Report from the Dock
Water temperatures continue to drop with the cool overnight lows and that’s meant a little more consistency with the state’s walleye bite. It’s by no means approaching the peak of the fall action, but many reports were a lot better than they have been in several weeks. While you’ll still find walleyes deep, the water is cooling off so quickly that those shallow water bars, points, shoreline breaks, and weedlines are starting to hold bigger numbers of fish. Crappies are suspended in many areas, mainly along weedlines or deep basin areas, which is another indication that they’re starting to move to their fall locations. Bigger bass and pike are definitely more numerous around deep vegetation, while more numbers can be had shallower. Muskie action has been OK with some fish still chasing bucktails or topwater baits, but the bite has not been outstanding. Bear and most goose hunting reports from the first week of season have been exceptional. Based on hunter success and overall reports, it sounds like this was the right year to draw a bear tag.
Jiggin’ Raps or minnows are turning walleyes on Lake Wapogasset in 14 to 20 feet, while panfish, crappies, and a few walleyes are being caught on the bars at Big Round Lake. Hit the Apple River and Balsam Lake with suckers for northern pike. Muskie reports have been strong with suckers or bucktails producing on Wapogasset, Bone Lake, Deer Lake, and the Apple River. Goose numbers look good and hunting reports have mostly been favorable.
Country Store, (715) 268-7482.
Chequamegon Bay fishing is in the transition stage with water temperatures starting to cool down. Look for the smallies to be more prevalent in the deeper haunts, such as the back side of the breakwall and the tip of Long Island. They also relate to the rock pile this time of year. Along with the smallies you might find walleyes, northern pike, perch and trout in the mix. The most productive baits are suckers, but drop-shotting plastics and ripping jigging spoons can produce, as well.
Trolling has been terrific all year with success from Long Island all the way to Outer Island. Look for fish suspended in the 30-foot range over deeper water. Fishermen are still using spoons, spin-n-glos and flies, but will transition to crankbaits as fish move shallower.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Fishing out on the lake is still going well on a nice mix of 2- and 3-year-old kings, along with a bunch of really nice sized rainbows in 200 to 300 feet of water in the top 60 feet. The big 4-year-old kings are starting to take their final swim so there is a good opportunity for small boat fishermen and shore fishermen to get in on the action. Cast spoons and plugs.
Perch fishing has been very good and will just stay good right through fall as it has the past few years. The shallow bays from Sturgeon Bay south to Little Sturgeon have been good, along with some of the deeper mud from Little Sturgeon south past Chaudoir’s Dock. Walleye fishing has been good during the day and at night while trolling with crankbaits at night and a mix of cranks and crawler harnesses during the day. Pike fishing is picking up as it usually does this time of year. Fish weed beds from Sturgeon Bay south to Little Sturgeon with big jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and live bait
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Wind. Rain. Rapidly dropping water temps. Is it fall yet? All signs point to a very early fall this year. All of this means we have to hope that it doesn’t turn warm later in the month and really screw up the fishing. Water levels are high on all lake and streams in the area. Weeds are dying off. There is be much less boat traffic on all lakes now that Labor Day has passed, which makes it easier on the anglers. Walleye are moving slowly deeper on the Eagle River Chain and now are mostly in the 10- to 15-foot range on the mud flats. The key to finding them is to look for the areas where the hard bottom meets mud. Half crawlers or “tuffie” minnows work best for these fish. Off the chain on the bigger lakes the fish are at the deeper edge of the weeds in the 8- to 12-foot range during the daytime. They will soon be off the weeds at the drop-offs and in deeper water
Bass are still hitting well, but the cooler water is causing the shallow weeds to die off. This is causing largemouths to move a little deeper. They are hitting plastics well, but will still hit surface baits and spinners all fall. Smallies are now feeding on minnows and have also move a little deeper. Muskie action has been good, with some weeds action on a daily basis. The fish are also suspending out where the walleye are and then going to the weeds to feed during feeding windows, which are getting longer as we get into September. We will see a lot of fish in the weeds as the month goes on. As the water cools, use bigger baits and retrieve the more slowly. Night fishing is still good.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
It was a busy Labor Day weekend and the fish were biting. Bluegill action was good. Anglers were still finding them in deeper water. Walleye action has been good. Minnows and crawlers were producing the best bite. Perch action has been fair. Fishermen reported a few nice size catches. No muskie catches were reported. As the leaves begin to change, sportsmen switch their focus from fishing to hunting. Many hunters were gearing up for archery deer season.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Perch fishing on the lower bay has been on fire. Perch are being caught out of Bay Shore Park on the east shore and Geano’s on the west shore. Fishermen are having better luck with small minnows for the perch. Walleyes are being caught on the east and west shores on crankbaits, crawler harnesses and rip jigging. Metro launch fishing from shore has been real good; walleyes are starting to enter the Fox River. Crawlers off the bottom seem to do the trick. The muskie bite is really picking up.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Topwater baits or BullDawgs are producing muskies on the 10- to 15-foot points and weedlines on the Chippewa Flowage and Lake Lac Courte Oreilles. Nelson Lake is a safe bet for pike in 10 to 12 feet and largemouth bass are biting on the deep weedlines of most lakes. Minnows or crankbaits are turning walleyes on the 15- to 20-foot weed edges on Grindstone Lake, Nelson, and Lac Courte Oreilles. Look for bluegills on the Spider Lake Chain, Tiger Cat Flowage, and Chippewa Flowage or suspended crappies over 20 to 30 feet on Grindstone, Lac Courte Oreilles, and Lake Namekagon. The Chippewa Flowage was full last week, with the water temperature 72 degrees and dropping.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
IRON COUNTY AREA
Water temps have dropped significantly – it was 61 degrees on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage just after Labor Dat. The walleyes were in 11 to 13 feet of water in wood along the river channel. One guide said the bite was good up in the flats on light weedless jigs and large fatheads or mud minnows. The panfish were suspended over natural wood and cribs in 11 to 14 feet of water. Use a piece of crawler or a crappie minnow on a tube jig or marabou jig. A few smallmouths were landed on plastics and live bait on mid-lake humps, mostly over wood. The muskie bite seemed to get going last week with one guide landing a 43- and 46-incher on one outing while raising three more fish. Several customers reported action on suckers while muskie fishing.
Flambeau Flowage Sports, Mercer, (715) 476-2526.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Water temperatures will be slowly dropping with the forecast of cooler temperatures. Bluegill fishing continues to be decent on area lakes. Look for them tucked into weeds in 8 to 15 feet of water or in deeper water at 25 to 30 feet. Larger bluegills were found towards the bottom in both locations. Crappies will start to get more active with the cooler temps. They will be suspended around weed beds in 8 to 12 feet of water during early morning and evening hours. During the day, look for them suspended along deeper weed lines or over deeper water. Largemouth bass fishing will be best around piers and slop. Smallmouths were found around edges of drop-offs near rock/gravel areas. Drop-shot rigs fished in deep structure in 20 to 30 feet of water also produced smallies. Topwater baits were effective during early morning and night time hours.
Walleye fishing was best along deeper structure in 12 to 25 feet. A jig, slip bobber rig, or live bait rig baited with a jumbo tuffy, crawler, sucker or golden shiner produced. A jig dressed with a 3-inch paddle tail can also work great. Muskie fishing should pick up now that water has cooled a bit. Try along weedlines or deeper structure while casting bucktails and crankbaits, or soaking a sucker on a quick-strike rig suspended under a slip bobber.
Catfish have been active on the Rock and Crawfish rivers.
Lake Michigan harbors of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Port Washington and Sheboygan have started to produce some king salmon and a few browns. The best action will be in low light conditions. Try casting Darter Heads with a plastic, casting glow spoons, or long crankbaits. Fresh spawn sacs under a slip float also works well.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
Water temps are dropping into the 60s, with some news on perch hitting along weedlines from the Middleton side of the lake. Smallmouth action has been a little slow, but others have been catching smallies up to 20 inches while fishing bars with black-tailed chubs. Guys have been picking off bluegills here and there on Mendota. Lake Monona has had the best panfish action lately, but it’s not easy by any means. Try all the normal spots and keep moving around. The muskie bite has been sporadic, but a few anglers have caught muskies, even from shore.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Cool weather and lots of wind made for a quieter than normal Labor Day weekend on the water. The wind was probably the biggest factor, making boat control and any type of finesse fishing difficult. Water temps, thanks to an unusually cool early September, have dropped from the low 70s to the low to mid 60s. Muskie action has been good. Some anglers have been surprised to find muskies as shallow as 2 to 3 feet. From here until turnover, topwaters a very good choice. With muskies moving into inside weed edges, look for largemouths on deeper edges and into the weed beds. Walleye action has been fair to good. The deeper bite has been best on larger lakes where anglers working Shiver Minnows and Jigging Raps to score along gravel humps of 18 to 25 feet. Also, drifting crawler harnesses over mud flats has been effective along outside weed edges in 13 to 20 feet. Panfish action has been fair, with mostly spotty reports, but some large crappies have been caught.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.