Wisconsin River below the Dells Dam


A long, cold winter was officially put behind us when we made our first open water walleye fishing excursion of the year to the Wisconsin river below the Dells Dam.
Long time friends Mark “Buck” Pings and Kevin Key were more than willing to join me for the first fishing trip of the year. All of us were looking forward to feeling the pull of a walleye or sauger on the end of our line.

I knew we would not be alone on this stretch of the Wisconsin River below the Dells dam so I stopped at Sauk Prairie Live Bait & Tackle the night before and bought a couple dozen large fatheads, hoping that we could get an extra early start Saturday morning. Apparently, a lot of other people had the same idea! We arrived at the boat landing around 6:15am and managed to get the boat on the water just before 7:00am. The line of boats waiting to launch ran out to the road and several deep in both directions. Never seen that before this early in the morning. The long wait and crowded river is just kind of the way it is up here this time of year. Everyone wants to get out and there are not a lot of choices when it comes to places to go.

Early morning tempertures started out at about 23 degrees and stayed below freezing until late in the morning.
The fishing was slow in the morning hours and we only managed to put three keepers in the boat by noon.
The afternoon however was anything but slow. We started picking up fish with regularity around 1:00pm and managed to put a three man limit in the boat by 3:00pm.
A total of 17 walleyes, 1 sauger, 1 sturgeon and several blue buffalo all made there way over the side of the boat today and it sure felt good knowing that we were all going to be sharing fresh walleyes with our families very, very soon!

All of our fish came from water between 9′ and 15′ deep. Our best rig for the day was a plain orange and/or chartreuse jig tipped with minnow. Close behind were jigs rigged with B’Fish’N Tackle ringworms.

We were also checked by the game wardens at the end of the afternoon when we pulled out of the boat landing. Very glad to see them there checking fisherman as they pulled off the water!

All in all, it ended up being one of the better openers that we’ve had in several years! Sure hope it was a good one for all you other guys & gals who managed to get your boat out this past weekend.



  1. The orange jig tipped with a minnow was our number one fish catcher today but we still would not have caught a limit if thats all we had used.
    It always seems to pay off having another color or two out there, even when one particular color appears to be better.

  2. Nice catch, Joel. The Lower Dells has to be one of the more scenic places to fish in this neck of the woods….a pleasure even if the fish don’t cooperate. i think I have my wife convinced to spend a day out there with me chasing old marble eyes….but she says it’s to get closer to 50 degrees.

  3. I was there too Boog, only at Sauk earlier *(small fish to 15 1/2 ” ) was it there. Moved up to the Dells- never saw a crowd like that either. Looks to be a few more boats each year. Always a good time on the river though , just have to be courtious at the landing and on the water. ( I think the fishing will just get better into early April)

  4. Great report. Looks like a fun day. That Chart/orange ring worm is one of my early spring favorites here on pool 8 also. As much fun as I’m having on the ice I’m getting anxious to get out on in the boat again.

  5. Thanks guys!
    Yes, it did feel good to get that boat back on the water.
    And even though we didn’t get anything big, it was still fun to catch those eater size fish.


Leave a Comment