WI: Anglers revel in great fishing action on season opener Issue: 10

ASHLAND AREA

Lake Superior weather has been rough, but spring shallow-water
trolling is going on right now. Trollers have been getting out when
the weather lets them. Catch reports have been fair to good,
depending on the day and where you’re fishing. The fish are spread
out now; it’s been mainly cohos and browns, with a few lakers,
splake, and steelhead mixed in the catch. Run planer boards, flat
lines, and crankbaits in shallow water right along the shore, or in
the warmest water you can find. A few fish are being caught on
spoons or small flasher/fly combos, too. Trollers are picking up
fish from the head of the bay all of the way through the islands,
and along the south shore. Start near shore. If nothing is going
on, target the top 20 feet of water in deeper water. Lake levels
are low, so be prepared for that. Construction at Bayfield and Red
Cliff are going to make those landings unuseable for the time
being. A few walleyes, perch, and pike are coming from shallower
water right off Ashland and Washburn, and up in the sloughs.
Smallmouth action will be picking up. Steelhead are still running
on the rivers. Water levels and clarity have been up and down with
the rain, and fishing has been up and down.

On inland lakes, the walleyes are in post-spawn mode, but
they’re still up shallow with the lows temps. Panfish are shallow,
and pike and bass should be active in the shallow water, as
well.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

Outdoor Allure, (715) 373-0551.

BOULDER JUNCTION AREA

Walleyes were a lot deeper than most anglers expected because of
the low water temperatures, but a number of anglers found walleyes.
Most anglers were using jigs and minnows in shallow bays on bigger
lakes with success. Look for the good fishing to continue for a few
weeks because water temperatures are “behind” for this time of
year.

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

Northern Highland Sports, (715) 385-2134.

CHIPPEWA FALLS / EAU CLAIRE / MENOMONIE AREA

Action was a little slower overall on opening weekend than most
anglers expected, but the crappies started perking up a little bit
early last week. Walleye fishing should also improve as water temps
increase and the weather improves so anglers can get out on the
lakes.

Big Mama’s Bait Shop, (715) 231-0839, Menomonie.

Mouldy’s Archery & Tackle, Chippewa Falls, (715)
723-3607.

Bill’s Sport Shop, Chippewa Falls, (715) 723-9033.

DOOR PENINSULA AND KEWAUNEE AREA

Anglers found some 60-degree water in the back of Little
Sturgeon and some smallmouth bass to go along with it. Fishermen
also are catching a lot of northern pike back there, too. The
walleye bite has been good, day and night, from Henderson down to
Chaudoir’s; the night bite has been best on crankbaits. Anglers
also have been catching a few browns off of Castaways.

Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce hotline, (800) 626-3090.

Algoma Hardware and Sporting Goods, (920) 487-3374.

Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934.

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

EAGLE RIVER AREA

Water temps were still in the low 40s at the opener. Northerns
are hitting hard on the edges of old weeds in 5 to 10 feet of
water. Use a jig and a minnow. Perch are providing good to
excellent action. Fish shallow wood and hard-bottomed areas. Use a
small minnow or a waxie. Walleyes are active. Fish rocks and
gravel, or just off of old weeds. On the Eagle River Chain, fish in
6 to12 feet of water. On larger lakes like North Twin, you’ll find
walleyes in 3 to 15 feet of water. Use a jig and a fathead. Some
anglers have reported excellent success on crankbaits in the
shallows. With the cold water, post-spawn walleyes are hanging out
over gravel and rocks in 6 to 15 feet of water. As soon as the
water hits 50 degrees, the walleyes will move in shallower, looking
for minnows and other baitfish in the new green weeds. There’s a
good evening bite for crappies in 3 to 6 feet of water. Use a thin
wire hook and a minnow.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.

GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA

The weather might be lousy, but this has been one of the best
springs for fishing on the Wolf River. Walleyes are still in the
river at Fremont, Lake Poygan, and in the Winneconne area. White
bass turned on last week, with fish coming out of Lake Winnebago.
The Fox River walleye bite in the river is slowing down, but
anglers are moving out to the lower part of Green Bay to start
trolling for those walleyes as they move out of the river.

The Sportsman, (920) 734 3299.

Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934.

HAYWARD AREA

Walleye fishing was fair on opening weekend. Some guys did
pretty well and others struggled, depending on the lakes. The
darker lakes were up in the 50s, but the big, clear lakes were
still in the low 40s. Fatheads fished in 8 to 20 feet of water
seemed to work the best. Some guys caught crappies in deeper water
in the warmer bays. All of the crappies were pre-spawn. Fishermen
also caught a lot of northern pike all over. The number of anglers
seemed to be down from previous years.

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

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

LA CROSSE AREA

The Mississippi River was still quite high last week – it was at
10-2 – but it was falling slowly, and fishing was picking up. On
Lake Onalaska, bass and northern pike were hitting steadily last
week. Perch fishing also improved on Onalaska.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.

Bob’s Bait & Tackle, (608) 782-5552.

LAKE HOLCOMBE AREA

Catfish action was very good during the opener on Lake Holcombe.
Anglers targeted catfish with minnows or cut bait – mostly in the
northeast corner of the lake near the Jump River area, or below the
dam. One group caught four flatheads that totaled 59 pounds, and
they released a number of 10- to 12-pounders. Walleye fishing
wasn’t bad either, but many of the fish were in the 14- to 18-inch
protected slot. The walleyes spawned about three weeks ago, and
guys were catching them all over the place – shallow and deep.
Anglers also were catching good numbers of crappies and smallies.
Water temps were in the mid-50s last week.

Lake Holcombe Sport Shop, (715) 595-4293.

LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES

Surface waters on inland lakes were mostly in the low to mid 40s
during the opener. The key at this time of the year is to find the
warmest water temps possible. Bluegills and crappies will be very
shallow, or along the first drop-off next to the warmer water, but
those deeper fish are more difficult to catch. Use small lures and
small fatheads or lake shiners for crappies. Local anglers did
catch some muskies on opening weekend in very shallow water. The
biggest was a 47-incher. Muskies were in 2 to 7 feet of water, and
fishermen were casting small gliders and small crankbaits. Expect
this pattern to hold true on most lakes in southeastern Wisconsin
for the next few weeks because water temperatures are low. On
opening weekend, Pewaukee’s west basin was at 52 degrees, and the
shallower east basin was at 57 degrees.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s, (262) 646-2218.

LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA

Anglers are catching a bunch of walleyes, white bass, perch, and
crappies. They’re catching some walleyes on the reefs of Lake
Winnebago, but there are still a lot of walleyes in the river. The
white bass bite began May 5 in the river and was going strong last
week. Most guys were using small minnows or flies for white bass.
Nice bluegills and crappies were being caught in the channels, and
catfish were coming from the river.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

MADISON AREA

Anglers were trolling on Mendota last week and caught some pike
and some nice walleyes. One angler reported losing a 30-inch
walleye at the boat. Catfish were hitting on the north shore of
Mendota, and in the Yahara River. Good bass action was reported
near University Bay, along with good night success on walleyes at
Warner Park, near the university shoreline, at Second Point, and on
Lake Monona near John Nolan Drive. Lake Waubesa also saw some
walleye action from shore. Some bluegills and crappies were caught
on Lake Monona, and on Lake Waubesa near the Lake Farm and Hog
Island areas.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.

MARINETTE/OCONTO AREA

The weather was sunny and 70 degrees for the opener. With water
temperatures averaging around 50 degrees, the panfish and crappies
on Lake Noquebay have been slow to bite. Try shallow water first –
less than 6 feet and over a dark bottom. Use worms or small jigs
tipped with plastic tails. At High Falls and Cauldron Falls
flowages, the water temps were in the upper 40s on the opener and
panfish action was slow. Walleye fishing on High Falls has been
fair, with a report of a 5-pounder being caught on a small jig and
a fathead minnow in about 20 feet of water. Current predictions for
the bluegill spawn to kick in around Memorial Day would be sketchy,
at best.

MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.

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

MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA

It was a nice opener – a little cool (lows in high 20s to
start), but no rain, high wind, sleet, or snow. Water temps on May
7 ranged from lows in the high 30s to low 40s in morning to high
40s by the afternoon. Most spawning was done except on larger
lakes. The bite was sporadic; anglers had to move from lake to lake
to find active walleyes. Many lakes already were seeing walleyes in
an early post-spawn mood. Concentrate on new weed growth with light
jigs and minnows. Walleyes (and pike) that were caught showed signs
of feeding heavily on perch and bluegills of 1 to 3 inches. Large
fatheads and dace (where available) are working the best. Anglers
casting crankbaits after dark also reported good walleye catches.
Smithwick Rattlin’ Rouges, No. 9 floating Rapalas, and No. 10 Husky
Jerks over weedbeds in 4 to 6 feet of water produced the best. Some
nighttime waders working gravel shores were catching fish, too, but
mostly “late males.” Crappies have been catchable on warming days.
Many were seen in the shallows on calm afternoons “catching some
rays” to help with egg production.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

Great Outdoors Sports Shop, (715) 356-6818.

Captain Hooks, (715) 277-2405.

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

NEKOOSA AREA

Fishermen caught walleyes, crappies, and catfish last week, and
there were a few guys catching bass, too. From all indications, it
was a little on the slow side because of lower-than-normal water
temperatures. Temps ranged from 45 to 50 degrees. Anglers are
anticipating a good season on the Petenwell.

Sunrise Bait, (715) 886-5440.

Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN AREA

The rivers are going down and anglers were catching bass in the
shallow, flooded areas. Anglers also are catching some panfish in
the shallow areas that have been getting some sun. Turkey-hunting
success was limited during the fourth season because of the harsh
weather.

Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.

PRICE COUNTY AREA

Fishing was very good during the opener. Most of the walleyes
were being caught in shallow water near where they had spawned.
Some were just off of the spawning areas on the flats, or in the
wood. The crappies started moving shallower last week. Anglers have
been using a bobber and a minnow in very shallow water to catch
either crappies or walleyes. The pike have been going nuts, too.
Pike up to 38 inches were caught. The fishing action should remain
good for most of the month, because of the low water
temperatures.

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

Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.

RICE LAKE AREA

Fishermen were catching walleyes on crawlers or fatheads in less
than 10 feet of water on Red Cedar and Long lakes during opening
weekend. Water temperatures were in the low 40s, so the panfish
were pretty slow to bite, but walleyes and northerns were hitting.
A lot of the crappies that were caught were still full of spawn.
Trout fishing was good on area streams. A lot of trout were caught
on spinners.

Rainbow Ace Home Center, (715) 234-8116.

J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300.

SAUK CITY AREA

Bluegills have been hitting well on Crystal and Fish lakes, and
crappies were hitting on Lake Wisconsin and Crystal. They were
still in deeper water last week, but should be moving shallow soon.
White bass are just starting to come around on the Wisconsin River
and on Lake Wisconsin. Fishermen also were still catching quite a
few walleyes below the Prairie du Sac dam.

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

SIREN AREA

The water temperature was at 46 degrees on May 4 on Clam Lake.
It was up to 50 by Friday and up to 52 to 54 by Saturday, May 7,
and anglers found excellent crappie and walleye action. Crappies
were in 2 to 3 feet of water, with better action on minnows than
leeches. A lot of anglers also were catching walleyes on Clam.
Smallies are in the river right now. There was some hit-and-miss
walleye action on Yellow Lake. Last year anglers fought 35-mph
winds on the opener, but this year guys were out all over and found
good fishing.

Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports, (715) 349-2400.

Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.

WAUSAU AREA

After a drawn-out spring the area is finally starting to see
water temperatures rising on the Wisconsin River and area lakes.
With temperatures nearing, and in some locations above the
50-degree mark, anglers can start their search for crappies in the
spawning grounds. Look for shallow, stump-filled bays and shoreline
wood to hold decent numbers of fish. Slip bobbers set at about one
foot to 18 inches deep and rigged with small octopus hooks and tiny
minnows will work wonders. Beetle Spins and tube jigs also work.
Walleyes have moved into some of their summer haunts and can be
found in the deeper pools on the main Wisconsin River, along with
being scattered over the main lake flats. Trolling crankbaits will
work well for locating stragglers. Switch to jigs once you
determine the location of fish. Pike action has started to pick up
in shallow bays. Spinner baits and spoons will work great for
catching these freshwater gators.

Turkey hunters are having a good season this year, with some
dandy gobblers being registered.

Hooksetters, (715) 693-5843.

Wisconsin Angling Adventures, (715) 297-7573.

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