By Ted Peck
Wisconsin is a tough state to fish. With excellent angling opportunities just a few minutes away from any point in our state, many of us seldom venture far from home to wet a line. Why do you think people from Chicago drive all way the up to Minocqua and points north? Besides the Friday night all-you-can-eat fish fry, it’s mostly for the excellent fishing. Let’s take a lesson from the flatlanders: if we all moved around a little more here in the Land of Cheese and tried fishin’ a few different species, there would be the realization that the only reason to leave Wisconsin is for a quick visit to witness another Super Bowl appearance by the Packers.
Between now and next January, why not check out some of these excellent angling opportunities just a little farther down the road in America’s Dairyland.
Bluegills at Stoddard
Green, gold, glow or orange Rat Finkees, Demons or Marmooska Jigs tipped with a wax worm and mobility are the keys to a quick limit of 8- to 10-inch fish. Use finesse with no more than 2-pound-test monofilament and a neutrally buoyant float.
Contact: Merfeld’s Hardware, (608) 457-2580.
Big Green Lake Lakers
Don’t forget to bring the grill and the brats!
Contact: Guide Mike Norton, (920) 295-3617; www.nortonsfishing.com.
East Coast Steelhead
Wait about four days for waters to clear after rain or considerable snowmelt, and then drift spawn sacs under a Thill River Float trying to keep the bait just off the bottom in the Pike, Root, Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Pigeon, Ahnapee and other rivers that dump into Lake Michigan. More details on this great fishery are available starting on page 17 of this magazine.
Contact: Jalensky’s Sports, (262) 554-1051.
Walleyes at De Pere
Remove the front treble from a fire-tiger Storm ThunderStick and target slackwater areas below the fish refuge at the dam. Crankbait fishing is excellent when the sun comes up.
Use a long-handled net to retrieve lost crankbaits on the river bottom to pay for your trip! And you can stop at the Packer Pro Shop at Lambeau Field on the way home!
ater temperatures reach the mid-40s, white bass by the bajillions move upstream at Winneconne. Try a white RoadRunner horsehead jig. Putting white bass directly on ice and removing red “mud vein” when filleting results in better eating than if you just put the fish on a stringer.
Lac Vieux Desert Muskies
Fluorescent colors work well in these somewhat stained waters. Look for fish to be hanging in fairly shallow water. Work your way south along the 10-foot weedline from the boat landing at the Misery Creek inlet on the Michigan side southwest toward the dam, which marks the headwaters of the Wisconsin River.
Contact: Land O’ Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-236-3432.
Bass on Kentuck Lake
In June both species are cruising in shallow water in preparation for spawning. Light spinning gear with a No. 4 Mepps Black Fury spinner is a great way to locate active fish that are relating to both docks and rocky shoreline. Find ‘em and then get serious with tube jigs, Senkos and other plastics.
Contact: Eagle River Sports, (715) 479-8804; www.eaglesportscenter.com.
Wisconsin River Smallmouths
Giant boulders, whirlpool holes and runs of rocky riffles all hold fish. Canoes and cartoppers provide good access, but you can’t beat a jet-driven flat-bottomed boat like the one guide Todd Koehn runs.
Walleyes are part of the mix. And don’t be surprised if a muskie decides to eat your shallow-running lure.
Contact: Guide Todd Koehn, (715) 623-2115; www.rivercatch.com.
Door County Walleyes
Precision trolling is the key to getting hooked up, dragging Rapala Husky Jerks at 2.4 mph behind planer boards while trolling with the wind.
Fish Creek is destined to become the epicenter of Wisconsin walleye fishing. You might as well be the one to break the record.
Contact Web site: www.doorcounty-wi.com/fishcreek.
Wisconsin Dells Sturgeon
With all of these restrictions, why would anybody want to fish for sturgeon in this old river? Try it just once and you’ll never ask that question again.
Contact: River’s Edge Resort (608) 254-6494; www.riversedgeresort.com.
p of Door County are home to jumbo perch of dreadnaught proportions. Fish crab tails or hellgrammites on a light jighead.
For numbers, the south end of Lake Waubesa is your best bet, working from the Goodland Park boat launch around to the east shoreline and up to the Babcock Park boat launch. Don’t overlook the weedflat out from Hog Island.
Mendota has bigger fish. Check out the weed edge out from Tenney Park and out from Second Point. And don’t overlook the weed edge where the Yahara River enters Lake Monona – the biggest sleeper of this chain.
Contact: Ron Barefield’s Fishing Adventures, (608) 838-8756.
Pewaukee Lake Muskies
Drag a healthy sucker behind the boat while pitching a lure like the Depth Raider or Ernie at a 90-degree angle from the shoreline. Thanksgiving week brings the first taste of winter. That’s the time to be out there.
Contact: Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Mississippi River Pike
Tip-ups baited with shiners and big roaches are the way to go. Don’t be a “deep” thinker – the best holes often have less than 2 feet of water beneath the ice.
Contact: Mississippi Sports & Recreation, (608) 648-3630.
Now, that’s Wisconsin!
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