Fishing Reports

Fishing with the Guides  by George Langley.   Week of   10/13 to 10/20.

My oh my, we've had a surprise taste of winter in the last week. This has been the exact opposite of the warm weather we had been having and has made our fall fishing very difficult. We don't know what has been worse – the cold temps or the heavy wind we have had. It sure was a surprise to see the snow on the ground Sunday morning. Needless to say, the water temps are dropping at a very fast rate. The process of turnover has happened on most, if not all, lakes. These temps are now down in the 40's on some lakes. At this rate we'll be getting ice on Nov 1st! That won't happen in reality, but the whole act of fall fishing for musky or for walleye has certainly changed.

Water levels remain very high. Weeds are now dropping back and dying off quickly. If you are looking for green weeds, look deeper on most of our lakes. Most landings are in good shape. Be patient about using the “T” docks on Yellow Birch, as they are resurfacing the whole area.

As far as fall color, it is gone or mostly finished throughout the area. It happened fast, but at that it was pretty late. This wind we experienced really took the leaves down, which made hunters happy for the improved sight lines in the woods.

Walleye fishing is good in the area, especially on the Eagle River Chain. They are feeding on minnows for the most part, but crawlers will still catch them also. Look for the holes on the Chain, as the walleyes migrate to these holes for the winter. If you can't get them in the middle of the holes, check the edges and nearby for them.

The same general pattern applies on the deep lakes, where the fish have also gone deeper. Look off the edges and drop-offs over hard bottom, in water as deep as 30' on these lakes. Rock bars can be very productive in water deeper than 15'. Large fatheads or sucker minnows work best at this time.

Bass reports are slowing, but again that is because fewer anglers fish for them at this time. Plastics are still working for largemouth in the weeds. Smallies are deeper, and still producing great action on Ned Rigs. You few bass anglers will not have to face much competition out there.

Northerns are hitting with aggression both in the weeds and right off of them in slightly deeper water. We've even had some reports of these guys hitting sucker trailed by musky anglers.

Musky fishing is good and now that turnover is done, we'll have the best fishing of the year for them. This is the time for larger suckers, if you can find them, and those slower moving baits like jerk baits and twitch baits. Slow your retrieve down and work the deep edges of the weeds and deeper for these big fish. This is the time for the biggest fish of the year to show up. If you can’t get large suckers due to the shortage, just get out there with the jerk and twitch baits and your slow retrieve– those monster fish are hungry!

Panfish action has been especially good for the crappies. On the Chain, these fish move into the holes and deeper water right with the walleye. With turnover, they have finally left the weeds and shallow water. We have had few reports of bluegills now, but perch anglers do well on many lakes in the deeper half of the weeds.

It’s about time to think about putting that boat away and to start checking out your ice fishing equipment. Good luck and good fishin’!



The anglers aren’t the only ones landing the trophies around here. Sure, we’re home to The World’s Largest Chain of 28 Connected Lakes, but we’re also home to a huge spread of scenic public land that makes hunting for deer, woodcock and grouse especially rewarding. We got the inside scoop from Kurt Krueger of the Vilas County News-Review and Dan Anderson, resident and the owner of Dairy Queen of Eagle River. So, come to Eagle River and see everything our fall hunting has to offer.


Because of the huge expanse of land, Vilas County (and Eagle River in particular) is a favorite hunting destination for many. Take your pick from county, state and national forest lands including the Nicolet side of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Alternatively, you can visit some of the area Public Access Lands that are open to hunting.


It’s a good idea to know where you’re going to hunt before you get here. The Department of Natural Resources and Go Wild Wisconsin are great resources for area maps and habitat/cover information. And make sure you check the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce hunting report. If you’re not sure where to go, or it’s your first time hunting in Eagle River, consider booking a white-tailed deer or grouse hunt with Al’s Guide Service.


We’re home to many ruffed grouse, American woodcock and white-tailed deer. And we happen to be in the migratory path of northern mallards if you’re into waterfowl hunting as well. If you’re looking for deer and ruffed grouse, head to one of the more heavily managed public forests like the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest that extends from Eagle River into Northern Vilas County.


Forgot your shells? Need an extra layer in the brisk Northwoods fall climate? Stop into Eagle SportsWalkabout Paddle and Apparel, or The Hiker Box to find the gear you’ll need. And when all is said and done, pack up your gear and celebrate your haul with a pint at Tribute Brewing Co. or one of our Bar/Grills.

2019 Wisconsin Ring-necked Pheasant Season Opens Oct. 19

Wisconsin's pheasant season opens Oct. 19. - Photo credit: DNR
Wisconsin's pheasant season opens Oct. 19.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON, Wis. - The fall Wisconsin pheasant hunting season opens statewide at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, and will run through Jan. 5, 2020.

Several other seasons also open that day, including bobwhite quail, Hungarian partridge and ruffed grouse in Zone B. Like pheasant, the bobwhite quail and Hungarian partridge seasons open at 9 a.m. The ruffed grouse season opens at the start of legal shooting hours.

Hunters should check the Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations [PDF] for rules and season structures for the game species they will pursue.



Turkey season starts in mid-September - 9-3-19

Speaking of hunting, the fall turkey season begins on Sept. 14 in all zones of the state. The season runs through Jan. 5 in Zones 1-5 and Nov. 22 in Zones 6-7. Fall turkey harvest authorizations went on sale in August through the Go Wild site. For information visit, keyword "turkey."

Waterfowl hunting 9-3-19

September also brings the migratory game bird season in Wisconsin. Hunting dates for ducks, geese and other birds vary by zone and species, so be sure to check out complete season regulations and other information at, keyword "waterfowl." And because state wildlife areas are great places for waterfowl hunting, it's a good time to check out DNR's YouTube channel, where a series of videos on "Exploring Wisconsin's Wildlife Areas"features Horicon MarshCrex Meadows and more.

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