Report from the Dock
Generally, there is more ice this week than last across parts of northern Wisconsin, but there wasn’t enough to safely walk on anywhere last week. The recent warmer weather isn’t helping the situation much, although it’s likely going to get cold enough at night for some small, shallow bays or lakes to continue building up the thin layer of ice that’s already in place. With that stated, you can still get a boat in lakes across the southern half of the state as well – there just doesn’t seem to be much interest for that.
Browns and salmon are scattered in Chequamegon Bay and off the mouth of the rivers, with some being caught in rivers at Fish Creek and the Sioux and others. Keep in mind that lake trout fishing is closed in Lake Superior Wisconsin waters until Dec. 1. Bass fishing is fantastic in the bay, however, heavy winds can make it difficult to get out so be sure and check the forecast. Inland muskie fishing has been great with some nice muskies being caught. There are cool temps and some skim ice is forming, but it is not safe at all yet.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
There was ice on the ponds, shallow bays, and some small lakes early last week. It’s just a thin layer and lakes of any size or wind-driven were still open. So, while fishing activity is nonexistent, hunters are hitting the woods for the archery and firearms deer season. Some reports indicate that bucks continue to be quite active.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Perch fishing has been fantastic when you are able to get out on the water. Sawyer Harbor and Little Sturgeon have been the best areas this fall and that fishing will stay good right up until ice fishing in 5 to 13 feet of water on fathead minnows. Bass fishing has also been good as they push out to deeper water as it cools down. That fishing, too, will stay good right up until it just gets too cold to be out there. Pike fishing has also been great as those fish are having a ball feeding on all those perch in the shallows, so Little Sturgeon and Sawyer Harbor are just a couple of the obvious spots to fish. Brown trout action has been fair along the northern Door County peninsula; not huge numbers like years ago, but some fish nevertheless. Trolling with spoons and crankbaits works well in the fall. The night walleye bite has been really good, as it usually is this time of year. Some really huge fish are being caught. Try Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point and Larsen’s Reef while trolling crankbaits along the shoreline drop-offs and on the tops of reefs.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
The transition between fall and winter continues, with some decent fall weather and some cold and snow. Water temperatures are dropping again and soon we’ll see some serious icing on many lakes. We’re now down in the 30s on all lakes, with some of the small lakes in the very low 30s and icing a little more each week. It’s been a strange late fall, with many small lakes having frozen over and then melted in the last three weeks. There is little fishing left from an open-water standpoint, but there remain a few dedicated walleye anglers out there. They have been hitting walleyes on the Eagle River Chain in the holes, which is an annual pattern. Jigs and minnows retrieved slowly and near the bottom have been productive. All lakes on the chain have a hole or two, and the fish winter in these holes. Off the chain anglers will find walleyes in 15 to 35 feet of water along deep-offs. Also, try some deep rock bars. With the cisco spawn having started, this is a great time to look for big muskies and walleyes in cisco-spawning areas.
The rut is on big time for deer hunters; this should produce good daytime activity.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
With the cold and rainy weather, fishing on Green Bay has slowed down. On the upside, the Fox River is doing very well for walleyes, perch, and muskies. The warm water discharges seem to be the hot spot for all species. Trolling and jigging are the preferred methods for catching these fish.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Open water is still quite evident throughout the area’s lakes. Some skim ice has formed on the shallow bays and very small lakes, but it’s going to take an extended stretch of cold, calm weather for walkable ice to form. Muskie anglers are still chasing after those trophy fish. Live bait remains the best option if you can find suckers, but large rubber lures and crankbaits work well. Most catches are in 15 feet or shallower. Walleyes are deeper during the day, but move shallow after dark – which is now fairly early. After dark hours, work depths inside 15 feet with fatheads or suckers on jigs from boats, or cast crankbaits from shore.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
IRON COUNTY AREA
The open-water fishing has slowed to a halt up here and there was a faint notion of skim ice last week. However the extended forecast looks quite mild for late November, so safe ice may be a ways off yet. When it does arrive, that ice should produce walleyes in flats adjacent to deep water, crappies will be deep in 20 to 30 feet of water, and northerns will be on deep weed edges.
Grouse have been flushing along swamp edges – heavy cover like spruce/balsam. The rut is in full swing, with scrapes being worked and does being chased. Bucks are responding to grunt calls.
Flambeau Flowage Sports, (715) 476-2526.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
In Sheboygan, fishing pressure has been low along the shoreline and on the Sheboygan River Anglers were fishing the Kohler dam and the town of Kohler sheds last week, but not with a lot of success – only a few cohos and king salmon on spawn sacs.
In Port Washington, the utility discharge at Coal Dock Park saw very little activity last week, but a few anglers have been out looking for rainbow and brown trout. Large numbers of gizzard shad and alewives could be observed at the discharge site.
Milwaukee River anglers have caught a few brown trout. Expect to see more cohos and trout in the coming weeks. Try spinners, spoons, spawn sacs (especially pink color), crankbaits, and marshmallows.
In Racine, Root River anglers have been finding a few cohos by using flies or spawn. At the Horlick dam, anglers began targeting steelhead and brown trout. A healthy mix of brown trout, steelhead, and cohos were caught on flies, yarn, and fake eggs.
In Kenosha, anglers are still working the Pike River for trout and cohos.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Anglers are still catching walleyes in the river at Winneconne. They’re also finding bluegills in the channels. Water temperatures on lakes Poygan and Butte des Morts were at 34 degrees on both lakes on Nov. 19, so although there is no ice yet, a good cold snap would set things up. Duck hunters have been seeing good waterfowl movement on the river in the Winneconne area.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Quite a few guys have been catching walleyes around the chain from shore on lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa. They’re mostly using suspending crankbaits and landing a number of decent sized walleyes. Things on the muskie side has been a little quiet. There has been some panfish action in Monona Bay. Guys have also had some luck on Lake Wisconsin in the river channel and near the railroad trestle. There has also been some walleye action below the Prairie du Sac dam on the Wisconsin River.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
Last week the whitefish, walleyes, and perch were really biting like crazy, but after that a cold front came through the fishing slowed way down in northeastern Wisconsin. The brown trout have been picking up in the lower Menominee River, though. Anglers have their fingers crossed for some cold weather needed to build some ice.
In Oconto County, fishing activity picked up a little with most anglers after perch at Oconto Park II and the docks at the Oconto breakwater. Some limits of perch were seen with anglers having to put in their time to get them. Most anglers were out several hours with an average of 10 to 15 perch caught. Minnows were the best bait with most perch running 6 to 9 inches.
A&K Bait and Tackle, (715) 732-9595.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Anglers in Vilas and Oneida counties are awaiting some colder weather that will eventually bring back the ice that arrived in mid-October and then disappeared. In the meantime, guys are hitting the woods and waters for deer, grouse and ducks with some decent luck in all three directions.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
A lot of the area lakes have skimmed over with ice, but there isn’t enough to walk on and there is too much to punch through to launch a boat. Some guys have been going to the South Fork of the Flambeau River where they have caught some walleyes, muskies, and even some catfish. Guys are still seeing some grouse, but the county has seen a lot of traffic from visiting hunters this fall and the birds in the places that are easily accessed have been pounded pretty hard.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.