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Contact: Jake Swanson, DNR assistant wildlife communications specialist or 608-235-4829

Fall Hunting And Trapping Season Forecasts Highlight Hunter Opportunities, Notable Changes To Limits And Zones


A large male Whitetail Buck is seen against a backdrop of orange and red fall leaves in Kansas.

Archery and crossbow season begins Sept. 12. Check the DNR website for a full list of upcoming season dates. / Photo Credit: iStock/Ricardo Reitmeyer

MADISON, Wis. – Hunters and trappers across Wisconsin are in the final countdown to the fall season openers. To help get ready, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has pulled together the 2020 fall forecast series, which details everything Wisconsinites need to know ahead of the game.

Forecasts can be found at the links below and on each corresponding species page.

2020 Fall Deer Hunting Forecast

2020 Fall Upland Game Bird Hunting Forecast

2020 Fall Migratory Bird Hunting Forecast

2020 Fall Bear Hunting Forecast

2020 Fall Furbearer Hunting and Trapping Forecast

More information on hunting, including regulations and season dates, is available on the DNR website. For more updates throughout the fall hunting seasons, follow the DNR on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

8/6/20 - Reported by Wisconsin Fisherman

Most fish have moved deep if the lake allows, If fishing a shallow lake find the cool places like Lilly pads and shaded areas for bass and bluegill.
We found some bigger bluegills in water from 30' deep to 15' all stacked on fish cribs. Trolling with divers along weed lines should intrigue some toothy predators to bite like northern pike and walleye. Crappie have turned to a slow presentation like a sinking fly on a fly rod. Good luck to all anglers! Be safe and have fun, remember to check local regulations and laws.

8/6/20 - Reported by Wild Country Guide Service

Wild Country Guide Service
Caught this beauty on a Washburn county area lake this morning 8/6 with clients from Missouri. Fish came off a deep weed line on a Blue Fox Super Bou spinnerbait. Had a couple others follow. Key was fish where active during the moon set period. - Billy Rosner, Wild Country Guide Service

7/3/20 - Reported by Wisconsin Fisherman

The water temp has been heating up and fish are starting to transition to deeper structure like rock bars, fish cribs, and deep weeds. A leach or minnow on a slip bobber should produce a variety of fish. The target depth for that set up is about 12-16 feet deep. The Northern pike have been aggressive on spinners and shallow diving crank baits in shallow bays and weed edges. Crappies are still hanging around and hitting on minnows and small crank baits like the Rapala Countdown. Walleyes can be caught with a number of techniques like jigging with sucker minnows or Lindy spinner rigs. Be safe out there and catch some fish!

6/10/20 - Reported by Wisconsin Fisherman

The bite has been heating up with most fish up in shallow weeds or even on beds! Slip bobbers and leaches are working for just about anything right now! With the temperature heating up the fish should be moving to deeper jumps and points. You can still fish them deeper with the slip bobbers too and be effective! The bass are starting to hit too water baits like fake frogs and buzz baits. Stay safe and be aware of each lakes fish size limits and local laws. 


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.