, and spoons. The fish
seem to have moved into shallower water, and anglers trolling in
the Sturgeon Bay ship canal and out to the buoy also reported
success. Some nice fish were being taken off the piers on the Lake
Michigan end of the canal. Conditions were much the same in the
areas off Baileys Harbor. Washington Island, Ellison Bay, and
Rowley’s Bay also were reporting fish catches. Smallmouth bass
action continued to improve, with Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, and
the Sturgeon Bay flats all producing some smallmouths, as was the
deeper structure off of Sherwood and Henderson points. Some nice
smallmouths also were being taken from Anderson’s dock in Ephraim
and from the old ferry dock in Rowley’s Bay and Stone Quarry County
Park. Some nice walleyes were taken from Larsen’s Reef, Monument
Shoals, and the areas around Hat, Strawberry, and Chambers islands
on crankbaits and crawler harnesses fished in 10 to 25 feet of
water. Perch fishing was on the slow side. Northern pike fishing
was good to very good along weedbeds in front of the marines and
along the channel in Sturgeon Bay. Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay,
and Sand Bays all produced some northerns.
Stevenson Pier Mini Mart, (920) 824-5222.
Anglers are catching walleyes in the 15- to 20-inch range by
drifting crawlers over 12 to 16 feet of water. If the fish move or
stop biting, pick up and start looking for more active fish. The
bass bite continues to be very good, with bigger fish becoming more
active. Fish the shallow wood and rocks with spinnerbaits and
crankbaits. The bluegill bite is very good. The muskie bite is
going strong on crankbaits and jerkbaits. Weedbeds and wood seem to
be producing the best right now.
Hooksetters, (715) 693-5843.
Wisconsin Angling Adventures, (715) 297-7573