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Monday, January 30th, 2023

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Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – December 9th, 2016

ASHLAND AREA

Smallmouth bass fishing in Chequamegon Bay is still good right now using minnows. A few anglers have been trolling and catching some nice sized browns. People are fishing off the docks and the shoreline and catching some nice browns, rainbows, perch and crappies. A good spot to fish is the old ore dock base. There is still some time to fish the bay from a boat if you haven’t put it away yet. We will keep you posted on ice conditions when the ice starts forming.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.

CUMBERLAND AREA

Very few anglers have been out on the water since most of them have put their boats away. Anglers are waiting for some safe ice so that they can start walking out to some of their favorite spots. Panfish and walleyes should be near the same spots where you were fishing them in early November. Start there when the ice finally arrives.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164

DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA

The perch fishing has been a highlight up here in the Door County area. Basically from the Little Sturgeon area south to Sturgeon Bay the perch fishing has been excellent for the past two months. A majority of fishermen switched gears to deer hunting for the past couple of weeks, but hunters who bagged their bucks early put their boats back in the water and got in on some that great late fall fishing. And with the weather as mild as it is, we may be fishing via boat through Christmas. Fathead minnows have been the best live bait. And now that the water temps are finally dropping a bit and are at temperatures that we normally would have seen back in October, the walleyes are starting to become more active. The only problem is it’s now December and a lot of boats are already stored. Normal fall spots such as Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point and the Larsen’s Reef are all good areas to start in. Trolling with deep diving and regular suspending crankbaits at night and during the day will work.

The bass fishing has also been excellent as of late with the cooler water temperatures. The bass seem to be schooled up like they are in the fall when they are getting ready for winter. The best depths right now seem to be in that 20- to 30-foot range around those steep shoreline drop-offs and off shore structure. Blade baits, Rippin’ Raps, tubes and medium and large suckers seem to be the main baits right now.

Pike fishing is also pretty good right now as it usually is in the late fall and into winter. Better areas have been the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, Sawyer Harbor, the flats, Little Sturgeon, and Riley’s Bay. Casting and trolling large crankbaits and spoons, spinnerbaits, swimbaits and dragging around large suckers are always a good bet to boat some pike in the fall.

And with no ice yet in the bay, there have been some brown trout being caught in the northern Door County Peninsula by anglers trolling around in the harbors. Floating Rapalas and Storm Thundersticks are generally a couple of the go-to baits

There are also some fall-run rainbows and brown trout cruising some of the Lake Michigan tributaries throughout the county. Small spinners and drifting spawn sacs are very good options in those streams.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.

EAGLE RIVER AREA

At this point of the year we have only one question – now what? We had a start of some ice for the winter anglers, and some snow for the hunters, and felt that we were on the way to winter. Then this. What a miserable piece of weather. Our open-water season is basically done for the year. You could get out if you really, really want to, but you’ll be by yourself on the lake. We assume that the walleyes are biting well on the Eagle River Chain in the deep holes, but we have no reports from anyone, as all our fishermen concentrated on deer hunting over the last week.

Maybe it’s time to look forward to the ice fishing season. We all look forward to the early season for walleye fishing as that ice gets thicker. You will have to spud or auger your way out as you approach first ice to check that thickness. As you can get out, look for the deep edge of the weeds and set your tip-ups in the afternoon and evenings on those edges. This will catch those walleyes as they move shallower in the evenings to feed in the weeds. The greener the weeds the better, as those green weeds hold more baitfish. Usually, the walleye guys prefer shiners for bait, as they have a little more visibility and smell than other minnows. At the start of the season the best times seem to be evening through about 8 p.m.

One good reminder: When fishing with these tip-ups with thinner ice, locate yourselves on the shore side of the tip-ups while waiting. The fish are sensitive in the early season to movement and noise on the ice. Drill extra holes so you don’t have to be drilling later when the fish are moving in. You don’t want to scare them away. After dark, move a tip-up or two into the weeds to get those fish who have moved past past your baits.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA

There has been very little interest in fishing lately. Most of the guys went deer hunting and are now bowhunting again, or waiting for some ice to appear.

Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.

HAYWARD AREA

There has been a handful of anglers chasing walleyes and some people were going after muskies last week, but with that season now closed, fishing pressure has dropped way off. That’s too bad, because the walleye action was finally improving. Concentrate your efforts on the edges of deep holes, drop-offs, rock bars, and cribs. Jigs with suckers are the go-to bait, though some anglers fishing those same areas are having success slowly fishing large swimbaits. Crappie anglers – those who are on the water –report good success. Search for suspending fish over deep basins, holes, and mud flats. Crappie minnows work best, but plastics and Gulp! baits are also producing fish. Any ice that had started to form was pretty much gone early this week due to unseasonably warm weather. Deer hunters continued to find success during the second week of hunting, although reports varied greatly from one group to the next. Some thought they saw fewer deer than expected, while others were impressed with the number of deer they encountered.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

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

IRON COUNTY AREA

The few fishermen who have been out have been finding a few perch and crappies around the wood on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. Most anglers are waiting for some ice.

Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123.

LA CROSSE AREA

Anglers report rising water on the Mississippi River, but not many fishermen have been out. Those who have been out haven’t had a lot to report. Fishermen on Lake Onalaska were scratching out a few bluegills and crappies, but they didn’t find anything to write home about.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.

Bob’s Bait and Tackle, (608) 782-5552.

LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES

There has been very little fishing activity reported from the Lake Michigan tributaries. On the Root River, the DNR’s final fish processing day at the Root River Steelhead Facility occurred on 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. Over 760,000 coho eggs were collected from 352 females. The facility will be opened for steelhead spawning after ice-out in the spring. Inland fishermen are waiting for ice to form on the area lakes so they can start chasing panfish, bass, pike and walleyes.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.

LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA

Fishing reports have been very light. There are very few anglers out.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.

MADISON AREA

Some shore fishing guys reported some walleye action near the bridges and breakwater areas. During the day they have been catching walleyes on the steeper breaks near Fox Bluff, Governor’s Island, and Picnic Point. Most of the walleyes have been small.

D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.

MARINETTE/OCONTO AREA

In Oconto County, fishing pressure was low with the exception of Oconto Breakwater Park and Oconto Park II. A few anglers at Stiles were catching some bluegills and crappies below the dam on the Oconto River. One 8-pound rainbow was caught below the Stiles dam on a Rapala. 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- to 9-inch range.

In Marinette County, Fishing pressure was low with the exception of the Menominee River. Walleyes, browns and whitefish are being caught on the Menominee River mainly from the dam at Hattie Street down to Stephenson Island. Jigs tipped with minnows or crawler pieces, crankbaits, flies and spoons are all being used. The walleye bite seems to be best during periods of low light.

Here’s a survey update from the Lower Menominee River: The target species for the daytime electroshocking survey was lake whitefish, and around 100 were sampled and given a pink floy tag with a unique number. Anglers catching a tagged fish are asked to call the phone number on the tag to report it. Additionally, seven brown trout ranging from to 22.8 to 30.5 inches were sampled and released. Eight rainbow trout ranging from 17.5 to 30 inches were sampled and released. Flow was at 2,230 cubic feet per second at the McAllister gage upstream. On the Lower Peshtigo River, the target species for the daytime electroshocking survey was lake whitefish, and 40 were sampled and given a pink floy tag. One 22.7-inch female brown was captured and released. Flows were at 532 cubic feet per second at the Peshtigo dam.

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

MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA

Is there ice? Some. Is it safe? No. Four nights of temps in the teens, with the last two very calm has forced water temps into the close-to-freezing ranges. Some small ponds, edges of shallow lakes and bays of flowages have locked up. The pond behind our shop froze Nov. 21 which typically means that Lake Minocqua will follow in seven to 10 days. Forecast of night temps in the 20s with high of mid-30s means we should see some fishable ice soon.

The muskie season ended with some good action being seen. The weekend was rough with high, cold winds relegating the few hardy souls to trolling. That proved successful for one particular crew who boated an ugly 47-incher on Saturday evening. Calmer temps allowing for more casting now, suckers overall still best. Muskie season ended Nov. 30.

Walleyes: Good. Few participants over the weekend due to wind. Prior and since, fishing has been good below dams and along windward shores towards dusk on chubs, suckers and large fatheads.

We are waiting to get some lake temps, but overall cold weather is putting us in good conditions for early December ice fishing.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.

NECEDAH/NEKOOSA AREA

Fishing on the Wisconsin River Flowage has been good for the few anglers who have been out. Lots of walleyes in the 14-inch range are being caught on Castle Rock and Petenwell flowages. Muskie action was very good below the Castle Rock Dam on Red October Tubes in motor oil color. Action below Petenwell dam has also been good using larger perch colored crankbaits.

Area deer hunters reported mixed success with the extremely windy conditions on opening day. Success rates were above average for bucks with some very good bucks harvested. The antlerless harvest was below 2015 levels. It was a good safe hunt.

Waterfowling again has continued to be tough with very few new birds in the area. Duck hunters are also battling high water in the rivers.

Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.

Castle Rock Dam Bait Shop, (608) 339-2967.

PRICE COUNTY AREA

With the close of muskie season in the Northern Zone on Nov. 30, the open-water fishing season for 2016 has basically come to an end. There were a few last minutes muskie anglers trying their luck – and success continued to be good with fish up to 45 inches being caught and released. There have been a few reports of walleye anglers still trying their luck on the local rivers below the dams, but success has been generally low. Most anglers are now waiting for solid ice cover to get back into fishing mode. With that said, nearly all lakes in the area still have open water. There was about an inch of ice along some of the smaller lakes and shoreline areas, but that has mostly disappeared with the milder weather of the last week. Several nights of calm weather with cold temperatures in the low teens or single digits are needed to get to “safe” ice – but the relatively mild temperatures predicted for the next week will slow the formation of solid ice cover.  Most ice fishermen wait for 3 to 4 inches of clear new ice needed for their first ice fishing venture of the season – but that looks to be at least a week or so away yet.

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

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

SPOONER AREA

Deer hunters wrapped up the firearms season with mostly good reports. The harvest in this area sounded as good, if not better, than last season. Fishing has been limited with no interest to work open water any longer and no ice to speak of early this week.

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.

SUPERIOR AREA

The skim ice that had started to form on the small lakes and ponds was eliminated due to strong winds and heavy rain. A few people were fishing open water last weekend, but not enough of them to offer any reports. Hunter success during the muzzleloader season appears to be limited based on anecdotal reports.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

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