Report from the Dock
The number of people fishing continues to be somewhat light as hot weather and humidity persists across the state. Midday fishing activity has been especially limited, as most people have been opting to fish early and late each day when air temperatures are slightly cooler. There was a lot of talk about weed flats, weed edges, and weed pockets in this week’s reports, and it doesn’t seem to matter if the weeds are shallow or deep, they’re all holding a mixed bag of fish. While some bigger walleyes are being caught on deep, main-lake structure in some areas, weedy spots seem to be holding better numbers of fish. Bluegills and crappies also remain weed-related and active in most areas – crappie reports were noticeably better this past week than weeks prior. They tend to be suspended on the weed edges or tops and most aggressive during the last hour or so of daylight. Northern pike and bass are mixed in along the weeds and continue to be an easy catch, while muskie anglers continue to put minimal pressure on through the heat.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
From Sturgeon Bay, anglers caught rainbow trout, Chinook salmon, lake trout, and coho salmon in about 80 to 150 feet of water on green spoons and green flasher flies. Other anglers had success catching yellow perch and walleyes in Green Bay and the Sturgeon Bay canal on crankbaits and Shiver Minnows to catch walleyes and live bait (nightcrawlers and waxworms) and crankbaits to catch the perch. The perch and walleyes were being caught in 10 to 15 feet of water.
In northern Door County on the Lake Michigan side, boaters launching from Bailey’s Harbor caught two to nine trout and salmon per trip in 90 to 110 feet of water. A variety of flashers and spoons were used. Of the fish being harvested, 72% were kings, 24% rainbows and 4% coho salmon. Kings ranged between 20 to 27 inches. Rainbows measured 22 to 33 inches and 4.4 to 10.2 pounds. A few shore and pier anglers caught yellow perch from Rowley’s Bay pier. Live worms were the choice bait for perch.
On the Green Bay side, smallmouth bass were being caught in Sister Bay and around Washington Island on small spinnerbaits or soft plastics. Shore anglers caught bass from Anderson’s docks in Ephraim and from Gills Rock shoreline. Northern locations saw more action than southern Door County.
In Algoma, anglers caught rainbow trout and Chinook salmon in about 90 to 180 feet of water on green flasher/flies and green spoons. In Kewaunee, anglers reporting catching trout and salmon using green/blue flasher/fly combos. The fish were biting in 100 to 230 feet of water.
With light winds and solid fishing reports, Lake Michigan anglers were out in force. Chinook salmon and steelhead continued to dominate the coolers, with an occasional lake trout or coho salmon also hooked. Most of the action has been in 80 to 180 feet of water early and late in the day, from 40 to 80 feet down.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Water temperatures were in the 80s on some lakes. Weed growth is very good and soon the shallow weeds will start to turn brown and die off. Summer is moving towards fall. Walleye fishing on the Eagle River chain is very good right now for numbers of fish. Male walleyes have been feeding daily in the weeds and providing good fishing with all types of live bait. Leeches seem to be the favorite. Jig fishing or slip bobber fishing is working well now in those weeds. The larger natural lakes are producing in a similar manner to the chain, except the weeds grow deeper in clear water. You can fish the weed edges in 12 feet or more on the clear lakes. You’ll see some action on the rock bars in the evenings on the bigger lakes also. Bass fishing has been very good. Largemouths are in lily pads, weeds, bulrushes, and piers. Since many weeds have grown to the top, use plastics rigged weedless in these weeds. Surface baits work in all other places and are the most fun for anglers. The smallies are deeper and usually over hard-bottomed areas in 8 to 30 feet. A fun way to fish these guys is to fish rock bars with crankbaits and literally bounce the crankbaits off the rocks.
Muskie action has improved into the “normal” range. Some bigger fish are now being caught, along with good number of small and mid-sized fish. For the weed anglers, bucktails and surface baits are still the best. For deeper water, large plastics and crankbaits are working.
Panfish action has slowed a bit, but bluegills are still hitting in the weeds on worms. Crappies have slowed and dispersed some, so they’re a little harder to find. Cubbie jigs or minnows are working when you find them.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
At Sawyer Harbor, boat anglers reported catching smallmouth bass, rock bass, yellow perch, bluegills, northern pike, and round gobies using a variety of live baits, including worms, minnows, and leeches. Some of the pike and smallmouth bass were caught on crankbaits and spinners. At Little Sturgeon Bay, anglers reported yellow perch, smallmouth bass, rock bass, sheepshead, and round gobies on worms and minnows. They also caught northern pike, smallmouth bass, and sheepshead on crankbaits.
At Chaudoir’s Dock, anglers reported having luck on walleyes, catfish, and sheepshead. These fish were almost all caught on crawler harnesses, with a few being caught with crankbaits. At Bayshore Park, anglers caught walleyes, white perch, and sheepshead.
On Green Bay’s west shore, boaters reported success on walleyes from Geano Beach in 24 to 25 feet using crawler harnesses. The average size was 18 inches. They also caught yellow perch on crawlers. The Suamico River boat launch was busy, but boaters reported success on walleyes by jigging at 6 to 8 feet and in depths of 25 to 28 feet using crawler harnesses. Some success on yellow perch was also reported.
Shore anglers at the metro launch had success on white bass by using crawlers. Success on walleyes, channel catfish, white bass, and white perch was reported by boaters using crankbaits in 9 to 15 feet and crawler harnesses in 20 to 28 feet of water.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Muskies remain deep, but last week’s cool temperatures put some lethargic fish into gear when anglers reported many follows and boat-side action on bucktails and glide baits. Target deep weed flats and edges, making sure to match bait color to water clarity.
Walleyes are all over the place, but most anglers are targeting fish on weed edges and flats in 20 to 30 feet with harnesses and slip bobbers. Jiggin’ Raps, Snap Raps, and other small crankbaits work well. Some walleyes are sitting in weeds in less than 10 feet, so check any type of cover. Northern pike are on deeper weed flats and edges and live bait is shining lately, but crankbaits are working, too.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass are on deep slopes, weedlines, and rock flats. Live bait under slip bobbers, crawlers on jigs, drop-shot rigs, Texas rigs, and wacky worms are catching fish. Crappies hold to cribs and sit in weeds until prime time, when they lift from structure to feed. Bluegills are still structure oriented. Look for weed edges, cribs, and any fallen structure offshore. Do not be surprised to find perch and bluegills mixed in with the deep schools.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
The piers and shorelines in Kenosha saw a busy week as plenty of anglers were fishing at several different points in the harbor. The majority were targeting salmon or trout. A few anglers were seen trying for perch. Fishing success in the harbor will hopefully improve soon as the Chinook salmon run will be quickly approaching.
In Racine, anglers on the south pier and adjacent shorelines were targeting salmon and trout or perch, but catches were light. Perch were caught on a combination of artificial and live baits. Boat anglers had decent success on trout and salmon on Lake Michigan.
In Milwaukee County, Bender Park anglers reported catching trout and salmon in 50 to 185 feet using spoons, flasher/flies, and jig bugs. The McKinley ramp was busy. Boat anglers caught cohos, kings, lake trout, and rainbow trout on spoons and flasher/flies anywhere from 120 to 300 feet. Anglers on McKinley pier caught mostly cohos, and a few rainbow trout and Chinook on alewives or spoons. Success was higher when winds were coming from the west. Anglers at the Summerfest lagoon reported catching rock bass and bluegills using nightcrawlers, and perch using minnows or redworms.
In Port Washington, catches consisted mostly of Chinooks and cohos, with scattered rainbow and lake trout caught deep, primarily early in the morning.
In Sheboygan, anglers brought in mixed bags of Chinooks, a few cohos and rainbows, and some scattered lake trout. Fish were primarily caught in 120 to 200 feet of water to the north of the city and before 8 a.m.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
Perch fishing was popular in several areas along the bay. The Peshtigo River had lots of activity, with anglers catching good numbers of perch. Weed beds off of Little River and outside the pocket of Red Arrow were starting to see some activity from perch anglers, but catch numbers were lighter than on the Peshtigo. A few boats had ventured out to try for brown trout and salmon out of Little River, but the water was too warm. West and south winds are needed to bring in some colder water for the trout and salmon.
In Oconto County, walleye activity picked up last week with boats coming in with four to six fish. Most were 15 to 17 inches, with the occasional fish over 20 inches. Most boaters reported fishing in 20 to 25 feet of water while trolling crawler harnesses. Areas off Oconto Park II, Oconto Shoal, and Pensaukee Shoal were all producing fish. Good perch catches were still happening in 4 to 5 feet and on the rock piles in 8 to 12 feet on crawlers and minnows.
A&K Bait & Tackle, (715) 732-9595.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
The fires in Canada, as bad as they’ve been, have had a small silver lining for those of us in the Northwoods. On mornings with north winds, the haze from the smoke has cut down on the sun, causing lower light levels than usual, and bringing about good conditions for early morning walleye and crappie anglers.
Largemouth bass: Very Good. Fish cabbage beds as signs of heavy feeding on crayfish (look down their throats, you’ll see antennae sticking out). Jig and creature combos, wacky worms and Ned rigs have been producing.
Smallmouth bass: Very good. Try coontail edges using tubes and drop-shotting 3-inch minnow imitations over rock humps.
Bluegills: Very good. Lots of activity, with bluegills hovering along coontail tops and edges.
Muskies: Good. It’s been the best in the evenings and early mornings on topwater baits, or work gliders and twitch baits fairly quickly in the warm waters of summer.
Walleyes, crappies and perch: Fair to good. Crappies have been surprisingly shallow gorging on young perch, but they are also in 14 to 17 feet and relating to wood and deep weeds. Walleyes have shown some good weed action on “smoky,” overcast mornings on red tails and crawlers. Perch catches have been mostly incidental for those who are targeting walleyes and crappies in the weeds.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.