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Fishing WisconsinLake Michigan Outdoor Fishing Report - April 14, 2014
In general, fishing reports will be updated once per week, usually on Tuesdays. This may change based on availability of reports and work schedules of field staff.
Recorded versions of this information are also available. For Northern Lake Michigan and Green Bay, call 920-746-2873. For Southern Lake Michigan, call 414-382-7920.
- Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report
- Northern Lake Michigan Fishing Report
- Green Bay Fishing Report
- Ramp: Boat traffic at the Simmons Island boat launch was light during the week. 2-3 trailers were seen in the parking lot early Wednesday morning. One of the boats trolled the boat harbor for brown trout and another one stayed close to the lakefront, possibly trolling for coho salmon. None of the boats returned in time for an interview. Only two boats were seen on Saturday afternoon. One boater went out for a test run and the other was casting spoons and crank baits in the harbor but didn’t return in time for an interview. The floating docks for the charter boats are still under repair, but two boats were tied up to the docks at the south end of the boat harbor on Saturday. The fish cleaning station and the concession stand were still closed on the weekend.
- Shoreline: Fishing pressure on the shoreline was steady during the week. Two anglers on their first fishing trip of the year landed a 4 pound brown trout while casting an orange/white cleo near the Navy Memorial. No anglers were seen in the boat harbor or the marina on Saturday afternoon. One angler reported that he fished the shoreline at the mouth of the Pike River three times recently but had no luck. The mouth of the Pike River was open Saturday afternoon. The surface water temperature at the lakefront was 43-44F on Saturday. One of the local anglers reported that fishing pressure and the catch rate at the Simmons Island boat harbor has been very low lately.
- Piers: Fishing pressure on the piers increased during the week. An average of 6-8 anglers have been showing up on the piers for the early morning bite. A few coho and some nice brown trout were landed on South Pier recently by anglers casting small cleos and kastmasters. Another angler landed 3 nice size browns over 2 days of fishing while jigging pearl colored plastic on a small jig head. Diving ducks were everywhere between the piers and around fishermen. One of the anglers caught and released a duck that took his bait as he retrieved it on South Pier. Most of the fishing pressure over the past 3 weeks has been on South Pier. The water clarity along the piers and in the harbor was good with visibility over 5-6 feet.
- Pike River: The water level at Petrifying Springs Park increased from 1.95 last week to 3.2 feet on Sunday. The flow rate increased from 23 cfs to 183 cfs. The water temperature increased from 40-41F to 44-45F. The water clarity was good near the Kenosha Country Club earlier in the week with visibility over 24”. The river was shallow at Petrifying Springs Park with some of the large rocks and the tops of some gravel bars beginning to appear above the water line. Rainbow trout continued to work their way upstream during the week. The rainbows were seen swimming from deep hole to deep hole at various locations. People walking along the river reported seeing up to 2-3 rainbows sitting in a single hole at the same time. There were lots of rainbows in the river during the week but very few anglers there to fish for them. Heavy rain fell on Saturday and runoff flowing into the river reduced the water clarity. The water color became a chocolate brown color. Two anglers at Petrifying Springs Park reported that visibility was only 2-3” Saturday afternoon. A few anglers were casting spinner baits near the mouth of the river on Saturday but managed to catch and release only one 34” carp.
- Ramps: Traffic at the Pershing Park boat launch was steady during the week and increased on the weekend. 17 boats were launched at the ramp on Saturday morning. Most of the boaters trolled the Racine lakefront in 15-30 feet of water between North Pier and the water treatment plant. One boat came in Saturday with 9 coho and another one came in with 6 coho. One angler caught his limit of coho every time that he went out during the week. A few boaters came in with a mixed bag of coho, browns, and rainbows. Dodgers and flies worked well for coho while spoons and crank baits took most of the browns. Fishing pressure was heavy in the area near the discharge at the water treatment plant. A couple of anglers reported that the water along the lakefront was so clear that they could see bottom in 15-20 feet of water. Five of the coho measured on Wednesday averaged 2 pounds in weight and 18” in length. Some of the coho measured during the week looked thin and one angler noticed that the stomachs of the coho were empty when he cleaned the fish. The fish cleaning station at the boat launch has not opened yet, and the concession stand was still closed on Sunday.
- Shoreline: Fishing pressure on the shoreline was light during the week. The cover of ice in ReefPoint Marina finally disappeared this weekend. A few anglers tried casting spoons and crank baits in the marina on Saturday but reported no luck after a couple hours of fishing. The water in the marina was cloudy with visibility at 12-18”. A couple of anglers were casting spoons along the mouth of the Root River on Saturday but reported no luck after a couple hours of fishing. The fishing piers at the Main Street Bridge, Reichert Court, and the boat harbor were not in the water as of Saturday. Some of the shoreline anglers moved from the shoreline to the piers over the past week. The surface temperature at the lakefront was 42F on Saturday.
- Piers: Fishing pressure on the piers increased during the week. A daily average of 7-8 anglers fished on South Pier and 3-5 anglers on North Pier. The catch rate has been picking up with more than 50% of the anglers landing at least one fish on a good day. 4 anglers on South Pier had good luck on Saturday afternoon. Each angler landed one nice size brown trout with an average weight of 6.5 pounds. One angler on South Pier reported that he landed a 2 pound coho on Saturday morning and lost a large chinook salmon while fishing with a glow in the dark moonshine spoon. Another angler caught a 3 pound coho earlier in the week while fishing with a white grub tail. The 3-6” layer of ice/sand has finally disappeared from the end of North Pier. A mixed bag of browns and coho were landed during the week on North Pier by anglers casting cleos, krocodiles, and glow in the dark spoons. One angler on North Pier landed 3 coho earlier in the week. The water on the lake side of North Pier was crystal clear with visibility all the way to the bottom along most of the pier. The fish cleaning station and the rest rooms on South Pier were still closed on Saturday.
- Root River: Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, April 14. Eggs were collected from both Chambers Creek and Ganaraska strains, and 602 steelhead were passed upstream. The next processing day will be Monday, April 21. The water level at the Horlick Dam increased from 3.1 last week to 3.25 feet on Sunday. The flow rate increased from 105 cfs to 154 cfs. The water temperature increased from 40-41F to 44-45F. The flow rate and water level steadily decreased over the past two weeks due to a long stretch of dry weather but rebounded on the weekend after a few days with heavy downpours. Fishermen wading in the river reported that the water level began to rise early Sunday morning and that the water clarity decreased. The water in Washington Park was a chocolate brown color on Sunday due to runoff from the recent rain. Upstream of the Weir: The fishing pressure above the weir was steady during the week and increased on the weekend. Anglers casting flies and yarn had better luck this week than those fishing with spawn and tube jigs. 7-8 anglers were seen at the Horlick Dam on Sunday with some of the anglers landing 1-2 rainbows apiece. Fishing pressure at Quarry Lake Park was light with most of the anglers fishing upstream from the falls. One angler caught 3 rainbows and released 2 of them while fishing with a red yarn fly. A fly fisherman in Colonial Park landed 2 rainbows while casting a bright green fly along a gravel bar near the golf course. A couple of anglers casting red yarn flies further downstream were having no luck. A group of 5 anglers fished Colonial during the week and caught a 30 inch buck, a 29 inch hen, and 5 other rainbows. All were caught on flies and egg pattern yarn. Fishing pressure was light in Lincoln Park on Sunday but a fly angler caught and released 11 rainbows earlier in the week while working some of the deeper holes with a red/black yarn fly. Downstream of the weir: Fishing pressure below the weir was steady during and week and heavy on the weekend. Some anglers got skunked or caught only suckers while others had very good luck. An average of 15-25 anglers had lines in the water at any given time on Sunday in Lincoln Park. Three fly fishermen caught and released 4 rainbows and a brown trout while casting red/orange egg pattern yarn flies during the week. Another fly fisherman caught and released two 25-26” rainbows and lost a big one while casting a small tan colored fly. A 28” northern was landed in Lincoln Park on Saturday. A fly fisherman landed four 8-12 pound rainbows on Sunday while casting his homemade version of a caddis fly. Two brothers drifted spawn sacks under slip bobbers at Island Park and landed 14 rainbows over 4 days of fishing. Three anglers drifting spawn sacks and casting flies landed a few nice size rainbows and a brown trout earlier in the week. A fly fisherman landed a nice size rainbow early Saturday morning while casting a green nymph. Fishing pressure at Washington Park was light during the week, and no anglers were seen there on Sunday. The water at Washington Park was cloudy/muddy on the weekend. Anglers were catching suckers from Washington Park to the Horlick Dam, but the numbers weren’t overwhelming.
- Fishing pressure remains high in popular areas during the early morning, but changes in weather conditions later in the day have been a issue.
- Milwaukee Ramps: Ice has been gone from the Milwaukee Ramps. Boat launch piers have been put in at Riverfront Ramp, South Shore Park and Bender Park. A few boats are reporting success jigging near the discharge within the harbor. South Shore and Bender Park boaters have also reported success trolling with spoons and rapalas during the early morning.
- Milwaukee Shore: Brown trout are still being taken from Summerfest and the South City Shoreline. The bait of choice varied from spawn, plastic jigs and live bait. However, more anglers were able to take fish on spoons compared to last week. There has been an increase in anglers reporting small coho salmon being caught from Summerfest and at the McKinley Pier. The Oak Creek Power Plant pier is open and has attracted a decent amount of anglers; they are reporting success for coho salmon and brown trout with rapalas, spoons and spawn sacs.
- Milwaukee River: The Milwaukee River has attracted many more anglers because increasing success at Estabrook and Kletzsch Parks. At the mouth of the Milwaukee River anglers have had great success on yellow perch with fathead minnows.
- Menomonee River: A few steelhead are still being taken near Miller Park on the Menomonee River on spawn sacs and flies, but with the increase in presence of suckers in the river, effective trips are hard to accomplish. Water temperatures have increased on the river from 38F - 44F. The water levels this past week have increased significantly compared to last week due to the number of rainy days.
- The fish cleaning station near the marina is open for the season, while the cleaning station near the power plant remains closed.
- Port Washington Piers: Public access to the north pier is not allowed at this time. Signs have been posted at the entrance to pier to remind the public that no one is allowed on the pier for their own safety.
- Port Washington Shore: Anglers interviewed Saturday advised brown trout were being caught near the inner wall near the power plant discharge and on the rocks along Rotary Park. The best baits were spawn sacs used on a three way rig about 12 inches off the bottom that were allowed to float in the current. Browns were in the 3-4 pound range and some had fresh indications of lamprey wounds. Winds switched to the NE later Saturday morning with some periods of heavy rain which chased most anglers away. Sunday after heavy rains the Sauk Creek was at bank full and discharging large amounts of tree debris into the harbor along with the water being very muddy.
- Port Washington Ramp: Only a few boats were launched on Saturday due to stronger NE winds and cold air temperatures. One boat had picked up a 14 pound, 34 inch lake trout south of Port Washington in around 40 feet of water and an 18" coho. A few boats fished the inner harbor area, and a few smaller brown trout were harvested. Lures used were jointed Rapalas and spinners.
- Sauk Creek: The water flow increased on Saturday afternoon with the heavy rainfall, and on Sunday the creek was at bank full and was not fishable. Anglers were seen Saturday in the creek near the high school and at the Sauk Creek nature preserve area. Anglers were targeting the deeper holes and some smaller rainbows were caught and released using spinners and small flies. Angler activity was light.
- Sheboygan Ramps: No boat activity was observed on Sunday afternoon. The ramps are open for the season and ready for use. Harbor is clear from winter ice cover. Large amounts of tree debris has washed down the Sheboygan River and is floating in the harbor, so be careful navigating. The fish cleaning stations in Sheboygan are open.
- Sheboygan Piers: No activity on the north pier was observed. A small number of anglers Sunday afternoon were on the south pier and were looking for browns, but angling pressure was limited due to rain and NE winds. No fish were caught in the late afternoon on Sunday. Anglers interviewed advised that the morning bite has been decent on the south pier with a fair number of smaller browns (3-5 lb) range being harvested. The best bait has been spawn, soaking it on the bottom.
- Sheboygan Shore: No activity observed and the harbor is ice free.
- Sheboygan River: River activity was limited on Saturday. Only two anglers were seen east of the 8th Street Bridge with no other anglers seen until the Taylor Drive area and then again in the golf course area further upstream at Kohler. Anglers interviewed reported seeing rainbows in the river, but the rainbows were not very interested in any lure combinations. Anglers at the Kohler dam area were contending with a large amount of river foam and a fast flow. One brown trout was reported caught and released using spinner baits at the dam. No fish were caught on spawn.
- Pigeon River: The river was scheduled for the creel survey on Sunday afternoon, but due to heavy rain the river was at bank full and running extremely fast. No anglers were observed.
- Weedens Creek: Anglers were using Weedens Creek at STH 28 for accessing the Sheboygan River and Weedens Creek mouth on Saturday. Water flow in the creek was high and had a strong flow. No fish were reported caught in the Creek. Anglers did advise unknown fish species were seen on Saturday morning in Weedens Creek but were not biting.
- Manitowoc Harbor: While scant few anglers gave the Manitowoc harbor their attention over the last week, those that did were able to boast some success on brown trout and channel catfish. The action was anything but fast and furious, with occasional catches of one or two browns demanding patience and persistence. The few trout that were brought in were caught on suspended spawn sacs in the area of the Manitowoc Marina stub pier and at the mouth of the Manitowoc River near the YMCA and Maritime Inn. Anglers that concentrated their efforts on channel catfish around the mouth of the river and upstream across from the Manitowoc Public Library fared respectably, with multiple cats upwards of 10 pounds taking sucker chunks off the bottom earlier in the week. The recent weekend storms have significantly raised water levels and muddied water clarity to near zero, suggesting that more odoriferous baits may be the ticket until water levels and visibility return to normal.
- Manitowoc Ramps: The launch ramp at Manitou Park is open and is easily accessible for boat anglers, as is the ramp at the Manitowoc Marina.
- Manitowoc River, Branch River, Silver Creek: The Manitowoc and Branch Rivers are, at this writing, at flood-stage levels due to the aforementioned weekend storms. Prior to the storms angler activity was admittedly light during the last week, and current conditions of high, swift and muddy waters may present some access and safety challenges for wading anglers at some points along either river.
- Two Rivers Harbor: Thus far the Two Rivers harbor and piers have remained practically untouched by angler activity.
- Two Rivers Ramps: The ramp at the Seagull Marina is open and accessible.
- East Twin River: The East Twin River in Mishicot also rewarded a number of anglers with good catches of steelhead, as well as a few northern pike (including one reported at 38"). Anglers saw success fishing from the foot of the Mishicot Dam, downstream and past the Hwy 147/Main St. bridge. The rest of the East Twin is open from Mishicot to Two Rivers, and angler activity should begin to pick up along its length.
- West Twin River: As has been the case throughout the last several weeks the West Twin River, from the Shoto Dam to the boat launch ramp in Shoto, has been the hotbed of angler activity and in numbers of steelhead and browns caught. While the majority of anglers were stymied in bringing trout to net, those that did did so with impressive results, with multiple catches of egg-laden females and heavy males hitting drifting spawn sacs. Angler location seemed to be a deciding factor, although those locations were fluid as a particular spot would heat up with action, only to cool while another spot further up- or downstream would catch fire. While the foot of the dam remains the preferred location for many wading anglers, a number of fishermen scattered several hundred yards downstream were just as successful as those at the dam.
- Stoney Creek is for the most part ice free and is still very cold at 34°. A few fishermen saw white suckers and steelhead but have had little luck catching any fish. Anglers reported getting bites but not being able to land the fish that are hitting yarn flies. Fishermen were able to launch their boats at the Algoma Ramp now that the marina is open, and a few anglers were successful catching steelhead and one boat reported catching a limit of brown trout. On the Algoma pier fishermen tried their luck, but we have no reports of any fish being caught. On the Ahnapee River anglers’ targeted steelhead with little success. At Blahnik Park fishing activity and catch rates were low although some steelhead could be seen. Anglers have been targeting steelhead on the Kewaunee River where the water temperature is 37°. At the salmon pond fishing activity was low for steelhead but many fishermen dip netted from the bridge for white suckers and caught 5-12 fish. The bridge crossing at Hwy X has been a popular spot, but fishermen at Bruemmerville Park had the most success with reports of 1-2 fish being caught using spoons and spawn sacks. The ramp, marina and channel in Kewaunee are free from ice, and fishermen have caught some brown trout using spoons and crank baits. At the DNR’s Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility harvesting of steelhead took place and will continue for at least another 2 weeks.
Northern Door Co. and Sturgeon Bay (Lake and Bay sides)
- Anglers were able to launch their boats at Sawyer Park in Sturgeon Bay and at the Baileys Harbor Marina in search of some active trout. Anglers trolling for browns by Sawyer Park in Sturgeon Bay caught some fish using spoons and Rapalas in 5’ – 12’ of water. Those fishing out of Baileys Harbor also caught a few brown trout using Rapalas and spoons in 12’ of water. The creeks are flowing strong, and a few anglers have tried their luck at Hein’s and Hibbard’s Creek with mixed results. Stream temperatures from Sturgeon Bay to Baileys Harbor range in temperatures from 25° - 39°. Most lake piers are cleared of ice making fishing possible. In contrast, launches and piers along Green Bay remain frozen, so a few anglers are still ice fishing.
- Once again, the West shore of Green Bay had few fisherman this week. On Sunday a couple of anglers spent the evening fishing Duck Creek off of Deerfield Road, but that was about it. Ice is finally gone from Duck Creek, Long-Tail Point, and the Suamico River.
- Fox River: The mouth of Green Bay had a handful of fishermen on both Monday and Sunday. Most of these anglers stated they were simply trying to catch anything that would bite. A couple said they were hoping to catch either crappies or panfish. Popular lures and baits here included minnows, worms, and rapalas. There were also small groups of anglers throughout the week on the Fox River off of Polier Street. These fishermen were also hoping to catch anything that would bite. Thanks to the walleye run, fishing on the Fox River near the De Pere dam was once again in full gear. At 4pm on Sunday over 130 shore anglers were counted at Voyager Park alone. Because of rain on Saturday, Sunday fishing seemed rather challenging. The rain raised the water level, created increased flow, and made the water quite murky. Anglers who were lucky reported slow jigging. Popular lures and baits were rapalas, jigging twister tails, minnows, and worms. All types of colors were being used. A week ago anglers seemed more than happy using green, yellow, and orange. This week these colors remained popular, but more blue and silver was observed. Early in the week, boaters were catching walleye at fairly high rates. One had caught 24, and mentioned that he and a friend had caught a whopping 40+ the day before. With the weekend rain came lower catch rates. Of the 13 boat fishing parties to report on Sunday, only 7 caught walleye. Boating anglers were using rapalas, minnows, and jigs. One fisherman shared an exciting story about catching a 14 inch walleye only to have a huge musky take it right off the side of his boat. He said that he tried his best to bag the monster musky (he estimated that it had to be at least 50 inches long), but was unsuccessful. Several musky were seen being caught as well as lake whitefish and channel catfish. On Tuesday and Wednesday the DNR shocked the Fox River in an effort to collect walleye for tagging, measuring, and general observation. We were able to collect over 500 fish. The largest was around 28.5 inches. There were around 5 or 6 that were in close to the 28 inch range. Other fish that came up during the shocking were gizzard shad, common carp, redhorse, and about 12 lake whitefish.
- With spring like weather this past week much of the snow pack melted and the rivers opened up. On the Oconto River the landings at the Iron Bridge, Municipal Park, and Oconto Breakwater are all open. The boat landing at Pensaukee is open. On the Peshtigo River the Municipal Ramp and the Klingsborn landings are open. Fishing pressure at the Dam on the Oconto River was moderate to heavy at times with walleye being the target species. Catch rates were low, and the water temperature on Wednesday was a chilly 34 degrees. Shocking efforts by the WDNR on Wednesday by the Iron Bridge on the Oconto River produced about 100 walleye that were weighed, measured, and tagged.
- Geano's Beach: Geano Beach still had a decent amount of ice.
- With spring like weather this past week much of the snow pack melted and the rivers opened up. On the Menominee River the Stephenson Island Ramp, the Boom Island Ramp, and the Mystery Ship Boat Ramp are all open. Water temperatures on the Peshtigo River on Saturday were 40 degrees, but few fish are being caught. There was moderate fishing pressure from the Dam in Peshtigo all along the river to the Harbor. The water temperature on the Menominee River on Saturday was 35 degrees with 4 Dams wide open. Some walleye were being caught by boaters in the Turn Basin and in front of Waupaca Foundry, vertically jigging with minnows and gulp alive were producing some limits of fish. Anglers on the Fishermen's walk way by the Hattie Street Dam were also catching a few walleye during the periods of low light.