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For information on Lake Michigan Fisheries contact:
Bradley Eggold

Root River Report

Steelhead at Root River

The following information is the latest fishing information for the Root River in Racine. We will post new information to this site every TUESDAY at 4:00 pm from September through December and from March through May. We will also update the number of fish processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility to give you the exact number of fish passed upstream. Depending on water conditions and number of fish in the weir, fish are usually processed on Mondays and Thursdays.

In addition, you can call our Lake Michigan Fishing Hotline at (414) 382-7920 to hear the latest fishing information for Lake Michigan and its tributaries or check out our Lake Michigan Outdoor Report

Root River Steelhead Facility

Lake Michigan trout and salmon don't successfully reproduce in Wisconsin streams, so DNR gives Mother Nature a hand. Watch fisheries crews collect eggs and milt from spawning fish to create the next generation of steelhead to challenge anglers on the big pond.

Root River Fishing Report for May 19, 2014

The water level at the Horlick Dam increased from 3.02 feet on Sunday to 4.19 feet on Tuesday. The flow rate increased from 103 cfs to 622 cfs. The water temperature increased from 59-61F to 62-63F. The flow rate and water level rose quickly after 2 inches of heavy rain fell Monday night. The water was cloudy/muddy and was a chocolate brown color. Visibility was 6-12" from the Horlick Dam to Quarry Lake Park and only 3-6" from Colonial Park downstream to Washington Park. The water level and flow rate continued to rise all day long from the surge of storm water upstream of the dam. A large hatch of small white flies turned into white clouds of flying insects over the weekend but the heavy rainfall knocked most of them down and only a few of them were seen on Tuesday. Some of the rocks were covered with green algae and slippery according to the fly fishermen wading in the river. The river was loaded with dead leaves and small branches flowing downstream from the dam.

For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions [exit DNR]  in Wisconsin.

Fishing Information

  • Above the weir: Fishing pressure above the weir was low on Tuesday with most of the anglers fishing at the Horlick Dam. Large numbers of carp, freshwater drum (sheepshead), suckers, and northern pike were jumping into the whitewater below the dam and were trying to swim up the face of the dam. 4-5 anglers fished at the dam Tuesday morning, half of them looking for carp and the other half looking for rainbows. One angler hooked into a large carp while bottom fishing with 7-8 kernels of corn and fought it for 4-5 minutes. But the fish broke off when it swam downstream with the strong current. Two brothers from Illinois anglers were casting flies (black egg sucking leeches and artificial spawn) for rainbows but managed to land only 6 suckers, one freshwater drum, a largemouth bass, and a small carp. A local angler, who lives two blocks away from the dam, reported that he landed a few rainbows recently while drifting spawn over the deeper holes. But according to the angler, there aren't many rainbows left in the river. Only one angler was seen in Quarry Lake Park but he fished the quarry instead of the river. There were a few bird watchers in Colonial Park on Tuesday but no anglers looking for fish.
  • Below the weir: Fishing pressure below the weir was low Tuesday morning. The water in Lincoln Park was fast and muddy and the only people seen on the river were two engineers inspecting the bridges. There were no anglers seen in Island Park or Washington Park as well. A large volume of water from the recent rainstorm poured into the river from the drainage pipes in Washington Park. Dozens of small fish (about 10-12" long) were swimming and jumping downstream in the current that flowed from the pipes. This will be the last Root River fishing report for the 2014 steelhead spawning run. The Root River fishing report will resume in September for the chinook/coho spawning run.

Root River Steelhead Facility Report

DATE: April 28, 2014 RIVER TEMP: 52
  Rainbow Trout Chinook Salmon Coho Salmon Brown Trout
Total Captured 979     1
Passed Upstream 852    


Taken to Hatchery        
Spawned at Facility 428      
Egg Take

Chambers Creek - 464,000

Ganaraska - 308,000

Last revised: Thursday March 15 2012