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Todd Wendorf with a lake trout.
Todd Wendorf with a lake trout. / Todd Wendorf/For


One of the rites of spring in southeastern Wisconsin is getting out in your boat for the first time and chasing lake trout in the Milwaukee harbor. The fish are available this time of the year because of comfortable water temperatures and an abundance of bait fish, including gobies along the rocks of the harbors break walls.

From late March and into April giant Lakers can be found in the shallow waters (20- to 30-feet) along the inside and outside of the main (middle) and south gaps in the harbor.

The presentation is simply jigging soft plastics like Gulp 4 inch minnows in pearl and chartreuse on a 1/4 ounce jig head. If you've jigged for walleyes ... you can catch these fish too. Just watch your electronics and locate them. They'll almost always be hugging the bottom in one of those two gaps.

More on fishing: Fishing news from around the state | Your fishing photos | Build a map | Read fishing reports

The bite has not begun yet but should be soon. An easy way to see if they're active is to look for boats in the two gaps via the harbor cam at Scan on the camera to the gaps to the south (right on the screen) and look for boats.

If you're interested in hiring a guide for a trip Brian Settele of Fish Chasers Guide Service can put you on the fish. Brian can be found at

With nicer weather on the horizon it may be time to pull your boat out of storage and start chasing big lake trout in Milwaukee!

Read more posts from Todd Wendorf.

Todd Wendorf specializes in wading and shore fishing throughout Wisconsin. Having grown up in northern Wisconsin, he now resides in the Madison area.

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