By Shane Ruege
12/15/14 Michigan report. Well the warm up has gotten the brown trout, steelhead bite going up and down the Wisconsin coast. This can be a good thing and a bad thing when fishing open water trout in the winter months in our harbors.
The discharges or power plants will pump out warm water. This in partnerwith the cold temps we see in Wisconsin under 30-20 degrees consistently will drive in bait fish to these areas. Brown trout and steelhead will be shortly be behind putting on the feed bag. But when we have warm temps like this past weekend and a west wind bait fish have no reason to move into a warm water discharge and you’ll typically see a decline in a discharge bite as we found this past weekend.
So a few factors when fishing this bite from shore or boat…cold temps, west winds = warm water discharges. Warm temps, west winds = gaps and lake structure humps. As seen in our vids we fished harbor gaps or ” harbor vessel entrance and exits ” and fished the current breaks between harbor water and lake water. The jig bite has been fantastic in these areas. We found fish on structure humps of 40 fow just outside gaps.
Vertical jigging will consist on matching baitfish as seen below in pics. Berkley Shaky Shad in 3 inch smelt color matched with 3/8 or 1/4 Owner jig head as seen below as well as the Authentix 3″ great white moxi tail paired with a 3/8 or 1/4 Gamakatsu darter head jig. My new favorite Echo tail was a trout killer this weekend as well. I look forward to tuning this presentation in!
Sheboygan River: has seen a few browns and rainbows fishing current breaks with blade baits. Water color with the melt we had has made things tough this past week.
Port Washington: has remained slow and being my home harbor we need consistent cold temps to get this bite going for the great shore bite I typically see. I will have a vid and read series this winter on casting cranks for winter brown trout coming up in the next few weeks.
Milwaukee Harbor: launch at national ave has been icy in the am bring salt if you plan on launching here. The discharge has been so so the past few days. Rainbows caught on spawn sacks off bottom as well as vertical jigging 4″ Berkley Gulp jerk Shad in white paired with a 3/8 Gamakatsu darter head jig at discharge. 20-30 fish days can be common here now. Gaps have produced nicely. Simple bite find the bait fish find the fish. Mix of Browns and lake trout ( out of season till March 1st ) have been caught. 40 fow has been best. Trollers have had great success pulling boards and flicker shad ( color doesn’t matter ) 30-40 fish days are common.
Oak Creek: has been great at discharge and structure breaks vertical jigging the below mentioned. Trollers have found great success pulling Flicker Shad and orange jointed rapalas. 30-40 fish common this past week!
So if your new to this bite I’m new to the team and will do my very best in saving you the trip to any of my home harbors. Please feel free to message me before planning a trip or follow us here all winter. So take a break from the ice, get the boat out, and fish one of Wisconsin’s hidden winter gems! Be safe, have fun, catch fish it’s that simple.