Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Midwest Outdoors May 2008

The Wiley White Bass
By Joel “Doc’ Kunz

When it comes to May, most people are thinking white bass. And when it comes to white bass, Fremont and Winneconne are the primary names heard in conversations. That is because those are the areas where legendary numbers of “silvers” have been caught for generations. The narrowing of the Wolf River at Winneconne is on the main highway for the giant schools of fish that migrate out of Lake Winnebago. They must run this gauntlet of anglers in boats and on the famous Winneconne fishing bridge in order to get to the spawning areas upstream. Those areas are spread out in the lower Wolf River above Lake Poygan with the majority of the fishing action centered around Fremont. These areas are popular for two reasons. First and foremost is the fact that this is where the resort business is still a major part of the community. The good fishing for white bass in the lower part of the Wolf River system sure does its part, but it is the availability of rental boats, cabins and riverside hotel rooms that has kept people coming back for generations. At places such as Larry & Jan’s Resort in Fremont and Wolf River House in Winneconne, prime weeks are booked well in advance. Although not as many as in past years, family traditions have continued where the last name on some reservations have been the same for nearly 3 decades. Third and fourth generation anglers are spending Mothers Day in the same predicament as their fathers before them. That is, either scrambling to get back after fishing all week, or headed north to what is usually the peak of the white bass run. A bouquet of lilacs was always greeted with a smile until my wife figured out that it meant the white bass were biting. Considering that, it would seem that if those responsible for naming such events were fishermen, they would have called this mid May holiday Fathers Day and not Mothers Day. I’m SURE most Mothers would be quite happy with their day coming in June as picnics and other outdoor enjoyments would seem easier in the warmer June climate. And, with the white bass and walleye runs complete, most Moms would find a more attentive hubby at their disposal. That is, unless they are big in to the trolling bite, but that’s a different story.

White bass anglers shouldn’t overlook the New London area. Any good size group of fish thought to be out of Lake Poygan makes an early run to the New London area that is often overlooked. Most anglers in this section of the river are still chasing walleye in early May. With the majority of the male walleye taking their time getting back to the lower lakes and a good population of resident fish, fishing is usually pretty good this time of year. The white bass usually show up on an anglers stringer by accident but those who target these fish can do very well. IF, we have high water, even more groups of white bass will show up and phenomenal catches of fish are possible just as in the lower parts of the river. There are no resorts in New London, but the AmericInn does a great job of catering to fishermen. Electrical power outlets and spacious parking for trailers are the key features along with a great attitude towards fishermen and their needs such as fish cleaning. The pool and hot tub are additional bonuses as is the continental breakfast. With food and beverages within walking distance for post fishing activities, and a short drive to the boat ramp each day, it’s a great alternative to the often crowded lower river.

Speaking of the walleye fishing, May is one of the best months to target these fish. Those who like to drift and jig will find plenty of action as will those out fishing on Lake Poygan. Out on the lower lakes, drifting with slip bobbers or beetle spins tipped with a leech rigged on long cane poles will catch fish for those not set up to troll with planer boards. Those who have the equipment to troll multiple lines using planer boards will find good catches of fish most days. The emerging cane beds will start to produce fish also, if we have enough sunshine, as will casting small crank baits near shoreline structure. Bass anglers routinely catch walleye in a foot of water this time of year. The area where the Wolf River dumps in to Lake Poygan and where the Wolf and Fox meet below Winneconne are prime locations. Weeds and rocks will both hold bass and walleye. When it comes to the river, just about any stretch of river can hold walleye this time of year. Quite often there are good schools of walleye around Fremont but getting your presentation past the highly aggressive white bass is the problem. Low light periods where the walleye has the advantage is often a good way to target them. Night fishing is also good this time of year with walleye and white bass both common in an anglers creel. The river is much less crowded at night and if you find the right location, lots of fish can be caught. Wolf River rigs or jigs fished near drop offs and off current locations should provide good action. Hopefully my friends Mark and Cindy will be able to spend an evening in the boat with my wife Tammy and I doing just that. A May night, good friends and biting fish can make for some fun.


© Copyright 2009 - 2011 ~ Joel "Doc" Kunz - All Rights Reserved
No Use Or Copy Of The Material In This Website Allowed Without Written Consent By The Owner
Web Site Hosted By The Big Palm