Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – May 3, 2019


Small lakes and bays opened last weekend and any ice that remained on the bigger lakes could be gone by this week. Anglers are just starting to get out and some crappies are being caught in shallow water on Lake Wapogasset and Bear Trap Lake.

Country Store, (715) 268-7482.


The wind has blown ice in and out of the bay. A southwest wind is needed to blow it all out. It could be any day now so keep checking on the smelt run. Trout are fish caught in the tributaries. However, the water is still high and dirty. The bay is starting to open up, but all of the landings were still iced in last week. The Sioux Rivers has given up some nice steelhead. The inland lakes will be ice-free for the May 4 opener.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


The only ice that remained early last week was on a few large lakes and that looked like it could be gone by this week. There hasn’t been much open-water fishing, but look for panfish to start moving into the shallow areas of most lakes.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164


Brown trout fishing has been good on the bay side of the peninsula; the lake side is now starting to fire up. Troll and cast warmer pockets of shallow water. Stream fishermen are still finding good success in Door County’s Lake Michigan tributaries by drifting spawn sacs or pitching spinners and spoons. Pike fishing is starting to ramp up a bit more. Drift large suckers or cast large crankbaits, spoons and plastics The walleye fishing is starting to get rolling with a good night bite going on now along the primary and secondary drop-offs along the rocky shorelines from Chaudoir’s Dock up to Sister Bay. 

May 4 marks the opener of the bass season and things can get crazy.Hundreds, even thousands, of fishermen will be searching for those schools of giant pre-spawn bass. Most likely we will see lots of fish in the 5- to 8-pound range. Look for pockets of warm water in transition areas (rock to sand) and use slow presentations.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

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


The ice is leaving on a daily basis on almost all lakes, with the earliest open-water fishing available to us n the rivers, but most of the lakes will be open by the May 4 opener. The perch fishing kicks in as soon as the ice is gone. It seems to start each year earliest on the Eagle River Chain. That is fast warming water because of the current and the darkness of the water. The perch will be in after the ice goes out and the walleyes won’t be far behind. 

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Last week was slow for anglers on the Fox River. The slowdown can be attributed to the cool temperatures and the wind. The walleyes that were being caught were mainly 15 to 25 inches caught by jigging and casting. Voyageur Park shore fishing pressure was “medium” last week, with most people casting lures.

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


Changes in the weather brought spring to the area. There are many changes happening, as warmer temperatures drastically reduced snow cover and, combined with rains, escalated rivers with high and dirty water. There was nothing to report on fishing, as ice fishing is finished and anglers are in the process of putting away that equipment and getting their boats ready for the opener.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.


Reports indicate that all lakes should be open by the May 4 opener. Lake of the Falls was wide open last week, but water was up 4 feet. Ice on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage was breaking up last week, while the lakes in Mercer were mostly open then. So anglers will find open water, but water levels will still be high.

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


The Mississippi River was at 14 feet last week and should be at 6 feet, so fishing was slow. It’s going to be at least another week before fishing comes around again. Anglers were doing good on walleyes if they could find any slack water, but the walleye spawn is wrapping up.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.


All area lakes are ice-free. It’s time to hit the water for panfish. Look for warmest water and green weeds. Winds will help determine where to look for the warmest water. During warm, sunny days bluegills and crappies will move into shallow bays, channels, and marsh areas. Afternoon and evening hours are the best times to fish when the water will be warmest. Anglers have also been fishing Lake Michigan harbors for brown trout. Cast a darter jig dressed with a 4-inch Gulp minnow or paddle tail. Or soak a spawn sac or golden shiner under a slip bobber. The Root, Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Pike rivers have produced a few steelhead. Any rains will help bring more fish up the rivers.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


Anglers are catching white bass and walleyes on the river in Winneconne. They’re mostly using a jig-and-minnow. A few crappies started moving into the channels last week. The lake bite should kick in this week.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


The water temps continue to warm. They were in the upper 40s last week, and just touching the low 50s in the afternoons. Cherokee Marsh catfish were biting on cut bait. Lake Mendota bluegills are coming and going in the channels and shallows. The “triangles” and railroad trestles have seen lot of crappie and bluegill action, but they’re mostly on the smaller side. Squaw Bay has seen good bluegill action. Try the Yahara River inlets for bluegills, and the Mud Lake dredge area for crappies. Lake Waubesa has had good reports in the Lake Farm area of some quality fish, but inconsistent action. Panfish are hitting in the river above Lake Kegonsa, and in Viking Park. Anglers are still traveling to Sauk City for walleyes on the Wisconsin River.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Surface temperature of the Eau Claire River at the store was 52 degrees last week. Water conditions remain high on the rivers, with many at or above flood stage. Caution is advised as flooding can cause potentially dangerous situations for fisherman. The Moon dam area had reports of nice crappies 12 to 14 inches on a jig and a crappie minnow. The best reports of walleyes are coming in from the Lake Dubay region. The fishing opener is right around the corner and there are buds on the lilacs. That’s a sure sign the bluegills should start to spawn soon.

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


There was heavy fishing pressure on the Menominee River last week with anglers targeting walleyes. Boat anglers had mixed results with some good catches reported earlier in the week while others struggled to catch fish. Popular spots were the turn basin off the Sixth Street boat launch and at the mouth of the river. Shore anglers were finding a few fish during day, but it was reported that fishing was better at night. Some anglers were fishing the piers at the mouth of the Menominee, but no reports of success.

In Oconto County, the Oconto River saw heavy pressure last week for walleyes with anglers seen from the Hwy. J bridge upstream to the dam. Most anglers reported catching a few fish, with more being foul-hooked. Most were smaller males.

Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.


Ice still covered most of the lakes last week, but in most cases not shore to shore. The ice is very rotten after recent rain, but still measured 21 inches on Lake Minocqua at noon on April 19. Temperatures in the 50s to mid-60s will eat up plenty of ice and there should be open water on many lakes for the May 4 fishing opener. Crappies fishing has been good.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


The ice has been gone from the Petenwell Flowage for a month now, but anglers are now battling high water and fast currents. As things settle down and the water warms a little, fishermen shouldn’t have any trouble finding panfish and walleyes.

Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.


Anglers in southern Price County had their boats in the water last week and found water temps in the low to mid 40s at that time. The lakes that weren’t open yet should be open by the May 4 opener. The walleyes should be biting a little bit.

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

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


There was still a little bit of ice floating around on the bigger lakes last week, but local anglers are expecting all lakes to be open by May 4.

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.

Categories: Hunting News, News, Wisconsin Fishing Reports

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