Wisconsin Salmon Bite Peaking Now

By: Kyle Deavers

Harbor and river salmon fishing started much earlier than we are used to in Wisconsin this year. The first two weeks of September provided exceptional salmon fishing as unseasonable cold weather drew salmon out of Lake Michigan. However, the warm temperatures that have been with us for the last week has slowed the bite considerably. Fortunately, as cooler weather prevails our bite will reemerge.

Considering that the Wisconsin Division of Natural Resources cut our stocking it’s been impressive how many salmon have already returned this summer and fall. I’m betting we are in the middle of our run and will continue to see salmon migrate into our tributaries through October. However, for the run to persist we need rain and cooler weather. Those are the only two things keeping our bite from exploding.


Anglers are still getting a few fish on crankbaits. However, for the most part it’s turning into a skein bite. I’ve been fishing skein daily since Labor Day. Most years the skein bite doesn’t even kick off until mid to late September. This year has been different. We are going to be in the mix of our skein bite until the end of the king run. As with last season I’m still running Fire Cure skein that’s dusted off in BorX O Fire. The only thing different this season is I’m using more Red Fire Cure with Natural BorX O Fire. Last year I used mostly Natural and Orange Fire Cure. Those colors are still working this season, but the red has been my top producer.


Whether you’re fishing in Port Washington, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha or any of our other harbors along the Lake Michigan shoreline salmon will be found in the harbors, creeks and rivers at this point in the season. We will have salmon through October. When fishing skein I’m running it on 20-pound Redwing braid with 15-pound fluorocarbon leader. I’m always fishing skein under a bobber and on a size 6 treble hook or a size 1 single hook.


This season our salmon are slightly larger than last year. The average salmon is running about 14-16 pounds, but we’ve seen to up to about 28 pounds already. I believe someone will catch a 30-pounder this fall. If you have good bait and are fishing in a good spot it’s not uncommon to catch 10-15 salmon per day and as always weekdays are better because crowds are somewhat lighter.


Editor’s Note: Kyle Deavers operates Big Boy Fishing. For more information on his guided, walk in salmon fishing trips in Southeast Wisconsin please visit https://www.facebook.com/Bigboyfishing.