Hunting, fishing, trapping and other 2014-2014 license and harvest permits for fish and wildlife activities in Wisconsin will go on sale in early 2014. Visit the DNR website for more information. Licenses and permits for 2013-2014 expired on March 31, 2014.
Recreational Safety Education Classes are now being offered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Check out the ATV, boating, hunting and snowmobile safety classes being offered in the area.
Shortly after the ice melts on area lakes, fishermen head to St. Germain for panfishing. Crappies, bluegill and perch are all common in St. Germain’s lakes. In spring, look for shallow, warm water, particularly in protected bays, and fish with small jigs and baits. As spring moves on, catch & release bass fishing becomes popular. For the earliest bass action, target shallow, structure-rich lakes with stained waters and dark bottoms.
Summer is the quintessential Northwoods fishing seasons for many anglers. Panfishing gets increasingly better as the year progresses. Muskies become active shortly after their spawn in late spring. Early in the season, target areas just off prominent points and mid-lake humps adjacent to deeper water and fish smaller baits. As the summer progresses, increase the speed of your retrieves and the size of your baits.
St. Germain’s lakes are full of walleyes. Your chances of locating walleyes are greatly increased when you keep an eye on weather conditions, water temperatures and light conditions. Walleye tend to be shallower in low-light periods—such as sunrise, sunset and under cloudy skies—and move deeper during the day. Target mid-lake humps and deep weedlines.
Smallmouth and largemouth bass action is excellent on St. Germain’s lakes. Largemouth bass tend to hold tight to thick weed cover and structure for most of the summer and provide excellent action. Smallmouth are found deeper, generally around deep rocks and deep weedlines. Often when the walleye aren't cooperating, there’s great bass fishing to be had, so be prepared for both species and you'll improve your chances of getting into some great fishing action.
As the days grow shorter towards fall, many of St. Germain's fish species increase their feeding—which makes for great angling. Fall is the best time of year for catching behemoth trophy musky in St. Germain, with really tremendous-sized fish being caught right up until the lakes freeze over. Walleye action often increases as well, as does smallmouth fishing in the early part of fall.
For many fishermen, the real fishing starts when the lakes freeze over. St. Germain is a favorite destination for ice fishermen. Some of the best walleye and northern pike fishing can be had through the ice. The most popular technique for winter walleyes is jigging or using tip-ups with small to medium sized minnows. By far the most popular technique in St. Germain for winter pike is using a tip-up baited with large shiners or other live minnows. Crappies, bluegill and perch are also ice fishing favorites. If you’re looking for a great ice fishing getaway, check out the St. Germain resorts that specially cater to ice fishermen, with shanties and amenities ready when you arrive.
Pete Stoltman Report ~ Updated 06/03/2014
Summer is finally catching up in the Northwoods and here’s the latest fishing info for the St. Germain area.
Crappies have been the featured species for the last week or so and continue to be a willing target. Many of the crappies have completed spawning and are starting to move (but not far) from their spawning areas. Some fish are still in quite shallow so be sure to check them but if you’re not locating fish then move to the closest emerging weeds. Deep edges of downed timber and cribs are also prime locations to locate these fish. A crappie minnow under a slip bobber is probably the most reliable presentation but if fish are aggressive they will go for small plastics like Gulp minnows or Mini-Mites too. On sunny days the crappies tend to hold tight to cover so be sure to get as close to those hiding spots as you can with your presentation. During low light periods and cloudy days the crappies are a bit more willing to move about.
Walleye fishing has been improving. We are finding fish in the emerging weeds mostly from 3-6 feet deep. I’m also starting to find fish relating to rock bars or submerged humps during prime feeding times. A large fathead minnow, chubs, nightcrawlers, and leeches are all catching fish at any given time. Jigging plastic grubs or those soft plastic minnow imitators is also working as well as crankbaits and stickbaits. Revised walleye bag limits are now in place so it’s best to check at the boat landing where you’re fishing to get the correct size and bag limits for that particular waterbody.
Bass and Pike seem to be running hand in hand. Both pike and largemouth bass are cruising the shallow newly emerging weeds. Don’t overlook those lilypads that are just springing to life. Try using something relatively weedless like a Johnson Silver Minnow spoon, Mepps Timberdoodle, or bass sized spinnerbaits to get the attention of these fish. Smallmouth bass are currently in the spawning process on their beds. Please remember that smallies are still in the catch and release category for the time being. I encourage anglers to use barbless hooks or smash down the barbs on their hooks with a pliers while these fish are so vulnerable. Some smallies are being caught multiple times a day and they can get very beat up by mishandling. Please help protect this world class fishery by handling these fish carefully.
Muskies are starting to turn on. They have completed spawning for the most part although you may still see some fish cruising or resting in very shallow water. Last week it was mostly only post spawn males that were showing up. This week however, we are starting to get reports of bigger females being caught. Shallow dark water lakes are turning on faster than the deeper clear water lakes. They won’t be far behind. Small crankbaits like 6” Jakes or Bucher Shallowraiders are working. Also try small jerkbaits like the Smity Tracertail, Phantoms, and 7” Suick Muskie Thrillers. If you’re a bucktail fan then a Mepps Musky Killer, Rizzo Wiz, or Bucher 500 are tough to beat right now. Watch for musky action to be occurring in the shallow weeds and on primary drop-offs. Warming water temperatures will get these fish moving as they begin to establish summer home ranges.
Speaking of muskies, I’d like to encourage you to check out the Northwoods Muskies Inc. chapter first Musky tournament. This tournament is intended to be very inclusive and inexpensive to open opportunities to a wide range of fishermen. The tourney will be held on 6 different lake “groups” in the area on June 28. For complete information or to register please visit the Northwoods Muskies Inc. website.
Thanks for visiting St. Germain and good luck fishing!
Regular Fishin' for Regular Guys Guide Service
St. Germain Fishing Report
Rob Manthei Report ~ Updated 08/05/2014
WALLEYES: The bite remains pretty good despite the weather (dead calm and sunny). The days with wind definitely help the bite. Some weird things are going on some of my lakes. Bites that are typically deep aren't going on right now, but those fish are in shallow green weeds (7 to 10 feet). Not sure why the warming trend(water temps 72-74) have brought the fish shallow, but they have been aggressive. I am getting them on small jigs(1/16 oz slow pokes) and leeches. Gulp! and other plastics(4" ringworms) are working great too. I am finding fish on deep sand bars too. Advice is to look for the normal stuff first, and if that isn't working don't be afraid to look in the thickest cabbage/coontail in much shallower water. The deeper bites have shown a definite preference in nightcrawlers for me. I haven't seen a really strong rock bite yet, but I am sure that will come soon.
Rob Manthei's Fishing Guide Service
Wisconsin Outdoor Report - Weekly report is updated every Thursday at noon.
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St. Germain Area Fishing Guides
- Buck's Guide Service
- Erv Keller Guide Service
- Lakeside Guide Service
- Pete Stoltman - Regular Fishin' Regular Guys Guide Service
- Rob Manthei's Fishing Guide Service
Interesting Fishing Related Information & Articles
- EEK! Environmental Education for Kids - Electronic magazine for kids. Learn about the great outdoors!
- Find a Lake - Searchable database by location, fish type or with landings, beaches or public lands/parks provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
- Fish Identification Database - Search this database to identify all fish species in Wisconsin.
- Ice Fishing in Wisconsin - Early season forecast for ice fishing provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
- Invasive Species in Wisconsin - Department of Natural Resources information.
- Lake Maps - Oneida County
- Lake Maps - Vilas County
- Lake Turnover - The seasonal process of mother nature cleansing and oxygenating our lakes.
- Musky Fishing - Info, publications and regulations for musky fishing in Wisconsin.
- Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest Recreational Overview Map - Recreation & facilities map in the NHAL State Forest (PDF).
- Take Me Fishing.org - Website features lists of places to boat & fish and other resources.
- Things to See & Do in Vilas County (PDF) - Fun spots to visit in Vilas County.
- Vilas County Lake Directory (PDF) - Online directory of useful information about Vilas County lakes.
- Wisconsin Angler Education Classes - Courses offered by the Department of Natural Resources.
- Wisconsin Boating Laws & Responsibilities (PDF) - Department of Natural Resources online publication.
- Wisconsin Fishing Regulations - Department of Natural Resources information.
- Wisconsin Fishing Report - From January to December, there's always a place to fish, fish to catch and fishing fun to be had!
- Wisconsin Lake Information - Important questions & answers on Wisconsin lakes.
The Department of Natural Resources has detected a virus affecting fish in the Lake Winnebago system called viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS for short.
The DNR reported that this virus is not harmful to humans and that it is completely safe to handle and eat fish caught in Wisconsin waters. It is important to note that VHS is a deadly virus to fish and spreads easily among a variety of fish populations. The DNR is actively responding to contain this threat and has issued the following recommendations that should be practiced on all Wisconsin waterways:
- Put your catch on ice and do not move live fish and unused bait minnows away from the landing or shore.
- Drain all water from bilges, bait buckets, live wells and other containers when leaving the landing or shore.
- Use live minnows purchased only from registered bait dealers in Wisconsin or catch it yourself in the same water you fish.
- Clean plants and debris from your boat before leaving the landing.
Below are some PDF files & links pertaining to VHS:
- Anglers, Bait & VHS Frequently Asked Questions
- Dead Bait Preservation Methods
- What is VHS?
- Species Affected by VHS (PDF)
- VHS Distribution in Wisconsin
- VHS Poster - General Prevention Steps (PDF)
- VHS Poster - Minnow Use Reminder (PDF)
- VHS Poster - Minnow Harvest Prohibition (PDF)