Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – July 24th, 2015


Smallmouth fishing has been steady and the bass have transitioned nicely into their summer fishing patterns. The weather has been up and down lately, with a nice stretch of good weather followed by storms and wind. At this time of year, the fish are located on rock piles, current points, and deep edges. Structure in and around Ashland will hold fish. The walleyes have remained in the bay and the fishing is still good along the drop-offs into the channel and over the weedbeds and humps. As for trout, browns and lakers are being caught by trollers using mainly spoons, spin-and-glows, and flies. There have been reports of good trout fishing out into the Apostle Islands, with some really nice fish being caught. We’ve even seen a few schools of brown trout roaming around some of the smallmouth spots, chasing baitfish early in the morning.

Meanwhile, the streams continue to fish pretty well. Anglers are using overall-type imitators or wet flies. On spinning tackle, soft jerkbaits rigged on light jigs work well to find active fish. On the fly-fishing side, it’s hard to beat a Clouser Minnow right now, but big, white baitfish patterns like the Murdich Minnow have been great when the water is rough.

As far as daytime hatches, there’s always a caddis hatch. Many anglers are having good results fishing a dry fly as an indicator with a nymph dropper.

The Hex hatch continues on warm nights along the White and Brule rivers. 

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754

River Rock, (715) 682-3232


Throw topwater baits in the slop and thick weeds for largemouth bass on Staples Lake and Upper Turtle Lake. You’ll find sunfish on the 8- to 10-foot weedlines of Big Round Lake and Beaver Dam Lake, while a few muskies are being taken on bucktails on the weedlines of Sand Lake and Rice Lake.

Indianhead Sport Shop 

(715) 822-2164


We are in a little patch of midsummer blues, as we feel that a lot of our fish have gone to a night bite. This happens every year at about this time, and can’t be avoided. We always suggest that you try some early morning or late-evening fishing for whatever species you want as an alternative. This doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish during the daytime, but some days can be pretty slow. Water temperatures are now up in the mid-70s, or higher. Water levels are pretty good with the rain that we have had. Look at weeds as your starting spot. Then, if you can’t find any fish in all depths of weeds, look for suspended fish out deeper.

Walleye fishing actually has been OK, with a continuation of weed fishing. Look for the broad-leafed cabbage in 5 to 8 feet of water to be holding some walleyes on a daily basis. All types of baits, including crawlers (use half crawlers), leeches, and minnows are working for these fish. On the bigger, deeper lakes, this pattern is very strong. The fish will be in weeds in the 12-foot range on these lakes, but on days with little wind will go deeper. Some deeper rock structure will be good on these lakes, also. With a little cooler water, the minnows work a little better on these lakes. Crawlers are usually the best live bait for these guys, but the bluegills will swarm the crawlers.

Bass action, especially for largemouth bass, has been great. These fish are usually pretty shallow and in cover, so try shallow weeds, lily pads, and piers for best results. Surface baits, plastics, and spinnerbaits work best at this time of year. Smallies have gone deeper right now, so try crayfish imitations in 8 to 12 feet of water for these fish. Leeches work best as live bait for them.

Northerns are in the weeds and hitting quite well. They are hitting minnows or artificial baits equally. Try some larger chubs or sucker minnows for these fish, and the deeper the weeds you fish the better. Look for those deep grass beds in 12 feet or deeper for best results.

Muskie action has been slowing a little, but that’s because they are feeding more at night now. If you can, try late evening right into the midnight hour for bigger fish Surface baits are working well for these fish, along with the deeper-retrieving plastics such as Medusa’s or Bulldawgs.

Panfish action is very good for bluegills, as they are concentrated in the weedy areas and will hit every day. Try lily pads or the weeds up to about 6 feet for the bluegills. Crappies are spread out now as far as location, so you can catch them everywhere. Deeper weeds or deep brush piles are best for these fish in the summer. Minnows are best. Perch are in the deeper weeds and acting like small walleyes. Try some small leeches or worms for them in the weeds, but along the deeper edge.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804


Muskie fishing is good in low-light conditions, such as early morning and late evening. Look for fish in 4 to 22 feet on weedlines, bars, breaks, and rocks. Anglers are catching fish primarily on bucktails and topwaters, but fish are also hitting spinnerbaits, swim baits, and large minnow baits. 

Walleye anglers are finding best success during low light, early mornings, and late evening into dark. Concentrate on depths from 10 to 25 feet on weeds, gravel bars, wood, deep holes, and river channels. Use leeches and crawlers on jigs, live-bait rigs, slip-shot rigs, and slip bobbers. Some anglers are catching fish on trolled crankbaits, Rapalas, and live bait. 

Northern fishing is fair to very good around heavy weeds and cabbage, structure, and baitfish in 4 to 22 feet. Top tempters include spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim baits, small bucktails, buzz baits, trolled crankbaits, and northern suckers under bobbers. 

Largemouth action is good to very good on/around rocks, docks, wood, weeds, slop, lily pads, cribs, brush, and bogs in depths to 15 feet. Bait choices vary from plastics to tubes to topwaters/frogs, craws, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, crawlers, and suckers. 

Smallmouths present a challenge for anglers. You will find fish along weedlines, breaks, rock points and bars, stumps, and cribs. Top enticements include tubes, drop-shot rigs, swim baits, jerkbaits, wacky worms, crawlers, plastics, topwaters, fatheads, and suckers. 

Crappie anglers report good action, especially in the evening. Fish are suspending on weedlines, over deeper water, and near bogs, brush, and cribs in 6 to 22 feet. The most productive baits include crappie minnows, waxies, Mini-Mites, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs or plain hooks, and Beetle Spins.  

Look for bluegills in 4 to 20 feet around weeds, weedlines, wood, brush, and cribs. Use waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawler pieces, leeches, and plastics on jigs or plain hooks, with or without bobbers. 

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921

Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992


Angling pressure on the Peshtigo and Menominee rivers has been low. The catfish bite at the Peshtigo Harbor has been slow, although a few fish are being caught on crawlers fished on bottom. Along with catfish, the occasional walleye, sheepshead, and carp are being caught. Anglers report some good brown trout fishing by trolling the “trout bar” and using plugs and spoons, with green working well. Walleyes, catfish, and smallmouths are still being caught on the Menominee River by boaters and shore anglers alike.

Bluegill fishing on Lake Noquebay has been slow during the past week. The latest report is smaller size, under 6 inches, and fewer in total. The bluegills are still in 6 to 10 feet of water adjacent to the weeds. Bass fishing on Noquebay has been improving as of late. We have heard of some nice 2-pounders being caught in 5 to 7 feet of water on the weed flats. As for High Falls and Cauldron Falls, the bluegill fishing has been tough and sporadic. Bass fishing and walleye fishing is still slow. The water is starting to clear up, so we are anticipating better fishing opportunities in the next few weeks. We are starting to get some reports, from the muskie fishermen, of action on Noquebay.

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


Largemouth bass: Very good. The largemouth population continues to grow here in the northwoods. With high populations, these bass are covering a large area and hitting a wide variety of live bait and lures. While large leeches and crawlers on weedless jig are hard for these bass to resist, don’t rule out artificial baits as well. The top-water action is best at dawn or dusk.

Bluegills: Very good. They can be found suspending around deep weed edges and on top of cabbage in some areas. It’s a great time for poppers and dry flies.

Smallmouth bass: Good. Action is improving as the water warms up. While off-shore rock/gravel is holding some fish, deep coontail edges are providing better action to anglers, too.

Muskies: Good. Blades are working the best. Try bucktails and spinnerbaits over weeds in 8 to 12 feet, and despite movement deeper, don’t leave out shallow inside weed edges. Topwater action is good with tail-type baits scoring for evening anglers.

Walleyes: Good. You have to play the sun and wind, but walleyes are relating to cabbage. Anglers working low-light times and using shallow-running cranks to “tick” weed tops are coming up with jarring strikes. The traditional jig and crawler or large leech are doing well, as is slip-bobbering the same baits into pockets of weeds. 

Crappies: Good. Work deep cabbage tops with small, flashy jigs. 

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797

J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616


The northern part of Wisconsin received several big rainfalls in the past week and this has kept lakes, rivers, and streams at a relatively high level for the midsummer period. The wet conditions also have kept bug levels pretty high, so any outdoor enthusiasts should be ready for lots of mosquitoes, deer flies, and horse flies.  

Despite several days of windy conditions, fishing success has been generally good in the past week. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have been providing the most consistent action. Most largemouths have settled into their midsummer habitats and have been found near woody cover, along deep bog edges, under docks, and near thick weeds and bulrushes The afternoon hours have produced the best catches, with soft-plastic baits and topwaters being the most productive. Smallmouth bass have been moving to the mid-depth woody cover and rock bars, and some nice catches have been made on small finesse plastics and crayfish-type baits.  Walleye fishing has been a bit erratic, with some days producing good action and other days seeing hardly a bite. The best catches have been made in the mid-depth weedbeds during the low-light periods. Weedless jigs tipped with leeches or crawler pieces and dropped into open pockets in the weedbeds have been the most successful method. Muskie fishing has continued to be generally good, with most anglers reporting quite a few sightings and follows. Slower topwater lures, medium-size crankbaits, and bucktails have been the most productive lures, and the weed edges have been the best spots. Panfish action has been fair, with bluegills, perch, and rock bass being found along the weed edges and around mid-depth cover.

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

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

Categories: North (Central), Wisconsin Fishing Reports

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