Report from the Dock
After the cold front that arrived prior to Memorial Day weekend and carried into last week, weather conditions stabilized a bit more and walleyes seem to be responding in most areas. Minnows are still productive, but leeches, nightcrawlers, and even crankbaits have started to produce better numbers of fish. Work the points, shorelines, and other shallow structure during low-light periods or windy conditions and slide off to the first break and main lake structure in slightly deeper water during the day or with bright, calm conditions. Weeds also have started to rapidly develop and many of the better walleye and crappie reports were coming off weed edges or weed flats. Largemouth and smallmouth bass, along with bluegills, have remained shallow and active in most locations as they continue to go through or wrap up their annual spawning rituals. With some warm weather in the forecast for this week, expect most spawning efforts to wind down, so expect a push of bluegills and bass to the weeds and deeper structure as well. Most lakes that are kicking out walleyes are producing pike, as well. Muskie action reportedly was good across the northern tier of counties over the opener – fish were shallow and willing. Now muskie hunters may have to be willing to shift gears a bit and begin fishing weed edges, structure, and baitfish schools over deep water.
Panfish and bass are being found along the shorelines in less than 5 feet on most lakes with the spawn is now underway. Crappies have moved out to the 10- to 15-foot weeds on Big Round Lake, Cedar Lake, and Balsam Lake. A few walleyes are being caught on the St. Croix River, Butternut Lake, and Lake Wapogasset on leeches or crankbaits in 10 to 12 feet. Northern pike and muskie action has been decent with good reports below the dam on the Apple River.
Country Store, (715) 268-7482
Anglers report great fishing from Houghton Point to Outer Island and all points in between. Fishing is good in the shallower water in the morning when browns, cohos, and lake trout are chasing bait fish. The smallmouth bite will be getting better and better as the air and water temperatures head upward. Walleyes are active at Brush Point and moving throughout the bay. Target drop-offs into the channel along with any humps and rock piles.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754
River Rock, (715) 682-3232
Bluegills have moved up to the shoreline and are being found in 2 to 4 feet on Beaver Dam, Staples, and Big Round lakes. Largemouth bass are hitting in less than 6 feet on most lakes, and the pencil reeds on Beaver Dam are holding crappies. Walleye reports have been limited.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
The Sturgeon Bay area saw a lot of interest in smallmouth bass thanks to a recent tournament. Anglers reported catching smallmouths on just about every imaginable lure and lure color, but chartreuse and pumpkin-colored Twister Tails and swimbaits were mentioned quite often. Water temperatures ranged from 50 to 66 degrees at that time, with water levels significantly lower in certain areas. Smallmouth bass were caught in 3 to 12 feet of water.
Shore anglers caught smallmouth bass from Ephraim Pier. Boaters reported catching seven to 80 bass each trip. Boaters reported the most success around Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek and around Washington Island on smallmouths up to 5 pounds. A few northern pike were caught around Gill’s Rock and in Rowley’s Bay on crankbaits. One angler reported catching a large walleye in Rowley’s Bay.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Walleye fishing has been good all over, but especially on the Eagle River Chain. The fish are in the weeds (most fish) or in the holes There have been some nice fish caught in both places. Simple jigs-and-minnows have worked the best. A number of anglers also have had good luck with slip bobbers and minnows in those weeds. On the larger lakes, things are just a week or so behind the smaller, darker lakes. A few anglers had luck with floating Rapalas twitched over emergent weeds, especially in the evenings. Try Cranberry, Catfish and Otter lakes on the chain for some better luck. Bass fishing slowed with the cold front, but the fish went back to their spawning activities as it warmed. Muskies fishing was a little slow as they were put off by the cold water temps, but that changed last week as the weather finally warmed up a little bit. Try some No. 5 Mepps for this week. Bucher Baby Tails and small Suicks have also worked well. Crappies are still near shore and bluegills are starting to spawn.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Green Bay boat anglers reported catching perch, crappies, pumpkinseeds, whitefish, smallmouth bass, rock bass, round gobies, and northern pike on a mix of minnows, worms, jigs with plastics, and crankbaits. Water temperatures ranged from 52 to 64 degrees. Little Sturgeon Bay boat anglers reported catching white perch and walleyes on crawler harnesses. Shore anglers at the county park had some success catching smallmouths on worms. At Chaudoir’s Dock, boat anglers caught walleyes on Flicker Shads and crawler harnesses. Bay Shore Park anglers caught walleyes, white bass, catfish, and sheepsheads on Flicker Minnows and other crankbaits. The water temperatures were in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Anglers marked fish 15 to 25 feet of water.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600
Walleyes are hitting minnows or leeches in 12 to 20 feet on the Chippewa Flowage, Lake Lac Courte Oreilles, Nelson Lake, and Grindstone Lake. Smallmouth bass are shallow and hitting plastics at Lac Courte Oreilles and the Chippewa Flowage. Panfish and largemouth bass also are shallow and active on most lakes, while crappies have slid out to the 6- to 12-foot weeds on Nelson, Sand Lake, and the Chippewa Flowage. A few muskies have been caught with suckers on the Flowage as well.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992
IRON COUNTY AREA
The smallies have been back up on beds after last week’s cold front. Anglers are seeing them in 2 to 3 feet of water. Jigs and fatheads are working. Folks were getting walleyes deeper on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. Fish 12 to 14 feet of water in heavy wood using weedless jigs and fatheads or crawlers. Crappies have been unpredictable. Most anglers did their best in 6 feet of water along weed edges – not up in the weeds. Many bluegills are up shallow now with water temps in mid to high 60s. There have been a few reports on muskie success up shallow along weeds while using small bucktails and surface lures.
Flambeau Flowage Sports, (715) 476-2526
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
The piers and shorelines in Kenosha saw minimal angling activity. Most anglers were hoping for cohos – or anything that would bite the hook. The ramp in Kenosha was fairly quiet. The few boats that did go out had little success. The best action was reported in 50 to 108 feet of water.
In Racine, the news was much the same. The few boaters who did go out saw limited success. A few cohos, rainbows, and lake trout were caught in 100 to 140 feet of water using spoons.
The fishing in Port Washington continues to be very good. People have been catching a little bit of everything, including alewives off the railing in Coal Dock Park and big carp around the power plant area using corn. But, people also have started to catch cohos from shore in Coal Dock Park on alewives and jigging spoons. Lots of boat anglers are limiting out on cohos, lake trout, kings, and some smaller rainbow trout. Most chinooks were caught in 180 to 250 feet of water.
In Sheboygan, boat anglers are seeing more and more king salmon and rainbow trout being caught every day, along with some cohos. Orange continues to be the best color for cohos. Most kings and rainbows are being caught in 150 to 250 feet of water on downriggers.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218
Lake Mendota cooled off to 61 by Memorial Day weekend and is slowly recovering some temperature. That threw off some bass, crappie and bluegill fishing, but bluegills are again moving shallow. The lakes gained some color with the rain. Catfish action has been steady on the north end of Mendota, in the river, and at Cherokee Marsh where anglers are getting some white bass, largemouths, and catfish. Mendota smallmouths are done spawning and should be moving out to the bars soon. White bass are moving into the bays. Try Monona Bay, the “triangles,” and off the convention center wall for bluegills. There hasn’t been much news on muskie fishing, other than anglers are seeing them.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403
Fishing activity was fairly low on the Menominee River last week. Walleye anglers in the bay were traveling many miles in search of fish, but with only scattered success. The Peshtigo River saw an increase in activity last week with perch season opening. Perch were caught by most anglers, along with the occasional walleye while fishing the main channel in the lower section of the river. Perch, sheepshead, rock bass, and bullheads were being caught in the backwater areas of the lower river. Nightcrawlers were working for all species.
In Oconto County, walleyes were being caught early last week out of Oconto and Pensaukee boat launches. Catches of two to four walleyes were common, with an occasional catch of better numbers. Most fish were caught by trolling crawler harnesses in water 5 to 12 feet deep. A couple of boats had success casting hair jigs in shallow waters of 3 to 5 feet. A few smallmouth bass were caught in the Oconto River in the city and upstream towards the Hwy. 41 bridge. Anglers reported seeing lots of carp in the river.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Despite some very cold mornings to end the month of May, (temps in the upper 20s at dawn and some snow), fishing remained pretty strong. Walleye action was very good, but anglers had to play peek-a-boo for a while, as walleyes moved out of the shallows with cold, but bit well over deeper mud and wood before returning to shallower cover as waters warmed in afternoons. Smallmouth bass action was very good in the shallows where they hit topwater lures and tubes with gusto. Muskie action was very good with lots of great reports from anglers catching fish in shallows on smaller bucktails, rubber-tailed spinners, and 6-inch twitch baits. One father/son duo reported nine muskie boated Sunday, May 30. Largemouth bass action is very good as they stage in weeds outside of spawning habitat. Crappies have moved off the beds to the cabbage. Tiny jigs with hair, tinsel, or plastics area working, as are minnows under small floats. Bluegill action is good and should improve hotter weather.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616