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Fishing WisconsinLake Michigan Outdoor Fishing Report - May 27, 2015
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: Fishing has been rather weather dependent this past week with rain and chop keeping boaters off the lake for a good portion of the week. When lake conditions were good, boating pressure was quite high and anglers reported good catch rates of rainbow trout and coho, with the occasional lake trout and chinook. Most anglers reported the best success on small coho and rainbow between 6-8am, with chinook biting slightly later in the morning. Some boaters reported catching fish rather high in the water, only down rigging around one third of their current depth.
- Piers: Fishing pressure picked up a bit for Memorial Day over the weekend, although catch rates have changed little from last week. Anglers have had varied success landing small coho and rainbow trout inside the harbor, although bigger fish have been uncommon. Casting appears to be producing the most bites currently, and most of the fish have been recorded at the end of the piers by the lighthouse. As with boats, anglers have the best chance of landing a fish when getting out early.
- Shoreline: Fishing along the shoreline in Kenosha has been far less productive than the piers this past week, and pressure has been quite low as a result. Most of the fish being caught in Kenosha have been by the mouth of the harbor, and few appear to be moving very far into the harbor, possibly due to the apparent lack of weed cover currently. Most anglers would be more likely to catch a fish towards the end of the piers, although will likely have to put up with some wind and waves as a result.
- Ramps: On days with nice lake conditions pressure has been quite high in Racine, and a good number of boats have been able to limit out, mostly with small coho. A majority of boats have had their success fishing off the south break wall. Anglers have reported catching fish trolling rather high in the water column, in slightly warmer water, on baits of bright pinks and greens.
- Shoreline: A few anglers were fishing along the shoreline in Racine this week when waves and wind made fishing on the piers difficult. Most anglers reported no fish, and it would seem that very few fish are currently in the harbor.
- Piers: Fishing success from Racine's piers has been rather sporadic this past week, with some days producing fish and others producing nothing. Most of the fish seen throughout the week were small coho and rainbow trout, caught early in the morning. Catching something from the piers would appear to simply be a matter of putting in your time this week, and being there when the fish start biting. The fish that were caught throughout this week showed little preference for bait, hitting both cast and soaked baits.
- Milwaukee North: Activity along the shoreline increased this week. The spring semester for the local colleges ended last week, and the number of people visiting the lakefront this week seemed to double. The fishing pressure on McKinley Pier increased slightly, but the catch rate continues to be low. Alewives are starting to show up on the lake side of McKinley Pier, and a few anglers have been catching and using them for bait. Rainbows, brown trout, and a few coho (up to 4 pounds) were caught on the pier during the week. One angler had good luck landing coho with an orange/silver little cleo. Anglers on the pier had a little better luck fishing closer to shore where the water temperature was warmer. 5-6 anglers showed up on the pier for the early morning bite Saturday morning (Memorial Day weekend) with no reports of fish landed by 8:30 AM. More fish were caught by this time last year compared to this year according to anglers on the pier. The surface water temperature on the lakefront was 49-50F on Sunday, about the same as last week. The water temp in the harbor increased to 54F. The water temp in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon increased to 55-56F. Anglers reported seeing lots of large carp swimming along the shoreline this week. A few anglers have been targeting the carp with flavored carp bait, spinner baits, and corn. A 17 pound brown trout was caught on May 13th in one of the Lake Shore State Park lagoons by an angler fishing the bottom with fathead minnows. The fishing pressure and catch rate continues to be low on the river side and harbor side of Summerfest. A 28” long northern pike was caught and released on the harbor side of Summerfest last week by an angler casting a perch colored crank bait. 2-3 anglers on average have been targeting brown trout and panfish on the river side of Summerfest with a few small browns being caught. 2-3 boat trailers on average were counted in the McKinley Ramp parking lot during the week and 15-20 on Memorial Day weekend. The majority of boats were coming in with an average of 1-3 fish and some were getting skunked. 20-25 mph west winds on Monday (gusting to 35 mph) pushed the cloudy water out of the harbor and created a 1/4 mile long mud line into the lake at the north gap. A couple of boaters trolled the mud line for 2 hours with spoons and crank baits but reported no luck. One boat (3 anglers) landed a 3 pound brown trout and a 6 pound king Wednesday morning while trolling the South Shore Park break wall to the Green Can Reef with dodgers & flies. Another boat landed 2 rainbows (28-29” length) after trolling in 50 feet of water straight out from the harbor with spoons behind planer boards. The leading edge of the coho run began to move into Racine over the Memorial Day weekend and some of the Milwaukee charter boats motored down to Racine on Sunday to fish for them.
- Milwaukee South: Fishing pressure was low during the week but increased on Memorial Day weekend. A few small schools of alewives are starting to show up, but the majority of baitfish (and trout and salmon) are still south of Milwaukee. Two young anglers were targeting panfish off Cupertino Pier Monday afternoon but left before being interviewed. That was the first report of anglers on the pier this season. Four college students tried casting crank baits, spoons, and spinner baits for northern pike and brown trout on South Metro Pier Monday afternoon. The only fish they saw was a school of large carp about 20 feet off the pier. Another angler reported no luck on South Metro Pier Saturday morning after casting spoons for 2 hours. Small schools of alewives are starting to show up in the current at the mouth of the Oak Creek. Anglers landed brown trout (up to 9 pounds) and a couple coho while bottom fishing with alewives and casting spoons on the Grant Park shoreline. Some nice size rainbows are still being caught in the Oak Creek. One angler landed two large rainbows in the creek earlier in the week and reported that their stomachs were packed full of insects. Anglers at the Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier caught more brown trout and rainbows this week than coho. Some of the brown trout were in the 10-15 pound range. One angler reported losing some very large brown trout in the discharge chute when the fish straightened out the hook on his tube jig. White tube jigs tipped with shrimp was the most productive bait on the pier this week. Schools of large carp were swimming around the power plant fishing pier. Only 1-2 boat trailers on average were seen at the South Shore and Bender Park Ramps during the week but the number increased to 15-20 boats on Memorial Day weekend. The majority of boaters were coming in with 1-3 fish and a few boats were skunked. Some of the anglers reported that the fish they caught were too small to keep. A mix of brown trout, rainbows, chinook, and a few coho were caught on Saturday and most of the fish were small. 10-12 boats were trolling around the Green Can Reef Saturday morning. According to one angler, very few fish were marked at the reef. One boat out of South Shore Park landed 3 kings and 2 coho while trolling Pro King spoons from the shoreline to the Green Can but only a 6 pound king was large enough to keep. The majority of boats out of Bender Park were targeting coho and kings at the boils, the discharge at the Oak Creek Power Plant, Wind Point, and the shipwreck (4 miles east from Bender Park). The average catch was 1-2 fish (small brown trout, coho, and kings) and some of the boats were skunked. One boater at Bender came in skunked and asked, “Could you tell me which zip code the fish are living in?” The ramp attendant at Bender Park reported that anglers were coming in with a mixed bag of 6-8 fish on average when the ramp opened up in April. The catch rate has tapered off ever since. Anglers are waiting for an increase in water temperature to bring the alewives (and trout and salmon) north to Milwaukee. Alewives spend most of the year in the deeper waters of the lake, but come into near shore waters in the summer when they are ready to spawn. Alewives begin to spawn when the water temperatures reach about 55-60F. In their native habitat alewives are anadromous, swimming upstream to spawn in the spring. In the Great Lakes, alewives congregate near the outlets of rivers or streams or near harbors that occur at the outlet of a river.
- Port Washington Shore and Piers: The fishing has been slow in general off of both north and south piers. One fisherman has started to catch chinook and coho, reporting two chinook and one coho over the past week and a half fishing off of north pier. Spoons were used in this case, but alewives have been seen inside the harbor for over a week and many fishermen have started to use these for bait as well. Many fishermen continued to fish near the utility, most commonly using spawn sacs for bait. On Saturday morning one fisherman reported catching two nice sized steelhead using spawn, but not much else has been reported. In this area it has been more common to catch small brown trout around ten inches in length, but fish in the mid twenties are also a possibility. No fish were reported from other areas of the harbor on shore.
- Port Washington Ramp: A high number of boats went out on Saturday morning, at one point about twenty trailers were counted at the harbor. Unfortunately none were able to be interviewed, and a sharp decrease in fishing pressure on Sunday and Monday offered no interviews again. As of last week, most fish were still being found in 20 to 30 feet of water, and on Tuesday morning one boat marked plenty of fish inside the harbor but did not report any catch.
- Sheboygan Ramps: Some boats were able to get out over the holiday weekend when it was not raining. Lakers and chinook were reported from a few boats, not in huge numbers but typically one or two of each species. Most of the fishing from boats was still in more shallow water, typically anywhere from 20 to 40 feet. The majority of boats trolled spoons, notably in silver and white colors, but one boat also caught two lakers trolling J plugs in white and black colors.
- Sheboygan Piers and Shore: A few browns were reported off of south pier this past week, but catch rates were low. Silver cleos and crocodiles were the most popular lures used on south pier, and fishermen often had success only after putting in multiple hours. On north pier, fishermen are starting to catch a few chinooks with lake whitefish mixed in as well. Larger spoons produced one or two chinooks over the weekend, particularly in a wonder bread pattern. Still on north pier, other fishermen used live bait with some success. Two lake whitefish were caught off of north pier on Saturday, one on a worm and another using a shiner. On Monday morning, three fishermen caught a lake whitefish and a nine pound chinook soaking alewives off the bottom on the lake side. No lakers were reported over the past week, but many have been caught in weeks prior. No fishermen were seen fishing on shore.
- Fishing activity continues to pick up at the Two Rivers and Manitowoc Ramps. Most days saw between 2 and 4 boat trailers per ramp. The piers in Two Rivers have been busier of late, but with few fish caught. Sunday morning was the busiest period at all area ramps, but things quickly slowed down as rain came through at 1:00 p.m.
- Manitowoc Shore: The Manitowoc Harbor temperature is 59F. Water color in the Harbor is a brown-green. The piers in Manitowoc were not as popular over the holiday weekend. A few people were out trying their luck at anything that would bite.
- Manitowoc Ramps: Some boaters were having success catching Browns on spoons, bagging 3 to 5 every other day or so. One angler caught two Lake Trout in about 20 feet of water. Another angler landed a nice Brown weighing 10 lbs. using a stick bait.
- Two Rivers Shore: Despite seeing increased fishing pressure, the Two Rivers Piers have been stingy with fish this weekend. Anglers are noting the sight of alewives near the north pier. The bite has been better in the morning, and Brown Trout are there to be had if one can put in the time. The water temperature in the harbor is 61F.
- Two Rivers Ramps: Some anglers are starting to catch a Coho or two in the mornings out of Two Rivers. On the other hand many people have said they tried every color and size of spoon and lure on the trout with no luck. Some boaters were marking bait fish, but not seeing their intended targets. Water temperatures were about 44F at 80 plus feet, but can reach the 50s in the shallows.
- Kewaunee Ramp: No boats have been seen launching from the Kewaunee Ramp. There have been no reports.
- Kewaunee Shore and Piers: Anglers fishing from the pier have been doing fairly well with catches including Coho, Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout using mainly Cleos. The bite seems to be best earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon. Anglers have also been doing well catching smallmouth bass farther up the Kewaunee River using mainly live bait and flies.
- Algoma Ramp: Few anglers were seen launching out of Algoma. None were interviewed.
- Algoma Shore and Piers: No anglers were seen fishing from the piers.
Northern Door Co. and Sturgeon Bay (Lake and Bay sides)
- East side of peninsula: Fishing continues to be tough throughout the northern peninsula. Success has been found fishing Rowley’s Bay for Smallmouth Bass in the shallows, particularly around the Mink River. The popular bait has been plastics off the bottom.
- West side of peninsula: Fishing continues to be tough throughout the northern peninsula. Some success has been found fishing for Smallmouth in about 10 feet of water using plastics and live bait in the area around Ephraim. There have also been reports of walleye being caught off of Egg Harbor. Northern Pike also continue to be caught from Fish Creek north to Sister Bay.
- Sturgeon Bay: Winds and poor weather have made fishing difficult, but that hasn’t stopped anglers from trying. Smallmouth anglers have had a difficult time catching fish but are finding some success fishing the flats in about 10 feet of water using plastics. From shore, those angling for smallmouth found the most success from Stone Quarry using plastics and drop shot. Those fishing for walleye fared better. The best bite was found trolling the flats and Larson’s Reef. Some tried trolling the ship canal with mixed results. Those fishing for walleye from shore had the most luck at the Stone Quarry fishing at night. Shore anglers are still trying their luck for walleye on the ship canal with mixed results. Northern Pike are also hitting well in the bay, mostly around the canal area from those fishing for walleye. Those targeting pike have been using suckers suspended off the bottom.
- Suamico: The area continued to see heavy usage into the weekend with walleye anglers dominating the boats in the area. Mixed reports were common with most boats managing to land at least a few fish. Reports of numerous 12-14 inch fish continued to pour into the launch. Cranks stood out as the dominant technique of choice, however, a few boats using bottom bouncers were able to boat good numbers of larger fish. Blue/silver along with brightly colored cranks were able to produce the greatest number of fish, however average sizes were low. Clarity in most areas was good and water temperatures dropped slightly to average in the low 60’s into the weekend.
- Green Bay Ramps: No new report.
- Fox River: All along the Fox the weekend musky opener, along with good weather, allowed for boaters to spend good amounts of time on the water. Multiple boats reported boating 4 or more fish with sizes averaging in the mid 40’s. 2 musky over 50 inches and 1 at 54 ½ were caught on Saturday. Spinner baits produced the most fish, however buck tails, bright top waters, and perch/walleye colored soft plastics were also popular. Shore anglers fishing near the mouth continued to catch large amounts of drum and catfish. Worms fished rigged on a three way swivel continued to drive the catches. Unfortunately, walleye and white bass fisherman did not see the same success this week. Boaters heading out of the mouth continue to report good walleye action just outside University Bay and the St. Vincent area. Blue/Silver cranks trolled at 1.8-2.2mph in 12-16 feet of water are producing the greatest number of fish however average size has continued to decrease. The majority of anglers report that ¾ of their catches are in the 12-14 inch range. Many of those same boaters stated that the bites have been very light and many more fish are being lost or missed than boated. The river level continues to hold steady within the river and clarity is low in most areas. Water temps continued to drop into the weekend and hovered around 62 degrees.
- Bay Shore Park: Fishing pressure remained high at Bayshore Park this week. Last Saturday boaters arriving after 7am were forced to park in the baseball diamond on top of the hill. Most boat anglers were fishing for walleye. Catch numbers ranged from zero to twenty fish. Crank baits continued to be favored, but more boaters seem to be using crawler harnesses. The higher catch rates varied as far as water depth went. Some boats were catching good numbers in water under ten feet while others were in twenty plus. Walleye measured this week ranged from 16 to 23.4 inches. A few over 27 inches were mentioned as catch-and-release fish. Evenings and early mornings produced the best results. Other fish caught included catfish, freshwater drum, gobies, whitefish and northern pike. The northern pike was measured at nearly 40 inches. A few yellow perch boaters were out this week. Using minnows and crawlers, they reported no luck. Shore anglers at Bayshore were casting cranks for walleye, but did not report any catches. Similar to shore anglers, pier anglers were mostly casting cranks and crawlers for walleye. They had no luck as well. A few people were casting crawlers for catfish; they too did not catch any fish.
Door/Kewaunee Co. - Bay side from Sturgeon Bay area south
- Chaudoirs Dock: All boats interviewed at Chaudoir’s Dock were fishing for walleye. On Thursday catch rates were high, but by Saturday the numbers dropped considerably. Several Thursday boats reported catching 15 or more fish. The conditions were ideal with a cold front moving in, overcast skies and a light wind creating a bit of chop on the water. Saturday was post-cold front. Cranks were the favored method. Water depth seemed to be best at around 14 feet, although the fish seem to be spreading out quite a bit. The walleye measured ranged from 18.5 to 23.8 inches. Freshwater drum were also caught.
- Little Sturgeon Bay: Weekend fishing pressure remained steady. The lower lot was filled with boat trailers, and the upper lot had close to a dozen. Most boaters were looking for smallmouth bass. Catch numbers varied considerably. Some boats had trouble landing a fish or two while others were able to catch close to 30. Water temperatures ranged from 55-58 degrees on most of the bay. The luckiest anglers were able to find areas of warmer water. Plastics on drop shots, hair jigs on drop shots, jerk baits and live bait all caught fish. Incidental catches by this group included northern pike, gobies and yellow perch. Smallmouth bass kept by anglers ranged from 15.2 to 18.8 inches. Walleye anglers reported mixed results. The best time to go was early morning. Crank baits continue to be used at a higher rate than crawler harnesses. Water clarity was low for most of the week.
- Sawyer Harbor: Similar to Little Sturgeon Bay, smallmouth bass catch rates ranged quite a bit this week on Sawyer Harbor. The highest number reported was 20+. Jerk baits, plastics and live bait were commonly used by this group. An increasing number of kayakers are testing their luck. One pair managed to land 15 smallmouth bass. Pier anglers were using crawlers under bobbers for rock bass and yellow perch. They did not have any luck this week.
- Fishing pressure was low during the week but picked up during the Holiday weekend. Cool temperatures during the week coupled with rain, winds, and fog made Bay fishing difficult. Water temperatures during the week dropped 5 to 9 degrees. Anglers fishing the Oconto River at the Dam in Stiles are catching bluegill, crappie, smallmouth bass, and redhorse suckers using mostly live bait, although some fishermen are casting spoons, spinners, and plastics. The lower portion of the Oconto River is producing some fine smallmouth action close to the mouth of the river; jigging with plastics and casting spinner baits around the rocks at the breakwater has worked well. Catfish and a few pike are also being caught from the causeway using dead smelt or crawlers fished on bottom. The most active walleye bite seems to around the Pensaukee River mouth with anglers fishing in 17 to 20 feet of water using crawler/harness or stick baits with the color purple being the best. No reports of perch have been obtained at this time. Oconto Park II anglers report walleye fishing a bit slow with most fish being caught in deeper water.
- Geano's Beach: No boaters were interviewed in the area this week.
- Fishing pressure was low during the week but picked up during the Holiday weekend. Cool temperatures during the week coupled with rain, winds, and fog made Bay fishing difficult. Water temperatures during the week dropped 5 to 9 degrees. Anglers fishing below the Dam at Peshtigo and boaters launching from the City Garage boat landing both report some very nice smallmouth bass being caught using a variety of stick baits, jigs, spinners, and small spoons. Fish in the 3 to 4 pound class have been common. Boaters fishing the lower Peshtigo River have been reporting that the musky fishing has been excellent, with many fish in the low to mid 40 inch class being caught. Large gaudy spinner baits, plastics and stick baits have all been working well. Shore anglers at the mouth of the Peshtigo River are reporting good catches of catfish, mixed in with smallmouth, sheepshead, and redhorse suckers. Most anglers are using crawlers fished on bottom. Musky anglers on the Menominee River boasted some impressive catches with fish over 50 inches being caught around the Interstate Bridge down past the Turn Basin. Walleye anglers are having some success trolling and jigging from Stephenson Island to the mouth of the river. Jigs tipped with minnows or crawlers fished on the breaks have been working well, as has trolling stick baits using purples and fire tiger colors in the evenings. Smallmouth are also being caught in good numbers fishing areas of wood or break lines.