By Mark Schram, myfishingpartner.com
Lake Winnebago is completely open water, unlike in 2019 when ice fishing had already begun on this date. Basin water temperatures had jumped over the last 21 days, increasing to nearly 55 degrees in Fond du Lac about ten days ago. These temperatures have reduced to 39 degrees as of 11/17/20. Water levels remain unseasonally high.
Lake Winnebago has almost zero fishing activity, and sportspeople are focused on the woods. The system is awaiting ice up, and Lake Poygan is now a candidate for ice formation with water temps at 33.6 degrees. There are no reliable reports to pass along.
In Green Bay, The Fox River is also cooling down and maintains a healthy flow from the Dam at De Pere (up to 6 gates open). Water clarity at the Dam is compromised with visibility ranging from 3” to 3 feet. The number of gates open in De Pere will influence water clarity, especially after a precipitation/wind event. There is a lot of green algae moving thru the river, especially near the mouth, likely from the summers’ growth from Lake Winnebago.
Mark Schram with a toothy walleye
The “clam beds”, or flats just off the deep hole at Voyageur Park (De Pere), have been holding large numbers of male walleyes – most under 17”. These fish are staged for Winter and Spring and should be resident fish for the next several months unless the food dries up. We found multiple methods to attract these fish, including live bait and blade baits, which needed to be worked slowly back into the current. We have had 30+ fish days. Whitefish have also been present.
Several of the shore spots in the De Pere area have begun to fire over the last week or two for larger fish at night. Boat traffic is still occurring out of both Green Bay Metro and De Pere launches at night.
While the fish are large, they have been scarce to date. The bait has moved into the river seeking warm water outlets, so some select females should be back shortly. Based on my baitfish sightings, the shad population has been diminished, but there has been an explosion of shiner type bait. Stick baits, shad baits, jigs plus plastic, and blade baits are all working at night. It appears many of the bites I encountered were opportunity hits, as opposed to size/shape-dependent. Musky have been mixed in occasionally.
Most anglers are anxious to start ice fishing. A long-range forecast may provide a slow start to the season. Mark@myfishingpartner.com is my email for your fishing reports.