Your Best Spring Fishing in Wisconsin

Your Best Spring Fishing in Wisconsin
Photo By Ron Sinflet

There is plenty of great spring fishing in Wisconsin. From combat fishing for walleyes on The Dells and Fox River, to baitcasting for Lake Michigan salmon, these are the areas you definitely don't want to miss!

MARCH


The Dells


Walleyes


The lower Wisconsin River provides one of our first open-water options of the year, with walleyes and saugers the main attraction. A slot limit, which has been in place for a decade now, has resulted in resurgence in numbers of big fish, with a serious shot at boating a state-record sauger.


Unfortunately, Wisconsin DNR regulations still protect saugers with record weight, so the catch must be immediately released.


Most anglers find success with vertical jigging while drifting downstream. Others position fish, using their trolling motors to hold over water 10 to 16 feet deep. A very few who fish in the daytime quietly fill limits trolling crankbaits behind leadcore.

Guide Nick Olson and a few locals know the really big fish come at night, casting suspending stickbaits or on a steady retrieve with a 5-inch Kalin grub and 1/8-ounce jighead.

APRIL

Fox River, DePere

Walleyes

April walleye action below the DePere dam is the worst-kept fishing secret in Wisconsin, but there is no other time or place where an angler can find a greater concentration of trophy walleyes.

This is the epitome of combat fishing. It is possible to warm your hands by putting them in the pocket of an angler in the boat next to you. The basic pink or orange 1/4-ounce jig with a 3-inch chartreuse Kalin grub is the only bait you'll need in order to find success, if you can fight your way through the crowd and keep a line in the water.

DePere is April's top pick because it offers your best shot at a trophy walleye. Personally, I prefer option No. 2, the Peshtigo River. Just north of the Peshtigo is the Menominee. Both hold the potential for the best walleye trip of your lifetime.

MAY

Lake Michigan, South Basin

Coho Salmon

Capt. Matt Solchenberger's best time for putting a six-person limit of coho in the box of the Trio is 1 hour, 27 minutes last May. Later in the year he works out of Algoma where a customer boated a whopping 20-pound coho last summer — a fish just shy of the state record.

Most of the time a charter boat is the most productive — and safest — way to experience Lake Michigan salmonids. But a deep-V 18 footer is enough boat to cash in on this bonanza if you keep a close eye on the weather and short-term forecast.

Although trolling gear works best, medium spinning or baitcasting gear will work. The key is getting lures away from the boat, as these fish are extremely wary when cruising from the surface to just 12 feet down in this exceptionally clear water.

Action is best during low-light periods. A sawed-off piece of a Luminock arrow attached to your planer boards is a great strike indicator. A long-handled Frabill crankbait net is another valuable tool. Don't forget a Great Lakes salmon stamp.

Don't leave the dock without at least two nets. Three nets are better. Action here gives new meaning to the term "fast and furious."

Don't forget to share your best fishing photos with us on Camera Corner for your chance to win free gear!

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Gear

Get Ready for Summer with Cordova Coolers

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide.

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

Records

No Kidding: Angler Smashes Record for Lake Trout

Scott Bernarde - May 21, 2019

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Mustad's Inkvader Octopus Live Jig

From big fish to small, just about any saltwater game fish out there will love the new Mustad Inkvader Octopus Live Jig that Mustad's Russ Whisler shows to OSG's Lynn Burkhead.

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

See More Stories

More Walleye

Walleye

How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

Walleye

3 Tactics for Walleyes in Adverse Conditions

Mark Sak - May 01, 2019

The walleye bite can sometimes be tough early in the season. Here are a few key presentations...

Walleye

Late Summer Walleyes in the Weeds

Dr. Jason Halfen - August 29, 2018

Hit the salad bar for consistent late summer walleyes.

See More Walleye

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×