Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 3, 2022

Report from the Dock

With the walleye season now closed on the state’s inland lakes, panfish have become the primary focus for most anglers. There’s still some opportunities to fish walleyes along some of the border waters, the Great Lakes, as well as on the big rivers, such as the Wisconsin, Mississippi, Menominee, Fox, and Chippewa, but most anglers are starting to chase bluegills, crappies, and perch. Overall, fishing pressure has been lighter due to poor lake conditions across the northern half of Wisconsin. Many anglers have already removed their fish shanties and those who haven’t likely have some work ahead of them with all the snow and slush that’s built up. If there isn’t a road plowed or you don’t have a snowmobile or other form of track vehicle, you’ll be very limited to where you can go. Lakes in the southern half of the state are in much better shape for travel with trucks being an option from central Wisconsin and points south. Generally, crappies continue to be found suspended over deep, basin areas and sunfish are starting to bite better in shallower weed locations.


Look for panfish in 16 feet and crappies over 20 to 25 feet on Bear Trap Lake. Little Balsam Lake is giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 20 feet, while White Ash Lake is producing panfish in 10 to 12 feet. 

Country Store (715) 268-7482


After a harsh snow storm, Chequamegon Bay is returning to passable. There are some areas of slush, and some drifts still around. Roads have been plowed in the Ashland area, as well as at Second Landing. The roads are narrow, so be mindful as you’re traveling. The bay still has a good 18 to 20 inches of ice in some areas. It’s been hit and miss – some guys are marking fish, but can’t get them to bite, while others are limiting out in a couple hours. Anglers report mostly browns and splake, with perch all over and walleyes here and there. The burbot are running at night, and we are looking forward to seeing cohos moving in shortly. The smelt continue to hold strong around the lighthouse.

On the Washburn and Bayfield side of the bay, anglers continue to have success on a variety of species. Going toward Washburn by Houghton Point, anglers are reporting whitefish in the 40- to 60-foot range, with splake around 20 feet, and cohos are shallower. Browns seem to be all over.

Ice damage has been reported on the approach to some of the outer Apostle Islands. We do not advise going past Hermit/Oak islands. And, we never advise fishing the south channel.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


The whitefish fishing in Door County has been fantastic in recent weeks, with lots of limit catches reported. Along with the good numbers of fish there have some very big fish getting caught. We weighed in an 8.28-pounder the other day, which is the biggest one ever on our scale. The best baits have been Howie jigs tipped with some kind of plastic tail like a Keitech, Howie Shorty Tube or Z-Man. Try Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Point, and Larsen’s Reef along with the vast structure and shoreline to the north of Sturgeon Bay. The perch fishing has been good, especially when you can stay away from traffic. Chaudoir’s Dock, Rights Cove, Little Sturgeon and the Sawyer Harbor area are all good areas to try. Walleye fishing is just normal for this time of year. Some days you get a bite and some days you’re just going through the motions. The best bite will happen once we move deeper into March. The northern pike action has been super in recent weeks, with very good numbers of fish caught, along with some big fish starting to show up. Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor, Sand Bay, and Little Sturgeon are all good areas to try for pike.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.


Perch fishing has been good over the deep basins on the Eagle River Chain on jigs tipped with spikes and wigglers to get down quickly. Look for mud bottoms of 18 to 24 feet and watch for fish at 2 to 4 feet off bottom as they cruise through. Crappie fishing is also good; fish the basins, as well. Try glow tungsten jigs tipped with waxies. They are suspending 2 to 8 feet off bottom. Bluegill action is good to fair.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


With the warmer weather we are getting, but be careful venturing out on the ice, especially on the river systems. It looks like some of the bigger female walleyes are moving in below the De Pere dam. There have been numerous reports of some nice fish being caught. At the metro launch, whitefish, pike, and walleyes are being caught close to shore. On the east side of the bay from Dykesville to Joliet Park whitefish and some nice perch are being caught. On the west shore from Dead Horse to Geano’s, perch, pike, whitefish, and walleyes are biting

Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.


Look for suspended crappies over 22 to 30 feet and panfish in shallower water on Grindstone Lake, Nelson Lake, and Smith Lake. Walleye action is slow, but slushy conditions on most lakes are really limiting where people can get to.

Hayward Bait & Tackle,
(715) 634-2921.


Crappie, bluegill, and perch anglers should go micro this time of season as the best bet for all panfish species. Tipping small jigs and spoons with waxies, spikes, and plastics offer the best chance for catching fish. Most panfish are schooling in deep water. Try to fish sunny days and early afternoons when some light is penetrating. That light pulls up small insects off the soft bottom. 

Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123.


In the Lake Winnebago area, thoughts are shifting from ice fishing to the walleye run on the Fox River. By March 8-9, or somewhere in that area, there’s a good chance stretches of the river will be open and anglers will be able to launch boats to fish the annual walleye spawning run.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.


There is plenty of ice on the Madison chain. Anglers have been catching some bluegills on Cherokee Marsh, along with some smaller pike. Perch on Lake Mendota have been in 55 feet of water in most of the usual spots. Walleye fishing has been a little slow, with most guys catching small fish after dark on the bars. Lake Monona bluegills have been cooperating in most of the usual spots, including the Triangle area. Lake Kegonsa has been a little bit quiet, but there has been some walleye action on the north end of Lake Koshkonong.

D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.


At Red Arrow Park, a few anglers were trying for whitefish out from the beach. Fish were observed, but not willing to bite. At the Peshtigo River mouth,  pike anglers could be seen south of the river along the shoreline. Whitefish were being caught out a couple miles from shore. Perch were being caught in various depths, with 4 feet of water being most common.

A&K Bait & Tackle, (715) 732-9595.


Anglers are finding travel tougher as deeper snow, and in cases slush, kept many areas off limits to all but snowmobile and tracked vehicles. Those able to get to their favorite spots, or any spots, gave fair reviews for the fishing overall. Crappie fishing has been good. Anglers were finding crappies relating to weeds of 8 to 12 feet, and also out over mud bottoms of 18 to 30 feet. Crappies relating to weeds were caught fairly tight to the bottom. The deep basin crappies were 1 to 4 feet off bottom.

Bluegill action has been fair; anglers worked to get bites using flashy spoons (Slender spoons, Pimples) to draw attention, but needed small dark jigs tipped with waxies to get bites. Yellow perch action has been fair, and it’s getting tough to get onto the flats where perch are hitting Pimples, Bombs and Halis tipped with wigglers. There have been some weed perch, but the best bite has been out away from the weeds over mud of 16 to 28 feet. Don’t forget to carry a shovel, tow strap and a friend with a strong back (and a weak mind) if you plan on exploring off the beaten path. 

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.


Crappie action is good in 10 to 30 feet in deep basins, off steep humps and drop-offs, and near any type of structure. Fishing is also good along shallow weedlines in the evening hours. Crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, spikes, and plastics on tungsten jigs are producing fish. Bluegill fishing is steady in 5 to 20 feet in shallow bays, over weed top, and on deep humps. Some are also with crappies suspending in deep water. Most anglers are catching fish with waxies and small plastics on jigs. 

Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.


Perch fishing is picking up on sand flats and just off deep humps in 8 to 20 feet. Crappie minnows, fatheads, rosy reds, and waxies on small spoons and jigs are all catching fish. 

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.

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