Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – May 27th, 2016
Chequamegon Bay fishing is very productive for trout and salmon trollers. Most anglers continue to use crankbaits. The colder nights dropped water temperatures, keeping fish in shallower water for now. Anglers using the same crankbaits as they are for trout are catching some walleyes in the channel, the slough areas, and along the Ashland shoreline. Also along the shoreline, anglers soaking smelt are catching northern pike and brown trout. Smallmouth fishing was great until the temperature drop, but it will pick up again as water temperatures warm in the shallows.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Minnows are working best for walleyes in 2 to 4 feet on Granite Lake or 10 feet on Shell Lake. Mepp’s spinners, crawlers, or Rooster Tails are turning brown trout and brook trout on the Clam River and Yellow River. Small spinners or spoons are producing brown trout on Beaver Lake.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
EAGLE RIVER AREA
We had crummy weather through May 15. While we expect some bad weather each spring, it was miserable. We’ve seen enough snow, thank you, for the rest of the spring. Thankfully, temperatures are expected to rise daily, and the water temps will quickly follow. Many crappies have spawned, but there are a lot that hadn’t gotten there yet. Our hope is that they will come in and finish. The same goes for the bass. Walleye fishing has been OK, but not in the great category. Many of the females will move to deeper water to recover from the spawn when water temps rise. When feeding, they will move back in to shallower water in search of minnows using weeds for cover. This means you will find much more active fish in those weeds. Jigs with large fathead minnows are working very well now. On the Eagle River chain, don’t hesitate to go extremely shallow for these fish. Bass action has been OK; many smallies are cruising the shorelines where they will be spawning shortly. We had reports of smallies and largemouths moving to their beds and being caught before the last cold front hit. Provided we have some sun and warm weather, they’ll resume that movement. Bluegills will be moving into the shallows in a week or so with the warmer weather.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Walleye fishing is fair and inconsistent. As usual, the prime hours are early morning and the hour before dark. Depths vary from 4 to 22 feet, depending on the lake, location, time, and weather. Jigs and fatheads work best, but anglers are also reporting success on suckers, crawlers, leeches, and plastics under slip bobbers or on split shot rigs, and with Beetle Spins. In the evening, just before dark, cast or troll crankbaits along shorelines.
Northern pike action is good in shallow weeds and anywhere you find concentrations of panfish. Suckers are always a good choice. For artificials, try crankbaits or work spinnerbaits and spoons tipped with Twister tails through the weed beds.
Largemouth bass are moving towards the shallows and you will find them around weeds, brush, and other structure. Live bait, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, spoons, and plastics (worms, frogs, grubs, etc.) are all effective baits.
Smallmouth bass fishing in the northern bass zone is catch-and-release only until the season opens June 18.
Crappies are making a spawning effort, but the cold weather pushed them to somewhat deeper water. Start in 10 feet or so and move shallower – or start shallow and work deeper – until you find the fish. Bait choices include crappie minnows, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, Gulp! baits, and small plastics under slip bobbers, and small spinners.
Look for bluegills in warm water bays and shallows. Sunshine and warmer temperatures will move them back to shallow water. Best baits include waxies, worms, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small hooks, jigs, and teardrops fished under slip bobbers.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
IRON COUNTY AREA
The best action is in 8 to 14 feet, with the active bite concentrated in early morning hours and the hour before dark. Jig/minnow combos or leeches on slip bobber rigs are providing the best success, though Rapalas and crankbaits cast along shore in the hour before dark produce fair action. Panfish anglers are finding the most consistent success, with crappies and bluegills really starting to concentrate in the shallows, tucked along shore in the warmer bays.
Turtle River Trading Company, (715) 476-0123.
In Marinette County, a few pike and walleyes were caught at the Peshtigo River mouth. Large shiners under a bobber in the river mouth were catching a few pike, while trolling and jigging in 4 to 12 feet of water has accounted for the walleyes. A few brownies and walleyes were caught out of Little River by anglers trolling in 6 to 12 feet of water using mostly crankbaits in fire tiger, purple, and clown colors. Some walleyes were caught by the Hattie Street dam on live bait, crankbaits, and small spoons. Trolling the Menominee River for walleyes has been slow.
In Oconto County, anglers looking for walleyes out of the Geano Beach launch report decent catch rates on crankbaits and crawler harnesses with the best bite coming in early morning.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Snow in mid-May! A big step backward in weather saw area lakes lose as much as 10 degrees and more in surface temperature. Many anglers who scheduled their fishing trips were disappointed to see such weather play havoc. Pike action was fair. The drastic drop in temperature was too much for even these fish, in most cases. A few anglers reported nice catches using black-tailed chubs on a jig or under floats. Crappie action was poor to fair, with fish deeper than usual. Same for largemouths and walleyes. A few patient bass anglers reported catching fish – and some big ones up to 18 inches – in 6 to 10 feet of water and weeds. The best walleye bites were found in 14 to 22 feet of water. Slowly dragging large fatheads or small chubs up and over wood and rocks worked best. Using jigs, Lindy rigs and slip floats on a slow drift also produced fish.
Despite recent cold weather, from here on out things look very good. Temps in the low 70s should ramp up the crappie spawn, get baitfish back shallow, and get weeds growing. It’s been a cold; Fish should be hungry.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
The weather hasn’t been the best for fishing and anglers are having trouble finding fish in their traditional spring spots. If you look for the fish, they are willing to bite. Local guides have looked deeper for fish with the falling temps. Crappies and other panfish have pushed back to the breaks in the deeper areas of the lakes. We have been swimming small plastics such as Berkley Ripple Shads, tubes or sliders on light jigs down the breaks with good success. Others have done OK with minnows under slip floats. Walleye have been scattered from deep to shallow. Some of the best luck has been covering a lot of water with crankbaits in shallow wood and mud. Other anglers are doing well by trolling or drifting. Look for the fishing, especially panfishing, to improve as water temps rise.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
Walleye anglers have found success with many techniques, including trolling, jigging, and live bait under slip floats. Several trout anglers caught limits of brownies and brookies drifting a worm on a hook under a good cut bank. Panfishing seemed slow, but crappies were found in the shallows.
Big Mike’s, (715) 349-2400.