Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – April 5, 2019


Due to cold mornings, the slush and ice are setting up, so travel with ATVs is workable. Afternoon travel is more difficult with warm temps. Approaches inside the bay are in fairly good shape with approximately 2 feet of ice in most places but always check your way. There has been a mixed bag of perch, pike, cohos, splake and browns being caught. Trout have been coming into the shallows off the river mouths as the run-off has begun. 

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Crappies and sunfish are being found suspended just below the ice over 5 to 10 feet on Staples Lake, Big Round Lake, Upper Turtle Lake, Bear Lake, and Beaver Dam Lake. Anglers were using ATVs on some lakes and walking out on others.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164


The ice is slowly starting to dwindle and most fishermen are starting to gear up for the open water season, but whitefish action is still good for the walk-out fishermen who are fishing close to shore. Henderson’s Point and Sherwood Point have been popular areas along with the shoreline. Walleye fishing is starting to heat up. Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Point, Sherwood Point and Sawyer Harbor are the go-to areas until the ice is no longer safe for travel. Pike fishing is going strong and will be good until the ice is gone. Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay and Sturgeon Bay are all good spots to target pike.

Brown trout fishermen are catching fish through the ice on the bay and trolling open water on the lake. Ice fishermen concentrate their efforts in the bays from Sturgeon Bay north to Sister Bay, ice permitting. On the lake, fishermen generally troll in as little as 2 feet or out to the 20-foot mark. 

And stream fishermen are starting to see fish in most of the Lake Michigan tributaries now that we are seeing a substantial thaw. 

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

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


Crappie fishing has been good and is getting better. On the Eagle River Chain, they are in the 8- to 15-foot range. We expect that the shallow run in the evenings will increase. This is a great pattern, and will last to the breakup of the ice in April. Bluegills are also active in the weeds and are hitting waxies. They will stay in the weeds well into May. Perch are deeper in the weeds – look for soft-bottomed areas and for schools to be moving through. They move closer to shore as the water warms and the ice goes out.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Warmer weather has finally arrived and ice conditions have improved with significantly less snow and slush. Fishermen have been able to get back out on the ice and do some late-season panfishing. We’ve been getting reports of some good crappie and bluegill action. Minnows and rosy reds have been producing the best bite for crappies while bluegills have been hitting jigs tipped with wax worms. There are still a few walleye fishermen out on the boundary waters trying to catch their daily limit of one fish. 

Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.


There were a few people out at Stone Quarry, Oak Avenue, and Cabot’s Point. Anglers at Stone Quarry report seeing whitefish but were unable to catch anything.

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


Walking out has quickly become the best way to get on a lake as some shorelines have started to deteriorate. There were ATVs being used on a few lakes early this week as well. Nelson Lake and Smith Lake continue to produce crappies in 10 to 16 feet. Look for perch in 10 to 14 feet on Grindstone Lake and Lake Lac Courte Oreilles.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.


With freezing overnight lows and daytimes highs to the low 40s, ice travel conditions have finally improved and fishermen are now moving around a little better. Perch and crappies are hitting on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. Call ahead for ice reports.

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


Clement’s Fishing Barge in Genoa and the Great Alma Fishing Barge are open, but the Mississippi River was still very high last week and fishing will be slow until water levels subside a little bit. Boat anglers are working their way around wing dams and any place they can get out of the current.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.

Bob’s Bait and Tackle, (608) 782-5552.


In Sheboygan County, Pigeon River Park is now accessible due to lower water, but the main ramp was still iced over last week. Sheboygan River water levels lowered last week, opening up Esslingen Park, but the river was still running fast and was turbid.

In Ozaukee County, anglers fishing at the power plant outflow caught a few steelhead, browns, and suckers. 

In Milwaukee County, anglers tried their luck from the pier at Lakeshore State Park with little success, but those coming in from the lake reported catching brown, steelheads, and cohos. Some smaller rainbows were reported at Jones Island, steelhead were reported at Oak Creek, and many browns were reported at Bender Park and the power plant. A few anglers were seen near the dam at Kletzsch Park and reported catching steelhead off fly rods.

In Racine County, the Racine harbor still had large ice patches in it last week. Many of the piers are very icy and still covered in large piles of snow, especially the south pier. Water levels on the Root River remain fairly high and dirty due to the snow melt and runoff. Some rainbow and brown trout have been caught at various spots along the river, with a few large rainbows being kept.

In Kenosha County, a few brown trout catches were reported, in the harbor but fish activity was low. There was some fishing activity at the mouth of the Pike River. There was also light fishing activity along many of the foot bridges that cross the Pike River. A few small rainbows were caught.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


There was still some ice out on Lake Winnebago last week, but things were getting iffy by March 22-24. Anglers are now thinking rivers as walleyes head into the Fox and the Wolf rivers for their spring spawning run. Fishermen were launching at Fremont last week, but not without issues. The river was very high last week – and cold. Ice floes were still coming downstream.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


Ice conditions have been getting progressively worse, with shoreline ice deteriorating. Guys were using planks last week to get out on Cherokee Marsh and Lake Monona bays. Call ahead for ice reports – or perhaps open water reports. Most anglers are turning their attention now to river walleyes.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Though reports are slow, anglers have been out in numbers during the warm weather. Wisconsin river walleyes are starting to attract anglers as ice conditions start to deteriorate. Reports below the Lake Dubay dam have been good, with keeper walleyes being caught from boat and by shore anglers. Try fatheads on bright jigs, with white, pink and chartreuse being the top colors. Warmer weather will continue to open lakes and rivers. Anglers are advised to use caution while fishing below dams as water conditions can change rapidly.

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


In Oconto, anglers fishing the end of the breakwater report catching a few whitefish on jigs with waxies or minnow heads. Anglers using Jigging Raps report catching a mixed bag of whitefish, pike and a couple of walleyes. Anglers headed out of the Oconto parks for whitefish report catching some limits off the reef and rock piles. Little River pike fishermen report slow fishing on tip-ups. 

At the mouth of the Peshtigo, anglers reported catching a few northerns on tip-ups off the mud flat on the far south side of the channel. Menominee River anglers fishing off Hattie Street and up by the dam report catching a few brown trout on Rapalas. An angler reported catching a 24-inch male from the bridge, and a bigger female off the deck by the dam. 


Warmer temperatures and easier travel (by foot) has brought more anglers out to do some late-season ice fishing. The snow pack has gone down on lakes, with the exception of southern shores where the sun doesn’t hit the snow to melt it down as fast. There is still plenty of ice; reports vary from 20 to 25 inches. There are areas where standing water and slush is present though. A few people are going out with ATVs and snowmobiles, but many of them are getting stuck in slush.

Bluegill action is very good. Anglers were finding them in the weeds from 7 to 12 feet on waxies and spikes. For the bigger fish, tip your jig with plastics to keep the smaller ones off the hook. Crappies action has been good  when using tip-downs tipped with minnows or when jigging small spoons. The best times are early morning and at dusk.Perch action has been fair to good, but you have to walk a little bit because the perch are coming on mud flats in 15 to 20 feet of water.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


Fishermen are finding walleyes in the Wisconsin River from the Nekoosa dam down to the second landing, but the river is high and the current is very strong and will likely stay that way for a while with the deep snow pack remaining up north. Anglers have to find slack water.

Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.


Panfish are hitting on area lakes and anglers are finally able to get out a little bit in search of them. Bluegills and crappies are hitting on the Phillips chain and perch are hitting on Butternut Lake.

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

Ross’s, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.

Categories: Hunting News, News, Wisconsin Fishing Reports

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