Lake Michigan Outdoor Fishing Report - April 18, 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.
- Ramp: Very few boats were interviewed this week and reported limited success. Most boats were fishing around the area of the bubblers. Only one coho salmon and one chinook salmon were seen caught, but the anglers who caught them reported losing a few others as well. Baits of choice were small crankbaits and peanut flies. Water temperature was reported to be 44F on the surface near the bubblers.
- Piers: Very few anglers ventured out this weekend, despite the warm weather. No fish were reported being caught. Baits of choice included a variety of crankbaits and spoons. Water temperature was 45F.
- Shoreline: No anglers were interviewed.
- Pike River: Fishing pressure remained low on the Pike this weekend, as only one angler was interviewed. He had caught 2 steelhead and reported seeing very few others, but lots of suckers. The bait of choice was spawn sacs under a bobber. Water temperature was at 52F.
- Ramps: No boats were interviewed this weekend, but quite a few had gone out with this weekend’s warm weather. The boats could be seen trolling fairly close to shore, both north and south of Racine and along the breakwater. Water Temperature was 45F.
- Shoreline: No anglers were interviewed on the Racine Shoreline or in the Harbor. Water Temperature inside the harbor was 51F.
- Piers: The warm weather had quite a few anglers on the pier this weekend. A few coho, browns and rainbow were being caught, mostly in the morning. Most success was on the South Pier, but anglers reported success on previous days on the North Pier as well. Baits of choice included little cleo spoons, shiners under a bobber, and spawn sacs. Water temperature was at 45F.
- Root River: Fishing pressure on the Root increased with this weekend’s pleasant weather. Quite a few steelhead were being caught, especially from above the Steelhead Facility all the way up to Horlick Dam, with reports of most of these fish being spawned out. A large push of large suckers has also been seen this week. Baits of choice included large streamer fly patterns, orange or yellow egg patterns, spinners, and spawn sacs. Water temperature started the week at 42F and was up to 52F on Sunday. DNR crews processed fish at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, April 11. It was the last processing day of the spring season, and the facility is now shut down until the fall salmon run. Over 870,000 Chambers Creek strain eggs and one million Ganaraska strain eggs were collected, and 1,293 steelhead were passed upriver this spring.
- Milwaukee North: Fishing pressure on the shoreline increased during the week with a nice stretch of warm sunny weather and temperatures in the upper 60’s. Southeast and northeast winds kept the temperature 10 degrees cooler along the lakefront. Only a trace of precipitation fell during the week. Water clarity along the lakefront improved after 2 weeks with gale force winds and 6-8 foot waves. Visibility on the lake side of McKinley Pier was 10-15 feet on Sunday (April 17). The surface water temperature increased from 38-40F last week to 43-44F. 5-6 anglers were counted on McKinley Pier Thursday morning and 7-8 anglers on Sunday morning. The pier anglers landed mostly brown trout (3-4 pound average) while casting spoons and crank baits. A 22” lake trout was caught on Monday (April 11) by an angler soaking a fathead minnow on the bottom. A small chinook salmon was caught and released on the pier on Saturday by an angler casting a small cleo type lure (a silver “little jewel”). There were no reports of alewives seen along the pier. A couple of anglers (father & son) caught and released a 27” female brown trout Sunday morning while casting a white paddle tail swim bait in Veterans Park. The same anglers caught and released a 22” brown in Veterans Park on Friday while casting a white marabou hair jig. Approximately 5-6 anglers on average fished the harbor side of Summerfest during the week but the catch rate was low. One angler landed a 5 pound rainbow Wednesday morning while bottom fishing with a spawn sack. Another angler caught and released two small brown trout (2 pounds average) while casting a glow-in-the-dark ko wobbler before sunrise on Sunday morning. The angler used a very slow retrieve and dragged the ko wobbler along the bottom to imitate a round goby. The gates to the McKinley Marina docks were locked this week. Activity at the boat ramps increased with 27 boat trailers counted in the McKinley ramp parking lot on Sunday morning and 5 trailers at the Riverfront lot. The majority of the boats targeted brown trout in the Milwaukee harbor with crank baits and spoons. The boats averaged 2-3 browns per trip during the week but the catch rate tapered off by Sunday.
- Milwaukee South: The water conditions along the shoreline improved after the previous 2 weeks of gale force winds and 6-8 foot waves. The water along the lakefront was clear with visibility over 10 feet by the weekend. Anglers under the Hoan Bridge at Jones Island landed nice catches of brown trout 3-4 weeks ago on spawn sacks and shiners but reported very few fish landed this week. The largest fish caught over the past two weeks was a 10-15 pound carp. No anglers were seen under the bridge on Sunday. Very few perch anglers have been seen over the past 4 weeks on the Cupertino Park fishing pier. The perch season will be closed from May 1 to June 15. Most of the Cupertino Park perch anglers wait until the June 16 opening day before they start fishing on the pier. A few brown trout and rainbows were landed on the Grant Park shoreline by anglers fishing with spawn sacks on the bottom. The water level and flow rate on the Oak Creek were low due to 9-10 days with less than .25” of precipitation. The water was cloudy/muddy with visibility at 12-18”. The water temperature increased from 41F last week to 52F on Sunday. 7-8 anglers were seen on the Oak Creek Thursday morning and only 4-5 anglers on Sunday afternoon. A couple of 4-5 pound rainbows were landed on the creek on Wednesday (April 13) by an angler floating a small pink trout worm under a slip bobber. The 6-8 foot waves on Lake Michigan over the past 2 weeks pushed a large amount of sand and gravel into the mouth of the Oak Creek. Now, the water from the Oak Creek flows into Lake Michigan from the Grant Park side of the creek. 16-17 anglers were counted on the Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier on Sunday morning. Anglers casting crank baits and jigs & plastic landed 6-7 coho and a couple of brown trout. The water temperature in the power plant discharge chute was 59F. 27 boat trailers were counted in the Bender ramp parking lot on Sunday morning. Boats out of Bender were targeting brown trout and coho. One boat landed 3 browns and 2 coho while trolling rapalas and small spoons close to shore on the north of the South Shore water treatment plant. Another boat landed two 10 pound brown trout on Friday while trolling crank baits in front of the Oak Creek Power Plant. Another boat landed 6 coho on Saturday while trolling flasher/flies in front of the Cudahy shoreline. The floating docks for the Bender ramps were still sitting in the parking lot over the weekend. 17 boat trailers were counted in the South Shore ramp parking lot on Sunday. One boat landed 4 browns and 1 coho while trolling in front of the Oak Creek Power Plant on Sunday. One of the browns was caught on a dodger & peanut fly, one brown was caught on a crank bait, and the rest of the fish were caught on moonshine and magnum spoons. Another boat landed 6 browns (up to 8 pounds) while trolling flicker shad and thunderstick crank baits between the South Shore ramp and Jones Island on Thursday. The fish cleaning station at South Shore Park was not open.
- Milwaukee River: The water level and flow rate decreased this week after 9-10 days with less than .25” of precipitation. Only a trace of precipitation has fallen since April 9. The fishing pressure increased as the water conditions and weather conditions improved. The flow rate at Estabrook Park decreased from 1710 cfs last week to 979 cfs on Sunday (April 17). The water level decreased from 4.52 feet to 3.04 feet. The water temperature increased from 38F to 46F. The water clarity improved with visibility at 18-24”. The flow rate was above 1,000 cfs for 39 continuous days (March 8 to April 16). The fishing pressure and catch rate increased at Kletzsch Park with 8-9 anglers counted on Saturday morning. A fly fisherman landed a chrome colored female rainbow on Friday while casting an egg pattern yarn fly. Two ripe male rainbows (up to 7.5 pounds) were caught Saturday morning on a multi-colored egg pattern yarn fly and a pink/white wooly bugger. Another angler caught and released a small northern pike and suckers while casting a large orange daredevil downstream from the waterfall at Kletzsch. Rainbows were trying to jump the waterfall at Kletzsch on Saturday. Anglers landed small northern pike and suckers while jigging twister tails below the waterfall at Estabrook Park. 3-4 fly fishermen at Estabrook saw a couple of rainbows upstream from Capitol Drive but didn’t land any fish Saturday morning. 4-5 anglers targeted walleyes and northern pike below the former North Avenue dam on Monday (April 11) with crank baits, spoons, and nightcrawlers. The anglers landed a large number of suckers and a couple of carp. One of the anglers caught a 30” northern pike below the dam while casting a night crawler on a jig head. The fish was lost at the shoreline because the angler didn’t have a landing net. The northern pike hit the nightcrawler on the drop. It’s been a much slower start to the perch season this year compared to last year. 3-4 weeks with steady rain and occasional snow in March and April kept the river muddy/cloudy with a high water level and fast flow rate. Approximately 5-6 anglers were seen on the river behind Summerfest on Saturday. A couple of perch (10-11” average length) were landed on the weekend. Two perch anglers reported that they landed only 6 perch so far this season behind Summerfest. The season for perch is closed from May 1 through June 15.
- Menomonee River: The water level continues to recede after 9-10 days with less than .25” of precipitation. The water was clear from 45th & State Street downstream to Three Bridges Park. Visibility was 2-3 feet and the water had a rust colored stain. It was easy to locate fish on the flats at Miller and Three Bridges Park. The water temperature increased from 38F last week to 48F on Saturday (April 16). The water temperature at MMSD was 54F. The fishing pressure increased on the weekend with lots of sunshine and the air temperature in the upper 60’s. 3-4 anglers on average targeted rainbows at Miller Park and Three Bridges Park during the week with reports of only suckers being caught. Large schools of suckers were seen on the flats in Three Bridges Park on Saturday. Anglers at MMSD have been landing crappies, bluegills, and rock bass with fathead minnows, jigs & plastic, and gulp minnows. A few smallmouth bass (14-15” long) were caught and released as well. The season for smallmouth and largemouth bass is closed until May 7. Crappies, rock bass, and bluegills were caught at 11th & Bruce Street. One angler had good luck landing panfish with wax worms on a small ice fishing jig. One of the Bruce Street anglers caught and released undersize brown trout on Monday (April 11). According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (April 15), Lake Superior is 1 inch higher than it was a month ago. Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are in the midst of their seasonal rise and are 7 to 8 inches above what they were a month ago. All lakes are above their average levels of a year ago; Lake Superior is 2 inches higher, Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 10 to 15 inches higher, and Lake Ontario is 20 inches higher than they were at this time last year. All of the lakes are forecasted to rise 2 to 4 inches over the next 30 days.
- Sauk Creek is very clear and the water temperature has been in the lower 40s. There were a few anglers out over the weekend fishing for steelhead, but had low success. Steelhead can still be found near the waterfall by the nature preserve, but far more suckers are being seen throughout the creek. The nice weather brought out many anglers to the lakeshore this weekend. There were a couple large browns caught by the power plant discharge on spoons. The Army Corps of Engineers has started repairs on the breakwall of the north pier in Port Washington. Construction is projected to last until July 3rd.
- The Sheboygan and Pigeon Rivers have cleared up from last week. Both rivers were in the lower 40s over the weekend. Steelhead fishing was very good on the Sheboygan River earlier in the week for fly fishermen. A few steelhead and many suckers could be seen in the Pigeon River over the weekend. The South pier in Sheboygan had high fishing pressure throughout the weekend; there were frequent hits from small, recently stocked brown trout, with some larger browns being caught in between. A couple large carp were also caught. Boat anglers on Saturday morning had good success catching browns and a few lake trout.
- The warm weather has more anglers out on the water and finding fish. People fishing on the Lake are catching browns out of Two Rivers and Manitowoc Harbors. A few browns are being caught in the harbors along with a few steelhead, catfish and carp. The suckers are running strong in most places. There are still steelhead upstream in the rivers. Many can be seen jumping at the dams, but coaxing one to bite has been difficult.
- Algoma: Anglers took advantage of the nice calm weather this weekend out on the lake and were out in high numbers trolling close to shore for Brown Trout. Late in the week anglers were doing well close to shore with limits for Browns being reported, but action seemed to slow over the weekend with low numbers being reported off the lake on Sunday. Anglers off the pier reported low numbers of catches during the week and a tough bite over the weekend, with a few follows from Brown Trout reported. The water clarity is good off the pier. Not many anglers were seen accessing the Ahnapee River this weekend, but many anglers are still fishing at Stoney Creek concentrating their efforts at the Hwy U crossing.
- Kewaunee: Fishing pressure has increased over the past week due to the recent spike in warm temperatures and mild winds. Boats have been catching small Brown Trout trolling the shoreline, and they are having the most success during the early morning hours. Anglers were catching most fish in less than 15 feet of water on shallow diving crank baits. Water temperatures on the Kewaunee River have dramatically increased over the weekend and water has become very clear. Suckers are currently very abundant around Footbridge area with the majority of anglers catching multiple Suckers with little effort. A few anglers are having luck sight fishing for Steelhead using a variety of fly presentations or spawn sacs. The majority of Steelhead have been spawned out as the run begins to wind down.
Northern Door Co. and Sturgeon Bay (Lake and Bay sides)
- Many anglers took advantage of the nice weather and were out trolling from Murphy Park down to the flats in the canal. Those fishing from shore at Stone Quarry reported catching Walleye and Brown Trout from the wall and the break wall using spoons or rapalas. Many anglers were launching from Sawyer Park this weekend while some headed to the lake and others stayed in the canal trolling. Walleyes have been reported caught near Henderson Point trolling with deep diving crank baits in about 25-35 feet of water. Walleye anglers are reporting their best success around dusk. A few anglers have reported catching Northern Pike from the piers in Fish Creek and Ephraim on bright colored spoons and spinner baits. The rivers in Door County (Heins, Hibbards, Shivering Sands, Whitefish Bay Creek) continue to have a good flow and good water clarity. A few Steelhead were reported caught on Heins and Hibbards Creeks using spawn sacs in pools and deeper log jams.
- Suamico: Fishing pressure was also high with anglers trying their luck on the Bay of Green Bay. Anglers were pulling Planer boards and marking quite a few fish on their electronics but the fish would not cooperate, which resulted in low catch totals. Anglers were reporting water temperatures in the bay between 45 – 49 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Duck Creek: With the warm weather many people took to Duck Creek to enjoy the water with the use of their kayaks, but no interviews were taken.
- Fox River: With the temperatures on the rise in turn so was the fishing pressure. Many people were out enjoying the warm weather this past weekend. Catch rates were also on the rise with people having some success at Voyager Park from shore and from boats. The lures of choice were crankbaits in an assortment of colors. Anglers were also showing good success with the bigger fish, with 14 legal fish being caught on Saturday morning.
- Bay Shore Park: During the week days fishing pressure was light at Bayshore Park. Most anglers were slow trolling crank baits for walleyes. Catch rates were decent. Water temperatures were reported at 36 degrees. Near shore water clarity was between 1-2 feet at Bayshore Park.
Door/Kewaunee Co. - Bay side from Sturgeon Bay area south
- Chaudoirs Dock: Brown trout anglers launching and heading north from Chaudoir’s Dock had mixed results. Similar to Bayshore Park anglers, successful walleye anglers were slow trolling crank baits. While the majority of walleye caught seemed to be in the 20-24 inch range, a few larger ones (28 inches and above) were landed. Water temperatures remain relatively cold, with most parts remaining in the mid to high 30s. Fishing pressure was light and water clarity, just off the pier, was close to five feet.
- Little Sturgeon Bay: Walleye anglers launching on to Little Sturgeon Bay had hit or miss results. Slow trolling in late evenings, and at night, produced the best bite. Northern Pike anglers heading out from the Carmody Boat launch did fairly well. A few limits were taken. Fishing pressure was high during the weekend, with boaters needing to use the overflow lot. Near shore water clarity was between 4-5 feet. Water temperatures were reported in the mid-30 to low-40 degree range.
- Sawyer Harbor: Fishing pressure on Sawyer Harbor was light. Most fishing boats were trolling for walleye. Catch rates were modest. Water temperatures were between 36-41 degrees. Water clarity was more than five feet near shore. The Piers at the Potawatomi Park and Idlewild boat launches have not been put in. The Potawatomi Park piers are expected to go in sometime in early May.
- Warmer weather in the later part of last week has warmed water temperatures in the rivers past the magic mark of 42 degrees. Angling pressure at the dam on the Oconto River has started to decline as anglers are moving towards the river mouth and Bay in search of hungry walleye and pike. Fishing pressure has been heavy from the Oconto Municipal Landing to the mouth of the Oconto River. Shore anglers are reporting rather low catch rates at this time. Those fish being caught are biting on a variety of baits, including jig and minnows, jigs and plastics, zip lures, spoons, and stick baits. The boat landings at Municipal Landing, Oconto Breakwater Park, and Oconto Park II have been packed with anglers fishing for pike, walleye, and trout. Boaters are fishing in 6 to 10 feet of water using zip lures and jigs tipped with plastics or minnows. Many anglers are trolling with spoons and stick baits. Catch rates have been low considering the number of anglers and the amount of effort (hours) being expended.
- Geano's Beach: A few anglers were launching from Geano Beach, but no interviews were captured. They likely had the same experience as those anglers launching from the Suamico River boat launch.
- Warmer weather in the later part of last week has warmed water temperatures in the rivers past the magic mark of 42 degrees. Angling pressure at the dams on the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers has started to decline as anglers are moving towards the river mouth and Bay in search of hungry walleye and pike. Suckers are the prevailing species at the Dam in Peshtigo, so most boat and shore anglers have moved to the mouth of the Peshtigo River. As with the Oconto River, catch rates are low compared to the amount of effort. Little River boat anglers are still catching some very nice brown trout and the occasional walleye fishing in 6 to 12 feet of water, trolling north and south of the Boat landing. Stick baits and spoons have been working the best. Shore anglers on the Menominee River are still catching some walleye and trout from the Hattie Street Dam to Stephenson Island using jigs, spoons, and stick baits. Boaters on the Menominee River are reporting low catch rates of walleye trolling and jigging the mouth of the river and Bay.
Last revised: Monday April 18 2016