Report from the Dock
It’s been another tough week for walleye anglers, especially during midday hours. Most of the better walleye bites are early and late each day and still involve covering a lot of water with crankbaits or live-bait rigs. There also was a noticeable improvement after dark with more anglers finding success trolling crankbaits or anchoring with slip bobbers and leeches after sunset on many lakes. Like the past couple of weeks, continue to fish walleyes on lakes that simply have more of them in it. Weedlines remain a major producer for all fish species and the general rule is that you’ll find bigger panfish, pike, and bass on deep vegetation. With that stated, there’s been plenty of nice largemouth bass caught with plastic frogs in the slop and smallmouth bass on topwater presentations on shallow rock early and late each day. Bluegills are on the bite, weed-related and active so there has been more angling attention focused on them this week. Crappies are tough to catch during the day, but they too get more active on weedlines in the evenings.
Crawlers and leeches are producing a few walleyes in 8 to 12 feet or 15 to 18 feet on Lake Wapogasset and Balsam Lake. Hit the 10- to 15-foot weedlines on Big Round Lake for crappies and some walleyes. Bass and pike continue to hit on most lakes, while White Ash Lake is producing panfish in 6 feet.
Country Store, (715) 268-7482.
The black flies have been more active on the west side of the Apostle Islands, but the fishing has been fairly good for lake trout. Keep an eye out for commercial nets in that area. The area between Madeline Island and Long Island in the South Channel called the flats was very good this spring, but is being commercially netted very heavily now and is very difficult to fish; most people have been fishing in the waters around Stockton, Oak, and Cat islands with good success on lake trout and a few browns fishing the breaks and temperature changes. Fishing the area of Otter Island has been producing some very large lake trout as usual this time of year if you’re up for a long boat ride (bigger boats only) and the weather is stable. The tip of Long Island to Houghton Point is slow for trout, but it will not be long and we will see cooler nights and the salmon will return.
Chequamegon Bay walleyes have been holding in deep sand grass and will suspend when they start feeding. Troll crankbaits 8 to 10 feet down over 18 to 20 feet of water with planer boards. Best colors seem to be purple and gold. The biggest key is to keep moving until you catch one, then you will usually get into a bunch of them. The smallmouth bass seem to be spread out all over the bay from deep to shallow. The shallow wood in front of Ashland has been good, along with both ends of the breakwall. The rock pile and Long Island have also been good. When the bite is slow switch over to Lindy-rigged suckers.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Look for a mixed bag of panfish in 10 to 12 feet during the day or slightly shallower each evening on Upper Turtle Lake, Staples Lake, Beaver Dam Lake, and Bear Lake. Largemouths remain active on Beaver Dam and Staples.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Salmon fishing is still going well throughout the county. The best bite has been in the 100- to 150-foot range and fishing the top 80 feet with flasher/fly combos, meat rigs and spoons. Walleye fishing has been going strong now again for the past week or so and that bite should now stay good through fall. Troll an assortment of crankbaits and crawler harnesses or rip-jig with Shorty Tubes, Rippin’ Raps and Shiver Minnows. Perch fishing is on the up and up and should stay good through fall. The Sturgeon Bay ship canal, Sawyer Harbor and Little Sturgeon are just a few spots to try.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
The fickle summer weather – either very cool or awfully hot and humid – has really gotten old. The water temps spiked into the 80s and dropped to the low 70s. The fish don’t know if it’s summer or fall. On some days they have been very inactive. Lake levels are extremely high and water clarity is somewhat turbid as a result of those rains. Some landings can be a bit difficult because of the high water. Weed growth is at its peak. Some of the shoreline weeds are already getting a little brown. A few ferns along roadsides getting brown. Walleye fishing has been pretty good despite that weather, feeding in the deeper weeds and moving off the weeds during the hot days to cooler, deeper water. By far the best bait for these fish now is half a crawler, but anglers are still getting some fish on minnows. Recreational activity has been extremely high on the Eagle River Chain and larger area lakes, so early morning and evening fishing is the best answer. On the larger lakes, fish have been as deep as 35 feet during the day, but at times are up in the weeds feeding in 8 to 14 feet. Try some deeper rock bars during the daytime. Bass fishing remains very good, as the smallies are hitting well in deeper water. You can get these guys as deep as 25 feet on some lakes. Largemouth are also hitting in shallower water on surface baits and plastics. They like any kind of cover in shallower water. Muskie action has been very inconsistent all spring and summer. The changing water temps have something to do with that. Night fishing has been the best answer, with bucktails and surface baits working best.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
Walleye action has been good. Anglers have been reporting good numbers of walleyes, with one catch measuring 291⁄2 inches. Larger fathead s and leeches were producing the best bite. Bass and northern pike action has been slow. The bluegill bite has started to pick up. Fishermen are finding them suspended in about 12 feet of water. Worms and waxies are always a good choice, although these fish aren’t too picky. The crappie bite has been fair. Concentrate more in the evenings and early morning hours around weed edges, or trees using jigs tipped with small minnows.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Fishing on Green Bay has picked up quite a bit. Walleyes are being caught on the east and west shores using crawler harnesses and crankbaits. Pier fishing has been pretty good out of Bay Shore Park and by Geono’s using small minnows and red worms. Muskie fishing has been slow due to the warm water temps; remember, if you are targeting muskies have the proper equipment so you can properly release these fish.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
A jig and minnow or Jiggin’ Raps are producing walleyes on the 15- to 20-foot weedlines of Lac Courte Oreilles, Chippewa Flowage, and Grindstone Lake. Work plastics or topwater baits for smallmouth bass on the 10-foot rock piles on Lac Courte Oreilles and Windigo Lake or for largemouth in 10 to 15 feet on Tiger Cat Flowage and Whitefish Lake. Round Lake and Nelson Lake are producing bluegills in 8 to 12 feet, while crappies are being found suspended over 15 to 20 feet on Nelson as well. A few muskies are being caught with small glide baits after dark on the Spider Lake Chain.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
IRON COUNTY AREA
The panfish have been super active all over the county. On the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, crappies have been over natural wood or cribs in 8 to 11 feet and a few folks landed crappies in cabbage weeds in 3 to 5 feet of water using minnows, crappie scrubs and even pieces of crawler on tube jigs. There have also been a few reports of big bluegills in weeds 2 in 4 feet eating jigs tipped with pieces of crawler or red worms. The jumbo perch were down in the wood where the panfish were suspended. The smallies have been super active and suspended over wood a bit shallower in 4 to 8 feet. Some nicer northerns have been caught on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage recently on jigs and crawlers while fishing for walleyes and on crankbaits, also over wood and deep weed edges. The muskie and walleye action has been the toughest. Hot water is tough on the muskies during the day, but they have been most active in 4 to 10 feet of water over structure, but with deep water nearby. Try smaller bucktails and surface baits. The walleyes just aren’t patterning well. Try crawlers and leeches on weedless jigs and keep moving. They are in the cabbage, on mid-lake humps in wood/rocks or on wood along drop-offs in the river channel. Stay shallower than 12 feet for the most part.
Flambeau Flowage Sports, (715) 476-2526.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Fishing off the north pier in Sheboygan was slow. The south pier remains closed for a major reconstruction project by the Army Corps of Engineers that is scheduled to last through 2022. A troller reported catching eight trout and salmon, with fish scattered from 100 to 300 feet of water.
In Port Washington, despite cold water temperatures near shore, fishing off the pier was slow. Anglers were able to find a few alewives to use as bait, but they did not produce any trout or salmon. Inside the harbor, one carp was caught at the power plant discharge.
In Milwaukee, one boat reported catching two lake trout 80 feet down in 110 feet of water off of Bender Park. Another troller caught a mixed bag of rainbows, chinooks, and lake trout in 150 feet of water.
Racine piers and shoreline saw limited activity last week. The warm air and water temperatures seemed to keep many anglers away. Anglers who were targeting perch were only able to catch a small handful of them. The Racine ramp saw high boat activity last week, but catches have been light.
The ramp in Kenosha saw lots of boat activity. The anglers who did go out had mixed success. Some boats came in empty-handed while others came in with several fish. Cohos and kings were the most caught fish. A few steelhead and lake trout were caught, as well. Anglers reported catching fish in 60 to 195 feet of water.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
The biggest news has been the good catfishing action in the river, followed by perch on Lake Winnebago’s north end and south end. Walleye success has been fairly spotty, with the best action coming early and late in the day.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Water temperatures have been 78 to 80 degrees, so muskie anglers might want to take note and pass on muskies until the water cools. Perch fishing on Lake Mendota has taken a little bit of work to be successful. Guys have had to get right into the weed pockets to find perch. Smallmouth bass fishing on Mendota has been decent and the walleye bite has slowed a little, with most of the walleye action coming from smaller fish. Lake Monona has been offering up the best panfish bit on the chain. For bluegills, start and the weed line and move out a little bit to as deep as 15 to 18 feet. All of the usual spots are turning out fish, along with Lake Monona’s north shore. There have still been a few reports of decent perch catches from Lake Kegonsa, but not with any regularity.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
Fishing has drastically slowed down. Since most parts of Wisconsin received the recent rains and humidity levels, the bite hasn’t been good and anglers are struggling to find fish of all species. Before the storms rolled in, local anglers were locating perch everywhere in Green Bay in 10 to 15 feet of water with weeds, fishing mainly with perch rigs tagged with a minnow or crawler. Now, the perch fishing has slowed. From the sounds of it, pro anglers in a recent tournament had a difficult time finding walleyes in the bay. But Korey Sprengel came out on top with a two-day, 10-fish total of 77.48 pounds. Next up in the tournament race is the Masters Walleye Circuit coming to Menekaunee Harbor in Marinette Aug. 7-8. The only local information that has been good is the walleye fishing in the Menominee River. Some locals are catching a lot of walleyes in 10 to 15 feet by trolling shallow baits as if the walleye were suspended. Other fish like bass, catfish and rough fish have been easier to come by. The Menominee River between the first and second dam is blossoming with smallmouth bass. Catfish have been caught by trolling the bay or long-lining in the river.
A&K Bait and Tackle, (715) 732-9595.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Anglers endured a week of very unstable weather for July, with cold mornings (low 50s), small fronts and rain with lightning that slowed fish activity. The weather and the bites were all inconsistent.
Northern pike: Good to fair. Cooler temps seem to improve the bite at times, but usually later in the mornings. Working Boonie Baits over cabbage flats of 4 to 9 feet worked best.
Bluegills: Good to fair. They’ve been scattered from 2 to 20 feet. Coontail edges of 14 to 18 feet have been the best, but a lot of little bluegills are patrolling these areas and ripping up crawlers and leeches meant for bigger game.
Largemouth bass: Good to fair. The action is slower than it has been most of the summer, but with some nice fish of 18 to 20 inches.
Smallmouth bass: Fair. Fish deep coontail edges and over sandgrass flats by drop-shotting 3-inch minnow or crayfish imitations.
Muskies: Fair. Bucktails have been the best lure; the cooler mornings and unstable weather may have been the cause for less topwater action.
Walleyes: Fair to poor. A few nice fish were caught, mainly along deep coontail edges on crawlers and leeches. The bite has been very inconsistent.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.