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Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – May 12, 2022

Report from the Dock

The ice disappeared from northern Wisconsin lakes just in time for the May 7 inland fishing opener, with the ice leaving some lakes just days – and even hours – before the opener. In spite of how long the ice hung on in the northern counties, anglers found water temperatures warmer than anticipated on some lakes – 46 to 50 degrees in some locations. Despite some worries about whether or not ice would be out of the way in time for the opener, conditions couldn’t have been timed better – walleyes, northern pike and smallmouth bass all provided very good action for anglers anxious to hit the water. This past week’s warm weather will push water temperatures up and that should mean crappie and bluegill action will improve in shallow water. In fact, if the walleyes don’t cooperate this weekend, panfish would be a fine Plan B in most areas based on reports throughout the state. For the most part, this shallow panfish bite is just getting started and you can expect a big push of crappies into bays, shorelines, harbors, and culverts. Plastics or small jigs and minnows should do the trick. Lake levels remain high up north due to the late ice-out, and many lakes didn’t have piers in place at launches as DNR crews scrambled to get to the landings and get set up. Be patient if not all launch areas are ready to go this weekend.


Crappie action remains strong in less than 6 feet of water on Bear Trap, Wapogasset, Big Round, Balsam, and White Ash lakes. The St. Croix River continues to produce walleyes on crankbaits in 10 to 15 feet of water. Walleye action has been slow to start the season, but should improve when better conditions arrive.

Country Store, (715) 268-7482.


Chequamegon Bay and all inland lakes were open by opening day. Anglers reported that the icebergs on the bay had dissipated, as well. Trolling was successful on the bay, with anglers reporting lots of cohos and some nice browns in 10 to 20 feet of water, but it’s not about the depth so much as it is the temperature. Look for warmer water to find fish. Inland lake fishing on the opener was a little slow because of cold water, but that should change with warmer weather this week.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.


Chaudoir’s Dock saw limited activity most of last week due to rainy and windy weather. Boaters targeting walleyes had success by trolling crankbaits and Flicker Shads in 10 to 22 feet of water. Little Surgeon Bay saw moderate fishing activity despite wind and rain throughout the week. Early in the week, boaters caught walleyes on jigs and crankbaits in 6 to 28 feet. Sawyer Harbor anglers targeted smallmouth bass successfully in 3 to 16 feet. A few anglers reported catching pike while targeting smallies and walleye.

At the Kewaunee River, a few rainbow trout were reported on beads, yarn and spawn. One rainbow trout weighed 6.2 pounds. Water clarity was good, with most locations clear to the bottom. Suckers were still seen throughout the river. At the Kewaunee ramp, one angler caught two rainbows up to 5 pounds on orange and brown crankbaits 10 feet down in 20 feet of water.

In Algoma, the Ahnapee River gave up a few northern pike on spoons. Anglers reported seeing rainbow trout and suckers. Some pike were also caught from the Ahnapee shore close to Algoma on spoons. Rainbow trout were caught on pink yarn balls in Stoney Creek up to 7 pounds.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.


After a miserable spring, the area saw pretty decent weather for the opening weekend. This was the kind of opener anglers enjoy, with the fish on the shorelines, or just getting ready to go up, and hitting well. Many anglers quickly caught limits, then fished for fun. The most effective baits were fatheads on jigs. The Eagle River Chain saw thousands of male walleyes on the shorelines, with some females up also. There were even some big perch still to be had. Expect good action to continue on most lakes this week. As we get good weed growth off the shorelines, we’ll find good fishing in these weeds. Some really nice female smallies are feeding on the shorelines. Largemouths also will move up as the water warms. 

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


Fox River shore anglers reported catching walleyes, smallmouth bass, northern pike, whitefish, suckers and sheepshead. There were fewer walleyes caught last week than in previous weeks; mainly on jigs and soft plastics. Smallmouths were caught on swimbaits; the northern pike mostly on jigging lures. Whitefish were caught on jigging baits. 

There were fewer boat anglers on the Fox River last week; most anglers using the metro boat launch went out onto Green Bay or fished near the mouth of the river. The anglers reported catching walleyes, catfish, carp and sheepshead. The walleyes were mostly caught on crankbaits, jigging baits and jigs with soft plastic.

Bayshore Park saw limited activity due to rainy and windy weather. Boating anglers targeting walleye did have success Flicker Minnows and Flicker Shads in 10 to 16 feet. One young angler landed a 10-pound walleye on a Flicker Minnow. 

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


Walleyes are hitting jigs and minnows or jerkbaits in 5 to 10 feet of water on the Chippewa Flowage. Walleye reports from other area lakes have been poor. Crappie action has picked up with good reports coming off Round Lake, Nelson Lake, and the Chippewa Flowage in 4 to 6 feet of water with plastics. Northern pike are shallow during the day in bays where dark, hard bottoms absorb the sun. Largemouth bass are roaming shallow flats alongside bluegills. Smallmouth bass are on shallow, rocky areas in 5 to 10 feet. It is never too early to pitch Ned rigs. Check the new fishing regulations, particularly those for Chippewa Flowage panfish and northern Wisconsin walleyes. 

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.


The ice went out on most lakes and on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage the Wednesday before the May 7 opener. The bite was good on the flowage and a few area lakes for walleyes. The best bite was over moderate to shallow wind-blown rock with a jig and minnows. 

The water was 60 degrees on the boat launch at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 7, then dropped to 47 degrees Sunday. The crappies should move up shallow soon. A few staging smallmouths were caught already off gravel/rocky shorelines while fishing for walleyes in 8 feet of water. They were hungry and hitting live bait. Anglers saw a number of muskies up shallow already looking to spawn.

Flambeau Flowage Sports, Mercer, (715) 476-2526.


Kenosha ramps went almost unused last week due to the weather. The Pike River saw a decline in angling effort last week. A few anglers were fishing near the mouth and a few others farther upriver. Those anglers are still targeting steelhead as they start to make their way back out to the lake. Water clarity continues to be poor.

The ramp in Racine saw minimal activity last week. Rough weather prevented most boats from going out. Root River high water levels continued and the tapering off of steelhead numbers has resulted in fewer anglers on the river. A few were still fishing in Lincoln Park below the steelhead facility. Only a few steelheads were caught last week. 

In Milwaukee, anglers reported catching cohos and steelhead from the pier at the Oak Creek power plant. There was moderate fishing activity on the Milwaukee River, with quite a few smallmouth bass being caught.

Port Washington and Sheboygan had no reports available.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


Lake Monona surface temperature was up to 63 degrees on May 11 at Olbrich Park, but launching there is still difficult thanks to the “gunk” hanging in the launch area. Most anglers using Olbrich Park to launch lift the outboards out of the water and use electric motors to get through the mess. With the warming water, though, has come some very good bass action across the chain. Anglers reported catching limits of largemouths on Lake Mendota on opening day, where water temps ranged from low 50s to 60.

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


In Oconto County, Oconto River walleyes and northern pike were caught in the river’s lower reaches down to the mouth. Shore anglers had success fishing dead bait on the bottom for northern pike along the pier. A few walleyes were caught in the river around the city docks, while most catches came at the mouth of the river. Angler numbers at the Stiles dam dropped significantly from previous weeks.

In Marinette County, walleyes were caught throughout the Menominee River by boat and shore anglers. The best areas from shore are just below the dam on the Wisconsin side and off the upstream tip of Stephenson Island. Boat anglers were having on the shallow flats off Marinette Marine and around the Ogden Street bridge. Most of the walleyes were post-spawn, with various sizes still present in the river.

Fishing pressure on the Peshtigo River was down last week. A few walleyes were caught, with better catches coming on Green Bay out from the river mouth.

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


Walleye action was good to excellent, with opening morning starting out hot right at daybreak. Anglers saw lots of action from lingering males, with several “spent” females being caught and released. While jig-and-minnow combos accounted for most catches, shallow-running crankbaits and jigs tipped with plastics produced on lakes with aggressive fish. 

Northern pike offered good action  – not as prominent as expected and rarely targeted at this time, some nice pike were boated by anglers targeting walleyes. The largest was a 40-incher caught by a female angler using 6-pound test line. Some smallmouth bass up to 18 inches were released by walleye anglers.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

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


The ice went out on all lakes in the area a few days ahead of the opener and water temperatures were a bit low, but walleye action wasn’t too bad, with most anglers finding the walleyes in the warm shallows, especially during first and last light. Continue to fish rocky points, humps, and bars topping out around 5 to 10 feet. Northern pike are now roaming the shallows and hiding in emerging weeds.

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

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


Anglers saw some very good walleye action on Big Clam Lake and Devils Lake on opening weekend. There was plenty of angling interest on the opener; the Hwy. 70 boat landing had about 40 rigs parked in the lot on May 7. Bluegills started moving into the shorelines on lakes all around the area last week when the warm weather finally showed up. 

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


Largemouth bass are in bays where weeds grow first in the shallow, warmer water. Try Texas-rigged worms, Ned rigs, and jigs rigged with plastics.  Smallmouth bass are mixed in with walleyes. Pitch plastics and fatheads on jigs around rocky humps, bars, and points. Crappie fishing was good and will get even better as the water reaches spawning temperature. Fish shallow, emerging weeds with minnows under bobbers. Bluegills are staging for the spawn in shallow, sandy areas.

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.

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