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Fishing WisconsinLake Michigan Outdoor Fishing Report – September 15th, 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:Traffic at the Simmons Island boat harbor was low on Tuesday. Only 3 boat trailers were parked in the boat launch parking lot at 8:30 AM. There’s been a large amount of boat traffic in shallow water near the mouth of the Pike River over the past 2 weeks (including charter boats). Nearly all the boats that left the harbor on Tuesday made a hard left turn and headed north toward the mouth of the river. One charter boat landed 6 kings by the mouth of the river Tuesday morning. Spoons and crank baits have been working well in the shallow water. A couple of perch anglers landed a few small perch in the harbor over the weekend and decided to look for perch one more time in a boat. They made 2 fishing trips and reported that no perch were caught on either of the trips. Some of the pleasure boats and private fishing boats that were docked at the rented slips in the harbor have been pulled out of the lake for the season. One of the charter boat captains pulled his boat out of the harbor Tuesday morning. There were 19 boat trailers in the Simmons Island parking lot Sunday morning but none of the boats returned in time for an interview. The area in front of the Pike River was busy again Sunday morning with anglers in boats reeling in fish around 200-300 feet offshore. At least 3-4 boats were anchored in the harbor and were fishing for kings and brown trout.
- Shoreline:Fishing pressure on the shoreline was low Tuesday morning with the majority of anglers fishing the shoreline at the mouth of the Pike River. 10-12 anglers were on the shoreline around 7:00 AM. Four kings were landed on the beach between all the anglers. Access to the river from Lake Michigan was closed again after strong southeast winds and 3-4 foot waves pushed sand and gravel into the mouth of the river. 60-70 anglers fished on the shoreline Sunday morning and 5 kings were landed between all the anglers by 9:00 AM. One angler landed two 13 pound kings on a green/silver cleo. The area in front of the Pike River has been a hot spot for fishing boats (and charter boats) over the past few weeks. Fishing pressure on the shoreline from the 50th Street Bridge to the Navy Memorial has been steady with a minimum of 8-10 anglers showing up for the morning and evening bite. Anglers reported seeing brown trout swimming and jumping everywhere along the shoreline early in the week. The catch rate has been spotty. A few large browns (up to 18 pounds) were caught during the past week when the bite was on. The fishing pressure between the Navy Memorial and the Best Western Hotel was heavy Sunday morning (20-25 anglers) but the catch rate was very low. A 12 pound chinook was landed near the Navy Memorial by an angler fishing with red play-dough on Sunday. The surface water temperature at the lakefront increased slightly from 54F on Tuesday to 56F on Sunday.
- Piers:Fishing pressure on the piers was steady Tuesday morning but only a handful of anglers showed up for the early morning bite. 10-12 anglers were seen on South Pier around 8:30 AM and no anglers were fishing on North Pier. Brown trout and kings were jumping everywhere in the harbor but the anglers reported that the fish weren’t biting. Large schools of brown trout were swimming next to the piers and the shoreline but only a few have been caught over the past week. One angler caught and released a small, 1-2 pound rainbow trout while casting a firetiger oslo spinner Tuesday morning. Another angler on South Pier had a large fish on for 1-2 minutes but lost it. Heavy rain and cold weather moved into the Kenosha area on Wednesday and anglers were hoping that it would bring more fish into the harbor and trigger them to bite. 40-50 anglers were on the piers Sunday morning but the catch rate was low again. Most of the anglers wore winter jackets as the temperature dropped to 40F with a biting wind chill. A few anglers on the piers fished from Saturday night until Sunday morning and never saw a hit or a fish. Two anglers on North Pier fished all night and took turns sleeping in their car while they had six lines out with spawn sacks and skein. They reported that lots of anglers left early because the fish weren’t biting and it just got too cold. Only one small brown trout was reportedly caught and released on the end of South Pier by 9:00 AM. Most of the anglers thought that the cold front and winds out of the north gave the fish a case of lockjaw.0
- Pike River:The water level at Petrifying Springs Park increased slightly from 1.64 feet last week to 1.67 feet on Sunday. The flow rate increased from 9.5 cfs to 11 cfs. The water temperature dropped from 65-66F on Tuesday to 53F Sunday morning. The water was cloudy with visibility at 18-24”. There were no anglers seen on the river on Tuesday. A couple of anglers scouted the river at the Kenosha Country Club and at the Hwy E bridge on Sunday morning but they didn’t take out their fishing gear because they didn’t see any fish. 3-4 anglers were seen at the Hwy 32 bridge at Carthage College Sunday morning. Two of the anglers fished with orange play-dough but had no luck. A couple of maintenance workers in Petrifying Springs heard and saw chinook salmon splashing in the river this week as the fish swam upstream. Most of the action over the past 2 weeks has been at the mouth of the river with anglers landing chinook salmon and brown trout along the shoreline.
- Ramps:Traffic at the Pershing Park boat launch was low on Tuesday. 10-15 mph southeast winds (gusting to 23 mph) and 3-4 foot waves made fishing a challenge. Only 3-4 boat trailers were counted in the parking lot around 9:30 AM. Three of boats trolled from the mouth of the Root River up to the Main Street Bridge. One boat (2 anglers) trolled from North Pier to the one mile marker with spoons and flies. They had one hit on the fly and reported that they had to get off the lake when the waves started washing over the bow of their boat. Another boat (2 anglers) trolled from the mouth of the Root River to the Main Street Bridge with reefrunner crank baits. They landed two nice size kings (11-13 pounds). Boat traffic at the ramp increased on Sunday with 27 trailers counted in the parking lot at 10:30 AM. The water in front of the Root River had extremely heavy boat traffic (sail boats, kayaks, fishing boats, charter boats, pleasure boats) with numerous close calls occurring all morning long. One boat (1 angler) trolled in front of the harbor with only one line in order to avoid getting tangled with other fishing boats. He returned to the boat ramp and reported that he had one line, two hours, and no fish. Another boat (2 anglers) landed a 12 pound coho on the lake side of North Pier on a moonshine spoon. A couple of boats trolled in front of Wind Point and reported that they had fish on but lost them. Another boat (3 anglers) trolled in the Root River up to the Main Street Bridge and landed 3 kings (11-19 pounds) on reefrunner crank baits. Most of the chinook that were weighed and measured this week were hatchery fish with a coded wire tag implanted in the nose.
- Shoreline:Fishing pressure on the shoreline was low during the week but increased on the weekend. The Reichert Court fishing pier and the shoreline along the mouth of the Root River received most of the pressure. An angler on the Reichert Court pier tried fishing for perch on Tuesday with minnows under slip bobbers pier but reported no luck after a couple of hours. One angler on the pier landed a 12 ½ pound king Saturday evening while fishing with an orange cleo and another angler landed a 17 pound king. An 8 pound king was landed on the pier Sunday morning. A 15-16 pound king was landed on the shoreline near the mouth of the Root River Tuesday morning by an angler casting a firetiger reefrunner crank bait. The angler reported that he landed 3 kings from the shoreline so far this season. 3 anglers landed 2 nice size coho and a king from the Root River shoreline Sunday morning while casting a Berkley frenzy crankbait and a Lucky Craft pointer crankbait. The anglers reported that kings were jumping and splashing in the harbor all the way up to the Main Street Bridge. The surface temperature at the lakefront dropped from 56F on Tuesday to 52F on Sunday. The 6th annual Burnout Bash Chinook Salmon fishing tournament will take place on September 27th and 28th. This year’s tournament has been expanded. The tournament was restricted to Racine waters only in previous years but in 2014 anglers will be able to fish anywhere in Wisconsin waters. The contest is open to anglers on shore and boats. There’s a $25 entry fee with prizes to the top 10 places and trophies for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place. Ticket sales are located at Turk’s Bait (Sturtevant), Kortendicks Ace Hardware (Racine), Sandy’s Port of Call (Oak Creek), the Bait Box (Port Washington), Angler’s Avenue (Sheboygan), R&R Sporting Goods (Cudahy), and Lake Michigan Angler (Winthrop Harbor). For more information visit the Burnout Bash Facebook page. The only weigh in station for the tournament this year will be in Racine at the Pershing Park boat launch (5th Street boat ramp).
- Piers:Fishing pressure on the piers was steady on Tuesday. The majority of anglers have been showing up for the early morning and late evening bite. It seems as though there are anglers on the piers 24/7 ever since the kings came close to shore about 2 weeks ago. At least 3 office workers came down to South Pier during their lunch hour on Tuesday to cast for kings. One of the fishing spots on South Pier had 10-15 fresh blood marks on the concrete from trout and salmon. The catch rate has been up and down but there’s been at least a few fish being caught off South Pier every day. A couple of kings were taken off North Pier as well but the fishing pressure was much lower. Most anglers (especially the seasoned anglers) prefer to fish on South Pier because it’s a short walk to the pier, there are better bathroom facilities, and it has a fish cleaning station. An angler on South Pier landed a 9-10 pound king Tuesday morning while casting a green/silver cleo. Another angler caught and released a 13-14” brown trout on a green/silver cleo. 3-4 anglers fished on North Pier Tuesday morning. About 20 fish (kings, browns, and coho) were caught between the anglers on South and North Piers Sunday morning. Nearly every angler interviewed reported that they had at least one hit or lost a fish.
- Root River:: Upstream of the Weir: Fishing pressure above the weir was low during the week but picked up on the weekend. The majority of anglers walked down to the river for a look on Saturday but didn't want to take their gear out unless they saw fish. At times there were more anglers scouting the river than anglers who were casting for fish. There were very few trout and salmon seen in the river on Saturday. 5-6 fly fishermen tried casting for chinook at the Horlick Dam on Saturday but had no luck. Two anglers at the dam had a 6 pound chinook in their pickup truck but it was landed on the rocky shoreline at the mouth of the river (near the lakefront). They caught the chinook on a light blue rapala. They also caught and released a small brown trout that hit a green/silver cleo. A couple of fly fishermen at the dam were casting neon pink, green, and purple egg patterns but had no luck after 1-2 hours of fishing. Only two fly fishermen were seen at Quarry Lake Park Saturday morning and they reported no luck after a couple hours of casting. No anglers were seen at Colonial Park on Monday or Saturday. Downstream of the weir: Fishing pressure below the weir was low during the week but picked up on the weekend. There were no anglers interviewed below the weir Monday morning. The Root River Steelhead Facility looks like it’s ready to open for the Fall salmon run. The stop logs are in place across the weir with only one section left open. The official opening of the facility is scheduled for September 15. Three fly fishermen casting “home made” flies in Lincoln Park saw a few kings swim up to the weir and disappear into deeper water but the anglers had no luck after 2-3 hours of fishing. An angler downstream in Lincoln Park drifted skein under a slip bobber across his favorite fishing hole for an hour but had no luck either. The angler reported that his Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day tradition is to get together with some of his friends on the Root River to fish for brown trout in Lincoln Park. Three fly fishermen at Island Park reported that they didn’t see a single fish (not even a ripple) after wading in the river for 1-2 hours. They were done for the day at 8:00 AM. The construction project at the drainage pipes in Washington Park continued this week but progress has been slowed because of rain storms. One of the construction workers at the site reported seeing 2-3 anglers fishing for kings downstream from the project Monday morning but they left the area after 15 minutes with no fish on the stringer. Large fish were swirling on top of the water but it was difficult to tell if it was chinook or carp. The water was cloudy in Washington Park and visibility was only 3-6”. Chinook salmon have been staging at the mouth of the river for the past 2-3 weeks. Anglers anticipated seeing schools of chinook move upstream over the weekend after the drop in water temperature and ¾” of rain but it didn’t happen. According to the anglers, everything is 2-3 weeks behind this year because of the cold winter and the large amount of ice that covered Lake Michigan.
- McKinley Pier: Fishing in Milwaukee was slower over the weekend, most shore anglers caught a few fish from the Mckinley Pier or the Summerfest grounds early in the morning some chinooks and primarily browns were biting on spoons, crankbaits, and spawn fished off bottom. Fishing should improve as more and more fish move into the harbor and river in the coming weeks.
- McKinley Ramp: Many boat trollers were out over the weekend and were having success getting mostly browns with an occasional chinook. Most boats were fishing the gaps and the inner harbor up into the mouth of the Milwaukee River, the most productive lures have been bright colored spoons or j-plugs fished shallow off of dipsy divers or leadcore and planer boards. A few fish have also been taken by anglers drifting and casting jigs and plastics or jigging spoons in the harbor and marina area.
- North City Shoreline: Salmon are grouping at the mouths of the rivers but few have began to venture further upstream. Anglers fishing the rivers have had success catching smallmouth bass, and different pan fish, but no larger game fish were recorded over the past week. This next week some fish should start moving upstream, resulting in better catch rates but higher angler traffic in areas such as Estabrook park and the Summerfest grounds.
- Milwaukee River: The area rivers are still running low and warm and no fish have been observed beyond the mouths of the streams, with some rain and cooler river temperatures more and more fish will begin to head up stream on their spawning migration in the up-coming weeks.
- Port Washington Piers: Public access to the north pier is not allowed. There are signs that have been posted at the entrance to pier to remind the public that no one is allowed on the pier for their own safety. Anglers on the south pier were using spoons in various colors having success catching large chinook salmon. The anglers were also using a bobber rig that had skein attached to it that was also very successful. Numerous chinook salmon can be seen surfacing as you walk along the cement path.
- Port Washington Shore: In Port Washington access to the north pier is not allowed. There are signs that have been posted at the entrance to the pier to remind the public that no one is allowed on the pier for their own safety. Fishing slowed some over the weekend but there was still some action for both chinooks and browns early in the morning. The We energies discharge and the Rotary Park rocks were the most productive areas with the south pier along the coal dock giving up several fish as well. The north and west slips had some activity but overall fishing was slower than previous weeks. Best presentations were a little bit of everything from spoons, to crank-baits, and spawn fished below a bobber or near bottom. The water has cooled and fish seem to be near bottom and deep diving lures or spoons jigged off of bottom have been the most productive.
- Port Washington Ramp: Boat trollers were still heading out to 140-170 feet of water and having action catching a mixed bag of trout and salmon, flashers and flys and spoons ran off of lead core or dipsy divers worked shallow in the top 30-40 feet of water was best.
- Sheboygan Ramps: In Sheboygan over the weekend numerous boats were fishing near the gap of the harbor, the boats were picking up some chinook while trolling around the piers and gap. Most anglers had some success catching chinook on spoons ran off of planer boards.
- Sheboygan Piers:. Shore anglers fishing off of the piers had action off of both piers over the weekend some anglers reported having the best luck catching chinooks and a few browns early in the morning on the harbor side of the south pier.
- Sheboygan River: There was numerous anglers fishing on the south side of the Sheboygan River over the weekend, most of the anglers were casting spoons, spinner baits, and crank baits. Some fishermen were also catching chinooks using a small chunk of a white twister tail or spawn fished off of bottom on a slip sinker or 3-way rig. Anglers were also catching large chinook by the 14th street ramp, crank baits and inline spinners were the best lures.
- Manitowoc: The past week has, like the year in general, been a week of highs and lows. Earlier in the week angler success on king salmon was low, from anglers trolling beyond the piers to those working the piers and shores of the harbors. A small handful of fish were being caught in both Manitowoc and Two Rivers, but anglers were still waiting for the main spawning run, or at least the first big wave of fish, to enter the harbors and rivers. There were a lot of anglers putting in a lot of hours, but unfortunately a lot of them also went home empty handed or, at most, with one fish for a day's worth of effort. Things began to turn a corner toward the end of the week though, as fish began showing up in larger numbers further upriver in Manitowoc, and on the East and West Twin Rivers in Two Rivers. An angler who was fishing in Manitou Park in Manitowoc reported that several anglers were fishing there later in the week and that a half-dozen nice kings, still showing good silver to tan color, were caught. There was also a report that a few fish were caught in Manitowoc Rapids, but beyond that location there has been little to no angler activity thus far.
- Two Rivers: In Two Rivers, while pier and harbor success has been very spotty, good numbers of large fish were being caught further up and at spots along the East Twin River. Anglers could be seen casting spoons and plugs for kings at a few of the side-road bridges along the East Twin, and more than one angler reported seeing large groups of kings moving through areas of shallow water. As the East Twin enters Mishicot, and up to the Mishicot dam, good numbers of fish were being caught by anglers using spawn sacs or yarn balls. A couple small groups (two or three anglers each) carried limit stringers of big chinook to their cars, and claimed to have released many more that were foul hooked throughout the day. Most of the fish at that point in the river are clearly showing their spawning colors, although they are still of decent color and a few are even what you might call "silvery" yet.
- East and West Twin Rivers: Anglers on the West Twin at the Shoto Dam had a tougher go of it, reporting all day fishing sessions with little to nothing to show for it. Angler activity at Shoto has also been heavy at times, compelling some anglers to move downstream from the dam east of the bridge. A few brown trout are also being caught by salmon anglers on the East and West Twin Rivers. The browns are showing beautiful colors and plenty of heft, regardless of their length. One of the high points of this past weekend was the catch of a magnificent 21 lb. brown trout from the Two Rivers harbor shoreline by a local angler. He caught the silver giant on a green and silver Wobbler spoon
- Kewaunee:Pier anglers in Kewaunee were out in high numbers over the weekend with a few of them catching fish. Anglers were throwing all different lures from spoons and spawn to rapalas to try to get a bite. Anglers fishing the lake are having mixed success. Some boats chose to stay shallow and fish the mouth of the river for salmon and others chose to go out up 230 feet catching Kings, Coho’s and Steelheads. Anglers fishing the Kewaunee River have had moderate success this week for King Salmon and Brown Trout. Anglers interviewed were using spoons, spawn sacks, worms and fly fishing. The Kewaunee is 53 degrees, good flow, normal height and moderate clarity.
- Algoma:Pier anglers in Algoma have been out in high numbers this past week. Some anglers interviewed were using spawn and others spoons with mixed results. Anglers were successful on both piers mostly at dawn but reports of fish being caught throughout the day. Some anglers fishing on the lake stayed in shallow around 25 feet and others were out in up to 220 feet of water fishing 40-100 feet down—both rainbow trout and Chinook are biting well. Some chinook salmon and brown trout are moving up the river and more anglers are trying their luck there. Some anglers had success in Forestville using spawn sacks.
Northern Door Co. and Sturgeon Bay (Lake and Bay sides)
- East side of peninsula:Trout and salmon anglers out of Sturgeon Bay are still catching rainbow trout and Chinook salmon offshore and also catching a few Chinook off or piers and trolling in the canal. In northern Door County there have been reports of salmon running up some of the streams. The streams throughout the county continue to have good clarity, high flow, water levels of about 2 to 3 feet, and temperatures in the 50’s.
- West side of peninsula: Poor weather and high winds have made fishing difficult over the past week and kept many anglers off the water. There have been scattered reports of smallmouth bass being caught around the peninsula from the piers and out on the water. Most reports from piers have been coming from between Egg Harbor and Sister Bay catching bass of variable size typically using worms. Those out on the water have been catching bass of variable size fishing at a variety of depths using tubes, drop-shots, and crank baits with varying success.
- Suamico: A fairly high percentage of Suamico River musky boats continued to land fish this week. It was mentioned that last Saturday’s musky tournament had ~ 20 boats and more than a half-dozen land the choice fish (the winner landed two). Big bucktails continue to be a favorite lure. Ten feet of water (fow) and less is the target zone. Perch anglers interviewed this week were more frustrated than excited. The best luck was a couple of handfuls between two fishermen. The average yellow perch measured this week was ~9.4 inches. There were no walleye angler interviews at the Suamico Boat Launch this week.
- Long Tail Point: No anglers were interviewed this week, although a number of canoes were seen launching (they may have been duck and goose hunters).
- Duck Creek: : Floating worm pieces under a bobber or off of the bottom with a river rig, shore fishermen on Duck Creek continue to catch good numbers of yellow perch. Most of the perch caught are in the 5 inch range, but a few 7 inchers and up are also being hooked. Some anglers are going through as many as 40 only to find a couple worth keeping.
- Fox River (Voyager Park): ): Shore anglers in Voyager Park stated that they are still waiting for the fall walleye to come in. The bait of choice was worms floated off the bottom with a sinker. Other anglers stated that they are still catching fair numbers of smallmouth bass. Channel catfish were also pulled in by those fishing on or near the bottom with live bait. There were no interviews at the mouth or any other Fox River shore location this week.
- Bay Shore Park: Heavy mottling could be seen throughout the area and throughout the week. Heavy wind and large waves kept the majority of anglers away this week. Perch fishermen had some success during the early part of the week using minnows fished one foot off bottom in 20-22 feet of water. Luck played a huge role this week with anglers reporting being forced to not only find schools of fish but having to find them in clear water. Almost no perch were reported caught when turbid water was passing though the area. Most sizes hovered in the 5-7 inch range with very few fish over 10 inches. Walleye fishermen were also few and far between. The only reported catches this week came on trolling cranks in 12-16 feet of water. As with the perch fishermen, walleye anglers were not catching fish while passing though the more turbid areas. The few fish that were brought in averaged around 26 inches.
Door/Kewaunee Co. - Bay side from Sturgeon Bay area south
- Little Sturgeon Bay: Very little pressure was seen in Little Sturgeon Bay this week. Cranks and night crawlers were the only used techniques recorded this week and all that was produced was freshwater drum. The end of the week continued to see higher winds, however wave action was low due to wind direction. Water temps ranged between 64 and 68 degrees. And the bay remained very clear.
- Sawyer Harbor: The drastic increase in wind, coupled with poor weather, kept fishermen away this week. The few that braved the weather had mixed success. Few smallmouth were reported with the majority of catches coming on pumpkin colored tubes. 14-18 feet of water with underlying structure was the only producing areas. Perch anglers also had a hard time this week with anglers reporting difficulty detecting bites in the choppy waters. Only a handful of perch were brought in and that was utilizing minnows fished just off bottom. 22-25 feet of water was said to be the only location schools were found and sizes continued to be in the 5-7 inch range. One angler was interviewed toward the end of the week that had great success in catching northern pike along the Potawatomi park shoreline. Cranks baits tolled just off shore in 5-7 feet of water was their key to success, netting them multiple fish over 30 inches.
- High water from the Stiles Dam down river kept fishermen away and no interviews were obtained. Walleye are still being caught on the Bay with anglers targeting under water structure and jigging with Zip lures and jigging Rap's. Perch fishermen were few and far between. Small mouth were being caught in and around the mouth of the Oconto River casting crank baits and jigging.
- Geano's Beach: Musky anglers out of Geano’s Beach reported good results this week including multiple catches in some boats. Bucktails were the most common lure with the firetiger color patterns working well. Ten feet of water and less was the range.
- No anglers were interviewed on the Peshtigo River this past week due to high water, rain, and windy conditions. Anglers were targeting small mouth on the Menominee River, fishing the structure around the mouth of the river. Jigging with plastics and casting large cranks were producing some very nice fish. Most shore angler were at the Hattie Street Dam catching and releasing sturgeon. The number of salmon fishermen was low with nothing to report yet.