Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – Oct. 19, 2018


Near-shore trout and salmon fishing has been good with water temps in the mid to upper 50s in most areas. Most of the river mouths have good mud line that have been holding fish. There are good numbers of cohos around, along with brown trout and a fair number of steelhead. Trolling and casting in near-shore areas is the best way to get after fish right now. Smallies are schooling up. Fishing has been steady, with some days producing better than others.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Perch fishing has been very good as of late and should continue to get better as we move into fall and the water continues to cool. Try downtown Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor, the flats, Riley’s Bay and Little Sturgeon.

Pike fishing has been going very good and that, too, will continue get better as the water cools. Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor and Little Sturgeon all are good areas to target. Trolling and casting large crankbaits, spoons, plastics and spinnerbaits are all good options, along with dragging suckers.

The 4-year-old kings are in the Sturgeon Bay channel, around the pier heads and marinas, and in the tributaries so there are plenty of opportunities for shore fishermen and small boat fishermen to get in on the action. Try trolling and casting crankbaits and spoons, along with soaking spawn sacs. Out on the big lake there has been very good action in 200 to 300 feet for really nice 2- and 3-year-old kings. Brown trout are in some of the harbors to the north from Egg Harbor up to Sister Bay. 

Walleye action has been just fair for the most part. The night bite will kick in as it usually does this time of year and will really get going once the water cools more. 

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

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


We have the process of turnover occurring on many of our lakes. Provided we do not have a warm spell, this will last for a little more than a week and the lakes will start to clean up. The bigger and deeper the lake, the later this process will occur. While it can be miserable out there, the colder the weather, the better it is for fishing. Muskie anglers know all about this. Water temps are in the low 50s on most lakes, and provided that we get cold weather they will soon drop into the 40s – the best muskie temps.

Walleye fishing is good and getting better on the Eagle River chain for numbers of fish. Turnover will interrupt this for a bit, but the post-turnover fishing in the deep holes is just great. Look for about 18 to 22 feet of water for the best results. Use jigs and minnows. 

Bass fishing will slow considerably now, and we really don’t see many bass fishermen at this time of year. There are reports from muskie anglers of some really big smallies roaming the weeds. 

Northerns are active in the weeds. Some decent fish have been caught in the last several weeks by muskie anglers. Muskie action has been pretty slow for the last week, and the feeling is that they have been in deeper water waiting for turnover. It’s here, and the fishing should improve soon. This is also sucker time for most muskie anglers, with the use of quick-set rigs.

Panfish action has slowed. Try for some crappies in the holes on the Eagle River chain, as they school up in these holes along with the walleyes. Perch are generally in the deeper weeds, acting like small walleyes. 

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Fishing pressure has been light. A few nice walleye catches were reported, with all fish between 16 and 22 inches. Some fishermen are still using crawlers, but they are slowly switching over to minnows. Bass are still producing well on a variety of lures. As the weather cools down the muskie action has been heating up. Anglers are reporting quite a few follows and just as many catches. Pike action has been decent. Suckers have been the bait of choice. 

Hunters aren’t seeing a lot of grouse, but they are reporting good numbers of woodcock. Archery season is off to a quiet start. Only a handful of hunters have reported bagging their deer since the start of the season.

Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411


Bayshore Park anglers were in search of walleyes or yellow perch. The walleye anglers didn’t do so hot with the highest number of fish caught being two. Yellow perch anglers didn’t fair much better, with catches ranging from zero to six fish for half a day out. Water temperatures have dropped below 60 degrees in some areas so fish should be moving into their fall pattern.

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


Muskie angling is strong for anglers casting gliders and jerkbaits, trolling crankbaits and jerkbaits, and fishing suckers. Dragging a sucker behind the boat to turn an inactive fish into an eater can make or break a day on the water. Walleye fishing is solid and anglers are doing great with jigs and minnows and trolling deep crankbaits off steep breaks within flats. Use electronics to find fish, hit the active ones, and keep moving. Bass fishing is OK. Look for big bass in a mix of rocks and weeds on mid-lake structure in 12 to 17 feet. 

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

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


Archery season has been slow. However, scrapes and rubs are being observed, hunters hope. Turkeys are common on roadsides while the grouse are being found in small, isolated pockets. Good news – woodcock hunters have been successful and dogs are still being challenged. 

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


In Sheboygan County, there was very little action out of the ramps. The weather likely contributed to the lack of boats on the water. Fishing efforts remained fairly low on the piers. When waves were not breaking over the piers, anglers tried fishing for trout and salmon using spoons and spinners, but little success was noted. Little fishing effort was seen on the Pigeon River this week. A few anglers were fishing for salmon at Pigeon River Park, but were having no luck. A lot of success was seen on the Sheboygan River near the Kohler dam. Anglers reported steady catches of kings, cohos, steelhead, and browns. 

The Port Washington ramps were quiet. Few anglers were seen fishing off of the pier. Anglers reported that a couple kings were caught off of the south pier before dawn. Anglers fishing around the Port Washington utility had the most success, with many kings, brown trout, and steelhead reported. Some anglers were using spawn sacs, while most stuck to spoons. 

IN Milwaukee County, morning boaters targeting salmon out of the McKinley ramp had a little success. Anglers continue to mark quite a few fish through the north and south gaps, but fishing produced only a few kings and browns on spoons. Those targeting salmon or brown trout found a little success harborside, landing only a couple of kings. Hubbard, Estabrook, and Kletzsch parks were seeing higher fishing pressure. Fly fisherman using a variety of flies or yarn have seen little action; anglers are finding the most success catching kings using spawn.  Oak Creek continued to see high fishing pressure near the falls, especially in the morning hours. Anglers are continuing to see fish throughout the creek, but landing the salmon is proving to be a challenge. 

In Racine, most boaters are trolling close to shore trying to pick up kings. Most anglers at the Racine pier and shoreline using spoons, crankbaits and spawn seeming to work the best. Lots of fly fishermen were out on the Root River targeting kings. There has been a decent amount of fish caught at Lincoln Park and up by the Horlick dam. 

In Kenosha County, most boaters are sticking to the harbor or mouth of the Pike to troll for kings. Anglers at the Kenosha piers and shoreline were casting spoons/cranks and floating spawn sacs. Some small cohos have been caught and many fish can be seen jumping. Most anglers on the Pike River were fly fishing and floating spawn. 

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


The walleye bite is on – anglers are using jigs and minnows on the river at Winneconne. Bluegills and crappies are also starting to show up in the channels. That action has been very steady. In the Oshkosh area, walleyes have been hitting steadily at the Hwy. 41 bridge and on into Lake Butte des Morts. White bass are also hitting in the river.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


There has been a little bit of catfish and walleye action from shore along the Lake Mendota breakwalls in the evenings. Catfish were also caught at Cherokee Marsh. Bass have been shallow along Maple Bluff, Fox Bluff and Governor’s Island. Anglers are catching some white bass at Naughty Gal. Lake Monona shore fishermen have been having some luck with muskies and northern pike near the parks. Lake Waubesa bluegills are tight to the weeds or sitting over the top of the weeds. There have been some nice bluegills caught out there. Lake Kegonsa has seen some white bass on the lake’s north end, with perch and bluegills hitting on the weed edges.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


The surface temperature of the Eau Claire River at the store was 52 degrees last week. Reports have been coming in of some nice fall muskies. The largest reported to date went 48 inches on the Wisconsin River/Lake Wausau. Suckers and large bucktails have been the top choices. Local anglers reported nice catches of walleyes and crappies on bright jigs tipped with fatheads. Ample rainfall has increased river flows and created dangerous conditions below area dams. Anglers are advised to use extreme caution when fishing in these conditions.

Riverside Rentals & Bait Shop, (715) 574-1771.


In Marinette County, sturgeon anglers were having success on the lower Menominee River, with some reports of 70-inch fish caught and released. Some pink salmon and a few brown trout are in the river. Pink salmon were observed in the Peshtigo River. Yellow perch anglers were having mixed success fishing the lower portion of the river. 

In Oconto County, a cold spell caused a significant decrease in fishing pressure. This also caused a huge change in water temperature. Gauge height, as well as discharge, remained relatively constant. Smallmouth bass and yellow perch anglers were having success at the Oconto breakwater harbor area, with an occasional northern pike caught. A report of a chinook being caught by a shore angler was recorded at the Stiles dam and Iron Bridge area, with other anglers targeting pink or chinook salmon and having little success. 


It’s the heat of the fall muskie season! Surface temps were running 52 to 55 degrees and could keep dropping. The sucker bite is good, but there is still good action on artificials. The wind, rain and cool down has limited the species anglers have been fishing for. Also with some lakes are in or on the verge of turnover; fishing reports are all over the board depending on the day and the lake. Muskies action is very good. Lake temps are very important to fish location. The warmer lakes saw fish on the inside weed lines on topwater and bucktails / spinnerbaits. As lakes cool, outside weed lines are best; use jointed cranks, plastics and jerkbaits.

Crappie action is very good. Find deep wood or the base of coontail edges in 14 to 18 feet and run fatheads below slip-floats. Big crappies beyond 14 inches were caught, with good numbers of 10- to 12-inch fish. Northern pike action is good, with most caught by muskie anglers tossing bucktails and twitch baits. Walleye action is fair to good, with the best action on deeper lakes using chubs or suckers on jigs in 22 to 34 feet of water. 

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


Fall fishing is in full swing. The landings are busy with people enjoying the cooler temps and bug-free fishing. The Flambeau River levels are high for this time of year due to rains, yet easily navigable. Robinson Landing, just below the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage dam, is closed for the season due to construction. Loons are beginning to leave lakes. Grouse, fall turkey and archery hunters are out in force.

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

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


If the rain slows, things will be in fine shape. Streams are stained to cloudy, with a few clear creeks. If the rain hits, expect murky to muddy waters. Things are still clear to stained, but the ground is saturated and if we get heavy rain we will see some muddying of the creeks. In the meantime, the olive hatch has been very strong. It isn’t on every stream, but the creeks that do get them have fish looking up most of the middle part of the day.

Driftless Angler Fly Shop, Viroqua, (608) 637-8779.


The fall trout bite is on. They are biting well and it doesn’t seem to matter what anglers are using. High water has made for very sporty, if not impossible, wading on some of the bigger streams. Deer movement is off to a slow start thus far and most feel it is due to an excellent white oak acorn crop that is dropping. We did have a nice frost Saturday, but the foliage is still green and thick making grouse and woodcock hunting a challenge. Only a few woodcock have arrived and only in far northern Waupaca County.

— DNR Report

Categories: News, Wisconsin Fishing Reports

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