Fishing & Outdoor Report

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Fishing & Outdoor Reports for Washburn County

3/4/20 - Reported by Wisconsin Fisherman


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3/2/2020 - Reported by the WI DNR

Ice anglers are reminded that the last deadline in a series of March dates to remove permanent ice shanties from state waters is Sunday, March 15. Shanties must be removed from waters north of Highway 64, which includes all of Washburn County, and all other outlying waters by the end of that day. Earlier March deadlines covered inland and boundary waters. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging anglers not to wait until the deadlines as possible warming temperatures and early spring rains could complicate removal.

Deadlines to remove shelters help eliminate spring shoreline litter and boating dangers this spring. Abandoning the shelter or burning the shelter atop the ice does not satisfy the deadline. The debris then goes into the waterbody, impacting water quality.

After the shanty removal deadlines pass, anglers can continue to use portable ice fishing shelters if they feel the ice is safe - as long as they remove their shelters daily and when they are not actively used. Remember to consult with local fishing clubs, bait shops and outfitters who know the local ice conditions. Permanent shelters, meaning those normally not removed daily from the ice, must be removed from the ice no later than the specified removal date for that water body.


2/12/20 - Reported by Wisconsin Fisherman


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12/23/19 - Reported by AAA Sports

This nice warm weather has the snow settling on most of the lakes. Good ice on Bashaw; they are actually on Bashaw with four-wheelers. and catching some nice northern. Lots of pan fish coming out of the Yellow River across from Tony's in Spooner. Landings are not plowed off on Spooner, but guys are walking out and getting decent northern. We had a nice walleye come in from Trego flowage. Our thoughts are that after this warmer weather is over the cold weather will give us some really good ice. There are quite a few people out fishing, just know where you're going!! It's still archery season so time to finish filling those empty tags and also turkey hunting until after the new year. WE ARE OPEN ALL DAY ON CHRISTMAS DAY...


11/18/19 - Reported by AAA Sports

The hunt is on!! In just a few days, the Northwoods will be full of the mighty deer hunter. Are you ready? Deer call...gun clothes...heater...deer drag...LICENSE!! We will be open until 9:00 on Thursday night and open at 5:00 on Saturday morning. Hot coffee, rolls and doughnuts!!!


10/1/19 - Reported by AAA Sports

For those of you wondering how the Spooner Lake draw down is going, the answer is "very slowly". They started the drawdown on Sept 3 and the proposal was to take it down 3'. As of today, Oct 1st, Spooner Lake is down a little over a foot. we've had lots of rain. Most lake home owners had pulled their boats, pontoons and docks out of the lake by Labor Day.

A few brave souls left these items intact and have been able to enjoy the lake throughout September and catching some nice fish in the process. Musky fisherman are hitting the lakes hard.

FALL HUNTING...Bear hunting has been going on for the past month and there have been some nice bruins. Archery season has been on for 2 weeks but is just starting to get going as the leaves start to fall, and the temps are going down. There have been lots of pictures of successful geese hunters and this past weekend duck season opened.


9/9/19 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service

Cooling waters around Washburn County have the musky’s turned on this week. Lots of good fish are being caught as of late. Bucktails and topwaters are doing very well, most of the catchable musky’s have come from ten feet or less of water on local lakes. Walleyes here have been tough this week, a few are coming on jigs and minnows out in deeper water. Overall it’s been tough to catch multiple fish on any one spot. Crappies are starting to get active as fall arrives, look for the fishing for them to get better as time goes along. Good luck and good fishing!
9/2/19 - Reported by AAA Sports

Fishing over the weekend was good; cooler temps must make the fish hungry. We still have leeches for probably another week yet. We have walleye and northern suckers. No musky suckers yet; call ahead if you're looking for them and we'll let you know the status. Bear season opens this Wednesday. Archery season opens on September 14th. We will be starting dock work in the next week. If you need help pulling your dock, boat or pontoon out of the lake, give us a call. Fall colors will be here before you know it...where did summer go?!?!


8/19/19 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service

Some nice cool nights have really made it feel a bit like fall here in the Northwoods. Water temperatures on area lakes have dropped a little down to the mid to low 70’s.  Musky fishing is picking up, we boated a couple over the weekend on minnow baits. This time of year usually does see an increase in musky fishing success. Topwaters, bucktails and minnow baits are all working well. Walleyes are a bit tough right now, smallmouth, largemouth and panfish are still going strong.
Good luck and good fishing!

8/12/19 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service

Fishing around Washburn County remained good this past week, cooler nights and early mornings have dropped water temperatures from around 80 down to the 75 degree range. In my guide boat we’re getting a mixed bag of fish each time out. Largemouth bass and bluegills have been dominating the catch, but we are getting some smallmouths and a few walleyes as well. The best action seems to be centered around deep weeds. Also of note is a good smallmouth bass bite on the local river stretches. Good luck and good fishing!

8/7/19 - Report by WI DNR 

 A family of rare Franklin's ground squirrels is settling into new digs here before its long winter hibernation begins, thanks to team work by active and retired DNR conservation biologists, a Northland College professor and his students, and private property owners. The partners trapped and moved the rare squirrels from a private property in Douglas County where they were causing problems and released them on another private property in Washburn County where the landowner had been actively restoring habitat for rare native species historically found in the area. To read more, click here.

8/6/19 -  Reported by Kyle Tyree "The Wisconsin Fisherman" 

The Fishing has been pretty good, deeper water is key finding weed edges and drop offs have been good for Northern pike bass and even deep bluegill! Big large mouth bass have been hanging by Lilly pads using top water baits such as a fake frog has been working very well!
The spring turkey hatch has also been seen around the east side of Washburn county with chicks running around the Hen turkeys. When you see a hen turkey in the ditch, if you slow down and look in the grass, you see can all the little chicks! 

8/6/19 - Reported by AAA Sports

The hot weather has the fish going deep, fishermen (and women) are adding split shot to their lines for the crappies and sunnies. For the game fish, people are using more deep diver such as  Rapala DT series. Bass seems to like the scented worms and almost anything that looks like a frog. Chatterbaits have been selling well too.


7/22/19 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service

Mid summer fishing around Washburn County has been very good the past week.  Walleyes and bass are really going good right now. Most fish are coming from the deep weed edge on area lakes in 10 to 15 feet of water.  Some nice bluegills and crappies are showing up at times too. Early mornings are the best times now, the bite seems to slow during the middle of the day. Musky fishing has been picking lately too. Topwaters and bucktails early and late in the day have been catching some good fish.  Main lake weeds and rocks are the best locations currently, always check to see if the open water bite is happening also. Good luck and good fishing,
Jim Stroede 

   7/9/19 - Reported by AAA Sports

 Fishing has really picked up the past few weeks. Gills are biting on the waxies and crawlers. Walleye on the leeches using a lindy rig. Few northern coming in from using the old stand by, red and white daredevil. Bass like the worms this year and chatterbaits. Don't forget our monthly fishing contest, $10 in store credit for the largest fish in each category...all sizes from perch-muskie. Coffee's on at 6:00 AM!!



7/8/19 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service

Summer fishing is here and going very well at the moment.  The best bite is the multi species bite, walleyes and largemouth bass have been providing the majority of the action all around the county. Days with a little wind seem to be out producing flat calm days, mornings have been best but don’t overlook the evening time frame too. Musky fishing has been a bit tough for us overall, we have picked up a few fish on topwater baits towards dark lately though. Surface water temperatures are in the low 70’s on the lakes we’ve been fishing.
Good luck and good fishing,
Jim Stroede 

6/10/19 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service

Summer has arrived in the Northwoods and the fish are loving it!  Action has picked up for all species across Washburn County.  New weed growth is holding lots of bait right now and the predators are there too. 
We’ve been using both minnows and leeches as live bait about equally well for a mixed bag of walleyes, bass, pike and panfish. The crappies are done spawning and the bluegills are next to move shallow.
Musky fishing has improved as well with a few fish being caught in shallow water on some of the smaller lakes in the area.
Good luck and good fishing!
 6/11/19 - Reported by AAA Sports

The fishing took off this past week with the arrival of those warm days. Depending on the lake the crappies and gill were just getting on or off the beds already. Bass fishing has been really good ( look at the pictures on our website!) Northern and walleye sucker minnows continue to be at a shortage. We have shiners and they do well if you have an insulated aerated bucket. We have leeches by the dozen except for regulars which we have by the 1/4 pound also. Pontoon rentals are filling up fast. The dock crew finished the last of the docks over the weekend. 


5/20/19 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service

Fishing around Washburn County has been improving here lately. We’ve been on a good crappie bite on a couple of lakes.  Fish are shallow and looking to spawn along shorelines with scattered wood. It’s important to remember not to over harvest when fish are so bunched up in a tight area. Walleyes are playing hard to get where I’ve been fishing, we’ve caught a few on jigs and minnows but it’s been tough overall. The musky season opens on Saturday, we’ll be looking for a big bite that day for sure. Good luck and good fishing!

5/13/19 - Reported by Long Lake Bait, Tackle & C-Store

Spring is here! The Bears are out, Humming Birds and Orioles are back!
Water temps on Long Lake Mother's Day weekend ranged from 47 degrees on the main lake and 52 degrees in Mudd Lake.  Fishing was slow, but some nice fish were caught.  20-26" Walleyes were caught in approximately 7-10 feet of water using Fat Heads and Medium Leeches. Also a few nice Northern and Bass in the shallows. Crappie and Bluegills are hanging out at about 2-3 feet depths. Crappie minnows are working best.  We are expecting temps this week in the 70's so that should get things rolling and warm up the water!  

1/14/19 -  Reported by Kyle Tyree "The Wisconsin Fisherman"

The fishing has been great! The fish are sticking in the weeds We have seen Bass, Crappie and bluegill all schooling together.
The jig bite has been great with many panfish on most lakes. It seems like red/pink with a wax worm is the color the bluegills like. Tip up action is a medium bite this time of year, the perch have been aggressive on tip ups with smaller shiner minnows.

1/6/19 - Reported by Long Lake Bait, Tackle & C-Store

Ice conditions on Long Lake are coming in at anywhere from 7" - 12" with a few spots reported at 4" (on the back side of Kunz Island).  The lake snowmobile trail has been marked.  Fishing has slowed since the cold snap after Christmas.  Reports of panfish hitting at about 21' and a few nice sized walleye and northern have also been caught.

12/27/18 - Reported by Long Lake Bait, Tackle & C-Store

Fish are biting on Long Lake!  You find lots of Crappie at depths around 12'-15' folks are using a mix of Spikes, Waxies and Crappie Minnows! Walleye are just off the weed line sitting anywhere from 8'-12' liking Suckers or Shiners. The best bite has  been after 3 pm till dark. Also catching Bluegills, Perch, Northern and Bass. The Whitefish are also running. The whole lake seems to be good as far as spots to fish!  We are hoping to get the snowmobile trail on the lake marked this week.  We received about 5" of wet heavy snow last night and it is now raining. We need more snow to open the trails. Let's go Fishing!  Happy New Year!

12/18/18 - Reported by Kyle Tyree "The Wisconsin Fisherman"

The bite had been slower than one would hope for. I have fished about 7 different lakes ice varying 8-10' thick. The tip up action is hit and miss, remember to try to stay on weed lines for walleye or northern. Jigging has been okay using waxies and small jigs bluegill seem to be biting. 

12/17/18 - Reported by AAA Sports

Anglers are reporting 8 inches of ice on most lakes and more on some. They have bee a few ATV's out on the thick spots, but always be sure to check ice conditions before heading out as we have experienced some warmer weather that could have effected lake conditions. "Don't forget about our 13th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Funday on Thursday, December 27th!"


12/12/18 - Reported by AAA Sports & Washburn County Tourism

The crossbow/archery season continues through January 6th. 

Most of thee area lakes are good for ice fishing with reports of up to 8 inches on some of the lakes. Larger lakes throughout the area can still be quite thin in spots, some have just started making ice for the season. There have been some nice bass & northern pulled through; the crappies are starting to pick up! The walleye bite seems to be continuing very well for fisherman. Some smaller shacks are out on the ice but as always be very cautious this early in the season & throughout the winter when you're out on the ice! Good luck fishing!!


12/3/18 - Reported by Washburn County Tourism

As December has blown in so have some cooler temps which is just what the ice fisherman like to see because that can only mean the ice just keeps on getting better. There have been reports of ice as thick as 6 inches in some areas. The fish really seem to be hitting hard that last hour or so before dark - especially the Pike & Walleye. Always remember to be safe and check the ice conditions before venturing out as some of the larger lakes won't have as much ice yet. Good luck out there & stay safe! 

11/27/18- Reported by Washburn County Tourism

The nine day Rifle Season has come to a close, and we saw some beautiful deer harvested. We are now a couple days into the Muzzleloader season which lasts until Wednesday, December 5th. Good luck to the hunters that are still out there. 

As for the fishing side of things - with the cold temps most Washburn County lakes have begun to make their first ice. There have been a few brave fishermen out there, but please be very cautious as this is the first ice and it may still be thin in places. WCTA loves to hear about what you're up to in the outdoors so feel free to send us photos, share your stories with us. You just might see it featured on the official Fishing & Outdoor Report! Good Luck out there!! 

11/12/18 - Reported by AAA Sports 

Even though it looks like early ice, ALWAYS use caution and know your area! The big gun deer season is upon us!  We will be open Friday night until 10:00 p.m. and Saturday at 5:00 a.m. to  help you with last minute scopes, bore sighting, etc. Make sure to dress for the below average temperatures.


11/8/18 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service 

I’ve continued to take some folks out musky fishing this past week in Washburn County.  Fishing has been a bit on the slow side, it seems like we’ve been getting fewer chances at musky’s each time out.  We are getting the occasional fish to grab a live sucker, hooking them and landing them has proven to be quite an adventure here lately.  Water temperatures are in the low to mid 40 degree range depending on the lake. A forecast of daytime highs below freezing could keep us off the water, and/or end the season, we’ll just have to see how it plays out.
Good luck and good fishing,


10/1/18 - Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service 

Musky fishing here in Washburn County is getting better with the onset of autumn. Lots of nice fish are being caught across the area. Cooler lake temperatures have musky's hitting live bait more and more this week. Big jerk baits and soft plastics are catching a good amount of fish too. Fall colors are starting to come on now as well, what a great time to be outdoors!
Good luck and good fishing, Jim Stroede 

9/24/19 - Reported by AAA Sports

 Fall weather gets the fish moving!  Bluegills are plentiful and a couple of nice Northerns were brought in.  Muskie fisherman are getting more active.  We had three different groups in for Muskie suckers over the weekend.  We still have leeches (small and regular).  Small game, bear and deer archery hunting are all in progress. Waterfowl hunting opens this weekend.  Our next "Conceal and Carry Class" is October 13th at 10:00 a.m. 


 9/19/18- Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service 

Musky fishing has been improving here in Washburn County this week, and with the forecasted cool down starting tonight things should only get better on the big fish front!   In my boat we've seen increased action on topwater baits, really the only bait getting bit this week has been the prop baits.  We would have had a great week if we could have sealed the deal on a few big musky's, but hey, that's how it goes.  I took a group out for a multiple spieces trip early one morning and we did pretty well.  Big bluegills and a few crappies were most of the catch, but a few bass and a walleye also hit the net. 
I spent an hour filleting that day, so that was good!

9/10/18- Reported by AAA Sports

Fall weather is approaching, the foggy mornings are giving away to clear sunny days. Fish are moving again. We had 2 Northern brought in from Spooner Lake, 30" and 24", using northern minnow. And dandy crappie over 1 lb. from on the River, they were fishing for walleye with fatheads. Archery season is just around the corner. Bear hunters are out and waterfowl season is next. There are still antlerless tag available in Burnett and Washburn counties.


9/3/18- Reported by AAA Sports

The cooler mornings have the fish more active, the weekend was pretty productive and there were a lot of people out fishing. Nothing much to brag about but catching a few for the frying pan is always good. The Muskie fisherman are starting to move from lures to live sucker minnows. So much fun to have the kids come in for crawlers or waxies  and brag about the fish they have been catching. GOOSE SEASON: opened on Saturday, Grandsons Luke and Cade and another buddy got 15 on Saturday and Dawson Patrick said the they got 10 on Saturday. DEER:There are still antlerless tags available in  Barron and Washburn county on public and private lands. Burnett has private tags only left. Sawyer and Douglas counties were sold out the first week. BEAR:  Wednesday September 5th- Oct 9 - ZONE C bear hunting with aid of bait and all other legal methods EXCEPT DOGS. All other zones dogs are premitted, but check the dates. 

8/20/18- Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service 

We have seen a nice improvement in the fishing here in Washburn County this week.  Musky fishing is getting better as we've had action on topwaters and bucktails early and late in the day.  Weed beds near deep water seen to be the prime location right now. The first big cool down of early fall should turn these fish on majorly.  A mixed bag of Walleyes, bass and panfish have been biting on the lakes I've been on. It's currently a surprisingly shallow bite, 6-10 feet.  Bait shops no longer have leeches available, so we've made the switch to nite crawlers. Lake temps are in the 75-80 degree range.
Good luck and good fishing!


8/13/18- Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service 

Fishing has been tough this week around Washburn County.  We've picked up a few walleyes, a few pike, and a few smallmouth on area lakes.  Both jigging and trolling have caught fish, but overall its been tough going. The most consistent fishing has been for largemouth bass. Early in the day and again later just before dark it seems the bass get aggressive. We've done well on wacky worms and topwaters.  Musky fishing has been tough by and large also, however the evening bite is beginning to pick up a bit. I'm suspecting that when the hot weather breaks and waters cool fishing will pick up nicely.
Good luck and good fishing,
Jim Stroede 

7/17/18- Reported by AAA Sports

Hot weather has the fisherman out earlier in the day or into the early evening hours. Weeds on the lakes have us selling a lot of weedless hooks and lures such as the Johnson Silver Minnow or the Eppinger weedless spoons such as the Red eye. Also the 6" and 8" weedless worms. We just got in some new half head jigs for those of you who have asked. Also the Kalin "google Eye rattler". Not much for "show off" fish have come in but just a lot of fish for the dinner table. Don't forget our monthly fishing contest, good for $10.00 in bait! Coffee's on at 6:00 am!

7/10/18- Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service 

Musky fishing is picking up here in Washburn County.  We've been getting bit with bucktails and topwaters mostly, rubber jerkbaits are getting a few looks from bigger fish too. Largemouth bass continue to be very aggressive both early and late in the day. Wacky worms are great at times but other times they prefer a scum frog or other type of topwater. 
Some of the smaller, off the beaten path kind of lakes are really turning on around here, so don't miss out on the action!
Good luck and good fishing,
Jim Stroede 

6/25/18- Reported by Jim Stroede Guide Service 

Bass fishing has been great all over Washburn County this week. Largemouth are in the pads early in the day and hitting wacky worms like crazy.  Smallmouth are more wood and rock oriented, and going good on jig and craw combos.
Good luck and good fishing,
Jim Stroede 

6/23/18- Reported by AAA Sports  

Rick was out on Lipsie with four guys on Sunday; they caught over 85 nice panfish/crappies. They were using waxies and occasionally throwing out some leech for bait. Another gentleman was out on McKenzie and caught a dandy walleye on Saturday morning using leeches and his favorite secret lure. We're selling lots of crawlers right now as well. Some guys are buying a flat and keeping them for the whole summer in crawler bedding and worm food. I had an uncle that fed them egg shells and coffee grounds. Assuming that the lakes "up north" are compromised by the rains and subsequent flooding, lots of fishing would be going downstream.