Shore Fishing The Wisconsin River
Finding a good spot to fish on the Wisconsin River can seem like a daunting task. There is an overwhelming amount of fishable shore along the 420 miles of riverway. While there is a decent chance to catch fish anywhere, there are certain places to look for where the fish will be larger and the bite will most likely be much stronger.
Sauk Dam (pictured above) holds large numbers of Muskies, Walleye, and Bass
First off, if you have the chance to fish near a major structure like a dam, you should definitely take it. Large predator fish like muskies and pike lie in wait as small panfish flow through the dams strong currents. Large boulders and rocks are extremely common there. Daredevils and Little Cleos are great spoons for the larger fish and it's very possible you will be surprised by a nice largemouth or walleye.
Overhangs and laydowns are classic river fish haunts
As far as regular shore fishing goes, try to find a spot where the current circulates in small eddies and provides a break in the current. Predator fish are more comfortable where they don't need to be constantly exerting energy to hunt. The circulating currents of these eddies brings their food to them which is why they stay there. A bait of choice here is a small size swimbait or Storm Wild Eye Swim Shad 6". Both work well when cast into the current and pulled back through the eddie. A Texas Rig plastic also works well along the sand and weed bottom that is common to these areas as well as some laydowns.
Current seams (visible above) are a sure sign of slack water and attracts all species of fish
If no structure is available, using a live night crawler on a size 4 hook with some 3-6oz sinkers (depending on the current) will catch almost anything when cast about 30 ft off shore. Snags are usually not a problem as the bottom is mostly sand. This method most commonly catches carp, sheephead, walleye, and the occasional catfish.
All in all, the Wisconsin River is a rich fishery with an abundance of fish and a variety of species. If you're looking for a monster fish, the river is the place to go.
Tristian Blechinger is a student at Sauk Prairie High School and is an aspiring outdoor writer and fishing guide. He fishes the Wisconsin River extensively as well as the Yellow River and both Fish and Crystal Lakes.
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