Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report — April 21, 2017


The smelters that went out April 13 pulled in only one gallon of smelt. The smelters with drop nets at Bay View Beach pulled in only a few smelt, so smelting is just now getting started. There are steelhead in the rivers. With any rain expect more fresh fish in the streams. The early steelhead season on the tributaries opened March 25. The streams are open up to the first barrier. Some nice steelhead have been caught, primarily by using spawn.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Bluegills and crappies were just starting to bite, but recent cold weather and wind has dropped water temperatures, which has slowed the bite. The few anglers looking for panfish were not having much success early this week.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164


Brown trout fishing continues to be very good on both sides of Door County for shore fishermen and boat fishermen. Anglers trolling for browns have been fishing in water less than 25 feet for the most part with crankbaits and spoons. Shore fishermen and fishermen casting from boats are fishing with spoons, soft plastics baits, and some crankbaits. Stream fishermen are enjoying one of the best rainbow trout runs in recent years. Pike action has been going well throughout the county, especially from Sturgeon Bay south to Little Sturgeon. Drifting with suckers and fathead minnows and casting and trolling with large crankbaits and spoons has been the ticket.

Walleye action is starting to heat up now that the ice has left and fishermen can target them a bit more. Night trolling is a great way to boat a giant walleye. Fish along the rocky shoreline drop-offs in the 6- to 20-foot range. Long-line suspending crankbaits behind boards or sweep fish with baits like Husky Jerks and Smithwick Rogues. During the day, fishermen will rip jigs along those secondary drop-offs in 14 to 25 feet.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

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


Spring is here and the loons are back. We’ve seen geese and ducks, too. When you go outside, there are birds we haven’t heard since last year. Opening day is May 6, so we have a while to go before we can walleye fish unless we go south or east to the river systems. The very first fish we think about is the perch. They move shallow quickly after the ice goes out. When they do come in they look for the warmest areas they can find. Stumps, brush piles, last year’s weeds and rubble on the bottom and downed trees all provide cover. For bait, we have found minnows to be the best all-around bait early. Waxies and worms will also work, but for bigger fish minnows are best.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Now that the ice is gone, everyone is eagerly awaiting the season opener. Until then, anglers are taking their boats out of storage and getting their gear ready. Many are getting out on the Menominee River to try their luck at walleyes. Reports have been good although the daily bag limit is only one fish. Most fishermen are choosing to use fatheads, while others are preferring to use artificial lures. Once the spring night turns on, it won’t matter much.

Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.


Duck Creek’s main channel is open. The two access points on Longtail were mostly open, and Harbor Lights Road access was open. The Suamico River is open. Anglers fishing the shore of the Fox River are concentrating their efforts along the shore at Voyager Park. Despite the rain many anglers lined the wall and waded off the island in hopes of landing a nice walleye. Anglers have reported that catches are varying throughout the day. Most anglers fishing from shore were using artificial bait to have the best success. The boat launches were lined with trucks and trailers from the Fox Point launch to the fairgrounds. Those that fished long hours were greeted with great catch numbers. The bite should pick up with warmer temperatures forecasted.

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


Bluegills and crappies were starting to bite at Nelson Lake and the Chippewa Flowage, but the bite slowed with the return of cold weather early this week. Spawn sacs, wax worms, crawlers, and yarn-tied flies were producing steelhead on the Brule River.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

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


Anglers are catching crappies and perch on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. Both panfish species have left the deep wintering holes and have spread out along the shorelines.

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


In Racine County, upstream of the steelhead facility most anglers are focusing their efforts at the Horlick dam, and a few are fishing at Quarry Lake Park. No anglers reported catching any steelhead at Quarry Lake Park. A lot of suckers were reported to have been caught near the dam. Anglers that caught steelhead and suckers reported using an orange and/or chartreuse yarn egg. Downstream from the facility there was very little fishing pressure and no particular stretch of river that anglers seemed to prefer. Fishing was slow.

In Milwaukee County, large waves kept most anglers off McKinley Pier over the past two to three weeks. A group of four anglers were seen fishing on the lake side and harbor side of the pier on April 9, with no reports of fish landed. Anglers on the shoreline behind Summerfest are landing mostly brown trout. Most of the browns landed by the Summerfest harbor were caught with shiners. Brown trout are still being landed in the Lakeshore State Park lagoons. Boaters out of McKinley and Riverfront continue to target brown trout with spoons and crankbaits in Milwaukee Harbor.

In Ozaukee County, the Port Washington harbor is still producing a few brown trout at times, but it has been fairly slow. Anglers have mostly been using spawn sacs or shiners on the bottom near the power plant discharge, though some have been casting jigs with plastic minnows, various spoons, or crankbaits with some success as well.

In Sheboygan County, the Sheboygan River has been producing a few steelhead and occasional brown trout, mostly around the Kohler dam area, but fish can be found right throughout the river. Fish can be caught on spawn under a bobber or drifted with a three-way rig on the bottom. Lots of northern pike were reported being caught in the river  with spinners.

The harbor area is still seeing little effort lately, but typically brown trout or steelhead can be found around the harbor or even off the beaches.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


Wolf River anglers were still waiting for the walleyes to leave the upstream spawning marshes and return to the river as of last week. In the meantime, they were catching panfish and white bass. White bass showed up in the Fox River late last week near Oshkosh. There have also been a lot of crappies around, too.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


Fishing is starting to pickup all over the Madison chain. There has been some catfish action on the north end of Lake Mendota and up into Cherokee Marsh. All of the inlets around Mendota have been producing bluegills. Lake Monona’s bays have been producing bluegills and crappies from boat and from shore.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Anglers have caught walleyes and brown trout in the Menominee River when casting jigs and crankbaits below the dam at Hattie Street. The walleye bite remains slow but should pick up.

In Oconto County, anglers below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River are catching walleyes, but at a rate slower than expected. Most of the fish are males in the 17- to 21-inch range. Large numbers of suckers are also appearing at the dam. Anglers down river all the way to mouth report slow fishing. Pike are now being caught at the mouth of the Oconto River using live bait and dead smelt. Boaters report pods of walleye in 8 to 10 feet of water out in the bay. These fish should be making their run up river in the next few days.

Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) (906) 424-4108.


Fishermen battled a week of cooler than expected weather, but they are still getting out and finding crappies, bluegills, and perch on area lakes. On the sunnier days, the perch have been up in shallow water near shoreline cover.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


Most lakes are covered with black ice and there are pockets of open water on all of them so it’s going fast. The bridge on Island Lake is giving up a few crappies, but most open water attention has been on Lake Superior. Cohos and Kamloops are being caught via trolling out from the Lester River and Park Point areas in Minnesota.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

ating around, but it should be open by now. A few cohos were being caught by those casting spoons from shore. Light numbers of steelhead have been caught in the Falls River. We need some warm days to get the temperatures up and get a smelt run started.

Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.


Categories: News, Wisconsin Fishing Reports

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