Lake Wisconsin Walleyes, LLC
Fishing on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River

For fishing on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River, the best bites of the year are early - from mid-May through the first week of July, and late - from mid October through November. Fish can be and certainly are caught in late July and August but the bite typically slows down. A significant algae bloom does occur annually at this time and the water surface temperature often becomes dangerously high for the safe handling of fish to be released.

Seasonal Bite Progression for Walleyes

We typically start walleye fishing in deeper water right after ice-out in March on the Wisconsin River either at the Northeast end of Lake Wisconsin or below the Kilbourn Dam at Wisconsin Dells. Some of the best techniques usually are vertical jigging and pulling 3-way or Wolf River Rigs and Dubuque rigs in the Wisconsin River for pre-spawn and then post-spawn fish. As the water warms and the fish become more active and spread out, we'll progress to pitchin' jigs and draggin' jigs. By now the ice is off Lake Wisconsin and
the warming water draws forage and thus hungry walleyes to surprisingly shallow water. When this happens we'll start trolling crank baits with planer boards or flat lines. The use of planer boards allows us to present shallow running crank baits well away from the boat and cover more water. Additionally we'll often cast crank baits at specific structures or drag or pitch jigs if there are concentrations of fish more efficiently exploited in this manner.

I closely monitor the flow upstream through the Kilbourn Dam at Wisconsin Dells as the flow can significantly impact fish location in the Wisconsin River upstream from Lake Wisconsin. During periods of low to normal flow, the main river channel typically holds plenty of willing biters. During periods of increased flow and current, the majority of these fish spread out and move shallow out of the heavy current.

As the season progresses, we'll spend time walleye fishing in the main channel and in the stump fields on Lake Wisconsin pulling crank baits behind planer boards and frequently catch some big bonus crappies and the occasional pike, catfish, white bass or musky along with both walleyes and saugers. We'll also utilize bottom bouncers with spinner rigs and other live bait presentations such as Slow Death rigs as conditions dictate. This is a much slower style of walleye fishing than pulling crank baits but great catches of walleye and sauger along with some big bonus crappie can be had. When the walleyes move out onto the deep flats or channel edges we'll troll minnow baits on lead-core lines. There can be a rather short window of opportunity for this lead-core bite, but it often yields both excellent numbers of walleyes and some BIG fish.

The month of September is perceived by many as the start of fall fishing, but from a fishing perspective,  it's the last month of summer, and a period of transition from summer to fall. Summer patterns continue to produce on some days, while other patterns develop due to shorter days, cooler nights and declining water temperatures. This time of change causes some roaming behavior in walleyes and usually dictates that we dig our jigging rods back out. Weather in September can be literally hot, then cold, and some days can be an adventure in finding active biters until some stability is found. Having a river system is very advantageous as we can usually find something willing to eat a bait such as white bass, yellow bass and crappies or a big 'ol sturgeon or a catfish if the walleye and sauger bite slows down. Mixed bags are the norm here and you just never know what will hit your bait. 

In October and November, once the water temps plummet and begin to stabilize, we'll typically fish deeper more complex structure using presentations such as vertical jigging, jigging spoons, blade baits or live bait rigs to tempt those big, hungry mammas that are aggressively feeding in anticipation of ice covering the water.

Upstream from the Prairie du Sac Dam, the minimum length limit on walleye and sauger is 15", but fish from 20" through 28" may not be kept and only one fish over 28" is allowed. The Daily bag limit is 5 walleyes or combination of walleyes and saugers totaling 5 fish.

*This slot limit implemented back in 2002, I'm happy to report, is working out extremely well!
The 2011through 2014 open water seasons have been some of the best I've seen here
yet fishing on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River for numbers of walleye & sauger both in and over the slot limit of 20" to 28". There are also very strong populations from previous year classes of walleyes that will ensure that future years should provide great fishing too. The good 'ol days are happening right now and 2015 should be fantastic!!

**As reported by David Rowe, a Fisheries Biologist from Poynette, WI in The Wisconsin Fishing Report - an annual publication of the Fisheries Management program: "A fall electrofishing survey in 2011 showed a high number of walleyes in the 15-to-20 inch range, likely from a big 2009 year class. The catch of 15-to-20 inch walleyes during the 2011 survey was 11.5 per mile, compared to the long term average of 4.8 per mile."