Wisconsin Statewide fishing report 7.17.15

Despite the wild weather, fishing success continues to improve across the state. General surface water temperatures continue to float between the upper 60s and low 70s for much of the state. Walleye action continues to increase in the Northern counties. There are reports of early morning and evening success in mid-depth weed beds. Large and smallmouth bass have moved into their mid-summer habitats. For largemouth this is near woody cover, under docks or near bulrushes. Smallmouth are moving towards woody cover as well as rock bars. Musky outlook continues to improve, with several anglers reporting sightings and follows. Edging the weeds with bucktails and medium-sized stick baits continue to be productive. Despite a recent drop in panfish catches, this week's reports have brought fair success for bluegill, perch and rock bass, again in weedier areas near mid-depth.

Anglers along the Eastern shore of Green Bay, fishing off of the pier in Potawatomi Park, continue to catch yellow perch. However, some anglers have noted they're sorting through smaller sizes. Worm chunks under a bobber have been the most popular method. Those casting out of Chaudoir's Dock fished 8 to 15 feet of water in the mornings and evenings. While they were looking for walleye, they also found freshwater drum, channel catfish and white perch. Anglers casting at the Kewaunee ramp reported promising steelhead catches. The piers were packed this week with anglers hunting for chinook, brown and steelhead. Early rising anglers coming back into Algoma reported several fish per boat and pier anglers in Manitowoc were landing rainbows.

Those casting on Lake Michigan in the Southern counties have reported more mixed success, with the most frequent catches consisting of chinook, coho, brown, lake and rainbow trout. Most trollers are using spoons in orange, green and blue. Alewives remain common bait, with worms fitting the bill for perch. Perch success has been sporadic, with the best catch biting before sunrise. While fishing in Milwaukee County has been slow, several anglers off McKinley Pier landed browns and chinook using spoons and alewives. The Salmon-a-Rama fishing tournament is underway at Racine and the ramps should be especially busy. Lake trout and coho salmon remain the most consistent catches. Though deeper waters were especially popular last week, trollers in Sheboygan have been moving in between 70 to 120 feet of water and landing rainbows, browns and chinook.

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) -
The northern part of Wisconsin received several 1/2 inch rainfalls in the past week and this has kept lakes, rivers and streams at a relatively high level for the mid-summer period. The wet conditions have also kept bug levels pretty high, so any outdoor enthusiasts should be ready for lots of mosquitos, deer flies, ankle biters and horse flies. Despite several days of very windy conditions, fishing success has been generally good in the last week. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have been providing the most consistent action and success has been good. Most largemouth have settled into their mid-summer habitats and have been found near woody cover, along deep bog edges, under docks, and near thick weeds & bulrushes The mid to late afternoon hours have produced the best catches, with soft-plastic baits and topwaters being the most productive. Smallmouth bass have been moving to the mid-depth woody cover and rock bars, and some nice catches have been made on small finesse plastics and crayfish-type baits. Walleye fishing has been a bit erratic, with some days producing good action and other days seeing hardly a bite. The best catches have been made in the mid-depth weed beds during the low light periods. Weedless jigs tipped with a leech or crawler piece and dropped into open pockets in the weed beds have been the most successful method. Musky fishing has continued to be generally good, with most anglers reporting quite a few sightings and follows. Slower topwater lures, medium-size stick baits and bucktails have been the most productive lures and the weed edges have been the best spots. Panfish action has been fair with bluegill, perch, and rock bass being found along the weed edges and around mid-depth cover. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Marinette County -
Anglers at the Dam in Peshtigo are catching some pan fish, small mouth, and cat fish keying on the deeper water adjacent to current breaks, live bait has been working the best. Anglers fishing the lower Peshtigo are also catching some cat fish, sheep head, walleye, and small mouth fishing the deeper holes with live bait and casting plastics and stick baits around current breaks. Fishing pressure on the Menominee River light all week long and with Logging Days this past weekend very few people were fishing.

Oconto County -
Pan fish continue to be the fish of choice by anglers fishing below the Dam at Stiles down to the 141 Bridge. Blue gill, crappie, and rock bass are being caught using crawler chunks or minnows fished below slip bobbers or dead drifted in current seams. Some sorting has been needed. Many rafters, tubers, canoeists, and kayakers are using the Iron Bridge Boat Launch to drift the river. Those who were fishing report catching some smallmouth bass and northern pike using stick, spinner, and plastics baits. Shore anglers at the mouth of the Oconto River are catching small mouth, catfish, rock bass, and sheep head. Most anglers are using live bait fished on bottom others are casting spinner baits and plastics. The walleye bite has improved in the last week with anglers reporting fish being caught in 25 to 35 feet of water using crawler/harness in a variety of colors.

Brown County -
Anglers at Bayshore Park have been targeting walleye over the week and reporting highly varied results. Those who saw the most success were fishing either in the morning in 15 feet of water or less, or just after noon in 22 feet of water or deeper. Trolling and jigging have both worked well. Perch anglers found the best results using minnows and worms. Anglers at the mouth of the Fox River continue to catch large numbers of drum and catfish using a simple night crawler rig. Fishing early morning or late evenings have produced the best catch rates; however fish are being caught just about any time of the day. A few anglers using tube worm have been catching small mouth bass and walleye, but in small numbers. Most anglers at Voyager Park continue to favor fishing off the bottom with a simple hook, line and sinker setup...or...put their bait a few inches of the bottom using a three-way swivel setup. These anglers reported catching "ok" numbers of catfish. A few anglers were using jigs and shad raps for smallmouth and walleye. Unfortunately catching these fish has been difficult this week. Walleye anglers launching out of Green Bay Metro at the mouth of the Fox River have continued to catch good numbers of walleye in the 12 to 18 inch range using crawler harnesses. Early morning hours have produced the most fish with very light catches after 9 a.m. Trolling 8 to 12 feet of water just outside University Bay has been the go to spot. Walleye anglers out of the Suamico launch continue to boat good numbers of walleye with the best catch rates coming before 9am. Crawler harnesses trolled at 0.8-1.0 mph have produced the most fish. Water clarity in the area has been good and water temps continue to hold in the mid to low 70's. Anglers at Geano's Beach continue to have mixed results. Most walleye anglers have been able to boat multiple fish through the morning; however, overall numbers continue to be low. Crawler harnesses have produced the majority of fish; however, flicker shads have also been producing. Multiple musky anglers were interviewed in the area this week with no reported boated fish and only one follow. Bucktails and topwaters were the baits of choice with the bucktail bringing the only reported follow of the week. Water clarity in the area continued to be good and temperatures are holding in the mid to low 70's.

Door County -
Anglers returning from fishing on Green Bay reported luck with a variety of species this week. Anglers reported taking walleye, both north and south of Sturgeon Bay, on deep diving rapalas, black and gold jigging rapalas, and brown and gold jigging rapalas. Smallmouth bass where found consistently throughout the week on the flats on the north end of the ship canal. Anglers also reported some luck with smallmouth bass north of Sturgeon Bay as well. Typically anglers were using plastic baits and fishing in between 8 to 12 feet of water, though some smallmouth bass were also taken on deep diving rapalas in 16 feet of water. A few anglers had fair success with perch fishing along the north side of the canal using live bait. The majority of shore angling pressure was focused at the Stone Quarry Park this week. Anglers had good success with smallmouth bass, though majority of individuals caught were under the legal limit. The bait of preference this week appeared to be plastic tubes and live worms. There was also a good number of small rock bass caught from the outer break wall. Rock bass were primarily caught on live worms. Anglers leaving from the Sturgeon Bay City ramp had good success with chinook salmon and steelhead trout this week. Returning anglers reported the best success fishing the Bank Reef at about 100ft of water using dodger and flasher flies. The morning bite has been reported to be the most successful time to fish, that said anglers are still catching fish well into the day. Anglers in Northern Door County have been doing well with chinook salmon all around the peninsula, from Baileys Harbor up around to Ellison Bay bluffs. Most fish are coming from between 70 and 200 feet of water, although some coming deeper, and in the top 50 feet of the water column. Spoons seem to be working best flies have also seen results. Smallmouth bass anglers have been doing the best fishing the reefs and islands in anywhere from 5 to 20 feet of water. The dominate bait remains plastics although live bait has also been producing good numbers. From shore, the best action has been Rowleys Bay, live bait working best. Smallmouth and rock bass have also been producing to greater or lesser degrees, from the Egg Harbor harbor and pier, north, to Gills Rock. Perch anglers fishing from shore and boats at Sawyer Harbor have been doing well using worms, but report having to sort through the small ones. Smallmouth bass anglers have been having a tough time but have been having success. Those looking for smallmouth should try plastics or leeches. Surface water temperatures were between 68 and 71 degrees. Anglers at Little Sturgeon Bay noted that while smallmouth bass have been doing decent on plastics and jerk baits, walleye have reportedly been doing better. There have not been reports on were or with what the walleye have been caught. Surface temperatures have been in the low 70's. Pier and shore anglers looking for perch have had some luck fishing worms about 12- 18 inches off the bottom. Walleye fishing out of Chaudoir's Dock slowed down a bit this week. Those who were lucky fished 8 to 15 feet of water in the mornings and evenings. Pulling cranks down 20 feet in 30 feet of water landed a few fish in the afternoon. Other fish caught by this group were freshwater drum, channel catfish. Surface water temperatures have been about 71 degrees.

Kewaunee County -
Mostly anglers at the Kewaunee ramp are still having success in 70 to 200 feet of water with most of the catches coming in the top 50 feet. A few interviews were taken from anglers returning from day fishing. They reported some success with steelhead trout in about 300ft of water. The Kewaunee pier bustled with activity this week as angler tried to convince the chinook salmon, brown and steelhead trout to bite. Though the fish seemed reluctant to bite this week anglers did have some success with brown trout using spoons. Anglers at Algoma had consistent luck this week with both steelhead trout and chinook salmon. Anglers that chose to fish in the pre-dawn hours reported the best success, and on average returned to the Algoma City ramp with 4 fish per boat. The majority of boats leaving the Algoma harbor chose to power north to the Bank Reef, though a few anglers also reported having success south of the harbor as well. The majority of anglers where fishing between 120 to 300ft with a few boats also reporting success in 80ft of water. Large schools of alewives were reported to be concentrated about 60ft down. The most successful baits this week were flies and green and blue spoons. The Algoma piers saw light use this week and the catch rate for those individuals that did fish was not very high. Anglers reported catching the occasional brown trout or chinook salmon on Mr. Champ synthetic baits.

Manitowoc County -
Anglers have been doing well at the harbors and piers in Manitowoc, catching rainbow trout off the piers using alewife. Brown trout have also been hitting well after dark. Near the marina, anglers have been having luck catching yellow perch. The water temperature in the harbor has been in the low 70's. At the Manitowoc ramps, many boats reported catching between one and three king salmon this weekend, with a few lake and rainbow trout mixed in. Some of the salmon were caught on flies and dodgers, but spoons remained the most successful choice of lure. Anglers at the ramps in Two Rivers have been doing well targeting chinook salmon between 50 and 80 feet down in the water column, with spoons working best. Most anglers were seen heading north towards the power plant. Anglers at the harbors and piers in Two Rivers have been doing well on rainbow trout, using alewives to the best effect, although cleos have also been working. The water has been clear out on the piers; the water temperature in the harbor has been in the low 70's.

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County -

In Sheboygan, catch rates for trollers remain about the same at roughly two fish per boat, and some boats were unable to catch anything. Chinooks and rainbows were most common, with a few lake trout mixed in as well. Boats have been trolling in 70 to 120 feet of water, with less emphasis on deeper water such as 300 to 350 feet that was commonly seen last week. Orange spoons remain popular, and flies have been used primarily for chinook. Fishing for lake whitefish has slowed off the north pier, but a few were caught this past week during the early morning hours. They hit off of the lake side of the pier on alewives or shiners fished near the bottom. Some anglers also reported catching a couple of chinooks and rainbows off of the north pier during the night or very early in the morning, but nothing was consistent. Alewives were most commonly used, and there are many alewives to be found off the north pier on the lake side. Many anglers caught browns around five or six pounds on the south pier over the past week. Most were caught on the harbor side, anywhere from the mouth of the river down to the end of the pier. Crank baits and spoons in a variety of colors produced fish, as well as live or dead alewives.

Ozaukee County -
Port Washington trollers have been averaging three to four fish per boat. A mix of chinook, coho, lakers, and rainbows have been caught in fairly even numbers. The majority of fish were caught in 100 to 120 feet of water, but boats reported fishing anywhere from 50 to 200 feet in general. The bite seemed to be better during the early morning before 6:00 or 7:00am. Spoons were best for rainbows, specifically anything with orange. Flies with brightly colored dodgers or flashers worked better for salmon. For shore anglers in Port Washington, catch rates have been a little lower than last week off of the breakwall, but some anglers still reported a few rainbows and browns. Alewives remain the most common bait, and many were seen both inside the harbor and closer to shore on the lake side. A few perch have been caught, but only one or two measured around 11 inches while the rest were very small. These perch were caught using worms as well as cut bait from alewives.

Milwaukee County -
Milwaukee trollers have been averaging 2 to 3 fish per boat, and most have been fishing in 80 to 120 feet of water from the filtration plant to Fox Point. Many of the fish caught recently have been lake trout, with reports of a 27 pound laker brought in last week. The boat ramp at South Shore Park was closed over the weekend due to the South Shore Water Frolics. The launch will reopen on Tuesday, July 14th. Trollers fishing out of Bender Park have taken some chinooks and lake trout in about 60 feet of water off of the Oak Creek Power Plant, as well as some browns in 20 to 30 feet. Other boats from Bender have been fishing for perch at the boils off of the South Shore water treatment plant. They are still catching fish and having luck with fatheads, jigs and plastics, and twister tails. Shore fishing has been generally slow throughout most of Milwaukee County. However, anglers fishing off McKinley pier have landed a few browns and chinooks on spoons and alewives. Veterans Park shore anglers have also taken a few browns and rainbows on alewives and white tube jigs. Perch anglers have been able to catch a few here and there off McKinley pier and the Cupertino Park pier. Perch have been taken on fathead minnows, night crawlers, or plastics.

Racine County -
The Salmon-a-Rama fishing tournament is under way, and the Racine boat ramp will likely be filled to capacity for most of this week. Trollers in Racine have been catching a variety of species, and chinooks are being caught more consistently although lake trout and coho are still more common. Most boats have reported the best success catching fish while trolling around 70 to 90 feet of water before 7:00am, and then following the fish out to deeper water as the day progresses. Fishing has been best very early in the morning, with bites coming sporadically throughout the rest of the day. Orange, blue and silver, or green and silver spoons have been effective, and flies in blue or green have been popular as well. Fishing pressure on the south pier in Racine has been very high since the start of Salmon-a-Rama. Anglers have had the most success catching brown trout, although other species such as coho salmon and freshwater drum have been biting as well. Anglers have been landing fish both casting spoons and soaking alewives, with slightly more fish biting on live bait. Fishing pressure is at typical levels along the shoreline inside the harbor and on the north pier.

Kenosha County -
Kenosha trollers have been catching coho and lake trout most commonly; however a good number of chinooks and browns have also been showing up in coolers. Most boats have reported bites around 80 feet of water before 6:00am, with the fish moving into deeper water once the sun is up. Most trollers have been using spoons of orange, green, blue, and silver. Shore fishing in Kenosha remains slow, with only the occasional brown trout or rare coho taken off the piers. Most bites have been coming on spoons, with one fish caught on a spinner as well. Perch fishing has also been slow, with only a few perch being caught throughout the week and all biting before sunrise.

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway -
The water levels on July 16th, at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 9,132 CFS. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac dam. Southwest Wisconsin has received a lot of rain this past week so the water levels could change quickly. Canoeists should monitor the water levels carefully and always secure your canoe and equipment well. The trails and gravel roadways within the Riverway may also have some temporary storm damage that need repairs. Fishing reports have been mixed due to the changing water levels. There have been some success in the Lone Rock area with panfish and catfish.