WI: Fishermen ‘practicing’ on panfish before May 7 opener Issue: 9


The ice hung on for most area lakes this year. As of April 27, the
region had a slushy, accumulating snowfall and high temperatures in
the 30s. Lakes smaller than 200 acres had been ice-free for a few
days, but the major lakes were socked in fairly well. Best guess –
by April 30 most lakes would be ice free, with the exception of
deep, clear lakes such as Trout and Presque Isle.

Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce, (800) 466-8759.

Northern Highland Sports, (715) 385-2134.


Shine up that boat, tune up that motor, restring your reels, and
test your rods. That was the best thing to do last week, as the ice
still had not really gone out in the Eagle River area. Anglers were
not going out, but that can change very quickly with a string of
warm days. Once the lakes open up, fishermen will start heading out
in search of panfish ahead of the May 7 opener.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.


Voyageur Park has been good for anglers shore-fishing walleyes.
Most have used crankbaits at night. Jigs also have been working
well. Many shore anglers have been fishing from the metro landing
and catching walleyes and a few bonus smallmouth bass. Boat anglers
fishing have been finding walleyes all over the Fox River. The
shallows have been the best areas at night, while fishing the river
channel during the day seems to work best.

The Sportsman, (920) 734 3299

Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934


With the unseasonably cold weather, spring seems to be on hold and
ice cover has been slow to leave many northern Wisconsin lakes. And
along with this cold weather, water temps have been staying in the
upper 30s to low 40s, which has limited spawning activity for pike
and walleyes. But warmer temperatures should be on the way and this
will spur on reproductive activity for the early spawning species
such as walleyes, perch, suckers, and muskies. Ice fishing has been
over for about two weeks now and just a few sucker anglers have
been out trying their luck. But with the cold water temperatures,
even the suckers have been tough to catch for most of the

Pastika’s, (715) 634-4466.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.


Turkey hunters reported fair success last week. Continued cold,
wet, and windy weather created difficult hunting conditions.
Hunters reported many “henned-up” gobblers. Fishermen have been
picking up a few panfish on Lake Onalaska, but fishing activity on
the Mississippi River has been light because of high water.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.

Bob’s Bait & Tackle, (608) 782-5552.


In Sheboygan, fishing has been inconsistent with a few fish caught
by some trollers; most fish were taken in 10 to 50 feet. Some
catches of browns and chinooks were reported. The near-shore water
is muddy and has ranged from 42 to 44 degrees. Fishing has been
slow off the south pier. The Pigeon River has seen low fishing
pressure. Most anglers were using spawn; some flies. The water
remains high on the Sheboygan River, and the water temperature is
around 42 degrees. Fishing has been tough with light fishing

Port Washington trollers have been catching decent numbers of
browns in 20 to 30 feet of water. Fishing pressure at the power
plant has been light because of inconsistent weather. The water is
muddy. Anglers fishing the pier were using spawn and spoons, but
fishing was slow. Sauk Creek fishing has been slow with high water
and poor clarity. The water temperature was 42 degrees, and fishing
pressure was moderate. Most anglers have been using flies, spawn or
spinners with some success for rainbow trout.

In Milwaukee, trollers have been catching fair numbers of cohos,
chinooks, and browns. Most fish have been taken south of the harbor
in 30 feet of water. Shore fishing has been slow at the lakefront,
but anglers fishing steelhead on the Menomonee River and Oak Creek
continue to catch a few in amongst the suckers. Flies and spawn
have been the most productive baits. Steelhead fishing on the
Milwaukee River has remained slow, but a few have been caught on
spawn under a bobber at the dam in Kletzsch Park.

The Root River in Racine remains high and muddy, and effort was
very low last week. Most of the pressure has been in Lincoln Park
and upstream in the lower stretches of Colonial Park, and under the
Hwy. K bridge. Fishing was slow and even when steelhead were
hooked, they were rarely landed. DNR crews shut down the Root River
Steelhead Facility on April 20. A total of 766 rainbows were
captured at the facility. With spawning at the Besadny facility in
Kewaunee, DNR egg-taking goals were met for the year.

In Kenosha, shore fishing has been slow in the harbor and on the
Pike River. Fishing conditions on the Pike River are good, but
effort has been low.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s, (262) 646 2218.


A little warmer weather last week made a lot of difference in
pushing sturgeon to ramp up their spawning activity. Crews tagged
fish along the Sturgeon Trail on Hwy. X west of New London, and
then at Pfeifer Park in New London on the Embarrass River. Fish
were coming in most of the day at these two sites, as well as at
about four or five other sites on the system in the New London and
Shiocton areas. One of real surprises was the capture of an old and
very large male. This fish was 70 inches long, and weighed an
estimated 150 pounds. Any warming of the weather should push the
fish into the final big run of this spawning season, which means
fish should start spawning at Shawano dam. There is a web cam
people can access at

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.


Panfishing has been decent, but inconsistent around Madison. Fish
seem to bite better on days when it is sunny and warm. The game
fish season will open Saturday, May 7. During the closed season,
anglers are not allowed to fish for game fish even if practicing
catch and release. However, anglers may fish for panfish ahead of
the game fish opener. Turkey hunters have been having some success.
Weather conditions during the first two seasons made things more
difficult than normal.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Water temperatures last week were in the low to mid 40s, with
fishing pressure moderate to heavy. With the slow spring warm-up
and wet weather, the walleye bite has been good. Waters are high
and dirty after the rain last week. Peshtigo Harbor shore anglers
have caught a mixed bag of walleyes, pike, suckers, and the
occasional trout using spinners, crankbaits, and spoons. Boaters on
the Peshtigo River have had great success jigging for walleyes;
most of what they are catching are spawned out. Jigs tipped with
minnows or plastics work well. Good numbers of walleyes were still
being caught off the Hattie Street Bridge on plastics and
crankbaits. Boaters have been having a field day fishing from the
“turn basin” to the mouth of the Menominee River catching walleye
on jigs and minnows.

In Oconto County, the Stiles dam area has still been producing
walleyes and a few pike for anglers casting crankbaits and plastic
tails. Suckers are also present in large numbers. Anglers at Oconto
Breakwater Park were catching some walleyes, along with many
suckers, by casting and jigging. Boaters trying for brown trout
have had limited success in shallows north of the breakwater while
trolling crankbaits and spoons. Oconto Park II boaters have been
having success with walleyes and pike by trolling in 6 to 8 feet of
water using crankbaits.

MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.

Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.


Cold temperatures in the last week ranging from the mid-30s to low
40s combined with little angler success left the tributaries and
lakeshore relatively quiet. Early and mid-week saw a few reports of
anglers landing two or three steelhead, mostly males and
spawned-out females of 6 to 8 pounds near Shoto on the West Twin
River. Anglers fishing from the conservation club up to the dam
landed a few 12-pound-plus brown trout using spawn or casting
spoons. The East Twin River had the best clarity and many anglers
left with one or two steelhead in the 6- to 8-pound range near the
Mishicot dam. Anglers have been floating either spawn or shrimp to
land the steelhead. Many anglers were targeting suckers, which
appear to be in high densities up and down all of the tributaries.
A few anglers continue to catch a few catfish in the Two Rivers and
Manitowoc harbors. Boaters tried their luck south of Manitowoc off
of Silver Creek all the way north to the Point Beach Nuclear Plant
in 6 to 20 feet.

CUB Radio report, (920) 683-6816.


As of April 26, Lake Minocqua was about 15 percent ice-free, but
the ice was dark and thin and should have been gone by April 29.
Many smaller lakes were very near or at ice free. Very little
fishing was taking place last week – mostly some yellow perch
fishing close to shore and below the dams.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

Great Outdoors, (715) 356-6818.

Captain Hooks, (715) 277-2405.

J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.


The Mississippi River had begun to recede and was doing so at a
rapid rate – the river had dropped 2 feet last week, but many boat
landings and low lying areas were still under water. Boat travel
was not advised due to high flows and debris, and fishing on the
Mississippi River and Wisconsin River was near non-existent. Turkey
hunters were reporting good success.

Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.


Suckers and redhorse are running in both forks of the Flambeau
River in Price County. Fishermen started venturing out last week in
search of panfish.

Bridge Bait, (715) 762-4108.

Ross’s Sport Shop, (715) 339-3625.


Turkeys in the Sauk County hills have been gobbling and hunters
have been having good luck. The Wisconsin River below the Prairie
du Sac dam was very high and fishing had been slow.

Wilderness Fish and Game, (608) 643-2433.


The walleye bite is excellent, with limits of eating-sized fish in
the 15- to 20-inch range caught on every trip. There are a good
amount of slot sized walleyes between 20 and 28 inches. They must
be released. Most of the fish are coming on jigs tipped with
minnows in 4 to 8 feet of water. Anglers are also seeing some very
nice crappies and an occasional muskie. Turkey hunters have taken
some nice birds. The large flocks broke up recently and birds will
be more receptive to calling.

Hooksetters, (715) 693-5843.

Wisconsin Angling Adventures, (715) 297-7573.

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