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Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – April 28, 2022

Report from the Dock

Slowly, ice conditions are deteriorating across much of northern Wisconsin. It’s not happening as fast as most would like it to, but there’s no doubt that the ice is in worse shape this week than last from Tomahawk and points north. Many areas received measurable rain last week, so that – along with strong winds – chewed away at the ice. There’s still a lot of it in many areas, but the shorelines have pulled away a little more, current areas and channels are open and moving, and ice has become soft. The farther north you travel, the more ice you’ll find, and there was still some ice fishing taking place on a few lakes in some areas last week – those options appear to be coming to an end. From central Wisconsin to the south, the ice is gone. In some areas, lakes have been open for more than two weeks, but open-water fishing pressure has been limited. The persistent cool and windy conditions have prevented anglers from getting out and start looking for panfish in those traditional spring spots.


With the exception of some small sheets of floating ice on a couple of big lakes, the ice is gone. If the sun is out, look to Lake Wapogasset in 10 to 12 feet for a few crappies. Reports have been light from additional lakes, but poor weather has limited angling activity.

Country Store, (715) 268-7482.


The ice fishing season is officially over as we watch the ice continue to break and dissipate on Chequamegon Bay. There are a few boat launches open in the Washburn/Bayfield areas. Bodin’s launch is open, but one thing to consider when heading out by boat this time of year is the ice can move throughout the day. You may be able to launch in the morning, but ice will sometimes move back in and block the launches. No smelt have shown up yet in Ashland, but that may change this week. The ice is broken up, but still lingering in the bay. Call for updates.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Brown trout action has been good on both sides of the Door County peninsula and should stay decent right through the start of May. The lake trout are starting to trickle in also on the lake side of the peninsula. Fishing in 3 to 20 feet of water has been the best. Try Mauler spoons and crankbaits. Northern pike action has been on fire. Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and the Sturgeon Bay ship channel are just a few of the hot spots. Try drifting with suckers, jigs tipped with large fatheads, trolling with large crankbaits and casting jerkbaits. The bass release season is just kicking off as the smallies are starting to move into the shallow bays looking for warmer water. The walleye fishing has been very good for boat fishermen and shore fishermen. Chaudoir’s Dock, Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point, Potowatomi State Park shoreline and downtown Sturgeon Bay are all great areas to try.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.


The weather is improving, but not fast enough to provide anything close to a normal fishing opener. Some lakes will be open, especially on the Eagle River chain and Three Lakes chain. There has been a lot of strange weather this spring right from the start. There is fishing to be had right now – on the ice up here and in the rivers and big water to the east. As for crappies, there is still some pretty good ice out there. Right now, perch are hitting pretty well on lakes like North Twin and other deeper lakes as these fish are moving into position for the ice to go out. Minnows, waxies and worms are all producing.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


It looks like the Fox River walleye spawn might be coming to an end as of April 28. Walleyes are still being caught, but not like the numbers seen in previous weeks. As the fish move to the bay, the mouth of the Fox River and University Bay will be really good. Shore fishermen are getting some nice walleyes and crappies at the metro landing, but we need warmer temperatures to make these fish turn on.

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


Most small lakes are now ice-free, while the majority of big lakes still had ice on them early this week. Ice conditions vary on these bigger lakes, shorelines have opened, but with the persistent cool weather, it’s going to be another week before they open up.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.


In Kenosha, the few boats that went out seemed to stay close to shore or in the harbor. Boaters have still been targeting browns or cohos. At the Pike River, a few anglers were seen fishing at the mouth for steelhead. Water levels went up due to rains last week. Water clarity has decreased to almost zero. 

In Racine, conditions on the lake last week continued to be a little rough for fishing. A few boats made it out during the week despite the dirty water and the waves. The Root River was hit with heavy amounts of rain, causing water levels to rise dramatically. The surge also reduced clarity to near zero. Despite the conditions, anglers continue to target steelhead with some success. Most anglers were using fly fishing tackle with various baits. Anglers reported catching their fish primarily on flies, but some were caught with beads and yarn.

In Milwaukee, there was moderate fishing activity at Summerfest and under the Hoan bridge, with anglers catching brown trout on a diver crankbaits and spoons. Coho were being caught on spawn sacs at the Oak Creek power plant.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


Anglers are getting quite a few bluegills and crappies in the channels along the Wolf River and Lake Winneconne last week. The walleyes are starting to bite in the river. Wolf River rigs have been the ticket for the walleyes. The river water temperature on April 28 was just 44 degrees.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


Fishing has been pretty slow with cold temperatures and rain. It appears as though temperatures might warm up soon and that will help. Cherokee Marsh has been producing some bluegills, bass and small pike. All of the Lake Mendota bays and inlets have been producing some panfish, but nothing has been going gangbusters just yet. The wall at the Monona Terrace has also been producing a few fish.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


The sucker run is in full swing on the East Twin and West Twin rivers. Anglers are still catching steelhead, but to a lesser degree than in previous weeks. Anglers coming in from Lake Michigan at the Manitowoc ramp have done well on brown trout, with one boat coming in with a dozen fish. 

Popp’s Harbor Town Citgo, (920) 682-4047.


In Oconto County, walleye fishing was excellent last week, with the best locations changing as fished spawned. Early in the week, fishing was good upstream from Stiles dam down to the Hwy. J bridge. Walleyes moved downstream and were replaced with suckers by the end of the week. The area outside the mouth of the Oconto River on the bay also saw success with walleyes. The best baits were jigs with plastics or minnows. A few northern pike were also caught.

In Marinette, many walleyes were caught on the Peshtigo River, mainly upstream from the dam down to the Hwy. 41 bridge. As the week went on, some post-spawn walleyes showed up at the river mouth and in Green Bay. Shore anglers had the best luck using crankbaits, while boat anglers used jigs and minnows and various plastics. The Menominee River was producing excellent catches of walleyes, with shore fishing being very popular. Areas from Stephenson Island upstream to the dam were good spots to catch a walleye. Brown trout were still in the river, and were caught in Green Bay anywhere from the Peshtigo reef north into Michigan waters.

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


Everyone wants to know if there will open water in the Northwoods for the fishing opener. We do drilling reports of our own on Lake Minocqua. On April 24 at 10 a.m., Cole Will drilled four holes out from Torpy Park, each measuring 17 inches thick. This ice was porous (punky), but that is still a lot of ice for April 24. We had as much in 2020 on the same date and 24 inches in 2018. Warm temps over the weekend and strong southwest winds opened shorelines, so that looked good, but the forecast called for lows at night into the 20s, with highs of 32 to 40 degrees. That will keep a grip on the ice. Luckily, the seal around most lakes has broken and shorelines are pulling away, so wind, rain and sun can get in and open things up.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


There is still plenty of ice on the main lakes last week, with enough ice in some places to fish safely, but shorelines are going away quickly. Crappies, bluegills and perch should now be relating to shallow weeds with longer daylight and a higher sun.

Fish will also relate to the warmer water coming in from rivers and streams. The early trout season runs through May 6 and the  fishing has been good. Anglers must use artificials and release all fish they catch. Flies and small inline spinners work well. 

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

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


Bluegill fishing is improving with the warming weather. Look for fish in the shallow bays along weed edges in 3 to 10 feet. Waxies work best, but plastics are catching the bigger bluegills.  Trout fishing has been very good during the early release season. Small Rapalas are producing the most catches, but spinners are also working well.” 

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.

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