December Wisconsin River Walleye Fishing Report

Water Body

Spent the weekend hitting it hard on both Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin river near the Dells. Lake Wisconsin kicked out another hawg sauger for us on Friday but overall, it was slower than I would have liked so we pulled the boat to the Wisconsin Dells and fished the river below the dam on both Saturday & Sunday.

The difference between the fish we’ve caught on Lake Wisconsin this fall and the Wisconsin River is startling. On Lake Wisconsin, even on the days when we put plenty of fish in the boat, we averaged only one walleye per day. The rest were all saugers. On the river, we caught more walleye’s than saugers but the mix was much closer to 50-50.

On the river, if you just want to catch fish, drop a minnow rig in any deep hole and start hauling up shorties. If you wanted to catch legal fish, early and late in the day were much, much more productive and plastics were the way to go. To be more specific, 3.25″ paddle tails from B’Fish’N Tackle were what worked best in my boat.

There’s still fish to be caught on Lake Wisconsin, but is definitely slowing down quite a bit. If I was looking specifically for hawg saugers, Lake Wisconsin is hands down where I would go right now. It’s not going to be a numbers game but there are some hawg saugers out there to be caught.

If your looking for numbers and keeper size walleyes and saugers, the river below the dells appears to be holding far more “Hungry” fish than the lake.
Hopefully, this nice weather and river bite will last all of December. If not, it sure was a nice way to close out the 2012 fishing season.

Sorry about the short report but thats all I have time for this evening. Better short than not at all!

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56, Married (Nancy) no children, 1 yellow lab. Professional Fishing Guide on Lake Wisconsin for past 10 years


  1. I always put my clients in the front of the boat so that they get first crack at the fish. This weekend, they made the most of it by out fishing me in the back of the boat. This slot size walleye was one of the few that managed to slip past them.

  2. Quote:

    Sour Apple and Chartreuse Pepper Paddle Tail…also known as…

    Old Reliable.

    Close – But it’s actually the bottom side of a Green Tiger Precision Jig tipped with the Chartreuse Pepper Paddle Tail.
    Hard to go wrong with either one of those though.

  3. Nice report Joel. This Friday morning will be the first trip back into the water in some time for me and I think your report just helped me make the decision of my destination.

  4. Quote:

    Joel, really…what do you expect from a cat guy?

    Not much Captain Doo-Doo.

    The bottom of those two jigs look very similar. If I was just looking at the picture, I may have said the same thing.

  5. Yes, nice to get a few more walleyes in the catch. The relative girth of a 16″ Sauger from Lake WI vs below the Dells dam is quite noticable and speaks well for the shad population in the lake.

    I own a lot more ringworms then paddletails but for whatever reason, despite both in chartreuse pepper, the paddletails rule. Watching the respective tails side by side in the water with that slow current and noted the paddletail wiggles more. Looks like time for an investment in a few more colors just in case the old reliable has a slow day.

    What a blessing to get this warm fishable weather in Dec. Probably pretty frustrating for the ice fisherman.

    I added an Elite 5 DSI and could tell when I was getting into a school of quil backs(hooked a couple) but not sure how well I could see the walleyes. I hope more practice will tell the tale. Easily can see tree branches underwater as compared to the blob on my 2D 337cDf. Downscan on Eyeguy’s HDS was definately easier to read. When it comes to technology I guess you get what you pay for but still happy I have it because it does add info without significant damage to the budget. Instead of seeing a blob of shad I can see separation between them, suspended or on the bottom.


  6. Much respect Joel, I can’t get my open water fish to eat anything that doesn’t have minnows attached…………..

  7. Randy – No. I have not been using blade baits at all.

    Typically when the water gets this cold, I put the blade baits away and favor plastics. Especially the paddle tail from B’Fish’N Tackle.

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