Report from the Dock
It’s been a strange week of walleye fishing with many reports indicating that there’s been quite a few fish being caught in shallower water – less than 10 feet in many areas. For as hot as it continues to be, you’d think the exact opposite would be taking place, but shallow structure and shallow to mid-depth weeds seem to be giving up walleyes most consistently. This is especially true early and late each day, and most midday walleye action continues to be slow. You really have to cover water and grind out bites during the day. Muskie reports were surprisingly slow, but many areas did report that a lot of anglers quit fishing them due to the warm water, which stresses these big fish out. Weedlines and weed pockets continue to provide the most consistent panfish, bass, and northern pike activity. It’s repetitive this time of year, but you’ll catch a mixed bag of fish in and along established weed areas of most lakes. It’s also worth noting that plastics, crankbaits, and a wide range of live bait presentations are all turning fish right now.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Lake Michigan anglers out of Sturgeon Bay had good luck on green/blue flasher flies in 200 feet of water. Anglers caught a lot of chinook salmon, rainbow trout, and lake trout. One king went 39 inches and 24 pounds.
In northern Door County on the lake side, fishing activity increased the past two weeks. Smallmouth bass were caught from pier and boats in Rowley’s Bay and a number of other spots on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, various rigs with plastics, and crawlers and leeches. Bass ranged in size from 3 to 5 pounds, with some being much smaller. Northern pike up to 30 inches were caught in Rowley’s Bay from the pier and in the mouth of the Mink River.
On the Green Bay side, smallmouth bass were being caught from shore and piers in all locations, including Murphy Park, Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Peninsula State Park, Ephraim, Sister Bay and Ellison Bay. Bass are hitting on a wide variety of baits and setups. Yellow perch, pumpkinseeds and rock bass were caught in Egg Harbor and Sister Bay. Anglers targeting perch used minnows or nightcrawlers.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Traffic on the Eagle River chain is heavy. Try fishing in the early morning and evening. With the mayfly hatch over, things are returning to normal on the fishing front. Walleye fishing has improved. The fish have returned to the weeds and structure in deeper water. Minnows and leeches are working best for these fish. Using weedless jigs will improve that weed fishing. Slip bobbers also work very well in the weeds. On the bigger, deeper lakes off the chain, fish deep weed edges with any live bait. Lakes like North Twin have been producing some decent catches. Bass fishing has been very good, with largemouths more than willing to hit anything. If your lake has bulrushes, largemouths will be in them. The smallies have gone deeper, especially in the clear lakes. Northerns are, as usual, feeding with aggression daily. These fish are a great way to introduce a new angler to game fishing. Muskie action has been improving. Fish have become significantly more active as the water warmed. Start in the weeds and gradually move deeper in search of action. The Three Lakes Chain has been going pretty good lately. Panfish action is good, with crappies again hitting well on many lakes. Look for weed cover for these guys and fish with minnows or small plastics.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
The fish have become active again after a stretch of hot weather that forced them to retreat to deeper waters. During these heat waves try fishing early morning or evening hours when the surface water is cooler. Fishing where there is a current and speeding up your retrieve. When the mercury rises nothing works better than a worm or crawler. Bass action has been hot. Leeches, crawlers, plastics and spinnerbaits have all been performing well. Panfish action has been good. Fishermen are reporting good catches of perch, crappies and bluegills. Worms and leeches have been producing the best bite. Walleye action has been fair. Anglers fishing at dusk have been catching their limits on a variety of baits. Pike and muskie action has been fair.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Anglers out of the metro boat launch have reported success on walleyes using Flicker Minnows, leeches, and crawlers. Most walleyes are running 15 to 16 inches and in 8 to 12 feet of water. Boat anglers reported success on channel catfish out of the metro launch using leeches and nightcrawlers.
Boat anglers who launched from Chaudoir’s Dock reported having luck on yellow perch, white perch, and sheepshead on live bait. Bayshore Park anglers caught walleyes, yellow perch, catfish, and sheepshead by mainly using crawler harnesses and leeches.
On the west side of Green Bay, anglers caught walleyes, northern pike, and yellow perch from the Geano Beach launch on live bait and crankbaits. Anglers running out of the Suamico River landing caught walleyes and white perch. Most of the walleyes ran 15 inches or less. Many shore anglers had success on yellow perch at the Suamico River landing.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Muskies are sliding deeper on some lakes with the increased fishing and boating pressure. Musky anglers should target deeper weedlines and structure adjacent to cribs. Muskies do not hold to cribs, but station near these high traffic fish areas waiting for their next meal. When muskies slide deeper, diving baits are good options. Bucktails and topwaters come back into play at prime time. Walleyes are on deeper weedlines and flats, as well as on shallow weeds, points, and feeding areas near deep water. In the evening, fish slide up ledges to feed. Northern pike are on deeper points, weedlines, and structure holding baitfish. Largemouth bass are around docks, piers, thick weeds, wood, and lily pads near deep water. Wacky rigs, Senkos, and other plastics do the trick. Smallmouth bass are on deep rock flats eating crayfish. Drop-shot, football, and Carolina rigs, and crankbaits rolled off rocks, will tempt smallmouths. Crappies and bluegills are in 15 to 25 feet.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
KEWAUNEE COUNTY AREA
Very heavy fishing pressure made the bites a bit more difficult to come by between dawn and dusk flurries. A lot of off-shore wind had the water very cold near shore; it may be worth it for pier casters to try their luck between dusk and dawn with glow spoons or bait. Trollers were working closer, with some bites a mile out, but most anglers are fishing two to four miles off-shore in 60 to 120 feet of water.
In Algoma, trout and salmon were being caught on blue/green flasher flies and orange spoons. The best water depths were 50 to 200 feet, with many anglers reporting success in 180 feet.
Hooked up Tackle Shop, Algoma, (715) 451-1697.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
In Kenosha, boat anglers saw inconsistent success on a mix steelhead, lake trout, and cohos caught between 90 and 120 feet on a combination of flies. Boat anglers have had some good luck on yellow perch on plastics.
In Racine, the piers and shorelines saw quite a few perch anglers, with most fishing on the south pier and nearby shorelines with minnows or plastics. Salmon and trout anglers threw spoons off of the pier. Most of the perch were caught using a minnow with a slip bobber. Racine trout and salmon boats had mixed success, but with some catches hitting double digits on a mix of steelhead, lake trout, chinooks, and cohos in 80 to 240 feet of water on a combination of flies and spoons.
In Milwaukee, McKinley ramp boat anglers caught rainbows, lake trout, cohos, and kings in 80 to 150 feet on spoons or flies. McKinley pier anglers caught some cohos on alewives, and a few perch on minnows. Many anglers tried the shoreline near Anglers fishing under the Hoan bridge caught brown trout. Anglers have also been trying the Oak Creek power plant, the Bender Park area, the South Metro pier, Grant Park, and Bender Park shoreline, but catch reports were light.
At Port Washington, some big kings and lake trout and smaller cohos were caught. Most fish were in shallow due to colder water. Most fish were caught at around 70 to 160 feet of water.
The fishing in Sheboygan picked up a bit. Most fish have been pushing shallower due to the colder water so most fish were caught from 70 to 160 feet of water. Most anglers were running lures of downriggers set 50 feet down. Plenty of big king salmon were caught, as well as lake trout and rainbow trout.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Fishermen are out and about, but the number of reports have been light. A number of anglers have been working the river lately, where they’ve been catching a lot of catfish and few white bass and a few walleyes. The biggest news on Lake Winnebago has been the perch. They’re providing the best action on the big lake right now.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
The Lake Mendota perch bite has been a bit of a struggle, but guys are fishing the weed lines all around the lake and some of them are doing O.K. They’re also catching catfish on the north end of Mendota, and smallmouths on bars. Lake Monona bluegills are hitting on weed edges. A lot of guys are using slip bobbers. Bluegills are on the weed edges on Lake Waubesa. Muskies all across the chain are following, but not many of them are hitting. Lake Kegonsa has given up some very nice bluegills and perch, but not much in the way of numbers. Kegonsa’s weed line runs out a little deeper this year thanks to some clearer water.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MANITOWOC COUNTY AREA
Anglers using the Two Rivers ramps brought in rainbow trout up to 9.3 pounds, lake trout up to 9.3 pounds and a number of kings, with the bigger kings ranging from 18 to 24 pounds. Fish were biting anywhere from 20 to 70 feet down in 60 to 200 feet.
Manitowoc boat anglers had some good success on numbers of trout and salmon, with kings up to 11 pounds, rainbows to 8 pounds and lakers up to 14 pounds. Fish were biting anywhere from near surface (10 feet or less) to 60 feet down in 40 to 200 feet of water. Pier anglers also reported seeing many dead alewives on the south pier.
Louie’s Sporting Goods, (920) 684-4501.
Anglers in the Peshtigo River caught a variety of fish last week. Most anglers were after perch and were doing well. A few walleyes were also being caught in the deeper holes. Nightcrawlers were working for both species.
Menominee River anglers fishing bass upstream of the Hwy. 41 bridge had success on various plastics. Anglers in the bay reported seeing some dead alewives out in deep water while trolling for brown trout and salmon.
In Oconto County, fishing for yellow perch was popular, with good catches reported from Oconto Park 2 and the Oconto breakwater. Weeds in 5 to 12 feet were holding perch. The occasional walleye and pike were also caught.
A&K Bait & Tackle, (715) 732-9595.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
What’s typical for weather these days? Who knows? Temps in the early morning in the low 40s, highs the next week hitting 90. Another major mayfly hatch on the Willow Flowage – in July! It’s been tough figuring out a pattern. Morning colds this past week held bites back until mid-morning, high pressure on some days held bites back ALL DAY (it seemed).
Largemouth bass: Good. It’s been best towards evening on top water baits, as mornings were tough after cold nights. Try wacky worms on weedless hooks during the day.
Northern pike: Good. When not able to pick up pike on spinnerbaits or smaller Mepps due to cold, try working a 4-inch chub or sucker through cabbage near bottom in 8 to 12 feet.
Bluegills: Good. Best in late afternoon or early evenings as surface temps hit their warmest.
Smallmouths: Good to fair. Evenings have been the best. It may be the high pressure system of late, but mornings and days are tough. Drop-shot humps of 18 to 25 feet using 3-inch Gulp Alive minnow or football jogs with creatures.
Muskies: Fair. Try surface baits during low light periods.
Crappies and perch: Fair. Crappies are very scattered right now. Evenings have been the best along west shores as shadows grow. Perch have been mostly incidental catches while targeting crappies or walleyes.
Walleyes: Fair. Mornings were awful last week. It was best towards evening with leeches and crawlers over humps off shore in 14 to 20 feet. Try redtails and weeds in lakes where deep water not as prevalent.
With the cold nights, some lakes lost 8 degrees or more of surface temps. The forecast called for one more day of cold on Thursday, July 15, followed by heat. Hopefully that will get things back to normal.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.