Monthly Archives: April 2016

Columbia County Shoreland Zoning Presentations


Resident Guide Gary Sanders reports on the Lake Wisconsin March bite…

The Lake Wisconsin boat launches on Tipperary Point opened up the first week of March. The Wisconsin River at the Dells below the Kilbourn dam, has been open since Lake WI walleyeFebruary with recent reports of good numbers of small male walleyes and saugers being caught. The larger hens should start making an appearance at the Dells any day now as more fish arrive daily. Below the Prairie Du Sac dam, there has been a decent bite, but rising water levels means more gates open at the dam, which can make fishing difficult.  Walleyes and saugers have been moving through the narrows at the Northeast end of Lake Wisconsin on their way upstream to spawn in the Wisconsin River below the Kilbourne dam. I fished in the river just above the narrows on 3/12, and that days catch of 16 saugers and only 5 walleyes tells me were likely at the tail end of the walleye run out of the lake and into the river. Saugers should continue to move through on their way upstream to spawn for another week or so.

On Saturday the jig bite while drifting downstream seemed slow, so I motored up out of the narrows just into the river, and started pulling 2oz bottom bouncers with a large Northland Tackle Gumdrop Floater with a stinger hook and an extra-large fathead. I was fishing current seams created by points and sand bars in 13’-18’. Slowly motoring upstream into the current at 0.5 to 0.9 mph while letting out enough line to maintain bottom contact was good enough to catch 21 walleyes and saugers with 11 legals (all fish released). The stinger hook was a key addition as the first 6 fish I hooked were lost. Size matters – I found that switching from a #2 to a 1/0 (largest size) floating jig head and sorting out and using the largest minnows in the bucket translated quickly into larger fish caught.Lake WIS walleye

The water temps in the river above Lake Wisconsin range from 36°F on Saturday the 12th of March to 40°F on Sunday the 13th of March. Rain in the forecast bodes well for these pre-spawn fish, as the runoff will both warm and raise water levels to flood crucial spawning habitat. Both warming water and longer days will help their eggs to develop, but the actual spawn for walleyes is still likely 2-3 weeks away. They don’t all spawn at once however, and the process will likely span into the first two weeks of April.

This is a critical time for these fish where they are concentrated and susceptible to overharvest. Fish are renewable, but every one taken at this time cannot contribute to building future populations. Please consider selective harvest or catch and release to ensure there is plenty of fish for the future.

Tight Lines,

Gary Sanders

Lake Wisconsin Walleyes, LLC