Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report — May 5, 2017


Crappies and sunfish continue to move in and out of the shallows on most lakes with the changing weather conditions. When the sun is out and water temperatures climb, panfish are being caught in less than 6 feet of water on Lake Wapogasset, Deer Lake, Balsam Lake, and Bear Trap Lake.

Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231


Chequamegon Bay fishermen report that the smelting run is slowing, but fishing is great for game fish species, with loads of brown trout throughout the bay.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Look for crappies and sunfish in the shallow, dark-bottomed bays of Big Round Lake, Lake Vermilion, Staples Lake, Rice Lake, and Upper Turtle Lake. These fish bite best when it’s calm, warm, and bright. The biting hasn’t been too good when it’s been cold and dark out.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164


The best thing happening right now is that the walleye bite is pretty good – night or day, with the daytime bite improving more quickly towards the south near Chaudoir’s Dock. The northern pike action has been just as good as the walleye fishing, if not better. Anglers are also still catching brown trout on both sides of the peninsula.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

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


For perch, the best approach is to set up slip bobber rigs with split shots and Aberdeen hooks or small jigs tipped with small minnows. Look for areas in the shallows around any structure, or in the water around sand bottoms.

Crappies are staging in deeper water adjacent to the spawning areas right now. We need more consistently warm weather to get these fish up, but we are on that spring roller coaster of warm/cold weather each week right now. These crappies spawn in the same areas as the perch, with bulrush areas added to the mix. They’re even more fun to fish than the perch when they’re in. The same light tackle you use for the perch is perfect. Minnows are by far the best bait for these fish.

The May 6 opener is almost here. Walleyes may be post-spawn, with the females out deeper recovering. They’ll move back to the shallows as the weeds grow in that shallower water. Try jigs and minnows.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Fox River fishing pressure was high last week and most boats launching from metro landing headed into the bay. Anglers targeting walleyes had mixed success, with a few anglers catching up to 12 fish. Most of the anglers are reporting walleyes are spawned out and are returning to the bay. Anglers were catching northern pike, sheepshead, and white bass.

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


Panfish continue to move in and out of shallow water on most lakes. But when the weather is nice, Nelson Lake and the Chippewa Flowage have been producing crappies and sunfish. Trolling stickbaits over 80 feet of water on Lake Superior has produced coho salmon and brown trout.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

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


In Kenosha County, shore anglers in the harbor caught a few brown trout on live roaches under a bobber and on bottom rigs. Fishing on the Pike River was slow.

In Racine County, boaters were trolling in the 25 to 30 feet straight out from the harbor and a little south for brown trout and a couple of coho salmon. Pier anglers found the going slow, with a few brown trout landed each day on spoons and crankbaits.

In Milwaukee County, most of the fish landed in the harbor behind Summerfest were brown trout caught with shiners fished 8 to 10 feet down below slip bobbers. A few anglers targeted pike in the areas around the McKinley Marina with crankbaits and spoons. Pike up to 36 inches were caught near the Coast Guard memorial bridge over the past two weeks. Activity at the McKinley and Riverfront ramps continues to increase with the warmer weather and trollers were catching a few fish. Anglers under the Hoan Bridge continue to target browns and rainbows with shiners, spawnsacks, and fathead minnows.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


Walleye action is improving as fish make their way back down the river toward Lake Winnebago. White bass action remains steady in the river.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


Fishing has still been spotty. A few fish are being caught, with channel cats up to 22 pounds being caught in the river and up around Cherokee Marsh. Most of the panfish have been small, but there has been some decent action here and there, with some success on the “triangles,” and Monona Bay.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Anglers had to deal with some very high and fast water in the Menominee River, which kept catch rates down. Boat anglers fishing just off the mouth in Lake Michigan caught some nice brown trout, a few walleyes, and a couple pike.

Waterfront Sports, (906) 424-4108.


Panfishing has been very weather dependent, with very good reports on the nice warming days. When cold, rainy, and, yes, sometimes snowy, the shallows cool and the fish move out.

Yellow perch:  Very good. Most have spawned by now and have started to recover and are hungry. It’s a great time to find larger perch up shallow feeding on minnows, and crawlers below small floats or tipped behind light jigs.

Crappies: Very good to good. They are in shallow on warm days. Toss tiny plastics under small floats, sometimes dressed with waxie or spike. Small minnows or Twister tails are also effective.

Bluegills: Good. They are also moving shallow on warm days. Tiny jigs tipped with worms, waxies or Gulp waxies are working the best.

Cold weather slowed otherwise good panfishing. Lots of walleye spawning is done, but some of the larger lakes were still in the midst of the spawn last week.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


Crappie reports continue to be slow, but water temps are slow to rise. Trolling crankbaits in the top 20 feet of water has triggered lake trout and coho salmon in the Park Point area of Lake Superior. The smelt ran good last weekend and there’s still some steelhead hanging in the rivers.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

Categories: News, Wisconsin Fishing Reports

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