Finally the salmon are starting to show up, but not in huge numbers. Fish managers think the overall numbers may be down this year. Trollers say the salmon are good-sized. People are trolling on the first break at about 20 feet. Most are trolling crankbaits and spoons. Some fly fishermen have been successful with streamer flies. Smallie fishing is in its fall mode. Most success is seen with minnows. They will hit artificials, but numbers are higher with live bait. Cohos are in and off the Sioux and Onion rivers. Walleye anglers are trolling and casting the weedbeds, channels, and shorelines with crankbaits, spinners, and spoons during low-light hours.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
BOULDER JUNCTION AREA
The weather has started to turn the lakes. Some lakes are fine, while others are pretty green. Walleyes seem to have moved to a rock bite in the deeper water, about 20 to 35 feet on deep, clear water lakes. Muskie activity is starting to pick up.
Northern Highland Sports Shop, (715) 385-2134.
CHIPPEWA FALLS / EAU CLAIRE / MENOMONIE AREA
In Menomonie, water is cooling off and the temperature is about 58 degrees. Fishermen are catching largemouth bass, and the northerns are hitting well. On Lake Tainter, the walleyes and smallmouths are hitting on crawlers or fatheads. In Chippewa Falls, walleye are hitting on Lake Wissota, mostly on minnows.
Buroker’s Taxidermy and Bait,
Eau Claire, (715) 835-0847.
Big Mama’s Bait Shop,
(715) 231-0839, Menomonie.
Bill’s Sport Shop, Chippewa Falls, (715) 723-9033.
In Marinette County, no anglers were seen on the Peshtigo River this past week due to high water, rain, and windy conditions. Anglers were targeting smallmouth bass on the Menominee River, fishing the structure around the mouth of the river. Jigging with plastics and casting large cranks was producing some nice fish. Most shore anglers were at the Hattie Street dam catching and releasing sturgeon. The number of salmon fishermen was low with nothing to report yet.
In Oconto County, high water from the Stiles dam downriver kept fishermen away. Walleyes were still being caught on the bay, with anglers targeting structure and jigging. Perch fishermen were few and far between. Smallmouth bass were being caught in and around the mouth of the Oconto River while casting crankbaits and jigging. Muskie anglers out of Geano Beach reported good results this week, including multiple catches in some boats. Bucktails were the most common lure.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854 to 2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
A very cold first half of September has lake temps dropping quickly from averages of 71 to 73 degrees just two weeks ago to surface temps plummeting to the 57- to 59-degree range. Certain species are still active, while fishing for some others has nearly come to a complete halt. Crappies action has been fair to good (and improving). Medium fatheads have been the bait of choice, though these fish will take larger minnows, also. On natural-type lakes, deep coontail edges are holding nice crappies suspended 3 to 5 feet off bottom. Minnows and small tubes in white, silver, and pink best. Walleye fishing has been poor to good (improving). On natural lakes, work deep, hard-bottom areas of 14 to 24 feet. Use jigs tipped with crawler pieces or large fatheads. Edges of humps are best. On flowages, slowly dragging/hopping a 4-inch minnow over drowned wood in 14 to 19 feet is working well. Chubs are best if you can find them; otherwise suckers are working as well. Muskie action is fair. The best action has been on bucktails and big spinnerbaits. Twitch baits in the 7- to 8-inch variety are working well. Most fish sightings are coming from weedy areas in 6 to 10 feet of water. The full moon period last week may have been part of the slow daytime bite. Smallmouth bass fishing is fair. Fish deeper gravel, 18 to 22 feet, and usually 8 to 10 feet higher if walleyes are present at deeper levels. Lindy rigs with suckers of 3 to 5 inches, creature baits on football jigs, and tubes are working. The northern pike bite is fair. It’s surprisingly slow despite cooler water. Live chubs and suckers are working best. The largemouth bass bite is poor. You’ll need to plunge deep into weedy cover to draw any attention. Cold weather really had a negative affect on this species. There is a small window in the afternoon from noon to 4 p.m. when they are taking spinnerbaits, then shutting back down. Bluegill action has been poor. A few scattered fish are in 8- to 12-foot weeds. This coming week looks to warm up somewhat. Mornings of launching to air temps of 33 to 35 degree is very late October/early November like.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Walleye fishing is good, and getting better. Fish are in the deep holes on the Eagle River chain and on the deep edges of the bigger lakes. Look for the edges of the holes in the 18-foot range on the chain and look for 15 to 25 feet on the bigger lakes. Jigs and minnows are working best now. Pike action is good in the remaining weeds, with stories of some pretty nice fish in the 30-inch range. Bass fishing remains pretty good, with a lot of smallies caught on the deeper weed edges. Muskie action is good, and getting better as the water temperatures decline. On the chain, they are still on those weed edges, but don’t be afraid to fish deeper for them.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Anglers are catching muskies on breaks and weedlines in 8 to 12 feet on bucktails, topwaters, jerkbaits, and gliders. Walleyes are tight to bottom in 20 feet, taking jigs and minnows or crawlers. Fish smallmouths on hard bottoms in 12 to 20 feet with jigs and minnows, tubes, and crankbaits. For crappies and bluegills, fish weed edges in 12 to 18 feet with crawlers, minnows, and plastics. Fish for walleyes on gravel bars and weeds in 10 to 30 feet with walleye suckers and fatheads. Northerns are active – try the bays on the west side with spoons, spinners, and suckers on weedlines in 5 to 15 feet. Chippewa Flowage muskie action is excellent. Muskies are active, with some hitting topwaters, but the majority are moving on subsurface baits. Nelson Lake walleye fishing is good early and (mostly) late on rocky points.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE HOLCOMBE AREA
Muskie fishermen did well in a recent tournament, bringing in 84 muskies in two days, all on artificial baits. Walleyes are picking up and going into their fall feeding patterns. Crappies are coming from about 15 feet of water. Walleyes and crappies are hitting jigs, minnows, and crawlers.
The Big Minnow, (715) 595-6362.
RICE LAKE AREA
A lot of crappies are being caught in deep water, about 14 to 20 feet, on the bottom. Walleyes are spotty, again in deeper water. There’s not much action with northerns, but the ones coming in were caught on spinnerbaits and spoons. The few bass that were caught were coming from deep water. Muskies are pretty spotty, depending on the weather.
Rainbow Ace Home Center,
J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300.
Anglers are catching a lot of bass and big crappies. On Clam Lake the walleye fishing has been good as has perch and crappie fishing. Lower temperatures have made a big difference this year. Big Mckenzie and Yellow Lakes are just starting to get good for muskies. A lot of the ponds have frozen, affecting the muskie suckers used for bait, so anglers are using artificial baits like bucktails or else finding suckers in the creeks. Mud Hen Lake has been good for bluegills; fish deep for the big ones.
Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports,
Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports,
The fishing has been relatively good all summer. Muskie suckers are hard to find. Anglers are fishing the Chippewa Flowage. Lake temperatures are cooling down to 62 to 66 degrees.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.