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Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – Nov. 15, 2019


With the cold and wind, most boats have been put away, although a few muskie anglers continue to fish on lakes such as Bone, Deer, and Wapogasset. Some ice is starting to form on the ponds, but not enough to limit waterfowl hunters from getting out.

Country Store, (715) 268-7482.


Chequamegon Bay and Lake Superior fishing continues for anglers who have not yet stored their boats – and who can deal with continuous wind. Fishing is still good for cohos, brown trout, and splake in 10 to 50 feet from the inner islands to the river mouths. Most anglers are flat-lining crankbaits, while anglers fishing deeper water are still running spoons on leadcore line. Shore anglers report success casting spinners, spoons, and crankbaits off river mouths and a few docks.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Mississippi River Pool 10 in Prairie du Chien is about five to six feet higher than usual for this time of year, which makes finding fish difficult. Water temperatures are average – around 40 degrees. Active walleyes are being caught on brightly colored jigs and plastics in deeper holes, on deep-diving crankbaits along steep drop-offs or on the edges of wing dams. Many species, such as largemouth bass and panfish, are moving into backwater lakes to where they will spend the winter.

Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.


In northern Door County, few anglers were fishing any of the creeks or harbors along the lake. A few salmon/trout could be seen swimming in Heins Creek, Whitefish Bay, and Shivering Sands Creek. Most docks are out. Few anglers were seen fishing in the Sturgeon Bay canal. One angler targeted brown trout and northern pike by one of the marinas, but with little luck. 

In Kewaunee County, there was low fishing pressure, with only a few anglers fishing near Bruemmer Park. They had some luck on browns and rainbows using rainbow spawn sacs. Snow and rain caused the river to rise slightly and clarity to drop.

In Algoma, fishing pressure was low; cold weather along with snow kept many anglers from fishing. One angler caught a chinook on the Ahnapee River below the dam using a spoon. The run has slowed considerably. Water level has risen slightly and clarity has dropped with the small snow melt.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

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


Some of the small lakes are starting to see some ice forming around the edges, but there isn’t a lot of fishing going on. Most of the grouse hunters have been slipping into the Upper Peninsula where bird numbers seem to be a little better. Bowhunters are reporting a good number of 6- and 8-pointers so far, along with a few does.

Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.


The Fox River is still seeing a few anglers trying to give the river’s walleyes some attention. Duck hunters are also using the boat landings. Most of the anglers were targeting walleyes, muskies, or smallmouth bass. The catch rate for walleyes was between three to six fish, and for smallmouths it was two to three fish. The walleyes ran 17 to 22 inches. The smallmouths were all released. Two of three muskie anglers each caught a fish. Most walleye anglers trolled crankbaits, but a few drifted and jigged with minnows.

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


Walleyes are on rock piles, boulders, and other hard-bottomed areas. Try fishing jigs and minnows in the rivers and deeper areas on lakes. There’s been a handful of diehard muskie anglers who continue to go out and turn fish with large suckers, but most have opted to put their open water gear away and hunt deer, ducks or grouse while waiting for ice. Some ice has started to show. Deer hunting is starting to heat up with the rut getting going. Waterfowl action should begin to pick up as well with the colder temps bringing birds down from the north. Grouse hunters have reported slow hunting with few birds being taken.

Hayward Bait & Tackle, (715) 634-2921.

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


Water temperatures on most lakes were running about 36 degrees last week and some of the small lakes have frozen over or are nearly so. Based on the forecast, ice fishing will be here soon. In the meantime, the big lakes are still open and the walleye and muskie bite is good. It’s just tough to fight the cold. The rut is underway and most sportsmen are spending their time in a tree instead of being on the water. 

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


In Sheboygan County, Lake Michigan was at 52 degrees and was turbid in the harbor and near shore. The Pigeon River (44 degrees) was still running swiftly and more turbid. Fishing interest was light, other than a few anglers fishing at the Kohler dam and catching several cohos and a lake trout.

In Port Washington, Sauk Creek (46 degrees) was high, fast running, and mostly turbid. A few anglers fished at the power plant, at the creek, and in the marina, but few catches were reported. There were reports of salmon being caught on the creek. A few anglers fished at the outflow and in the marina, with a few cohos caught at the outflow.

In Racine County, activity on the Root River slowed significantly due to increased water levels and a snowstorm late in the week. Anglers above the DNR’s fish facility were fishing with flies or spawn on fly fishing tackle. Salmon, steelhead and brown trout were the most targeted fish. A light mix of kings and cohos were caught on flies and fake spawn. Those fishing downstream of the facility weren’t as successful. Fishing activity at the Racine ramp and along the piers and shorelines slowed down. 

In Kenosha County, fishing activity on the Pike River also slowed as the salmon spawning run comes to an end. Activity on the piers, shoreline and boat ramp is slowing down. A few anglers are trying to catch fish from the piers, but with little luck.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


Bowhunters are starting to see little bucks chasing does around. Guys are seeing more scrapes and daytime buck movement. A few guys are still working on the walleye bite, but it seems to be very hit or miss. Duck hunters have been out just about every day, but it seems as though the action has been right at the start of shooting hours.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


The lakes have turned over and the water has cleared up. Lake Mendota walleyes are stacking up on steep breaklines. Guys are vertical jigging and catching a lot of fish, but most of them have been small. Lake Monona shorefishermen are having luck on panfish near the convention center and other usual spots. Monona and Waubesa muskie fishermen are hitting the lakes pretty hard with suckers. There have been multiple reports in Sauk, Dane and Iowa counties that deer are in full rutting behavior, with numerous sightings of bucks actively chasing does. Pheasant stocking is in full swing.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


In Oconto County, perch fishing remained good at Oconto Park II and the Oconto city docks. Overall Oconto Park II was a little better for size and numbers. Most perch ranged from 6 to 10 inches, with a few larger fish caught. Anglers were scattered around the shore of Oconto Park II with success being seen in most spots on minnows and worms. Boat ramps were busy from Pensaukee north to Oconto Park II with duck hunters the primary users.

In Marinette County, most fishing pressure was seen off of the Hattie Street bridge and both sides of the river below the dam with a few boat anglers fishing from Hattie St. to the Hwy. 41 bridge. Walleyes and whitefish were being caught with best action being after dark or during low light conditions. Walleyes were hitting crankbaits. Whitefish were being caught off the Hattie Street bridge on jigs. Duck hunters were using other area ramps such as Red Arrow, Little River, and the Peshtigo River sites. 

A&K Bait & Tackle, (715) 732-9595.


The Eau Claire River was running at 39 degrees recently, with small icy patches seen in certain spots. Fishing reports have been few and far between, with most anglers choosing other activities this time of year. Muskie reports from this fall were good, with many large fish being caught in the Lake Wausau area. The largest reported to the bait shop was 47 inches. The weather has certainly been the determining factor to anglers success in 2019. Record cold in January combined with record snow in February all but ruined last winter’s ice fishing. From May forward near record rainfall has also hampered anglers, with high water levels being a safety concern. So what’s left? Early ice fishing seems to be the only hope for redemption. With unusually cold temperatures in the forecast there’s a good chance to be out on the ice by the Thanksgiving holiday. Anglers are advised to always be certain of first ice conditions as currents and water temps can always create unsafe conditions. 

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


Ice left late and will be showing up early this year! Continued cold weather from last week through this coming week has been pushing lake surface temps down. Skim ice is showing up on ponds and shallow lakes. Most reports have surface temps as low as 37 degrees to as high as 43 degrees on the largest, deepest of lakes. Fishing reports are good for the few who are still venturing out.

Muskies: Good to very good. Guides Jake Smith and Jim Weston reported good fishing with multi-fish days. Suckers and brook trout rigged on quick-sets are still the best, but some good fish in mid-40-inch range on large jerk/glide baits. Casting on some days is confined to afternoons as reels ice up too much on colder mornings.

Walleyes: Good to very good. The bite is strong along gravel humps and transition zones in 25 to 42 feet on chubs and suckers.

Whitefish: Good to very good. We’re getting close to spawning temps so they are holding along deep breaks of spawning areas. Try Swedish pimples tipped with a minnow head or waxies.

The forecast shows cold temperatures with lows in the teens at night. Landings are still open, but watch for those (shallow or channels) that could freeze up soon. Bait is not a problem now (figures); it’s how much longer lakes stay open that will dictate the length of the open-water season. 

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


The first ice fisherman came into the shop Nov. 6. All of the local lakes are locked up tight with about 2 inches or a little more. Most of the bays were ice covered for five to six days prior to Nov. 6. Guys are now setting up along shorelines or in bays for pike and walleyes. Bowhunters have been battling cold temperatures while trying to hunt the rut, but grouse hunters are doing a little better than O.K. There are birds around, but the biggest problem has been reaching the good spots – it’s really wet in the woods and guys can’t get around in normal hunting boots.

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

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