With a much cooler than average November, many area tributaries to Lake Michigan actually formed ice as early as mid November, which severely shortened the open water Trout chasing for many. With the recent up and down temperatures, there are some open water areas available to fish as well as some ice fishing opportunities available on the slower moving tributaries.
Anglers that have been venturing out on early ice have been finding a mix of Browns and Steelhead, with most fish being caught on spawn at this time. A few of the harbors have safe ice, but with the forecast calling for mid forties for three days this weekend chances are that will change. Be careful when venturing out now, as the lack of an extended period of cold weather has hampered the ice formation.
Anglers that have been targeting open water areas further upriver on the tributaries are also finding a mix of both Steelhead and Browns, with very few Coho Salmon showing up this fall. Most fish are being taken out of deeper runs and holes with spawn, some have also been having luck with spinners.
There have also been plenty of guys still getting their boats out in the Milwaukee Harbor and have been doing rather well on a mix of Browns, Lakers, and the occasional Steelhead. Trolling the inner harbor has been producing with crankbaits and Stinger Spoons. Those that have been jigging have also been doing well around the discharge as well as the gaps and any pockets of warmer water that can be found.. Best baits here have been the Pearl 4" Gulp as well as some jigging spoons.
Last weekend I was able to break out the Automatic Fishermen in the Manitowoc Marina, going 1-3 on Trout. The fishing wasn't fast and furious but there were a fair number of fish around. There were also a few Northern Pike caught on Shiners as well. Once this bite slowed, I ventured into the Manitowoc River and managed a nice spawned out Brown Trout and lost another one just short of the net.
With the upcoming warm weather, I am hoping to break out the drift rod and put it to good use next week for some Trout! Make sure to check back to find out how my upcoming fishing trips go!