Southern Wisconsin Anglers Working Hard For Salmon

By: Kyle Deavers

It’s been a struggle to catch salmon in our harbors and rivers in Southern Wisconsin. Don’t get me wrong you can catch fish. However, we have to work very hard to get bit. This is one of the lowest returns I’ve seen in at least a decade. I’m catching fish. I haven’t been skunked in a week, but you have to work hard to get fish.

I don’t know how many more kings are going to keep coming up. I trolled in front of our harbor today and didn’t mark any fish out there. Unfortunately, what is in our rivers now is what we may have for the season for kings. Fortunately, there’s plenty of coho showing up in the lower part of our rivers and staging in our harbors. I’m guessing the coho will be here through October at least and into November.


Typically, when the kings are done the coho show up. I think we’ll have a decent coho bite this year. I’m basing that on the numbers I’ve been seeing. A number of the fish we’ve been seeing jump are coho. They aren’t biting now. There’s too much still water in our rivers. Once we get some rain the coho bite will turn on.

I’m fishing with some of the best skein fisherman I know in Wisconsin and we all have to work hard to get fish. I’m working my tail off just to get my bobber to go down. Some days I’m walking a few miles before I get bit. The numbers aren’t here like they used to be. There’s some fish around, but low numbers of kings in our rivers are making it tough fishing. But for those who want to work hard there’s fish to be caught. It’s just not easy like it used to be.


Regardless of if they are kings or coho I’m using skein. But, if I can’t get them to bite on skein, which I’ve caught fish on skein everyday for the last week, I will troll to cover lots of water and find the fish. I’m trolling Berkeley Flicker Shads or Bay Rat Fat Wraps. However, most of the time we are fishing skein this time of year. The bite has already transitioned from crankbaits to skein. I’m running Pink and Orange BorX O Fire cured skein fished under a slip bobber.


Locating salmon is going to take some work, simply because numbers are way down. If I’m river fishing in the upper part of our river I’m looking for deeper pools. Our river isn’t that deep. In that area look for three to four foot deep holes. Those are the ones that hold the salmon. In our lower river, which is deeper, say 10-15 feet, I do things: drift a bobber and skein or troll crankbaits to find fish.


Editor’s Note: Kyle Deavers operates Big Boy Fishing. Find him on Facebook at