Chequamegon Bay water temperatures are finally dropping into the 50s and the fish are responding. Smallie fishing picked up last week as fish started to school in some of their normal fall haunts. Anglers reported success on suckers, though ripping jigging spoons is effective at times. Walleye anglers drifting suckers are catching fish on drops into the channel between Ashland lighthouse and Long Island. Trollers are finding cohos and brown trout suspending at 10 to 20 feet over 15 to 60 feet of water and catching fish on spoons, flies, and crankbaits on downriggers, Dipsey Divers, and flat lines. If a mudline is visible, work the edge. Streams are high and dirty from the rain, but cohos and brown trout numbers are great.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Large suckers have been producing a few muskies on Sand Lake, Bone Lake, and Rice Lake in 15 feet of water. Bass continue to hit plastics on the weedlines of Pipe, Big Round, and Beaver Dam lakes. Walleye action is slow, but Big Round and Staples have been giving up bluegills in 4 to 6 feet. A few grouse are being shot; waterfowl hunters are shooting wood ducks and geese.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
In Sturgeon Bay, kings can be seen jumping on the east end of the canal as they make their way to Strawberry Creek. A few boats traveling out to 400 feet in search of immature salmon and rainbows had some success. Walleye fishermen have had some success trolling flicker minnows and jigging on Larson’s Reef and other off-shore structure. In northern Door County, kings started to move into some of the creeks and harbors. Casting in Baileys Harbor Marina has produced a few salmon. Pike action has been good in the weeds around Fish Creek.
In Kewaunee County, salmon are still being caught, though action has varied depending on the weather. Action has picked up more recently. Some fall weather brought relief to anglers and salmon as water temperatures dropped thanks to westerly winds. Anglers on the river banks before first light have been successful fishing the pools. Daytime fishing is considerably slower. Egg flies are still the most-used lure, but some anglers reported catching salmon drifting natural spawn. A handful of anglers have reported that some rainbows and cohos have been caught. Many anglers taking boats out have been fishing deeper water with some success. The Ahnapee River in Algoma is seeing some salmon action, with kings caught all the way up to the Forrestville dam.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
It’s finally feeling a little like fall up here. The lakes remain high with all the rain. Weeds are dying now, with only deeper weeds holding their color. Water temps are now dropping, ranging from the high 50s to the very low 60s. The waterfowl season has been a success, while the grouse remain hard to see and shoot due to the leaves remaining on so many trees. Walleye fishing has been very good, especially on the Eagle River chain. These fish have moved to the deep holes for the winter. Jigs and minnows or jigs and crawlers work very well. Reports say that the fish are hitting the minnows lightly, but really inhaling the crawlers.
On the larger lakes, the hard-bottomed areas in 20 to 30 feet off of the weeds are holding good numbers of fish. Use jigs and minnows. Bass fishing remains good, with largemouths still hitting well in the remaining green weeds. Plastics and spinnerbaits will work well. Smallies are deeper now and hitting minnow imitations. Muskie action has been as inconsistent as the weather. Some anglers are reporting very good action and others have been reporting slow fishing. With turnover having a major effect on many lakes this will have a major effect on the lakes. Sucker action has started, but will improve as the water temps decline. It is time to use some slower, larger jerkbaits over the weed edges, or the bigger plastics in deeper water. One of the features of this time of fall is that the fish are spread out, with some in deeper water and others up in the weeds.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
Walleye action has been good. Anglers reported catching limits on boundary waters, with minnows working best. Panfish and bass action has been decent. You’ll find the perch off the edges of the weedbeds along drop-offs. Bass are being found over rock piles in 10 to 12 feet of water. Muskie action continues to improve. They’ve been hitting a variety of baits, including jerkbaits and large suckers. Pike action has also been good. They’re being caught along weed edges and stumps.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
On the Fox River, walleyes have been the main target, with anglers launching from the mouth and running a couple miles north usually. Anglers have had a tough time finding decent numbers of walleyes and they are also struggling to keep the non-target fish off their lines. Many times white perch or freshwater drum will hit the baits before a walleye has time to react. Shore anglers have still been doing good catching freshwater drum, with the occasional channel catfish mixed in. At Bayshore Park, anglers reported going after walleyes and perch. Some were lucky to bring in three or four walleyes and/or two to three perch.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Muskie fishing is good to very good and only getting better with the cooling water temperatures. During the Hayward Muskies, Inc., fall tournament, 66 of 440 anglers registered 80 muskies – close to a 20-percent success rate that is almost double normal tournament expectations. Muskies are also hitting bucktails and topwater baits on the Chippewa Flowage, Lost Land Lake, Teal Lake, and Spider Lake. Minnows are producing walleyes in 12 to 15 feet at Lac Courte Oreilles and the Chippewa Flowage, while the bays on the flowage are giving up crappies. Anglers who are catching walleyes are using minnows and crawlers on slip bobbers, spinners, and Lindy Rigs, as well as crankbaits. Look for smallies on the deep and shallow structure of Round Lake and Lac Courte Oreilles. Duck hunting reports have been limited, but more grouse are 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 low at times due to windy conditions. Success was limited with neither boaters nor anglers reporting much success. Some kings were caught on the Sheboygan River on skein and flies. A few anglers caught northern pike from the south pier on spoons.
Ozaukee County saw a few more anglers, but still boaters and anglers had limited success. Sauk Creek water levels remain low. No catches were reported off the shoreline; however, one Chinook was caught off the piers. There were also some catches of brown trout, a couple of Chinook, two small rainbow trout, and one coho salmon at the utility area. Success from boats was limited, the Chinooks weighed anywhere from 3 to 17 pounds. Catches were made in depths ranging from 50 to 200 feet on spoons.
In Racine County, a few boats had some luck catching kings in the harbor and the lower stretches of the Root River. Anglers caught king salmon out of the harbor. Most of the fish caught were caught on skein under a bobber near the bottom. A few kings were also caught on crankbaits. Most of the fish were caught in the early morning and late evening hours, but a few were caught during the day, as well. The Root River was flowing at 9.68 cfs. The water is still very low and clear. More kings are starting to make their way up the river. Downstream of the DNR steelhead facility, only a few kings were reported. Most of the fish were caught near the Main Street bridge; however, a few were caught at Island Park and just downstream of the park on yarn egg flies.
In Kenosha County, fishing was slower, but a few anglers managed to catch some fish. Most were kings, but a few cohos and browns were caught, as well. Anglers had the best luck on skein under a bobber, but a few fish were caught on crankbaits. The mouth of the Pike River was barred off by sand, and no anglers reported catching any fish out of the river last week.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Anglers are catching a lot of white bass on the Wolf River near Winneconne. White bass showed up in the Fox River near Oshkosh late last week and they’re also picking up a few walleyes there. Lake Winnebago anglers are still seeing a good trolling bite over the mud, or they’re finding walleyes on the rock bars by jigging or floating slip bobbers.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Water temps have dropped into the upper 60s. Guys are still catching bluegills on Lake Mendota bars from weed edges and deeper rocks. Smallmouth fishing has been decent; even with a good topwater bite in the morning. Bass anglers also caught a few walleyes on the weed edges. Lake Monona shore fishermen are still having good luck on bluegills. There hasn’t been much news on the Monona muskie front. Lake Waubesa panfishermen are having good luck on bluegills and perch. Lake Kegonsa have been getting some nice bluegills and even a few perch.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
Manitowoc County salmon fishing was consistent the past couple weeks on the big lake and in the rivers. Manitowoc 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 outfished those using spoons by a wide margin. Flicker Shads, Shad Raps, Smithwicks, and similar baits produced fish, as did J-Plugs. Angler reports stated that the fish showed no color preference.
In Oconto County, bluegills and crappies still top the list that fishermen are after below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River. Anglers floating the Oconto River report good numbers of smallies on small cranks and plastics. Walleye anglers fishing from the Pensaukee River mouth to Oconto Park II report success in about 15 feet of water while trolling large cranks and crawler harnesses. The perch bite has been decent at times, with most fish being caught early morning using minnows or crawler chunks, staying mobile has been the rule. A few pink salmon and kings have been observed below the dam at Stiles.
In Marinette County, anglers floating the Peshtigo River reported catching good numbers of smallies and pike on cranks and plastics on structure and current breaks. Perch anglers had some success fishing the lower part of the river using minnows and crawlers. A few salmon were seen in the Peshtigo River. Perch anglers out of Little River had success fishing in and around the weedbeds using crawler chunks and minnows. Perch are also being caught at Red Arrow Beach using the same techniques. Some walleyes and smallmouths are being caught in the Menominee River from Stephenson Island up to the dam at Hattie Street. A variety of presentations are being used. Kings have been observed jumping at the Hattie Street dam.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Fishing wasn’t quite up to the standards of past first weeks of October. It could be that the added volume of water and the warm September has lake temps a bit above average for this time of year – or it could be the moon. Whatever it is that kept the bite off this past week will pass, with the promise of better October fishing to come.
Walleye: Good. The bite moved a bit deeper as surface temps cooled. A stronger swing towards minnows has been noticed. Fish deep humps on natural lakes; deep wood on flowages.
Largemouth bass: Good. While overall size hasn’t been great, some nice fish in the 18- to 20-inch range were caught by anglers casting big spinnerbaits for muskies. Overall, the best bet has been drop-shotting with 3-inch plastics and wacky-worming cabbage pockets.
Smallmouth bass: Good. Try drop-shotting deep gravel humps of 22 to 38 feet. Some flowage fish are up shallow where they want chubs or spinnerbaits in browns, gold, and orange.
Muskie: Good to fair. It was an overall disappointing weekend and the first weekend in October is typically the best “action” weekend of the month. But, almost all reports were of fish of 40 to 46 inches this past week.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Flambeau River water levels are a little low on the North Fork. Fishermen have been fishing the Flambeau River for muskies, walleyes, northern pike, and bass with some success. Acorns and hickories are dropping. Bull elk are still with the cows, but it is still too early for the deer rut and the bucks’ necks aren’t swelling yet. Turkeys are still on roadsides eating grasshoppers.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
Spooner Lake continues to produce sunfish and crappies along most shallow weedlines. Large suckers are turning muskies on the Trego Flowage, and the Namekagon River is worth hitting for smallies. A few walleyes are being caught with minnows on Shell Lake and Long Lake in 8 to 12 feet. A few more deer have been shot in the area this week, duck hunting reports have been light, but there are some geese to be had in the area.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.
Minnows are turning walleyes in 10 to 12 feet at Boulder Lake, Island Lake, and Fish Lake. The narrows on Fish are producing crappies and suckers are the ticket for muskies in less than 10 feet on Island and the St. Louis River. Grouse hunters report seeing good numbers of birds and falling leaves.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094