Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.


Loading Photo Galleries ...

Duffy Kopf with a Wisconsin River muskie. / Gary Engberg/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

More

I happen to live on the Lower Wisconsin River, about five miles downriver from the Prairie du Sac Dam, which is the last dam on the river before the confluence with the Mississippi River some 85 miles downriver. Here, below the dam, are the twin cities of Sauk City and Prairie du Sac or, as they are often called these days, Sauk Prairie.

Above the Prairie du Sac Dam and to the north is Lake Wisconsin, a flowage of the river that flows south from the dam at Wisconsin Dells. Iím trying to give you a little background on how the population of muskies on the Wisconsin River and the Lower Wisconsin River got there and seem to be increasing in numbers during the last decade.

There is now a fishable population of muskies below the Prairie du Sac Dam to the Highway 12 bridge and to a lesser degree from the bridge downriver (Lower Wisconsin Riverway) to the Mississippi River. Muskies are caught with regularity in the three or four mile stretch directly below the dam by trolling and casting. This is the area that Iím suggesting a muskie angler target for some legal and big muskies. These muskies came from Lake Wisconsin during periods of high water and to a lesser extent from the Mississippi Riverís muskie population. Now, they are common and fishermen who want to try a new location to fish should find time to experiment and fish the Lower Wisconsin River for muskies. I know of numerous fish from the legal size of 40 inches to almost 50 inches caught in the river the last few years.

Muskies have been stocked in Lake Wisconsin, which is just on the other side of the dam, for years. But, how did muskies got into the Lower Wisconsin River? They seem to have found a home where they are growing fat on good forage and are increasing in numbers every year. For years, muskieís have been accidently caught by anglers fishing for walleyes and saugers in the spring and fall. Now, you can go out and put in at any of the local boating ramps and muskie fish in just a few minutes! The boat landing that I would recommend is the one at the VFW Park which is a short distance and boat ride from the dam. The area directly below the dam is a good place to start your Wisconsin River muskie fishing expedition.

Begin by fishing the east shoreline below the dam. Iíd spend some time (at least an hour) casting your favorite baits along the shoreline, the points, the riprap, the transition areas that go from rock to sand, and anywhere else where you can find eddies and calmer water. Thereís an eddy along the east shore that attracts fish of all species and muskies seem to cruise and feed along this shoreline. Bucktails, jerkbaits, glidebaits, spinner baits, and shallow running crankbaits all will catch fish and work well.

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

The new Bait Rigs Esox Cobra jig and its assorted plastics are really taking off with numerous muskies being caught on this new jig and plastic grub and reaper tail combo. Other baits that work particularly well in the riverís stained water are; Smity Baits, Bucher Shallow Raiders, Grandma Baits, Mannís Minus I Jerkbaits, Bull Dawgs, and Hog Wobblers. The best colors are natural ones like perch, shad, and firetiger. Baits that give off a flash, a sound, and vibration work well in the stained water of the Wisconsin River.

As I just said, the east shore line is the best place to start with the east shore having a large back eddy along the golf course shore. Also, work the willow trees and brush near the islands on both sides which are a couple hundred yards down from the dam. From there, Iíd fish both sides of the river all the way to the Highway 12 bridge. Youíll find slack water areas, some wood, riprap shorelines, bridge abutments, islands, flats, deep drops, rock, gravel, points, and spring holes in this couple mile stretch to the bridge. Fish both the east and west shores.

The best way to fish is to use your Minn Kota bow mount trolling motor (make sure itís fully charged and you have a good thrust power) to position your boat and slowly drift while casting the shorelines. As the weather and water warms up, muskies get very aggressive and will attack both top water baits and big bladed spinnerbaits. Down near the Highway 12 bridge is Rayís Riverside Resort and a canoe livery with a small island and bay. Fish this in warm and hot weather because there are springs in the little bay behind the island that holds muskies in the warm months of summer.

Trolling is also legal in the Wisconsin River and this technique allows you to cover more water while looking for active fish.You should be able to have action on both sides of the Wisconsin River as you travel westward or downriver. Use normal muskie gear that you would use anywhere else you fish for big fish. The minimum size for muskies is now 40 inches, up from the old 34 inch minimum. I was part of a group of local anglers that submitted a resolution in the Spring Hearings one year to raise the size limit to a more respected 50 inches. All muskies should be released anyway! Always, practice, catch, photograph and release.

Gary Engberg is a professional tournament angler, fishing guide, and writer. He began fishing tournaments in the early 1990ís and has fished the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT), North American Walleye Association (NAWA), Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC), World Walleye Association (WWA), FLW, and Mercury Nationals in the years since. Gary has hosted the Outdoor Horizons radio show weekly for 14 years in Madison on WTDY 1670 AM and WTDY 106.7 FM Saturdays at 8:05 am. and is also a correspondent for the Wisconsin State Journal for the last 12 years. Visit http://www.garyengbergoutdoors.com for more from Gary Engberg.

More In

Don't Miss

Join Our Team!

If you are interested in working for an innovative media company, you can learn more by visiting:

Gannett Careers

Wisconsin Day Trips

See all Day Trip Videoes


A new video will be shared in this series every Thursday

Get Published

Report on your outdoor group's news! Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com's Community Newsroom is a free service provided to clubs, nonprofits, schools, churches, families, scouting groups and civic organizations to publish their news, events and happenings on our website. Wisconsin residents with an interest in the outdoors are invited to write articles that Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com edits and shares with our readers online.

Submit an article today

Blogs