Report from the Dock
Water temperatures haven’t changed much since last week, but it has cooled enough to start triggering better muskie activity. In many areas, raising and hooking small muskies has not been an issue with bucktails or crankbaits. The majority of bigger muskies that have been caught over the past week seem to be going on large suckers. These suckers have been tough to find in some areas, but they seem to be the ticket for larger fish, and that should continue to hold true moving forward. Walleye action continues to improve as the fall fishing season moves forward. Minnows, crankbaits, and glide baits all seem to be producing, although minnows have been the best option in shallow and deep water – it just depends on the lake. There seems to a lot less people chasing panfish as muskies and walleyes become more of focal point. Look for suspended crappies over deep water or bluegills around any remaining green weed.
Large suckers are the ticket for muskies along the 10- to 12-foot weed edges on Lake Wapogasset and Deer Lake or along current seams on the Apple River. Crappies are suspended over deep water at Balsam, Half Moon, Bear Trap, and Wapogasset. lakes. Goose numbers seem be better than ducks and archery hunters report seeing high numbers of deer.
Country Store, (715) 268-7482.
Walleyes have been a bit spotty, but they are out there. Check near shore in the evening and morning as they chase the bait fish in. Trolling for northerns has been decent using Shad Raps. Trout has been hit or miss. One day, anglers are limiting right away and the next day it’s like a faucet that’s been turned off. Whitefish are still being caught in the bay. Some salmon catches have been reported off the dock in Washburn. Look for fish in Fish Creek and the Sioux River.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Perch fishing has been very good as of late and should continue to stay good, and probably will even get better, as the water cools down. Try Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and downtown Sturgeon Bay in and around the shipping channel. The northern pike fishing has been super and that will also continue to get better if that is even possible. The pike fishing now is like the fishing from the early 1990s. Try large crankbaits, spoons, large paddletails, spinnerbaits and suckers. The salmon fishing has been very good out on the big lake when the winds allow it, with 100 to 200 feet being the best on a mix of flies and spoons. There are also a bunch of salmon and a few brown trout in the channel and in the harbors to the north of Sturgeon Bay. Walleye fishing at night has been getting better. Try trolling near-shore drop-offs with crankbaits
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Water temps are finally entering the 50s. It’s been a slow descent, which has slowed the progress of switching to fall fishing patterns, but we are seeing some of those patterns now. There is no talk of turnover yet, but surely it’s starting on some of the smaller lakes. Walleye fishing is good. The fish are moving deeper on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes where they normally spend the winter. Look for fish in the 15- to 20-foot range as they near the holes, which are now worth fishing. Use jigs and minnows. On the deeper lakes away from the chain, walleyes are also moving deeper – as deep as 35 feet. Try the deep rock bars, especially at night. Muskie fishing has been very good, with good numbers of fish reported on the chain. Look for deep weeds and breaklines. Sucker action is cranking up, but jerkbaits and crankbaits are working, too. If you’re going for size, use the biggest lure you can comfortably handle on a slow retrieve as the water temps drop.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Boat anglers fishing near the mouth of the Fox River were targeting walleyes and smallmouth bass. Walleye anglers had some success trolling Flicker Minnows and crawler harnesses. The number of walleyes caught per boat ranged from one to two fish. One boat angler reported catching two walleyes while casting a Shad Rap in about 9 feet of water. Shore anglers were targeting walleyes and perch, but reports of catches were light. The Suamico River saw moderate to heavy fishing activity as boating anglers targeted muskies, walleyes, and perch. Most were targeting muskies, but with mixed results. Those who did catch muskies were casting bucktails, black double Cowgirls and trolling a firetiger Super Shad from 4 to 12 feet deep. The walleye anglers had mixed results, with some walleyes caught on crankbaits 10 to 30 feet deep. Most walleye catches ranged from two to eight fish per boat. The perch anglers with the best success were using live minnows fishing from around 10 to 15 feet deep.
Smokey’s on the Bay, (920) 593-1749.
A vertically-presented jig and minnow is producing walleyes on Lake Lac Courte Oreilles and Grindstone Lake in 25 to 35 feet. Crappies continue to be found suspended over the deep holes on Nelson Lake and the Chippewa Flowage. Large suckers or bucktails are turning muskies in about 15 feet on Lost Land/Teal Lake and Moose Lake.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
IRON COUNTY AREA
The fishing has mimicked late summer fishing with water temps in the mid- to high-50s through Oct. 10. Walleyes have been in wood and rock in mostly 10 to 14 feet of water on weedless jigs and fatheads. Muskie action has been good on deep weed edges with surface lures and suckers. Overall, most muskie action has been in 5 to 12 feet for those who are focusing on transitions. Double-bladed bucktails have been producing well. Smallies are active above the wood on river channel edges and on humps in 8 to 12 feet on fatheads, tube jigs and chubs. Crappies and bluegills have been deeper over wood and rock in 13 to 16 feet. The cold front that’s headed here and sticking around for a week will drop the water temps and the lakes will be turning over, which will drive the bite deeper for all species.
Flambeau Flowage Sports, Mercer, (715) 476-2526.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
In Kenosha, king salmon are being caught in the harbor area. Anglers caught fish using various methods, including spawn, spoons, crankbaits, and shrimp.
In the city of Racine, boat anglers have been catching fish by trolling J-plugs or by fishing spawn under a bobber and casting spoons. A mixed bag of kings, coho salmon, rainbow trout and lake trout are being caught.
On the Root River, king salmon are being caught while responding well to flies and spawn, depending on the flow in the area of the river you’re fishing.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
Fishing has been pretty good around the chain lately. Fish are moving shallower in the afternoons when the water warms up. Cherokee Marsh weeds are falling back and largemouths are hitting there. Walleyes and perch are hitting near the Hwy. 113 bridge. The Lake Mendota perch bite is a little slow and anglers will have to do a bit of sorting. Start on the weed edges; there are some bluegills mixed in. The humps have been good for walleyes and pike action is picking up, with a lot of fish 20- to 30-inchers reported. Lake Monona had some algae issues in early October, but some perch and bluegills have been caught in the weeds, with the best action being in the afternoon. Lake Monona muskie action has been very good; same on Lake Waubesa. Try Hog Island if looking for walleyes on Waubesa.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
Anglers on the lower Peshtigo River were having luck catching yellow perch. Lots of small perch were reported, with about one out of every 10 perch being a keeper. Fishing pressure on the Menominee River was fairly light and the fishing lately hasn’t been great. Some king salmon and brown trout are being stripped from the rivers, but with water levels being so low and flow being terrible, it’s been difficult to catch spawning trout and salmon in the Menominee River.
Since late last week, K&K Warehousing has been suffering from a fire that has decimated the warehouse located right along the lower Menominee River. They’ve been syphoning water out of the river to put out the fire, but that has caused even lower water levels.
County Park 2 in Oconto County is starting to get some perch in. But again, low water levels make it difficult to fish in such high vegetation areas, like County Park 2.
A&K Bait & Tackle, (715) 732-9595.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
A full moon, high pressure and wind slowed what should have been a great weekend. Fishing will only get better over the next two weeks. Muskie action is good. The sucker bite is picking up. Gliders, jerks and twitch baits have been good as the cooler water temps put almost an end to the topwater bite.
As water cools, baitfish move off shorelines, meaning a bit deeper for action (most 8 to 14 feet). Try slower moving baits than used in September, but not ultra slow yet. This coming week looks good for suckers. Walleye action is good to fair. Fish deep 22- to 34-foot gravel/mud edges with redtails or black chubs or Jigging Raps and Shiver Minnows for the aggressive bites. Crappie action is good to fair. While the numbers are not high, quality fish (up to 15 inches) are coming out of flooded wood in
8 to 14 feet. Crappies are also on coontail edges of 14 to 18 feet.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Muskie action is picking up on suckers. Casting can get fish interested, but many times muskies follow baits in and then go for the sucker. Quick-strike rigs under big floats are the most common approach. Gliders and jerkbaits are great options this time of year; bucktails will work if you slow them down.
Walleyes moved to the deeper basins on flowages. Bluegills and perch are on weeds. Try waxies on small jigs.
St. Croix Rods, Park Falls, (715) 762-3226.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
Northern pike will hit suckers and artificial baits now. They are working weed edges now – the deeper the better. Focus on structure, points, and weeds where the wind is concentrating small baitfish. Largemouth bass are in the weeds. Look for areas where the sun keeps the water warmest. Smallies are deep and mixed in with walleyes as they move to their late fall and winter spots – deep rocks and points tailing into basins are key areas. Look for fish in 20 to 25 feet and use the same techniques as for walleyes. Crappies are deep and schooling in basins on flowages.
Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports Shop, (715) 349-2400.
Northern pike fishing has been good near weeds while using suckers. Anglers are also catching fish on smaller muskies baits such as bucktails and spinnerbaits. Think big and aggressive, as pike are starting to feed heavily. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is good. Largemouths are scattered, with some shallow near shoreline cover and others sitting on deep weed edges. Smallmouth anglers are finding fish near weeds and rock in 15 to 20 feet. Crappies are tight to deep structure, cribs, and weeds, breaking from it only to feed during low light periods.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.