Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Midwest Outdoors July 2010

Fireworks Walleye, Catfish and Pike
By Joel 'Doc” Kunz

Sorry I missed you in June, check out to see what was keeping me so busy. If you are a Wolf River fishing fan, you are sure to enjoy the effort. Besides being the month of my birthday, July has always been one of my favorite times to fish here in Wolf River Country. For years July was the time of year when I had the most consistent success catching bigger fish. I would find the older generation of the resident population of walleye using prime ambush spots near deep water. A jig and leech cast to shallow water and pulled to the deep would usually find fish. Of course catfish and smallmouth bass, shephead and rock bass may also find your presentation. There are also clam beds and springs that hold walleye this time of year. So do areas like the “Rock Wall” where Partridge Lake meets the Wolf River. Early mornings, before the pleasure boat traffic starts, is always best. Rainy days are another gift to the fisherman, as long as there are no storms to deal with. Small crank baits cast to shoreline cover will also catch fish.

Want a bigger challenge, try the growing Wolf River northern pike population. At the writing of this piece northern pike fishing on the Wolf River and its backwaters has been fantastic. Fish over 40 inches have been common in a days catch with 34 to 38 inch pike commonplace. There is a 2-fish bag limit with a minimum size of 26inches in place on the system which has been responsible for the resurgence of the once well known Wolf River northern pike fishing. In my lifetime I've seen MONSTER Wolf River northern pike up to 55 inches. My personal best is a 44 inch pike caught, and released while drifting and jigging for walleye in November about 15 years ago. My summertime best is a 42inch fish caught while casting a large willow-leaf spinner bait in the Templeton Bayou. I also caught a few nice largemouth bass in the process, another fish in the system that should provide plenty of July fishing action.

Actually the bass fishing on the Wolf River system is quite good. There is a LOT of classic habitat for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The Wolf River has miles of rip-rap shoreline that hold the types of things smallmouth like to feed on. The backwaters have lots of weed-lines, wood and lily pads that the largemouth like to hang around. There are plenty of quality fish around with bass in the four and five pound range not rare. Average fish are in the 2 to 3 pound range and fight like you might expect a “river fish” to compete. Not the huge trophy class fish that the bay of Green Bay can produce but the Wolf River system does produce some DANDY fish and trophies DO exist. A 7 pound fish would never surprise me and a six pounder is sure to make someones wall this summer.

During the summer cat fishing is king on the Wolf River. Channel cats provide the bulk of the action and can be caught on a variety of baits. Stink bait is popular and can be rigged with “catfish tubes” and a new bait holder called a “Huckleberry”, which holds an aromatic paste concoction. I like to fish with fresh cut bait rigged on a slip sinker rig for channel cats and a live bait rig set for the better eating “Mississippi Bullheads” (flathead catfish) that the area is known for. A lively sucker or fresh caught bluegill from the waterways backwaters are the best presentations for these tasty river delicacy's. Find some deep water or fish near deep flooded timber and you may catch a big flathead.

Don't forget the systems huge bluegill population. The areas back waters and channels on Lake Poygan and Winneconne should provide some great panfish action. Numerous large year classes are in the system providing a bluegill population the Winnebago system has never seen. Check with local bait shops to find these fish. Perch are also a popular summer target on the system. Strong year classes of these fish also exist and are showing up all over the system. The mouth of the Rat River, Boom Bay and pages Slough are all popular places accessible from Kiesow's Landing on the Rat River south of Fremont. A strong local clientele that concentrates on the vast panfish population makes them a great place to start if you are looking for some Wolf River Country panfish action.

Keep up with my web site for more fishing and outdoor information on Wisconsin’s Wolf River Country area. Don’t forget to check out and also the new information on the Wolf River Walleye Club. Joel “Doc” Kunz is a field editor for Midwest Outdoors and 2005 Readers Choice Award Winner. He is also a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers.


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