It has been an odd fall and fishing on Chequamegon Bay is also “odd.” It wasn’t this warm during the summer. Some cohos moved into the Sioux River while trollers were not looking, so stream anglers are happy. There are also reports of cohos, brown trout, and steelhead in the Brule and Cranberry. Many anglers are fishing with spinners, some with spawn, and flies are very productive. Trollers are doing OK on fish suspending in 30 to 60 feet, with the majority using Dipsey divers and some using downriggers. Smallmouths have still not schooled in their fall haunts, but anglers are catching some beauties.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Crappies and sunfish continue to bite well in 4 to 6 feet at Beaver Dam Lake, Lake Vermillion, Big Round Lake, and Staples Lake. Walleye action is slow, but smallmouth bass are hitting on Shell Lake. Crappies are being caught on the weedlines or over 20 to 24 feet at Granite Lake. Bear hunting is still going strong with bears being shot and good activity at baits. Hunters also are shooting a number of wood ducks and mallards.
Indianhead Sports, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Pike action has been very good from the Little Sturgeon north up to Sturgeon Bay. Look for weed edges and shoreline drops with weed cover. Casting or trolling large crankbaits, spoons and spinnerbaits is a very good option, along with dragging around large suckers. Perch fishing was on fire up until the super-hot weather arrived, then it seemed to slow a bit. Once normal fall weather patterns come back, the perch fishing will pick back up like it was and just get better through fall. Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and downtown Sturgeon Bay all are good spots for perch. Fathead minnows and crawler pieces have been the best live baits. Salmon fishing in the Sturgeon Bay ship canal is still going strong. Trolling and casting an assortment of plugs and spoons is working well, as is soaking spawn sacs. Not a lot of fishermen have been traveling out to the deep water, but the ones who have are experiencing some pretty good fishing right now for some nice 2- and 3-year old salmon and some nice rainbows in 120 to 180 feet. Howie Flies and an assortment of spoons are working well. Bass fish has been going OK. Walleye action has slowed a bit, mainly because of hot weather, but it should go back to normal once it cools off.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Perch are found around the deeper weeds. Using slip bobber rigs tipped with minnows or a piece of red worm should catch you a bunch. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around lay-downs, so a slip bobber rig tipped with small minnow or plastic will work on these. Largemouths will be found around structure. Throwing spinnerbaits and plastic will work around pads and reeds. Northern are in the deeper weeds as the shallow weeds start to die. Walleye anglers will catch pike while jigging the deepest weed edges. Walleyes are also on the rock piles. Minnows are working better now. As the month goes on, these fish will start moving towards the deeper breaks. Every strategy is working for muskies. As the water starts to cool off, muskies will start moving to the deepest of weed edges.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
Sportsmen have been switching gears from fishing to hunting but the unseasonably warm weather over the past week or so has kept many hunters out of the woods and back onto the water. Crappie action continues to be good. Anglers are fishing the weed beds in 12 to 15 feet of water using small jigs tipped with minnows. Muskie action remains steady. Fishermen are reporting lots of follows, and a number of nice fish between 40 and 45 inches were landed. Soft-bodied crankbaits and bucktails are producing the best results. The perch and bluegill bite has been good. Minnows are bringing in the perch and worms are working well for the bluegills. Bass action has been good, too. Fishing off the edge of the weed beds with crawlers is producing the best bite.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
In Brown County, anglers at the metro launch reported having little luck. At the end of the week boat anglers reported mostly targeting muskie, but again came back with few hits. Some shore anglers were observed at the beginning and end of the week. Off of Duck Creek, a few boats were observed coming off the water at the beginning and end of the week, though these were all hunters and not anglers. Boat anglers off Suamico were mostly targeting muskies. Anglers reported not having any luck, and with only a few bites from freshwater drum and northern pike. The launch was very full with lots of recreational boaters and duck hunters.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Bucktails and topwater baits thrown over the wind-blown cabbage beds are producing muskies at Spider Lake, Lost Land Lake, Teal Lake, and the Chippewa Flowage. Crankbaits or Jiggin’ Raps are turning walleyes in 30 to 35 feet at Grindstone Lake or 14 to 17 feet on Round Lake and Lac Courte Oreilles. Work the 12- to 14- foot weedlines on Nelson Lake and the Chippewa Flowage for crappies. Smallmouth bass are being caught off deep and shallow structure on Round and Lac Courte Oreilles. Duck hunters offered both good and some poor opening weekend reports with a lot of wood ducks and teal being shot.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
In Sheboygan County, fishing pressure was relatively low during the week but increased over the weekend. Success was limited with neither boaters nor anglers reporting much success. One chinook was caught on the Sheboygan River on a spoon. The water temperature ranged from 58 to 61 degrees at the beginning of the week to 68 by the end of the weekend. There was only one coho and one small brown trout caught off of the north pier. Most anglers were using spoons, although the coho was caught on a minnow.
In Ozaukee County, fishing pressure was lower than normal. Most of the success was reported from anglers off the piers and utility area. On Sauk Creek, water levels remain low, and the water temperature warmed. No catches were reported off of the shoreline; however, several chinook salmon, some brown trout, and a couple of small rainbow trout were caught off the piers and utility area. The chinooks weighed up to 27 pounds, and the one rainbow weighed about 2 pounds. All catches from the utility area were made on spawn sacs, and anglers off the piers were having success on spawn sacs, spoons, and walleye jigs. Boating success was limited with only a couple of chinook salmon caught, along with one coho and one lake trout. The salmon weighed on average about 13 pounds.
In Milwaukee County, boat fishing has been getting better with higher numbers being caught. Some having better luck in the early morning or late evening. The anglers who have had success have fished in shallows, with most fishing happening in or just outside the breakwall. Most of the fish caught were kings while trolling with crankbaits. More anglers have been trolling closer to the gap at McKinley Marina to the mouth of the river by the north city shoreline.
In Racine County, anglers fishing the ramp caught a few fish each day. They focused their efforts in front of the Racine Harbor in 20 to 40 feet of water. A few kayakers and boaters fished inside the harbor, as well. Mostly king salmon were caught, but a few cohos and brown trout, too, mostly on magnum spoons and glow spoons. The best bite seemed to be before sunrise. About four to 12 fish were reported each morning. The Root River’s visibility is very good and water levels are still very low. Only a handful of anglers fished upstream of the steelhead facility and none reported catching any fish.
In Kenosha County, one angler reported catching two king salmon trolling spoons early in the morning in front of the Pike River. Other anglers reported catching two king salmon in 170 feet of water with their lures down 60 feet. They caught the kings on a flasher/fly combo. Shore anglers reported catching two to 10 fish each day. Most of the fish caught were king salmon, but a few brown trout and coho salmon were reported caught as well. Some anglers caught their fish off of the beach in front of the mouth of the Pike River and some anglers caught their fish in the harbor. The fish were caught on various lures (crankbaits, spoons, skein, spinners, jerkbaits). The water temperature was 66 degrees.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Fishermen have been doing pretty good on Butte des Morts and Lake Winnebago on perch and walleyes. Jigging has been working better than any other method. They’re using crawlers over the reefs and rock piles.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Water temps have warmed back up a bit, into the low 70s. There are not very many anglers looking for catfish or bluegills, but bluegills have been hitting on weed edges on Lake Mendota. The perch have been in 30-some feet of water. Bass and walleye anglers have been struggling. Lake Monona shore anglers have been doing better than boat anglers – mostly from the trestles.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MANITOWOC COUNTY AREA
Salmon fishing was consistent the past couple weeks – on the big lake and in the rivers. Few boats were out from Two Rivers, with no word of any remarkable catches. Manitowoc also had light pressure from boat anglers, but some decent catches came in from those fishing in the harbor or outside the piers. Chinooks and a couple rainbows came in, and anglers trolling crankbaits out-fished those using spoons by a wide margin. Anglers reported that fish showed no color preference, as they caught fish on black, silver, green, and pink. River fishing has remained steady since the first fish were caught. The Manitowoc River has had low but consistent numbers coming from a couple spots upstream to Manitou Park. Many anglers have been fishing with Shad Rap/Flicker Shad-like baits, which have appeared to be more successful than spoons. Chinooks in the 8- to 10-pound range have been the most frequent catch.
Anglers report catching walleyes, pike, smallmouth bass, and catfish in the Menominee River. The best bites have come to those trolling or jigging between Bum Island and the mouth. No salmon were observed. Some perch and smallmouth bass were being caught in the lower part of the Peshtigo River mainly using live bait adjacent to some kind of structure. Fishing for browns and salmon from Little River to the Menominee River has been extremely slow. Some perch were being caught out of Little River and Red Arrow Park using minnows and crawler pieces.
In Oconto County, anglers below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River are still catching panfish on slip bobbers and live bait. No sign of pink salmon or kings have been observed yet. Fishing has slowed a bit on the lower river to the mouth, although some perch and smallmouths are still being caught. Perch and walleye anglers are still catching good numbers of fish from the Pensaukee River to Oconto Park II. Perch anglers are fishing in 6 to 12 feet of water adjacent to weed beds and having good success especially early in the morning – minnows and crawler pieces are working well. Walleye anglers are having success in 16 to 30 feet of water by trolling crawler/harness and large crankbaits. Rip-jigging areas with structure has also been producing some nice fish.
Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) (906) 424-4108.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
With a weekend of weather that seemed more like mid-July than late September, water temps bounced back into the 70s. Some places were as high as 74 – quite a rise from the 62-degree marks the week before. The summer-like temps took their toll on anglers looking for the typical “fall” patterns.
Smallmouth bass: Good. Some deep water bites (as deep as 35 feet) have been found on the deeper lakes, while shallower lakes and flowages have fish as shallow as 3 to 6 feet. Drop-shotting is working best on the deep fish, with good reports of 20-inch fish.
Walleyes: Good. Flowages are producing some good catches on suckers, black chubs, and muds. Play the shallows early, then move to deep wood at mid-morning. On natural lakes, deep gravel humps and gravel/mud transitions of 18 to 35 feet have turned up fish on jigs or Lindy rigs with large fatheads.
Muskies: Good. The heat means speed – bucktails and spinnerbaits. Some good top-water reports came in. Fish weed flats to the outside edges in 8 to 14 feet.
Largemouth bass: Good. Anglers sort of lost the edge. Wacky worming is working the best.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
Island Lake is giving up muskies on suckers in 8 to 10 feet and walleyes in 15 feet with chubs or rainbows. On Fish Lake, minnows are turning walleyes in 10 to 12 feet and crappies in the narrows. A few archery-killed deer have been brought in since last week, and grouse hunting remains slow due to thick foliage.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094