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Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan only a few boat trailers have been seen in the Deland ramp parking lot at any one time. Success for trollers has been spotty, with some concentrating nearshore in 10 to 40 feet of water and others working further out in 70 feet of water. A few steelhead and browns have been taken. The Eighth Street ramp remains closed. Fishing pressure remains steady on the piers, but catch rates are low. Small browns are being caught every now and then on spoons. Schools of baitfish are near shore, and alewives are commonly snagged by anglers casting spoons.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing pressure has remained steady off the ramp, and some trollers have reported catching their limit of coho, while others spent hours on the lake without a hit. Fish were caught between 20 and 50 feet of water on blue flies coupled with dodgers, and one group reported strikes on a variety of baits. On Sunday a mixed bag of a brown, lake trout, and a couple coho was brought in from 75 to 120 feet of water off Concordia University. It has been reported that charter boats have been catching chinook. Anglers have been fishing on the pier, but few fish are being caught. Water clarity has fluctuated over the past few days on the lake side, but clarity is quite good overall; water on the marina side is still murky. Schools of baitfish can be seen near the pier, and anglers have been snagging a lot of alewives. There has been steady fishing pressure both in the marina and near the power plant. Anglers using a variety of live bait near the power plant have been catching small browns and rainbows. On Sunday, a couple nice rainbows, a brown, and a coho were caught near the power plant discharge on spawn.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee fishing has picked up with the arrival of the coho salmon in recent days. Trollers were having success fishing in 20-45 feet of water. Coho could be found north of the north gap, between the north and south gaps, and from the South Shore Yacht Club south to the boils. The coho were not concentrated to any one particular area, so covering the most ground produced many more fish. The best presentations were orange flashers paired with peanut files in variety of colors. Blue, white, green, and purple flies seemed to produce the most coho, and limit catches were common over the weekend. Fishermen off of McKinley pier have also caught coho on live bait rigs of alewives and shiners. Casting small spoons has produced additional coho, though nearly all of the fish caught casting were taken before daybreak. Shore fishing has also been productive at the Oak Creek Power Plant pier. Good numbers of coho have been taken, with the best presentations being alewives fished under a float or casting plastics or crank baits off the end of the pier.

Racine County - In Racine there was a big increase in boating activity this past week at the Pershing Park boat launch. Over the weekend, there was an average of 15-20 trailers parked in the lot at any given time. Most boaters have been catching their limit of coho salmon, usually in 3-4 hours or less. The fish are pretty aggressive, and some anglers report that they?ve had two or three coho on at a time. Most of the fish were caught on dodgers and flies, but some also hit spoons. A large number of boats were seen trolling for coho from the tip of the North Pier to the one mile reef marker, and others worked north of the harbor. Action was good in 25 feet of water. Some action has also been reported for chinook and rainbow trout in 100-plus feet of water. At the fish cleaning station, all of the coho were filled with alewives, and some had gobies in their stomachs. The average weight of the coho measured on Sunday was 3.8 pounds. As of Sunday, only one pier was in the water at the Pershing boat ramp. The repair work continues on the six western launch lanes. A navigation channel for larger boats will be dredged in the harbor sometime this year according to a report from the Racine Parks Department. Successful shore anglers in Racine have been concentrating on the piers. Good numbers of coho have been taken on both the north and south pier, with a few limit catches reported. The best action has been between sunrise and 8 a.m. Most coho have been caught fishing alewives on the bottom, but some coho and a few browns have been taken by jigging green and silver or blue and silver spoons just off the bottom.

Kenosha County - In Kenosha the Simmons Island boat ramp and the fish cleaning station have been very busy lately, especially on the weekend. Most of the boaters have been catching their limits of coho salmon, usually within a few hours. Some boaters reported finding coho anywhere between 20-55 feet of water. Some trollers have been working just north of the harbor, while others have been between the water treatment plant and the Illinois border. A few trollers have also been working the hills for Chinook. Dipsy divers and yellow birds with dodgers and flies were popular setups for most boaters. The Kenosha Sport Fishing and Conservation Association held a fishing contest this past weekend. There were some nice size lake trout, steelhead, coho, and chinook weighed in at the cleaning station. One of the chinook tipped the scale at over 21 pounds. Kenosha shore anglers reported good catches of coho from the piers, and the hours between sunrise and 8 a.m. was most productive. Some local anglers reported that the morning bite hasn?t been this good in several years. Fishing with alewives or casting stick baits produced some decent numbers of coho, and a few browns have been caught as well. Large schools of alewives have been seen in the harbor, and one angler reportedly filled his bait bucket with alewives in less than two hours. The surface temperature at the lakefront was 53 degrees on Sunday.

Sheboygan County - High bird migration. Many species of warblers (including the ones just migrating through) are easy to find. Now is a great time to get out and see birds that you will not be able to see the rest of the year, in their bright breeding colors. Spring flowers: trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpit, cowslip (marsh marigold), hepatica, and many other plants are actively blooming. Wild Leeks are plentiful. - Diane Tenpas, financial specialist

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - It is a great time within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway! The fishermen are reporting good activity including catches of bluegill, bass, and catfish. The morel mushrooms are being found in good numbers and the sandbars are beginning to reappear. If you visit the Riverway don?t forget your bug spray because the mosquitos are bad in most of the river bottoms. - Matt Sequin, property manager

Grant County - Mississippi River water levels are finally receding, albeit the water levels in Pool #10 and # 11 will remain higher than normal for the next week or longer. The pool levels remain 3-4 feet higher than normal. Low lying areas such as Bagley Bottoms boat landing, and Schleicher?s Landing still remain flooded. Most of the islands have emerged, with a thick coating of mud, and a fine new growth of poison ivy. Look twice before stepping out on an island. Fishing has remained slow in most of the areas. This past weekend saw good bass fishing activity at Potosi Point, now that the lower water levels have re-opened the road. There is a large number of geese on the area streams and rivers, attempting to re-nest with lower water levels. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville

Fishing was slow but steady this past weekend in Grant County. The weather was nearly perfect. The water levels on the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers are slowly receding, and maybe only a few feet above normal for Memorial Day weekend. Most trout anglers reported good success, with most all area streams running at near normal water levels. Most mushroom hunters are reporting several pounds being found now that the weather has warmed up. - Martin Stone, conservation warden, Fennimore