By Jon Giacalone
Green Bay and the Fox River are recognized for outstanding fishing opportunities for trophy walleye, smallmouth bass and yellow perch. Many believe the next state record walleye will come out of the Fox River.
An excellent walleye population is present as a result of good recruitment and abundant forage. Anglers will find good numbers of 20-inchers with 30-inch, 10-pound fish not uncommon.
The tributaries around the bay accommodate seasonal movements of many species of fish. Spawning runs for rainbow trout (steelhead) occur at different times of the year. Chinook salmon will move into the rivers and creeks in fall. Walleye will move into creeks and rivers to spawn in spring, while some return to these areas in fall and spend the winter. And smallmouth bass will congregate in the rivers during spring and early summer for spawning.
Caution is advised when navigating both shoreline areas in the bay and tributaries. These areas have many shallow water hazards, including sandbars, rocks and logs. Ice conditions can be dangerous and extreme caution should be exercised, especially early and late in the season.
Interactive Lake Map
For a more detailed lake map and up-to-the-minute fishing reports, follow the Green Bay - South waterway page on Fishidy.
Here are some tips for locating and catching fish on Green Bay - South:
- Fox River walleye anglers prefer jigging over all other methods. Using light jigs, approximately 1/16- to 1/8-ounce, will avoid snags in riprap and wood structure. Bright-colored jigs in chartreuse, pink, green or white are preferred in the stained water. Tipping jigs with plastics, twisters, grubs or live bait, including nightcrawlers, leeches or minnows, will produce fish.
- Following the spring spawn, many walleye will move into deeper water and relate to a variety of structure. Breaks (especially rock) and reefs are the most popular areas to look for walleye during summer. Trolling the breaks and reefs will produce good numbers of fish, especially early and late in the day.
- Smallmouth bass locations will vary with the seasons. Spring bass anglers will focus on shorelines, points and rock structures. At this time, sight fishing is often important. Long-lining crankbaits on planer boards should keep the lure bumping the bottom to produce bass. By late summer and fall, most smallmouth bass move to open water locations on the main lake.
- The Oconto River is known for holding quality steelhead during winter, spring and fall. A variety of steelhead flies will produce fish. Little Cleos, Rapalas, Rooster Tails and Mepps spinners are popular choices as well. Steelhead can also be taken on spawn sacks and minnow riggings.
- Yellow perch are popular in the Green Bay area and angling from a boat, pier or shore is simple. Most anglers choose to rig a minnow, worm, crawler or crayfish tail to a hook and add enough weight to get the rig to the bottom.