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Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 17, 2022

Report from the Dock

Fishing reports throughout the state were about as poor last week as they’ve been all winter. The main contributor for the lack of fishing success seems to be that there simply hasn’t been many people venturing out. Lake/travel conditions across the northern tier of counties remain difficult in many areas with deep snow and slush continuing to limit where anglers can easily travel in northern Wisconsin. That’s all added up to some pretty limited enthusiasm to go ice fishing in most areas. However, last week’s return of above-freezing daytime temps will help knock down snow depths. That should raise some spirits. Those who have been out are struggling to find active pods of bluegills and crappies, especially bigger fish. There are small panfish to be had, but those bigger fish sure seem to have remained in a negative feeding mood. Hopefully, there’s better days ahead as we move forward in March.

AMERY AREA

Bluegills, perch, and crappies are being caught in the 10-foot weeds throughout Bear Trap Lake and Lake Wapogasset. Look to White Ash Lake for sunfish and crappies in 8 to 10 feet, while Indian Bay on Big Round Lake is kicking out sunfish.

Country Store, (715) 268-7482.

ASHLAND AREA

Ice on Chequamegon Bay was still in good condition last week. The snow will help insulate the ice from the sun, until we get rain. Please use caution on the approaches. The plows are not out any longer as it is too hard to get on and off the ice. For this reason, snowmobiles are the best mode of transportation on the bay. Reports say the fish bite is picking back up. This past weekend brought strong winds and currents that caused fish to be a little finicky, but there were still good reports. More cohos are being caught on the Ashland side, but still not as many as in past years. The spring-like weather last week should bring some great fishing.

Ashland anglers are seeing lots of perch, some beautiful northerns, and a few nice walleyes here and there. Burbot are running and many anglers are staying out all night to catch this tasty fish. Head out around 8 p.m. and stay as long as you can.

March 26 is the steelhead opener. Lake trout are biting well in the Bayfield, Red Cliff, and Apostle Island areas. Some catches are being made in 30 feet of water off Basswood Island.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.

DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA

The perch season ended as of
March 15, and what a great winter it was. Lots of perch were caught and a lot of the water went untouched due to wacky ice conditions in some areas. We look forward to another great spawn and a great open-water season.

The whitefish action has been very good and even with some warm temps, the action should be here to stay, depending on shore ice. There is ample ice cover on Green Bay, with an average of 20 to 36 inches. Henderson’s Point, Rileys Point, Sherwood Point, Larsen’s Reef and the vast shoreline and structure to the north of Sturgeon Bay are all good areas to try.

The pike fishing has been super and will continue to stay good right through ice-out. Very good numbers of northern pike are being caught, along with a few huge fish. Every shallow bay and the Sturgeon Bay ship canal are all good spots to fish.

Walleye fishing is starting to pick up. Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Bay, Sherwood Point and Sawyer Harbor are all good spots to try. The bag limit is now down to one per day as these fish prepare to spawn.

Brown trout fishermen are also having some success. Fishermen will either be cutting open some ramps and/or pushing small boats off the shore to get at those fish.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

EAGLE RIVER AREA

Only a few anglers have been out and they’re reporting the bluegills seemed slow, with not much action in shallow weeds on the mid-sized lakes. Some perch action was reported on fish near the bottom in muddy areas. Warmer weather will make these fish become more active. Crappies are still hitting a little in deeper water and waiting for warm weather to move into shallower water in the evenings to feed. 

There is a generous amount of snow on the ground, so the lakes should be in good shape during the melt that is coming.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

FLORENCE COUNTY AREA

The end of ice fishing season is approaching fast. We’re starting to see warmer temperatures and spring is just around the corner. You may want to think twice about putting all your ice gear away just yet because late ice is a great time to fish. This is the time of year when panfish start moving into shallow water and go into feeding mode. Anglers have been reporting some nice panfish action in the area. Try jigging with larger bait and use a variety of colors to see what they’re hitting on. You may also need to move around to find the fish.

Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.

GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA

The walleye run is going pretty strong right now on the Fox River from the dam to the mouth. Fishermen are getting some nice walleyes. With this warmer weather we are getting the river action should be picking up. There was still safe ice on the lower bay on the east and west shores last week. Use caution near the shorelines as that ice goes out faster.

Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 593 1749.

HAYWARD AREA

Fishing pressure has been pretty limited over the past week with lake conditions still limiting where people can get to. Good-sized bluegills have been especially tough to locate, but some crappies are being caught at night over 20 to 30 feet on Nelson Lake and Grindstone Lake.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

IRON COUNTY AREA

Snow levels are more than 24 inches and the ice is about the same depth. Melting began last week with a long overdue warm-up that will encourage the panfish bite to improve.

Crappies are in deep holes on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage and along breaks/drop-offs on lakes, minnows, plastics and waxies. Some bluegills and perch have been caught along submerged weeds/wood cover in 8 to 12 feet.

Flambeau Flowage Sports, Mercer, (715) 476-0123.

LA CROSSE AREA

There is a lot of ice on the river yet, as of March 17, so anyone heading to the Mississippi River for walleyes may be dodging ice floes. The folks at Clement’s Fishing Barge pushed their opening day back to March 24 because of the load of ice above the dam.

Clement’s Fishing Barge, (608) 689-2800.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.

LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES

Ice conditions turned unpredictable last week, with the ice on Silver and Nagawicka lakes looking a little dark. The forecast heading into this past weekend called for rain and some snow, which is not good news for ice access. Anglers are starting to eye the Lake Michigan harbors for signs of brown trout, but as of
March 17 there had been no reports of any catches.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.

LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA

Upriver stretches of the Wolf River were still choked with ice as of
March 17, but that ice was looking like it could let go any day. Anglers were fishing walleyes in any open-water spot around Winneconne, though, at the same time and were starting to scratch out a few fish. Things could break open any day.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.

MADISON AREA

The ice on the Madison chain took a real beating in early March with some rains, but then things tightened up again with a blast of cold. Last week’s warm weather will bring more change to lake access as shoreline areas begin to break up. Last week, Cherokee Marsh gave up some bluegills. Lake Mendota perch were biting in 70 to 80 feet in both basins, while bluegills were hitting along the university shoreline. Lake Monona perch were being caught near the Monona Terrace and to the Yahara River area in deep water. Lake Wingra is full of small perch. Bluegills and perch were being caught from the Upper Mud Lake dredge hole.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.

MARINETTE/OCONTO AREA

In Marinette the fishing has been so-so. The perch have been biting all winter, but with the perch season closing on the bay (March 15), the open-water season will begin. Several anglers have been spending a lot of time on the Hattie Street bridge catwalk and below the dam on the Wisconsin and Michigan side. A few browns and walleyes have been caught. It’s still been pretty slow, but with the warm-up, we’ll start to see a lot of the river ice flow out and anglers will begin to flood into open-water fishing.

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

MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA

Crappie fishing has been good. The basin bite remains the go-to method overall, although anglers still report some fish in shallower weeds. When searching for basin crappies, star with small 3-5 mm tungsten jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, or plastics. When you’re on a school, switch to a heavier jig so you get down faster and have more time fishing those short, sweet moments of schools moving through. Bluegill fishing is also good along the same mid-depth weeds where some crappies are holding. Early and late periods are still the most active bite. Perch fishing is also good with the same old methods of working deep mud of 18 to 30 feet and more. Jigs, spoons and tip-downs, whether rigged with minnows or wigglers, are producing fish. 

Burbot, whitefish, and ciscoes are available on the deep, clear lakes that may contain one or all of these species. For burbot, a delicious freshwater cod, fish right at and past dark using spoons or large jigs tipped with large portions of dead minnows. Find deep structure (humps, holes, points) and fish just a few inches off the bottom. 

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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

PRICE COUNTY AREA

Crappies are suspending and are mixed in with bluegills. Try small, bright jigs with contrasting plastics or live bait. Sometimes plastics get the nod; other times live bait. Perch are on muddy, soft bottom flats. Aggressively jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads will fire up the big fish.

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

St. Croix Rods, Park Falls, (715) 762-3226.

SIREN AREA

Anglers were still fishing Big Clam for bluegills and crappies last week on more than 2 feet of ice. Other spots for panfish include Big Sand near Hertel for crappies and bluegills, and Spirit Lake and Yellow Lake for crappies. Last week’s warm temperatures have eaten into snow depths, so travel has improved on most lakes, but use caution on the ice.

Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports Shop, (715) 349-2400.

SPOONER AREA

Crappie action is good if you can find them. The small fish, 6 to 8 inches, are easy to find, but finding the bigger fish is tricky. Anglers continue to catch them in deep basins and just off structure such as trees, drop-offs, and shallow points. With the warmer weather last week, look for fish to start moving shallower. Most success is with live bait such as minnows and waxies.  Bluegill fishing is good, too, and with the warmer weather they should start schooling and moving to weeds and just off weed edges in 5 to 15 feet. Perch action is picking up as fish start staging near their spawning grounds. Trout anglers fishing the early catch-and-release season are catching a few fish wherever they find open water.

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011

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