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Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Wisconsin Fishing Report – June 4, 2020

Report from the Dock

Last week brought about a lot of changes for most fish species – definitely a transition period. Walleyes continue to be found shallow, especially during low-light periods of the day, but more fish are being caught in those mid-depth areas – 12 to 15 feet or so throughout the day. Minnows are hanging in there as a walleye-producing bait, although many anglers have started implementing more leeches and crawlers with their presentations. Bluegills are just starting to spawn to the north, wrapping it up in central Wisconsin, and pretty much done farther south. With the exception of some ongoing spawning activity in the far northern part of the state, crappies have pretty much completed their spawn, so start looking for them relating to weedlines or weed patches in 8 to 14 feet – just depends on the lake. Smallmouth bass sound like they’ve started spawning based on all the action along shallow shorelines and rocks this week, while largemouth bass are being found shallow and along some emerging weedlines. Muskie action over the opening weekend in northern Wisconsin was absolutely gangbusters, with some fishermen registering multiple fish days. Some boats accounted for four to seven muskies in one day. Action has slowed since then, but guys are still seeing and catching muskies. The bait shops have been busy with high numbers of anglers getting out and experiencing really good fishing.


Bluegills are hitting in less than 6 feet and crappies are going on the 8- to 10-foot weed edges at Balsam Lake, Lake Wapogasset, Big Round, and Bear Trap lakes. A jig and minnow or leech and live-bait rig is producing a few walleyes during low-light periods in 8 to 12 feet on Wapogasset. Work the 10- to 12-foot weedlines for pike or the shallow shorelines for bass on area lakes.


Country Store, (715) 268-7482.


There has been considerable activity on Chequamegon Bay. Walleyes started their post-spawn feeding with rising water temperatures. Most action is at the head of the bay near Fish Creek Slough, Brush Point, and the hot pond. Some anglers report success trolling on the first breaks and humps on the west side of the bay. Smallmouth bass are in all phases of spawn – pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn. The water is very clear in the Sand Cut, Oak Point, and Brush Point areas, though rain and wind could change that. Anglers are also making incidental catches of northern pike, walleyes, rock bass, and perch in those areas. Trout and salmon trolling is very productive for most anglers, with good reports from Washburn all the way out to the Islands.


Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.


River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Look for bluegills in 3 to 6 feet and crappies in slightly deeper water at Upper Turtle and Beaver Dam lakes. Largemouth bass are an easy catch along the shorelines or shallow weeds on most lakes and northern pike are active, although most have been small in 8 to 12 feet on area lakes. 


Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164


The reports from out on the big lake are getting better as they usually do this time of year. Good numbers of rainbows and lakers are being caught and now some kings are showing up. As shallow as 60 feet of water out to the 300-foot mark has been the best depth. A mix of flashers and fly combinations and spoons are working well right now.


Bass fishing has been great all over as those fish move through the different stages of the spawn. There are bedded fish, post-spawn fish, and pre-spawn fish depending which part of the county you are in. The walleye fishing is starting to pick up again. Chaudoir’s Dock, Henderson’s Point, and Larsen’s Reef are just a few of the more popular spots to try. Try trolling with Flicker Shads, Husky Jerks, Bandits, and crawler harnesses and casting with tubes, paddle tails, hair jigs, and Rippin Raps. Pike fishing is also still going good. Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor, and Sturgeon Bay are all good areas for casting and trolling.


Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.


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


That was quite a cold front recently. It did have some effect on the fishing, as some of the bass on the shorelines left for deeper water. The muskie fishing slowed down. It will improve as the water temps raise with the warmer weather now. Emergent weeds are holding a lot of fish. Walleye fishing remains good, with the fish deeper now and recovering from the spawn. The best bait is still the jig and minnow in roughly 14 feet of water on the Eagle River chain. If you know where there are deeper cribs on the chain, you’ll find a lot of fish holding to those cribs. The fish are in the deeper weeds on the clear lakes, with many anglers using slip bobbers in those green weeds. 


Northerns are hitting with their usual aggression in weeds. They’ll hit just about anything moving. Pike are in shallower on the chain and deeper on clear lakes. Chubs or suckers are the best live bait.


The bass fishing slowed down with the cold front, but there are still bass on the spawning beds and many fish will return. Largemouths are hitting well on shallow crankbaits or crawlers, but the problem with crawlers is that the bluegills often beat the bass to the bait. Smallies will hit leeches and even surface baits when they are on the beds. Look for the larger, colder lakes to have more fish still spawning.


Smaller muskies will become active sooner than the big females. Males will cruise the shallow weeds looking for bait and warmer water. The females usually move to deeper mid-range water after spawning to recover. They will begin feeding more actively as the water gets warmer and they recover. 


Crappie action remains good, but they are mostly done spawning and many have moved deeper into the weeds or wood. Minnows are best for these guys, but also small plastics are very effective under slip bobbers. Perch of nice size have been hitting in spots in the deeper weeds. Bluegills are now on the beds and will be on the shorelines for several weeks. Worms work best, but if you have a fly rod give that a try with poppers – that can be a blast in the evening when the wind goes down.


Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Wow! Fishermen came out of the woodwork over the Memorial Day weekend. Everyone was happy to get out and enjoy nature after being cooped up for so long. As an added bonus, the weather was perfect and the fish were biting. Walleye action has been good. Plenty of keepers were being reported. Minnows, leeches, and crankbaits were all producing well. The crappie bite really heated up. Jigs tipped with small minnows or leeches and artificial baits were performing equally well. As temperatures warm up, try fishing this species early morning or evening along the edges of weed beds. Bluegill action has been fair. Anglers are just now starting to report some decent catches. Think small with baits. Wax worms, pieces of worms and small plastics usually do the trick. Bass action was good. Anglers were finding them in shallow water under cover. Trout fishermen reported decent catches of brookies on worms and spinners. Northern pike action has been slow with only a couple catches being reported.


Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.


Muskie fishing has been awesome on Green Bay. Trolling crankbaits and throwing rubber baits and smaller bucktails are catching nice fish. Walleyes are biting on the east and west shore of Lower Green Bay on trolled crawler harnesses and Flicker Minnows. Lake Michigan is on fire right now with salmon in the morning and rainbows in the afternoon. And Door County is real hot right now for smallies on crankbaits, spinners, and hair jigs.


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


Water temperatures are in the 70s in the shallows, but in the 50s and 60s on bigger, deeper lakes. As for muskies, small bucktails, glide baits, and Lake X topwaters are producing good action. A few fish are shallow on colder lakes, but fish deeper on warmer lakes to save some frustration. Walleyes are in 15 feet during the day and moving shallow to feed in early morning and late evening. In the evening, work swimbaits and shallow diving crankbaits in 5 feet and shallower. Largemouth bass are along shallow shorelines, with some on beds. Females are hard to find. Strike King bass jigs, wacky worms, and Texas rigs are all good options. Smallmouths are around weedlines in 10 to 15 feet. Ned rigs, creature baits, and leeches are the favorites. Inconsistent air and water temperatures have meant an inconsistent crappie spawn. Bluegills are on shallow beds in 1 to 3 feet. Waxies, worms, flies, jigs, and poppers are all work well on bluegills. The Chippewa Flowage is at full pool, with water temperature in the mid 60s. Muskie action has been light, mostly because few anglers are targeting them. Smaller baits are typically more effective at this time of year and shallow runners and surface baits are solid choices.


Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.


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


The crappie bite has been steady on the area lakes and the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, with the bite the most effective in the shallow bulrush “pencil” weeds in 2 to 5 feet of water. Good reports have come in of bluegills on the beds on area lakes. Use almost any hooking rig tipped with a piece of crawler or red worm. The smallmouths have been shallow nearly everywhere. Try crankbaits, 3- to 4-inch tubes or Senko worms,  along with leeches or chubs. This bite should continue into next week with the water temps climbing and the smallies bedding on rocky, gravely shorelines area-wide. Walleyes, have been somewhat scattered without showing a solid pattern, yet the majority of good reporting includes catching walleyes in weeds (cabbage, bulrush or coontail), varying depths of 3 to 8 feet of water using fathead minnows mostly on light weedless jigs. Beetle Spins will often produce in the weeds. The perch bite kicked in last week, with fish concentrated in shallow wood in 4 to 7 feet on small weedless jigs with either a vertical presentation or slip bobber rigged with fatheads or crawlers. Most of the muskie reports have been of undersized fish caught along shallow weed edges. Anglers might want to focus on drop-offs, bars and mid-lake humps/wood piles for bigger fish. 


Flambeau Flowage Sports, (715) 476-2526.


The bluegills are up tight and biting well just about everywhere. The crappie action spiked last week, but crappies are still hitting at a steady pace. Bass and pike action has also been good on Lake Onalaska.


Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.


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


With warmer weather predicted for this weekend, the fishing should be phenomenal on the area lakes. Bluegills are spawning on some lakes or reaching the end of the spawn on others. They will be found in shallow water. Green weeds, piers, or wood will also hold gills. Use small jigs or No. 8 hooks baited with a waxie, red worm, leaf worm, of small leech. A black ant fly or bluegill bug baited with a wax worm also works well. Suspend these under a clear casting bobber or Rocket bobber and make long, accurate casts for best results. Bluegill fishing is best on warm, sunny afternoons. Some crappies were still spawning on the deeper lakes, but most crappies were suspended above weeds or wood in 10 feet of water. Walleyes were in post-spawn patterns on most area lakes. Look for them around rock bars or weed beds in 5 to 10 feet of water, especially in areas near current. A jig, Lindy rig or slip bobber rig baited with a fathead, golden shiner, chub, sucker, leech, or nightcrawler will work best. Smallmouth bass were in various spawning stages. Look for the smallies in the shallow to mid-depth range near rocky areas. A variety of live  bait and artificials are working.


River fishing for white bass has been improving on the Rock, Wolf, Wisconsin, and Fox rivers. White bass can be caught using a three-way rig with a streamer fly or No. 6 hook baited with a fathead minnow. Catfish have been caught on the Rock and Crawfish rivers, as well as on Lake Koshkonong, Cherokee Marsh, and Beaver Dam Lake. Fish along the bottom using cut up suckers or chubs, stinkbait, nightcrawlers, or a jumbo leech on a river rig.


Muskie fishing has been slow recently, but downsizing baits will help. Small bucktails, No. 14 Husky Jerks, small twitch baits, lipless crankbaits, and swim jigs are good baits for spring muskies. 


DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.


Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.


Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


The walleye bite is still going very well in the river and on lakes Winneconne and Poygan in the cane beds. Bluegills are up in the weed beds and the channels. Every once in a while anglers are finding a school of white bass to work on.


Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.


Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.


Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


Water temperatures are creeping up on the Madison chain. On Lake Mendota and Cherokee Marsh, there has been some catfish action continuing. Smallmouths are starting to spawn on Lake Mendota. Look for them in 5 to 8 feet of water. White bass have moved into Warner Bay on Lake Mendota. Lake Monona bluegills and bass have started spawning and are in the shallows. Shore anglers are having good luck off the conference center and Monona Bay. Reports on muskie action on the chain has been light. Lake Waubesa panfish anglers have been finding better crappie and bluegill action on the north end than on the south end. 


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 66 degrees last week. Area reports are coming in strong, with somewhat conflicting reports of fish out of the shallows and back in the deep water. Fishing crappies in 10 to 15 feet with a jig and minnow have yielded some nice catches. Area dams along the Wisconsin River – like the Lake Wausau dam and Rothschild paper mill dam – have yielded some sturgeon up to 44 inches. Area trout fisherman, though tightlipped on locations, have reported some nice browns and brookies on crawlers and small Mepps. Bluegill reports have been fair to middling, with the best action on bright jigs tipped with worms and Cubby Mini Mites. 


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


The late May cold front with lows into the 30s put the brakes on some very good fishing, but temperatures rebounded last week. That’s good news. Bluegills had flocked into the shallows, but pulled out to 4 to 6 feet with the cold. They were back in the shallows by last week. Smallmouth action has been very good; bedding has started on some lakes. Perch action was good, with schools of perch being found in shallow water as the water warms. Crappie action has been good. The spawn is over. Anglers were still finding some shallow males in places, but they were gone by last week.


Largemouth action has been fair to good, with action slower during the cold front. Action started picking up again last week. The northern pike bite has been the best on chubs or suckers, with some action on 4-inch swim baits. Walleye action has been fair. Try leeches in 8 to 12 feet of water near cabbage. Muskie action dropped to fair during the cold front after a super opening weekend, but there were still some low 40-inch fish reported on Wizards and small twitch baits.


Smallmouth bass will be going strong this weekend. Remember to let these fighters go – the possession season doesn’t open until June 20. 


Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.


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


Water temperatures are in the low 70s and upper 60s. Bluegills are up on the beds and crappies are starting to move deeper. The walleye action has been a little better than average and seem to be switching to leeches. A little bit of a mayfly hatch just started showing up. The muskie fishing got a little tough after opening weekend when a cold front settled in. Guys are hoping for improved muskie action if the weather warms up and settles out.


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


Fishing has been pretty darn good all over the area. Clam and Big Sand lakes have been very good for most species. The weeds are starting to come up on those lakes. Bluegills are starting to come in. They’re about a week late, but the bluegills really kicked in last week. Catfish action has taken on a whole new meaning for the folks who haven’t been able to go to work. The area is seeing a lot of new fishermen heading out to give it a try. People are happy. They’re catching fish.


Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports Shop, (715) 349-2400.

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