Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – May 29th, 2015
Chequamegon Bay smallmouths in Sand Cut, Oak Point, and Brush Point are hitting jigs with plastics and suckers over wood and weeds. Clouser minnows and Bay Bugs work for fly anglers. Walleyes anglers are catching post-spawn fish at the head of the bay and mouth of Kakagon Slough on crawler harnesses and trolled crankbaits. Northern pike action is good at the head of the bay and in slough areas. Trout and salmon anglers are flat-lining the first breaks with crankbaits and spoons on Dipsey Divers, with trollers operating from Houghton Point out to the Apostle Islands.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Sunfish and crappies continue to be caught on most lakes in less than 6 feet. Largemouth and smallmouth bass also remain active in shallow water and can be had with plastics or live bait on Silver Lake and Turtle Lake.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
We’re on that weather roller coaster again this spring, and have had some cold fronts that are holding back the crappie and bass spawn. This is not good, because the crappies will neglect to spawn if they are kicked out of their spawning area by dropping water temps repeatedly. Bass have been coming up and building beds for more than a week on some of the warmer lakes. They hold a little bit better on the shorelines than the crappies, but they don’t like the cold fronts either. Let’s hope this cycle stops after this front. Otherwise, it has been a great spring for anglers, as the perch, northerns, walleyes, and some of the crappies have provided good fishing for the whole spring. Water temps were in the 55- to 60-degree range before the last front hit. Trees are leafing out, and with that comes mosquitoes. Walleye fishing has been good. The fish went to deeper water after the spawn. But anglers were able to locate them and get in some good fishing. As the weeds develop, these fish are returning to shallower water to take advantage of the cover and feeding opportunities that the weeds provide. Jigs and minnows again are the best baits, and some anglers report some better action on larger minnows such as rainbow chubs or sucker minnows. Most walleye anglers are using large fatheads on their jigs. On some of the larger, colder-water lakes, the fishing is about two weeks behind what we have experienced on the Eagle River chain.
Bass action is starting, and it is time to remind ourselves that the smallies are on a release-only basis. They are indeed coming up on their spawn, so handle them with care. It’ll be a great three weeks for these fish.
Muskie action started May 23. It looks like most of the small and medium lakes contain post-spawn fish that are just beginning to feed a little. You’ll see some beat-up females from the spawn, but most action this early will come from the males.
Panfish action is good, with the crappies eager to get their spawn in if the water temps cooperate, the bluegills just coming up into the shallows, and the perch very active in the emergent weeds. Look for these shallow, emergent weeds to provide great action in the next few weeks.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Walleye action is fair, with the best success during low-light hours. Fish are scattered in 5 to 25 feet, near bottom, and around new weeds, wood, breaks, drop-offs, points, gravel and sand bars, and river channels. Suckers, fatheads, and leeches on jigs or under slip bobbers work well. In the evening, cast or troll crankbaits over and along shallower weedlines, bars, points, and shorelines. Northern pike are active around new weeds on points, shorelines, and in and near shallow bays holding panfish. Pike will hit spinnerbaits, crankbaits, spoons, and jerkbaits, but in the end, it is difficult to beat a sucker under a bobber. Largemouth action is good and getting better with the warming water, especially near spawning areas. Smallmouth action is improving, but is release only until June 20. You will find them near rock, wood, breaks, points, and shorelines in 3 to 10 feet. The most productive baits include tubes, swim baits, jerkbaits, various riggings of plastic worms and crayfish, and live bait.
Crappie action is fair to good, with fish in spawn/pre-spawn mode. Look for them in 3 to 10 feet – though considerably deeper on some lakes – around weeds, wood, brush, bogs, cribs, and other cover.
Bluegill fishing is fair, but increasing water temperatures will quickly improve action. Fish are in or just outside of shallow bays and flats. The usual baits will work – waxies, worms, crawlers, leeches, plastics, and Gulp! baits fished on jigs or plain hooks, with or without bobbers.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
MARINETTE / OCONTO AREA
Fishing slowed down on area lakes because of the cooler weather, but water temperatures are still in the low 60s. On Lake Noquebay, bluegill fishing has been tough. The fish are still scattered throughout the lake. The bluegill spawn on most of the area lakes is still at least a week away. The reports on bass and walleye fishing is that it has been a slow bite.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Despite waking up to cold winds and snow on the ground on May 19, mild temps will return. It just seems like a long way off when you are sitting in a boat now. The past few days of wind and cold weather have slowed fishing, pushing some species out of the shallows. With forecasted highs only reaching the high 60 to low 70s, it will take some time to see fish return in numbers to the shallows.
Crappies: Very good to fair. The cold shut down a lot of what was a very good bite. Males had moved in to make beds. The females were hanging just outside. On some lakes, the males are committed, possibly already guarding eggs, and won’t leave. Look for a return as waters move back into the low 60s after having dropped into the 50s.
Walleyes: Good to fair. The recent cold slowed this bite. Casting shallow-running crankbaits (Floating Rapalas, Rattlin Rouges, Thundersticks, and No. 11 Scatterraps) over shallow, new plant growth, especially after dark, has been a good producer. Jig anglers have to fish deeper as of late due to cold weather. The return of warmer weather should bring that daytime bite back up. While minnows have seen the bulk of the bite, some anglers are reporting a good bite on leeches, as well.
Bluegills: Good to fair. The bite will improve. Nice bluegills up to 8½ inches have been reported on the Minocqua chain.
Largemouth bass: Good to fair. Slower approaches are working best, with wacky-style worms, jigs, and crayfish combos producing the best. As water temps climb, other tactics will come into play.
Pike: Good to fair. Pike are not as affected by the cold as other species, but it’s still not a great bite.
Perch: Good to fair. Some very nice perch up to 12 inches are being caught in shallow water (3 to 7 feet). Many are feeding up to put weight back on after spawn. Don’t be afraid to use medium to large fatheads for these fish with big appetites.
Smallmouth bass: Good to fair. It is still release only for this species, but some very nice smallies to 20 inches have been caught on X-raps and jig and twisters this past week.
Muskies: A good portion of the population spawned early due to the warm April and early May. Typical tactics apply – 6-inch crankbaits and smaller bucktails. Some smaller rubber baits also would be a good option.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
The warming water that spurred fish activity cooled a bit during the cold weather of last week. Walleyes show no real pattern, though anglers report success on leeches, minnows, and crankbaits on breaklines in 8 to 15 feet. For northerns, fish new weeds. Some largemouth and smallmouth bass are making spawning beds. Smallmouth fishing is catch and release in the northern zone until June 20. Warming water pulled panfish into shallow bays. There is some crappie spawning and this will increase in the coming weeks.
Bridge Bait, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, (715) 339-3625.
Panfish are moving in and out of the shallows, but when they bite best, it’s usually in 2 to 6 feet on Long Lake, Spooner Lake, Shell Lake, and McKenzie Lake. Bass fishing is consistent on shallow structure in most lakes.
AAA Sports Shop (715) 635-3011
With all of the rain and wind of late, there has been a lot of run-off, so boats are heading out five miles to find the mud line on Lake Superior. Once they find the line, they are fishing the edge for cohos. Once that settles down and the lake clears, fishing will be closer to shore. Anglers also are doing well on walleyes in the St. Louis River.
Bait Box, (715) 398-3554.