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Fishing WisconsinLake Michigan Outdoor Fishing Report - September 20, 2016
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.
- Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report
- Northern Lake Michigan Fishing Report
- Green Bay Fishing Report
- Ramp: Most anglers fished the harbor or near the mouth of the Pike River this week catching king salmon, coho salmon, and some brown trout. They caught fish on spoons, crankbaits, spawn sacs, and skein. They reported that during the early hours of the morning trolling spoons and crankbaits produced the most fish and during the afternoon skein or spawn sacs worked best. In the harbor the water temperature was 56F. Only two boats were interviewed that fished in much deeper water out on the lake. Those boats fished between 230-270ft of water and caught rainbow trout, lake trout, and some small coho and king salmon. They caught their fish on spoons all at different depths. The water temperature was between 68-74F.
- Piers: Only a few anglers were interviewed fishing from the piers this week. Only one angler reported catching a king salmon on a spoon. The water temperature was 56F.
- Shoreline: Anglers fishing from shore on the beach near the Pike River reported catching king salmon on spoons and spawn sacs. Anglers fishing in the harbor reported catching kings, cohos, rainbows, and brown trout. They caught fish on spoons, jerkbaits, crankbaits, spawn sacs, skein, tube jigs, and live shiners. None of the bait choices appeared to catch more fish. Most anglers reported that the early morning and late evening hours produced the most fish. The water temperature was 56F.
- Pike River: No anglers were interviewed fishing the Pike this week.
- Ramps: Anglers this week caught mostly coho and king salmon, and also a few brown trout. Most boaters fished close in 20 to 40ft of water near the piers, however a few fishermen said they had better luck near Wind Point. Anglers caught fish on crankbaits, spoons, and meat rigs. Anglers also reported fishing between 4-6:30 am produced the most fish. Anglers also reported that most of their fish were caught in the pockets of cold water. The water temperature was 51-60F.
- Shoreline: Only a few anglers were interviewed fishing from shore this week. None reported catching any fish but said they had seen boats fishing in the harbor catch a few king salmon on spawn sacs and crankbaits. The water temperature in the harbor was 66F.
- Piers: Anglers caught coho and king salmon from the pier this week. Anglers caught fish on glow in the dark spoons, crankbaits, and a few on skein or spawn sacks. Anglers reported spoons and crankbaits working the best in the early morning and late in the evening with spawn or skein being the best option for the afternoon. The temperature varied between 52-58F.
- Root River: No anglers reported catching any fish this week.
- Milwaukee North: Trout and salmon continue to stage in the Milwaukee harbor for the spawning run up the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers. A large number of brown trout moved up the Milwaukee River on Tuesday (Sept. 13). 15-20 mph west/southwest winds (gusting to 29 mph) on the weekend brought cold water close to shore. The surface water temperature on the lake side of McKinley Pier decreased from 64-69F last week to 46-47F on Sunday (Sept. 18). Small pods of alewives returned to the lake side of the pier on the weekend. 20-25 anglers were counted on McKinley Pier Saturday night (Sept. 17) and 15-20 anglers on Sunday morning. The majority of the fish landed on the pier on the weekend were small browns and rainbows. A 16 pound king was landed Wednesday (Sept. 14) by an angler casting a blue/silver kastmaster. Most of the kings landed on the pier were caught an hour before and after sunrise/sunset by anglers casting artificial bait (spoons, kastmasters, white gulp, and crank baits). A group of anglers targeted chinook salmon in the marina with skein on Sunday but saw only large carp. 10-12 anglers were counted on the harbor side of Summerfest Saturday night (Sept. 17). A few rainbows (2-3 pounds) and brown trout (2-5 pounds) were caught with shiners, cleos, and kastmasters. 20-25 anglers were counted behind Summerfest early Sunday morning. Only one large king was caught between all the anglers by 9:30 AM. The surface water temperature on the harbor side of Summerfest was 62F on Sunday morning (Sept. 18). A few perch (10-11” long) were landed in Lake Shore State Park by anglers fishing with fathead minnows. Another group of anglers landed rock bass and smallmouth bass in the lagoons on nightcrawlers and a 35-40” northern pike on a large firetiger rapala over the past 2 weeks. Three anglers with headlamps saw large carp laying in the weeds in the lagoons after sunset on Saturday night. 4-5 boat trailers were counted in the McKinley ramp parking lot Tuesday morning (Sept. 13). 51 boat trailers were counted in the McKinley lot Saturday evening (Sept. 17) and 54 boat trailers early Sunday morning (Sept 18). The majority of boats out of McKinley targeted chinook salmon around the break wall gaps and in the mouth of the Milwaukee River. One boat (2 anglers) landed 9 kings and one coho Tuesday morning (Sept. 13) while trolling j-plugs and spoons inside the harbor. Another boat landed 9 kings while trolling j-plugs and 13 kings while drifting through the gaps with skein 20 feet down under a slip bobber. The kings swallowed the eggs all the way down their throats according to the anglers. A 29 pound king was caught in the Milwaukee harbor on Tuesday morning. One of the boats from the Riverfront ramp landed 7 large kings while trolling inside the break wall on Thursday (Sept. 15). 23 boats fished in the north gap on Saturday night (Sept. 17) but only a few kings were landed. A large number of boats out of McKinley targeted trout and salmon in 80-140 feet of water with flasher/flies and spoons on Sunday morning (Sept. 18). Most of the boats interviewed at the McKinley ramp on Sunday morning (Sept. 18) landed only 1-2 fish.
- Milwaukee South: The fishing pressure and catch rate was low at the start of the week but picked towards the weekend. 10-20 mph west/southwest winds (gusting to 29 mph) on the weekend brought cold water and baitfish closer to shore with trout and salmon following close behind. 3-4 anglers on average were counted on the shoreline under the Hoan Bridge during the work week and a few more on the weekend. One angler landed a few small perch at the start of the week while fishing with telescopic fiberglass cane poles and fat head minnows. Another angler caught and released two brown trout (4-5 pounds), a 31” long freshwater drum fish (18 pounds), and a 22 pound carp while casting 2/5 ounce cleos (silver and fluorescent green). Small schools of alewives were seen along the Hoan Bridge shoreline on the weekend. The surface water temperature in the harbor by the Hoan Bridge was 62F on Sunday (Sept. 18). Most of the anglers at the Hoan Bridge had short fishing trips (1/2 hour or less) with no fish landed. 2-3 anglers on the Grant Park shoreline targeted coho and kings at the mouth of the creek with kastmasters on Sunday morning (Sept. 18) with no reports of fish landed. Small pods of baitfish were seen at the mouth of the Oak Creek on the weekend. The water temperature at the mouth of the creek was 52-53F. There were no reports of brown trout or chinook salmon landed in the Oak Creek. No anglers were seen on the creek early Sunday morning. The water temperature in the creek was 64F. A few lake trout (6-7 pounds), brown trout, a king (9 pounds), a couple of coho, and a fresh water drum fish were landed on the Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier on the weekend. The fish were landed by anglers casting spoons, kastmasters, and white gulp. The water temperature in the discharge chute decreased from 78F last week to 52F on Sunday (Sept. 18). The surface water temperature on the lake side of the power plant pier was 54F. Small schools of alewives were seen in the current at the end of the pier. The majority of boats at the Bender Park ramp on Saturday (Sept. 17) were pleasure boats. 6 boat trailers were in the Bender parking lot early Sunday morning (Sept. 18). One boat landed a “grand slam” (a brown, king, coho, laker, and rainbow) on Saturday morning while jigging spoons in front of the Oak Creek. An 18 pound lake trout was caught in 15 feet of water in front of the Oak Creek on Saturday. A large amount of bait fish was marked in front of the creek on the weekend. 21 boat trailers were counted in the South Shore ramp parking lot early Sunday morning. Most of the boats launched after sunrise. The South Shore boats have been targeting trout and salmon in the Milwaukee boat harbor and on the Green Can Reef. One boat landed 8 browns, one lake trout, and a few chinook on Tuesday (Sept. 13) while trolling south from the Green Can Reef in 40-50 feet of water. No South Shore boats were interviewed on Sunday (Sept. 18).
- Milwaukee River: The water level at Estabrook Park decreased from 4.10 feet last week to 2.65 feet on Sunday (Sept. 18). The flow rate decreased from 2,100 cfs to 599 cfs. The water was fast and somewhat cloudy at the start of the week but slowly improved by the weekend. Visibility was 3-4 feet at the mouth of the river on Sunday (Sept. 18). The water temperature at the mouth of the river was 62F on Sunday. A large number of brown trout moved upstream during the week. Only 2 anglers were seen at Kletzsch Park on Tuesday morning (Sept. 13). One of the anglers landed a couple of nice size browns (up to 9 pounds) while casting a purple egg pattern fly. The fly fisherman did not have a landing net and lost a large number of fish. 10-12 anglers (mostly fly fishermen) were counted at Kletzsch Park on Saturday (Sept. 17). One of the fly fishermen had 3 brown trout on the stringer. There were no reports of chinook salmon landed at Kletzsch Park during the week. A few undersize smallmouth bass were caught and released at Kletzsch by anglers fishing with nightcrawlers. The fishing pressure and catch rate tapered off at Estabrook Park due to the fast, cloudy water. 3-4 anglers on average targeted smallmouth bass and panfish at the dam and waterfall during the work week with no reports of fish landed. A couple of Estabrook anglers targeted trout and salmon with spoons and crankbaits on Thursday night (Sept. 15) with no reports of fish landed. No anglers were interviewed at Hubbard Park or North Avenue during the work week. An increasing number of perch anglers have been showing up at the Milwaukee River behind Summerfest (Erie Street). 5-6 anglers were targeting perch with fathead minnows on Thursday (Sept. 15) with no reports of fish landed. Perch won’t move into the Milwaukee River until the water clears up and the water temperature drops to 55F according to a couple of veteran perch anglers. The Fall perch season over the past 3 years was mid-October to Thanksgiving Day according to the anglers. Chinook salmon continue to be caught at the mouth of the river by boaters trolling spoons and crank baits. A few kings were landed by anglers casting spoons and kastmasters from the “red railing” but the catch rate has been spotty.
- Menomonee River: The water level and flow rate decreased with less than .1" of rainfall during the week. The water was slightly cloudy on Thursday (Sept. 15) with visibility at 2-3 feet. The water has been somewhat cloudy since the 2” of heavy rain fell on Tuesday (Sept. 7). The water temperature at Miller Park was 68F on Thursday (Sept. 15). The water temperature at MMSD was 74F. Fishing pressure on the river continues to be low. Most of the anglers interviewed over the past two weeks have been targeting warm water fish. A few hand sized bluegills were landed by anglers fishing with nightcrawlers at the 11th and Bruce Street Bridge. Anglers at the MMSD fishing site have been targeting bluegills and smallmouth bass with nightcrawlers and fathead minnows. Two anglers targeted panfish with wax worms at Miller Park on Thursday (Sept. 15) but they landed only gobies. No anglers were seen at Three Bridges Park during the week. Parking on the road at 13th and Canal Street is closed due to a construction project. The river restoration project upstream from Miller Park is almost complete. All of the machinery has been removed from the river. The water diversion pipes were removed from the river about a month ago. The five low barrier gradients upstream from Hart Park have been removed. There are now twelve “riffle anchors” in the river from Miller Park upstream to 45th and State Street. There are three rows of large boulders below each of the riffle anchors. The fish will be able to swim behind a bolder and rest, then swim behind another boulder, and then swim up into a pool. Fish will swim between pools and riffles twelve times as they move upstream through this “new stretch” of the Menomonee River. This rock covered stretch of the river was designed to help the poorest swimming fish move upstream – the northern pike. The construction crew hasn’t seen any chinook salmon move upstream as of Thursday (Sept. 15). One fly fisherman was seen casting in the pools recently with no reports of fish landed. The construction crew saw small chubs and thousands of crayfish between the rocks when they drained the water to work on the project earlier this year. Crayfish parts are normally seen on rocks and boulders at 45th and State Street along with a large number of paw prints on the sandy shoreline (possibly raccoons). A construction crew is now working on the final part of the project. A new canoe/kayak launch is being built below the Bluemound Road Bridge.
- The power plant discharge area in Coal Dock park has been a consistently good spot to fish over the past week. On Saturday fish were constantly being hooked, many were lost before getting shore, and many were foul hooked and had be released, but still some good brown trout, chinook salmon, and an occasional coho salmon were landed. Spawn sacs seem to a popular bait choice. The north slip area has been sporadically on and off throughout the week. Some days nothing is caught and some days large chinook salmon are being caught. The pier had had low fishing pressure lately; one coho was seen caught on Saturday afternoon. A couple people were interviewed on Sauk Creek this weekend, but neither had caught any trout or salmon. The chinook can be seen running up stream, but aren't biting much. The boats were averaging about one fish per angler this weekend. Mostly chinook were caught and an occasional coho and brown.
- Fishing from both piers has been consistently picking up this week. A variety of fish are being caught, including rainbow trout, brown trout, coho salmon, and chinook salmon. Alewives seem to be the best bait to use, but spoons have also been successful. Boats have been mostly out in about 300 ft of water and have also been catching a little bit of everything, but mostly chinook. The Sheboygan River remains very brown; many fish can be seen, but only occasionally is one caught. The water temperature by the Kohler dam was 66 degrees on Sunday afternoon.
- Pier fishing has been hit or miss, but the cool nights have finally started to drop the water temperatures and the bite has started to pick up. Most bites come at first and last light. Both spoons and spawn have been productive. The chinook are finally starting to move up the East and West Twin Rivers with a few fish being caught in the holes and at the dams. In Manitowoc the stretch of river from the mouth to the hospital has produced chinook. Boat anglers have caught some fish by trolling crank baits up and down the river. No salmon have been reported upstream on the Manitowoc River near the dam or the Branch River. Look for the chinook run to pick up as the water temperatures drop and the days get shorter.
- This past week got off to a slow start in Kewaunee County, but cold water showed up nearshore in both Algoma and Kewaunee later in the week and the action picked up. The fishing pressure out on the lake has been fairly low with only a handful of boats going out trolling. On the other hand, fishing pressure on the piers and along shore in Algoma and Kewaunee has been high and should only increase as the next few weeks progress. Anglers trolling have been having a lot of luck in 15-35 feet of water and slow trolling speed has been key. Trolling spoons and crank baits in the bottom half of the water column has been working the best and most anglers are returning to shore with Chinook Salmon in their coolers. Anglers fishing from the piers have had good luck as well but a good bite has proven more difficult from shore. The best bite has been on spoons, but Salmon and Trout are being caught on crank baits, spawn sacs, and jigging soft plastics.
Northern Door Co. and Sturgeon Bay (Lake and Bay sides)
- Fishing in Door County this past week has been good. Anglers have been reporting a good Walleye bite, but action has slowed a bit in the past week. Smallmouth Bass fishing continues to be great for many anglers that put some time into locating fish. Anglers have had their best luck in deeper water (15-25ft) and along bottom structure. Perch anglers have been having a lot of success this past week. Fishing weedlines using small fatheads has been working well in anywhere from 5-20 feet of water. With this fall weather getting closer, the Northern Pike fishing has been starting to pick up in the Sturgeon Bay area.
- Suamico: Low fishing pressure, no interviews obtained.
- Duck Creek: No trailers or anglers recorded.
- Fox River: No trailers or anglers recorded.
- Green Bay Ramps: Low fishing pressure, likely due to scattered showers and high winds.
- Bay Shore Park: Fishing pressure was very low this week out of Bayshore Park, likely due to the high winds and rain. Anglers interviewed were targeting yellow perch and walleye. Yellow perch anglers found lower numbers than up north but found bigger fish, taking home bags of 9 fish on average. Most anglers were using live bait under a slip bobber. Walleye anglers found no success this week. Other than the two targeted species white bass was also caught as bycatch. Water temperatures were in the low 70’s to upper 60’s and water clarity was 4-5 feet.
Door/Kewaunee Co. - Bay side from Sturgeon Bay area south
- Chaudoirs Dock: Fishing pressure was low this week due to high winds and rain. No trailers or interviews were recorded.
- Little Sturgeon Bay: Fishing pressure was moderate to high this week; counts were a little skewed toward the high side due to the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament held on Saturday out of Wave Pointe. Anglers who were interviewed were targeting yellow perch, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Yellow perch anglers for the most part found high numbers of smaller fish with one angler coming home with his limit of 15 fish. Most yellow perch anglers were using live bait under a slip bobber. Walleye and smallmouth bass anglers who were interviewed didn’t have as much luck as the yellow perch anglers; not one fish was landed. Anglers had to battle the wind and rain for most of the week, which made it tough to stay on a spot or drift effectively. Water temperatures were in the upper 60’s and water clarity was 6-7 feet.
- Sawyer Harbor: Fishing pressure has been relatively low this week likely due to the high winds and rain. Most of the anglers interviewed were targeting either smallmouth bass or yellow perch. The anglers targeting smallmouth bass had an up and down week depending on who you talked to. The average fish per boat came out to be about 1 to 2 fish; anglers were using drop shot rigs and crankbaits. Yellow perch anglers were finding good numbers of fish ranging all the way up to 50 fish being caught, but unfortunately most of these fish were 6 inches or smaller. Most anglers still ended up catching anywhere from 5 to 12 keeper sized yellow perch. Other species caught were freshwater drum, round gobies, channel catfish, northern pike, rock bass, and pumpkinseed sunfish. Water temperatures were in the upper 60’s and water clarity was 6-7 feet.
- Fishing pressure was low for the most part this past week so interviews were hard to come by. Bluegill and crappie are still being caught in good numbers below the Stiles Dam on the Oconto River. Live bait has been working the best. Walleye and perch are being caught from Pensaukee to Oconto Park II. The best baits for perch has been minnows or crawler pieces used with a crappie rig or slip bobber. Walleye are being caught on the rock piles and shoals jigging and casting with only a few fish being caught trolling. Pike and musky are also being caught in the same areas casting cranks and spinners.
- Geano's Beach: One trailer recorded, no interviews obtained. Low fishing pressure likely due to the scattered rain storms and high winds resulting in rough conditions on the bay.
- Fishing pressure was low for the most part this past week so interviews were hard to come by. Fishing on the Peshtigo River has been slow with only a few pike and smallmouth being reported mainly in the lower section of the river. Trolling out of Little River is producing a few rainbow, browns and walleye. The Menominee River continues to fish well for walleye early morning and evenings both trolling and jigging. A few pink salmon have made their way to the Dam at Hattie Street. No reports of chinook salmon being caught yet.
Daytime electrofishing surveys were completed on the lower Menominee and lower Peshtigo Rivers on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
On the Menominee, 27 pink salmon were captured. Most of the females were still holding eggs. No chinook salmon, rainbow trout or brown trout were observed. Flows are high, at over 3,800 cubic feet per second and several gates are open at the dam. Several walleye and smallmouth bass were noted. Water temperature is still quite warm, at 68 degrees.
On the Peshtigo River, the area from the city garage landing upstream about a quarter mile to a riffle was surveyed. Four pink salmon were captured. No other trout and salmon species were seen. Other gamefish species observed were walleye and smallmouth bass.
There have been no reports of chinook salmon in Little River to date. Depending on survival and return of stocked fish, there is a possibility of a run this fall in that river. It has been stocked annually since 2013 after a three-year hiatus (2010-12) during low water years. Anglers should be aware of a bridge closure at Little River on County Highway B and follow the detours.