Sep 17, 2014

Wisconsin Fishing-Hunting Report - September 2014

Despite the strange weather cycle, angling has been pretty good this season with still a couple of months to go before bitter cold sets in and local fisherman put their boats in storage for winter; some will then prepare for ice fishing expeditions.
  • Denise Dombeck-Kalscheur, caught and released her first Muskie, 46-inches, using a bucktail lure on the Wisconsin River near Wausau, July 1st. Her husband, Dan Kalscheur, caught and released a 44-inch Muskie with a bucktail as well on July 1st

  • Wisconsin premieres its first crossbow season opened on September 13th with the archery deer season and will run to January 4, 2015. It is open to all hunters with appropriate license. Hunters who want to use a conventional bow and crossbow will pay the full price for one of the licenses and a $3 upgrade fee for the second license. This year will be a repeat of running the archery season through the nine-day gun deer season in November, which affords the hunter to use a gun deer tag using a crossbow or conventional bow. The DNR predicts an excellent hunting season for both archery and gun hunters this year. NR also reminds hunters that deer change their migration according to weather, available food and other factors. During the open gun deer season, archery and crossbow hunters are required to follow the same blaze-orange clothing regulations as gun hunters do. Also, a safety reminder: be careful when climbing into and out of stands. 
  • Door Peninsula Fishing Report: Little Sturgeon has seen little pressure with not as many fishing boats out as last year. Crankbaits and night crawlers seem to be working best this week, mostly catching freshwater drum. High winds and foul weather has reduced the angling population. At Sawyer Harbor, the few who braved the weather had mixed success. Few smallmouth catches were reported with majority of those catches on pumpkin colored tubes in 14-18 feet of water with underlying structure. Perch anglers also had a bad week, mostly from not able to detect bites in the choppy water. Only a handful of perch were brought in using minnows as bait, fished off the bottom in 22-25 feet of water where schools were located; sizes ranging from 5- to 7-inches. One angler was successful in catching northern pike along the Potawatomi Park shoreline using crankbaits trolled just off shore in 5- to 7-feet of water, netting several fish over 30 inches.
  • Wolf attacks on dogs and livestock has increased, biologists stating they believe it was the harsh winter last year. Old Farmer's Almanac and weather experts believe we are in for another frigid and harsh winter this year as well. State law allows farmers to kill wolves in the act of harming their livestock or dogs. As of August 28th, a total of 23 cattle have been killed in 20 attacks by wolf packs in Iron, Mackinac, Otonagon, Houghton, Schoolcraft, Chippewa, and Dickinson counties. Six cattle were killed in the two weeks leading to August 28th.
  • September and October is the prime time to fish for pike because of the cooling waters. You can find pike on rocks, over sand, cruising the reefs and shoals, or in the main basin of big waters during early fall. As cabbage beds reach the end of their growing season, larger numbers of bigger pike can be caught. Any pike over 5 pounds puts up a good fight, but the biggest pike seem to be in Canada: Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or northwest Ontario. The typical ideal rig is a steel leader with a No. 1 hook or 1/0 hook snapped onto the leader with one or two clamp-on sinkers squeezed on with pliers just above the leader. Bait is usually sucker fish about 5- to 6-inches, the larger the bait the more sinkers you need to clamp on. On rivers where cabbage beds are not present, trolling is best; however, trolling is not an effective way of keeping your lure in a strike zone. Anchoring and casting, or creeping along and using an electric motor while on the river. Crankbaits that seem to catch the most is the Husky Jerk or Big Original Floating Rapala twitched over cabbage-weed beds, which can afford the opportunity for an explosive, exciting bite. Once again, these lures shine in September and October; sometimes catching walleye as a bonus. Use a 7-1/2-foot medium-heavy rod to throw heavy swim baits. Spinnerbaits is the old standby in yellow, chartreuse, and white are the best colors. Some folks like in-line spinners best, like Mepps or bucktail designs. One fisherman reported success with a 5-inch Berkley Saltwater swim bait on a 1/2-ounce or 3/4-ounce heavy jig, which once again requires medium-heavy rods.
  • The nice thing about fall fishing is there are fewer recreational boating activity, for example, the water skiers are gone. If you are fishing for bass (or any other species), dress warm, be patient, and enjoy good bass fishing. Bass are feeding to prepare for winter, a hard and long one, to build up their fat reserves; which means moving shallow to get to the forage fish. The longer and cooler nights of September drops water temperatures and draw baitfish and bass toward the shallows. In early fall, bass gather around weedy drop-offs next to big flats. Louie Stout reports: The bass will make feeding forays from the outer weed edge to the top of the slope. His favorite lure for fall bass are balsa crankbaits in bluegill colors; as well as bluegill-colored spinnerbaits. He slow-rolls it along the deeper edge of the weed bed near the bottom. If the wind picks up and the fish move upward, the spinnerbait covers water and find the aggressive fish in the shallows. When bass suspend in early fall, a jerkbait or crankbait is useful in perch or baby bass colors.
  • Walleyes feed upward with water temperature and clarity being prime factors. With dirty water the lure must be right in their face. Green crankbaits have been working well lately at depths of 8 feet. Don't be surprised if you catch a sheepshead instead, but stick at it and you should be successful in catching walleye.
  • Salmon and Lake Trout: Your best success for fishing salmon is to have a boat with trolling equipment or take a fishing charter. Using flashers and spoons as well as Dipsy Divers and flies, a five-hour charter caught two Chinook salmon and a 7-pound rainbow. The best catch was a Chinook that weighed 18.5 pounds at 35-inches. Great fillets. The best fishing methods for rainbow, salmon and lake trout has been between 60 and 120 feet, more so in the 20 foot to 60 foot range now that the water is cooling. Soon that will change as the salmon and trout run toward the harbors and river mouths for the annual spawning run. Recent heavier rains should be beneficial for river upstream currents. The object is to get the fish before they deteriorate during spawning and the flavor/texture go downhill.

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