Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – November 24th, 2016
Muskies remain active in shallow water on the Apple River, Deer Lake, and Bone Lake. Hit Lake Wapogasset for walleyes in 12 to 15 feet, while panfish are being caught in 8 to 15 feet on Bear Trap Lake, Round Lake, and Pike Lake. Waterfowl hunters have commented that bird numbers have declined some, but they were also hoping that the cooler weather predicted to arrive soon would push some new birds in.
Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231
Fall fishing is good right now and the smallmouth bite on Chequamegon Bay is continuing to be great. Cohos, brown trout and rainbows are biting, with live bait being the best choice. Trout and salmon are being caught along the shoreline by trolling or by casting spoons and flies. Anglers fishing the inland lakes report that there have been some nice sized muskies being caught. With the unseasonably warm weather, anglers were still using their boats. There may be some wind issues on the bay, but the fishing had been great.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Fishing has been pretty good for walleyes and smallmouths. The northern pike action was picking up, too. Those who are still out there report decent catches of smallmouths from 3 to 5 pounds, with a few fish falling in the 5- to 6-pound range. The walleye bite has been slowly improving as the water temperatures slowly drop. Some of the best walleye action has been coming after dark on trolled crankbaits in 10 to 25 feet of water.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Deer activity has picked up; a quick scout of your hunting area will likely reveal scrapes or rubs. Deer have been out feeding during the day. The preliminary results of our “Summer Deer Observation Survey” show great recruitment this year with lots of twin fawns surviving through the duration of the survey. There is a baiting and feeding ban in effect for Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties to help prevent the spread of CWD.
The DNR has a new licensing and registration system for the gun deer season this year. There are a few rule changes that will make tagging your deer different this year. You will be able to register your deer by phone or online, and you can visit the DNR website to see weekly deer harvest totals.
Waterfowl: Hunters are reporting varied success for geese and ducks. Successful hunters are reporting a mixed bag with reports of teal, ring-necked ducks, gadwalls, mallards, wood ducks and mergansers.
Upland birds: Fall turkey hunting in Zone 7 wraps up on Nov. 18. Woodcock season closed on Nov. 7. Hunters are having decent success on ruffed grouse.
Furbearers: Coyote trapping is now open. DNR and university researchers are looking for help to radio-collar incidentally caught bobcats and wolves as a component of population monitoring programs. Trappers with incidentally caught wolves may call (715) 401-1764, and those with bobcats may call (715) 401-1051. Staff will assess the feasibility of meeting with trappers to collar and release the animal.
Muskies: Suckers have become the bait of choice at this point of the year. Throwing a jerkbait or a big crankbait in addition to the sucker will add to success. The worst days are the calm days, and we have had too many of them. A lot of fish in the mid to high 40s have been reported in the area, with a few 50s in the last week.
Walleyes: They’re being found in deep holes and still on some deep rock humps. Jig and large minnow combos, as well as Lindy rigging with a large red-tailed chub, seems to produce the best results. Walleye fishing is good, but not as good as normal at this time of year. There are fish in the deep holes on the chain, but there just don’t seem to be as many bigger fish as normal. Hopefully, that pattern will still happen. On the bigger lakes, there are a lot of fish, but few larger fish. While jigs and minnows are definitely the baits to use, we do get a few reports of crankbaits working along those drop-offs on the big lakes.
Panfish: Bluegills are being found on the deepest weed edges. Crappies are suspending over some mud flats and are setting up for the winter season. Perch are being caught on mud flats using small minnows.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Muskies are hitting suckers or jerkbaits in shallow water on the Chippewa Flowage, Spider Lake, Lost Land Lake, and Teal Lake. Muskie fishing has been good, though the warmer water seems to have somewhat tempered the action. The muskies have been anywhere from shallow to suspending over deep water to breaklines to weed beds. A sucker on a quick-strike rig is the top producing bait and presentation, though some anglers continue to use artificials with some success. Minnows are producing fair to good walleye action in 18 to 24 feet during the day and up shallower in the evenings at Nelson Lake and Grindstone Lake. The fish are somewhat scattered in 18 to 30 feet depths, and deeper, in and around holes and drop-offs. Do not overlook the rivers, especially below the dams. Northern pike action is good around weeds and panfish concentrations at various depths. This is also a terrific time of year for smallmouth fishing, but few anglers are fishing for them – or they are keeping it a secret. The action can be amazing once you locate the smallmouths. Look for suspended crappies over deep water on Nelson, Lake Sissabagama, and the Chippewa Flowage. Archery hunters brought in a couple more nice bucks last week, and grouse hunting reports continue to be favorable.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LA CROSSE AREA
The Lake Onalaska panfish bite has been up and down for most of the month. Local anglers started catching a few crappies and bluegills last week, but they weren’t setting the world on fire. Faithful Lake Onalaska anglers expect to panfish bite to improve once the water finally begins to cool a bit more. They were catching some bass and northern pike in the meantime.
Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.
Bob’s Bait and Tackle, (608) 782-5552.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Fishing reports from the Big Lake were very light last week. At the Root River in Racine County, the DNR had finished its last bit of fish processing at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, Nov. 7, and an additional 186 fish were passed upriver. Throughout the fall, DNR crews handled 2,045 Chinooks, 1,517 cohos, 43 rainbows, and 16 browns. More than 760,000 coho eggs were collected from 352 females. The facility will be reopened for steelhead spawning after ice-out in spring.
On inland lakes, muskie action was best around weeds in 8 to 12 feet of water if there were baitfish around. Fishing deeper structure produced as well, especially for big fish. Casting bucktails, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic baits have triggered numerous follows. Most muskies, however, have been caught using 10- to 12-inch suckers on a quick-strike rig. Soak one sucker boat side, a few feet down for following fish. Suspend the other, under a slip bobber, over deeper structure.
Anglers fishing the Rock River reported catching walleyes and crappies. Crappies were found around fallen trees and wood. Walleyes were found on the edges of deeper holes, along with shallower structure. A jig dressed with a jumbo fathead, a 4-inch plastic tail, or both produced best. Nightcrawlers are also working well.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Most of the trees are free of leaves and archery hunters have been seeing signs of rutting deer. Warm temperatures have meant relaxing conditions in the treestand and nice sunny days to go after small game. Turkeys are active, gathering bugs and building up calories for winter, while flocks of geese take their time moving south. Water levels are high in the marsh, newly worked fields are very wet – waders and knee boots are recommended for moving about in the muddy conditions.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Reports are rolling in from bowhunters that the rut is in full swing. Deer are starting to move now, even during the day, so the rut is beginning. Hunters are reminded they can call to get their deer sampled for CWD or to get it aged. The northern ducks appear to be moving through, with one landowner noting thousands of mallards seen on his fields last week. DNR wildlife management staffers were trying to squeeze in a few prescribed burns to improve grassland habitat, with the burns likely to occur at Mud Lake Wildlife Area or Pine Island Wildlife Areas. Waterfowl are still spread out in flooded farm fields as farmers are harvesting up to the soft spots and leaving the wet areas for later. Fishermen are still catching fish on the Wisconsin River.
Lake Mendota’s turnover is now complete. Guys who have been shorefishing reported some walleye action on the north end near the bridges and the breakwater areas. During the day, they were catching walleyes on the steeper breaks in 20 to 30 feet of water. Most of the fish were small. Anglers were catching a few nice smallies in deep water on Lake Mendota, as well. Muskie anglers were hitting Lake Monona hard, but there hadn’t been much news on catching or size. Lake Waubesa muskie fishermen have also been working hard for little return. It sounds as though Lake Wingra has had the best muskie action.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
In the Marinette area, the Menominee River is producing good catches of walleyes, brown trout, and whitefish from the Hattie Street dam to the mouth of the river, but mainly from the dam at Hattie Street down to Stephenson Island. Stephenson Island and the Fishermen’s Walkway at Hattie Street were the hot spots. Crankbaits and spoons have been working well, along with flies and live bait. The walleye bite seems to be best during periods of low light. Fishing pressure was low throughout the area, with the exception of the Menominee River. Whitefish are starting to show up, too, as they make their annual spawning run up the river.
The DNR had a survey update from the Lower Peshtigo River on Nov. 7. The weekly survey resulted in one pink salmon, two adult brown trout (23.3 and 24.6 inches), and dozens of recently stocked brown trout in the 7- to 9-inch range. Also captured was a 16.8-inch spotted muskie with a clip, indicating it was a stocked fish. The whitefish spawning runs were just beginning, and 44 whitefish were sampled. Water temperatures were still warm at 49 F. On the Lower Menominee River on Nov. 9, the survey resulted in eight adult browns ranging from 22 to 31.9 inches, three rainbows (15.3 to 22.5 inches), and dozens of recently stocked brown trout. Also, 80-plus whitefish were sampled. Walleyes are still fairly abundant.
In Oconto County, a few anglers at Stiles were catching some bluegills and crappies below the dam on the Oconto River. One 8-pound rainbow was also caught below the Stiles dam on a crankbait. Most of the trailers at Pensaukee, Oconto Breakwater, and Oconto Park II were waterfowl hunters. Perch anglers are doing well at the municipal landing in Oconto, the Breakwater and Oconto Park II using minnows and crawler pieces. Some small fish are being caught but most anglers are keeping fish in the 7-inch range.
Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) 424-4108.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
As October seems to have slid into the second week of November, anglers are finding good reason to get the boats out for “one last shot” at landing a muskie or putting some last-minute walleyes or crappies in the freezer. A few 20-degree mornings have helped push surface temps into the upper 40s all throughout the Lakeland area. Some ice on a few bog ponds was also reported by muskrat trappers.
Muskies: Good. While the action has slowed for some, reports have other anglers still getting three to four bites a day, mostly on suckers. Location seems dependent on type of lake as anglers found fish in shallow weeds of 6 to 7 feet outside weed lines on mid-sized to large lakes and some fish in 20 to 30 feet suspending at transition areas where ciscoes and whitefish would be staging.
Walleyes: Good. More attention than would usually be given by anglers, who are taking advantage of the warm weather by spending more time on the water. Use red-tailed chubs, black-tailed chubs, and small suckers in depths of 18 to 26 feet. Nice fish up to 28 inches were caught last week.
Crappies and perch: Good. Still best in green weeds of 6 to 10 feet. Small minnows or mini-mites tipped with waxies are working the best.
Whitefish: Good to very good. They are staging off of nighttime spawning shoals during the day. Jig Swedish Pimples tipped with waxies for the best results.
Deer activity has been high as the rut has been in full swing.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
The unseasonably warm weather has sportsmen flipping a coin on whether to be on the lake or in the woods. The Yellow River below the dam in Necedah has been producing some walleyes and crappies on jigs and minnows. Anglers on Castle Rock and Petenwell flowages have been experiencing some fantastic fishing for mixed bags of walleyes, crappies, white bass, and smallmouths. With water temperatures nearing 50 degrees, muskie action has been good with larger tubes and Medussa baits in fluorescent or perch colors.
Waterfowl hunters are experiencing some action all along the Wisconsin River, but there had been no signs of migration yet as of last week. Canada goose numbers are very low.
Archery hunters have been experiencing some amazing success even with the warm temperatures. Bucks have been on the move all day long in search of receptive does.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.
Castle Rock Dam Bait Shop, (608) 339-2967.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Hunting opportunities abound, the deer rut started, and most outdoor enthusiasts are spending more time in the woods or on their deer stands. When water temperatures dropped into the mid-40s, many anglers put their boats in storage. But there are still many muskie anglers trying their luck, with nearly all of them dragging around large suckers, hoping for that once-in-a-lifetime lunker. Fishing continues to be good, with many anglers finding muskies in a variety of habitats, from suspending over deep water to the edges of old weed beds to up shallow. A few walleye anglers still trying their luck report erratic success on the lakes and flowages, with a few catching eater-size walleyes on large fatheads fished below dams on the rivers. There was a little surge in crappie and perch action, with crappies suspending in deeper water and perch active on mid-depth mud flats.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
There are lots of ducks and geese, and woodcock still around. The warm weather offers more bowhunting opportunities for those who don’t like hunting in the cold. There are still a few anglers poking around for muskies, walleyes, and panfish, and they are having some luck.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.
Minnows are producing walleyes at Island Lake in 10 to 12 feet and crappies on Fish Lake in 15 feet. Deer hunters continue to bring in good numbers of deer with a few more big bucks being tagged last week as the rut picked up.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094