Report from the Dock
There was a lot more minnow talk last week pertaining to walleye bites around the state. Crawlers and crankbaits are turning fish as well, but minnows, especially larger chubs and redtails, are starting to produce more consistently. That traditional fall jig-and-minnow bite is starting to kick in at a few locations in shallower water, but walleye action remains best early and late in the day, especially since water temperatures haven’t dropped a whole lot since last week. Crappies and bluegills are keeping anglers busy in most areas, with consistent bluegill bites in the weeds and crappies being found suspended over deep water or off deep weed edges. Muskie reports vary, with better activity during low-light periods on rocks more than weeds – bucktails, jerk baits, and topwater presentations were the go-to baits last week. There’s been some good smallmouth and largemouth bass reports in, and northern pike remain an easy catch.
Anglers fishing from shore are catching walleyes on the St. Croix River with swim baits and sunfish are going in and around the shallow weeds on Lake Wapogasset, North Twin Lake, and Big Round Lake. Bucktails continue to trigger muskies in less than 12 feet on the Apple River, Bear Trap Lake, and Wapogasset.
Country Store, (715) 268-7482.
On most area inland lakes, walleyes are deep, but that depends on the lake. Fish could be in 25 to 40 feet in clear lakes, or as shallow as 10 feet in stained lakes. Action is slow and many anglers are flatline and planer board trolling crawler harnesses and crankbaits. Other anglers are fishing live bait rigs or snap-jigging in deep water. Northern pike action is steady, with many anglers catching pike by accident while muskie, walleye, or bass fishing. Look for areas concentrating other game fish parallel to areas that hold good quantities of bluegills or baitfish. Live bait, spinners, jerkbaits, plastics, and others are working. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are scattered, but will start to become very active and very aggressive with the cooler temperatures. Fish can be picky throughout the summer, but in fall, they eat first and question later. Fast- moving crankbaits and jerkbaits will soon replace slower techniques such as Ned rigs, drop-shot rigs, and slow-retrieve plastics.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
Muskie action is good on small bucktails and fast-moving baits. Mepps Muskie Killers and Mepps No. 5s worked over weeds remain solid, drawing many follows and a fair amount of catches.
Start with fast moving baits over/around weed beds and edges and slow down if that does not work. Walleyes are deep and fishing is tough. Deep, rocky points leading to basins are good places to start. Use slip bobbers with jigs and live bait to target deep walleye.
Aggressively working Jigging Raps and jigging live bait along bottom are producing in some lakes. Crappies have moved to deeper water. They are more apt to take the bait when relating to bottom, and Mimic Minnows and Beetle Spins cast and worked toward bottom are working well.
Crappie minnows on small jigs under slip bobbers are great for picking apart crappie schools. Panfish anglers are catching shallow bluegills and perch off piers and docks. Crawlers under bobbers and waxies on small hair jigs always work well.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Walleye fishing on Green Bay is excellent right now, with good catches of 15- to 20-inch fish, with bigger fish up to 30 inches being taken around Bayshore, all reefs, Vincent Point, and in the mud off the Spark Plug. A good bite is just starting to develop in University Bay, at Suamico and in Deadhorse Bay. Casting Ripper Minnows, Shiver Minnows, and Jigging Rapalas are all taking fish. Trolling crankbaits in and around the reefs has been a go-to presentation. Out in deeper water, crawler harnesses and crankbaits on snap weight programs has been a sure way to put fish in the boat. Perch fishing is good, with nightcrawlers and minnows being the best presentation. The edges of the shipping channel, out in front of Bayshore launch, and the Geano’s Reef area are putting out the most perch. Muskie fishing has picked up, and will continue to get better as the waters of the bay cool. Troll blades, swim baits, and crankbaits. Shore fishing also is picking up as the baitfish are making their way into the river systems with many predictor fish following them.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 593 1749.
Walleyes are going in 28 to 35 feet on Lac Courte Oreilles, Grindstone Lake, and Round Lake or in 18 to 24 feet on the Chippewa Flowage – a crawler and spinner or jig and minnow is working best. Muskie action has picked up with small bucktails early and late each day on the Chippewa Flowage and Lost Land/Teal Lake. Hit the Chippewa Flowage, Nelson Lake, and Moose Lake for crappies and panfish in 15 to 18 feet – work cribs and sunken trees.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
IRON COUNTY AREA
The panfish bite has been steady with crappies, bluegills, and perch in 12 to 16 feet of water over wood/rocks. Tattletail or hair jigs tipped with a crappie minnow or piece of worm is working well. The walleye bite has improved with the first cool down, try mid-lake humps of rock/wood in 6 to 10 feet, river channel edges and lake basin edges in 10 to 12 feet in heavy wood, using weedless jigs with extra-large fatheads. The muskie bite has improved with first cool down; all reports of fish off weed edges at varying depths on small surface lures and bucktails. Smallmouths seem scattered over humps, wood flats, and often along weed edges. Water levels are quite low in the area with minimal rain in August.
Flambeau Flowage Sports, Mercer, (715) 466-2526.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Things are starting to move into the right direction for September as warm afternoons, followed by cool nights, have started to lower surface temps. The Sept. 9 highs in the mid-80s was followed by cool (mid to high 40s) and rain. Reports of surface temps as high as 75 degrees have scaled back into the upper 60s by Sept. 12. Fish have been found all over the place, requiring searching for what you’re looking for.
Largemouth bass: Good to very good. Most anglers are finding bass up shallow in 4 to 8 feet with green weeds by flipping jigs and creature baits or a wacky worm rig. Some bass on deep, clear lakes are also being caught on drop-shot rigs over sandgrass beds in 17 to 22 feet by anglers targeting smallies. Still others are casting inside weed lines on those warm evenings and are finding topwater action on Whopper Ploppers and Jitterbugs.
Smallmouth bass: Good to very good. Deep rock humps of 20 to 25 feet are holding smallies coming on drop-shot rigs. Try sandgrass flats in 17 to 22 feet, but some smallies are still relatively shallow (8 to 12 feet) where tube jigs are working best.
Crappies: Good. There is better lake action than flowage action. On lakes fish in 7 to 10 feet of water with small fatheads on light jigs.
Muskies: Good. Keep an eye on the shallow bite. Nice fish are moving in 4 to 8 feet. It’s topwater time, or try high-riding bucktails and spinnerbaits.
Bluegill: Good. Anglers are finding schools suspending out from coontail edges over 14 to 18 feet, as well as over drowned wood. Nice bluegills up to 9 inches were caught last week.
Yellow perch: Good to fair, with most reports from anglers of dropping down towards the base of green cabbage with crawlers or fats.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Muskie action is good to very good with the cooling weather, and fish are lurking on weeds and weed edges from shallow to mid-depths and deeper. For now, smaller bucktails, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, gliders, jerkbaits, and topwaters are working well. Vary retrieve speeds and be sure to figure-eight at the boat. As the fall cool-down proceeds, fish will begin to prefer bigger baits and suckers. Walleye fishing is slow, but improving. Fish are near the bottom of the deepest areas of most lakes, in anywhere from 8 to 35 feet or deeper, on rocks, breaklines, points and humps. Anglers are using crawlers and minnows on jigs, or they are snap-jigging Jigging Raps and similar baits along the bottom, and trolling crankbaits, crawler harnesses and live bait rigs with some success. Try shallower weedlines just before and into dark.
St. Croix Rods, Park Falls, (715) 762-3226.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
Northern pike action is good to very good in and on shallow to mid-depth thick weeds, weedlines, weed edges, and any areas holding concentrations of panfish and baitfish. Baits of choice include suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, bucktails, Beetle Spins, Shad Raps, chatterbaits, jerkbaits, and plastics. Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good on shallow weeds, weed edges, wood, lily pads, slop, and near panfish concentrations. The best baits include crankbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, jerkbaits, plastics, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs and live bait. Smallmouth bass fishing is good, with fish in deep, hard-bottomed areas on a variety of weeds, wood, rock, cribs and other structure. Work crankbaits, jerkbaits, plastics, Ned rigs, drop-shot rigs, and wacky worms near the bottom. Crappie fishing is fair to good and getting better. Look for fish in 8 to 22 feet in basins, on cribs, weeds, brush, and other structure, and suspending check the entire water column. Crappie minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and under slip bobbers, Mimic Minnows, Mini-Mites, and Beetle Spins are all catching fish.
Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports Shop, (715) 349-2400.