Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – September 18th, 2015
Muskies are chasing bucktails and suckers in 12 to 15 feet on the Apple River, Deer Lake, and Wapogasset Lake. Panfish are biting in 15 to 20 feet Balsam Lake, Half Moon Lake, Pike Lake, and Wapogasset. Walleyes are taking minnows in 14 to 16 feet on Balsam in low-light.
Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231
The smallmouth fishing has been very good with anglers finding them in the drop-offs and in the deeper places out in the bay. Water temps have ranged from the low 50s to the mid-60s, depending on where you’re at. Winds have brought in a few trout and salmon, and they’ve been seen chasing bait around some of the smallmouth spots, but it’s still a little early for steady action if you want to target those fish. For right now, we’re still in a summer pattern, but things will change soon enough. Shallow-water fishing picks up, inland and on Lake Superior, as the water cools and fish are more active during the day. Although the smallmouth bass will stay out in the deep water, the cool fall weather will be a boon to trout and salmon fishermen.
Trollers have still been reporting good numbers of lake trout, especially in the flats and out by the Apostle Islands, but there have not been very many brown trout or salmon yet. It won’t be too much longer before these fish start showing up, especially with cooler temps and some more off-shore wind. This time of year, it pays to start looking at wind directions and understand how those winds affect the water. Off-shore winds (southwest-northwest) will cool the water down and bring in the first schools of cohos and browns. On-shore winds (northeast-east) will feel cool, but actually push warm water in, keeping those trout and salmon farther offshore.
The lake-run browns continue making their way up the Brule River and a few have been spotted in the Sioux as well. The best way to get after these fish is at night. Look for quiet water and throw mouse patterns or large, dark streamers.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Area water temps have been going up and down pretty severely in the last few weeks – very confusing for the fish. A long, slow decline in the water temps is needed to produce the best fishing. Turnover is looming and it will disrupt the fishing and turn these lakes green into October. You can fish through it, but it’s better to jump away from lakes that are in turnover and fish clearer lakes of different sizes and depths.
Walleye action is literally all over the place now that we’re into fall. Many fish are now in deeper water rather than the weeds, so your usual spots are not as good. This is the normal fall pattern as these fish follow the minnows away from the dying weeds and into deeper water. It is the time of year when you need more than one type of bait, as their food preference is all over the place. Usually, minnows and either leeches (if you can get them) or crawlers should be taken on any walleye trip. Fish are being caught as deep as 35 feet on lakes such as North Twin, and the deeper holes are worth checking out on the Eagle River Chain.
Bass are still hitting well, with largemouths still producing the best. In the last warm spell, surface baits were working for both types of bass. The largemouths are still very shallow. Plastics of all types are working well also, along with spinnerbaits. Smallmouths are a little deeper, but are hitting just as well now over hard- bottomed areas.
Northerns are still hitting in the weeds on live bait or spinners. Muskie action has been pretty good. They seem to be spread out, with some of the fish suspended out over deeper water and some up in the weeds. We usually get some very good weed action on all lakes in the early fall, so this would be the place to start on all trips. All types of baits are working well for these fish. Night action is still very good, and daytime fishing is improving every day now as the water temps are declining and feeding windows get longer.
Panfish action is good, with bluegills still providing great action on a daily basis in the weeds. Worms are best, as always. Perch are deeper in the weeds, and the crappies are in deeper water concentrated around brush piles.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Muskie action is inconsistent, though generally good to very good, especially at night. Concentrate on/over weeds and weed edges in depths out to 10 feet, as well as look for fish suspending over deep water. Baits producing the best results at this time include bucktails, Bull Dawgs, crankbaits, minnowbaits, tubes, and topwaters.
Walleye anglers report slow and erratic action, with fish scattered in depths from 5 to more than 25 feet on weeds, wood, hard bottoms, sunken bogs, and brush. Crawlers, leeches (if you can find them) or imitations, suckers, and fatheads, as well as crankbaits, will all catch walleyes.
Northern fishing runs slow to fair to good depending on the water and day. You will find pike in mid-depth to deeper weed beds and weedlines. Suckers work well, as do spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and crankbaits.
Largemouth action is very good to excellent on most waters. Target shallow weeds, lily pads, brush, rock, slop, and other cover in 2 to 7 feet. Weedless soft plastics, jig/craw combos, rigged worms, creature baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, frog imitations and other topwaters are all catching fish.
Smallmouth anglers are having good success fishing 8 to 20 feet of water on hard bottoms and/or near weeds, rock, and other structure. Various bait styles are all catching fish, from plastics to spinnerbaits to poppers.
Crappie action ranges from fair to excellent. Look for fish in 15 to 30 feet of water near bogs, brush, cribs, and other cover, and suspended over deeper water. The most productive baits include crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs or plain hooks, fished with or without bobbers.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
Trout and salmon fishing remains good in Lake Michigan’s Green Bay for anglers trolling spoons in 40 to 80 feet of water. Fair numbers of walleyes and good numbers of bass are being caught in the Menominee River.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Walleye action has been good to very good. Certain early fall-type patterns are setting up. Natural lakes with deep gravel humps are producing walleyes on jigs over 22 to 40 feet of water using large fatheads or red-tailed chubs. Flowages seeing the best action shallow casting weedless jigs tipped with redtails, fatheads, crawlers or Gulp! minnows. wister tail grubs are also scoring fish from depths of 5 feet to as little as 2 feet.
Northern pike action has also been good to very good. There have been lots of reports of anglers catching pike on spinnerbaits over shallow weed beds. Mepps Comets, No. 4 Aglias and Vibrax spinners as well as 4-inch swimbaits are working. Plenty of 22- to 28-inch fish, with some fish of 30 to 33 inches, are being caught. Suckers and chubs on jigs are also producing. Some of the best pike action of the year so far was last week and that should improve.
The muskie bite has been good to very good. With most action occurring up in weeds of 6 to 10 feet, spinnerbaits have been a hot lure lately. The ability to fish above the weeds without getting fouled up has put a lot of fish in the net lately. Rizzo Tails, No. 700 series Buchertails, Mepps Musky Killers and topwater “tail baits” such as Whopper Ploppers, Pacemakers, Top Raiders and Tally Wackers, are moving fish with surface temps all the way up to 77 degrees on some lakes. The blades and topwaters will produce until turnover.
There’s been good bass action. Anglers targeting largemouths are doing well with shallow-running crankbaits and lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Cast wacky worms and jig with plastic crayfish into heavy weeds when fast-moving baits don’t work. Those targetting smallies have been drop-shotting gravel humps and deep coontail edges using Gulp! minnows, pin minnows and plastic crayfish. Working sand grass flats of up to 24 feet with Carolina-rigged creature baits and plastic crayfish is still producing.
There’s been fair to good bluegill action. Warm days found bluegills moving near shore a bit, but not tight. Swim rafts and other forms of shade are holding bluegills waiting to gobble up small leeches, waxies or worms. The crappie bite has been fair. Surprisingly they are not showing up in the usual early fall haunts yet. Casting small jig/spinner combos is the best to locate active or aggressive fish.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Fishing success was pretty good in the past week, with the weather and the fish cooperating. The warm and humid weather made it nice to be around the water and provided some pleasant angling and boating conditions. The sunny skies also bumped up water temps a bit, which helped.
Muskie success surged and many anglers reported good action from medium-sized fish up to 42 inches. The fish seemed to be active along the weed edges and around shallow weed beds. Topwater baits, soft-bodied lures and slower moving crankbaits were most productive. Bass action was also a little more consistent and some very nice fish were released in the last week.
Largemouths are still in their summer pattern and have been relating to thick cover. The various forms of soft plastics have been the most productive and have to be fished along the weed edges, near the woody cover, under docks, or along the bog/marsh edges. Smallmouth action continued to be fair on the flowages and larger rivers, and were being found in the deep-water areas of the larger lakes. Soft plastics and finesse baits have been the most productive, and fish have been relating to wood and rock closest to deep water.
Walleye action also picked up and a few anglers have reported some decent catches. Leeches and crawlers fished along the weed edges and in weed pockets have produced most of the fish, though some have also been found on the deeper gravel and rock bars.
Panfish action is fair. Decent crappie have been a little tough to find but some decent catches of bluegill, perch and rock bass have been reported.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.