Top three online tools to boost your fall fishing along Lake Michigan tributaries


Lake Michigan chinook and coho salmon are making their spawning runs up Lake Michigan tributaries now, and while flooding has made fishing in some areas challenging, anglers are encouraged to check out a trio of online resources to monitor fishing conditions and enjoy an exciting fall fishery.

Anglers enjoying fishing the fall salmon run at Kletzsch Park Falls in Milwaukee earlier this month. Photo credit: Reni Rydlewicz
DNR Creel Clerk Reni Rydlewicz gets ready to measure and record an angler’s haul of a rainbow trout, chinook salmon and a brown trout earlier this month. Photo credit: Reni Rydlewicz

“The fish are definitely swimming up rivers to spawn,” says Laura Schmidt, Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist for southern Lake Michigan. “The flooding is making it difficult to access some areas, but we are hopeful the water conditions will improve soon and that anglers all along Lake Michigan can enjoy this exciting fall shore fishery.”

Great fall fishing for shore and pier anglers can be had right in the heart of Wisconsin’s urban center on tributary waters. Anglers can use these resources to find good shore fishing spots and understand fishing conditions and what baits and presentations are working.

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  1. DNR’s Lake Michigan Outdoor Fishing Report is a weekly compilation of the reports that nine DNR creel clerks compile describing what they’re hearing from anglers about what species are biting, where, and on what baits. The creel clerks survey anglers at fishing ramps, shore fishing spots, harbors and tributary waters and more through the end of October. Watch this video of creel clerk Reni Rydlewicz at work. Read the report and sign up to receive the free weekly updates in your inbox by visiting and searching “Lake Michigan Fishing Report.”
  2. DNR’s 50 places within 60 minutes of Milwaukee is an interactive online guide and a downloadable, printable pocket guide to steer anglers to many sites in and around Milwaukee. Find fishing locations, directions, distance and driving time from downtown Milwaukee and the dominant fish species. Get the link to the interactive site and to the PDF now: go to and search “Milwaukee fall fishing.”
  3. DNR’s Lake Michigan Tributary Access webpage provides PDF maps showing public access spots to tributaries all along the shoreline. Download and print out the maps you want or store it on your phone and go. Get the maps on, search “Lake Michigan tributary.”

Anglers also have a chance to see Lake Michigan chinook and coho salmon up close this Saturday, Oct. 13, during an open house at the Root River Steelhead Facility Open House in Lincoln Park, 2200 Domanik Dr., Racine. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and visitors can enjoy guided tours of the facility and watch DNR crews demonstrating fish spawning procedures. There are also casting lessons, knot tying, fly-tying, and more activities to enjoy.

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Outdoor Newspaper
I’m an editor, hunter, fisherman, author, and wildlife photographer who lives and breathes the outdoors lifestyle. The Out of Doors is my office. I specialize in the daily publishing management of the Outdoor Newspaper, publishing outdoor industry-related content to the digital pages of our outdoor journal.

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