Hunting, fishing, trapping and other 2013-2014 license and harvest permits for fish and wildlife activities in Wisconsin went on sale March 7, 2013. Visit the DNR website for more information. Licenses and permits for 2012-2013 expired March 31, 2013.
Recreational Safety Education Classes are now being offered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Check out the ATV, boating, hunting and snowmobile safety classes being offered in the area.
Shortly after the ice melts on area lakes, fishermen head to St. Germain for panfishing. Crappies, bluegill and perch are all common in St. Germain’s lakes. In spring, look for shallow, warm water, particularly in protected bays, and fish with small jigs and baits. As spring moves on, catch & release bass fishing becomes popular. For the earliest bass action, target shallow, structure-rich lakes with stained waters and dark bottoms.
Summer is the quintessential Northwoods fishing seasons for many anglers. Panfishing gets increasingly better as the year progresses. Muskies become active shortly after their spawn in late spring. Early in the season, target areas just off prominent points and mid-lake humps adjacent to deeper water and fish smaller baits. As the summer progresses, increase the speed of your retrieves and the size of your baits.
St. Germain’s lakes are full of walleyes. Your chances of locating walleyes are greatly increased when you keep an eye on weather conditions, water temperatures and light conditions. Walleye tend to be shallower in low-light periods—such as sunrise, sunset and under cloudy skies—and move deeper during the day. Target mid-lake humps and deep weedlines.
Smallmouth and largemouth bass action is excellent on St. Germain’s lakes. Largemouth bass tend to hold tight to thick weed cover and structure for most of the summer and provide excellent action. Smallmouth are found deeper, generally around deep rocks and deep weedlines. Often when the walleye aren't cooperating, there’s great bass fishing to be had, so be prepared for both species and you'll improve your chances of getting into some great fishing action.
As the days grow shorter towards fall, many of St. Germain's fish species increase their feeding—which makes for great angling. Fall is the best time of year for catching behemoth trophy musky in St. Germain, with really tremendous-sized fish being caught right up until the lakes freeze over. Walleye action often increases as well, as does smallmouth fishing in the early part of fall.
For many fishermen, the real fishing starts when the lakes freeze over. St. Germain is a favorite destination for ice fishermen. Some of the best walleye and northern pike fishing can be had through the ice. The most popular technique for winter walleyes is jigging or using tip-ups with small to medium sized minnows. By far the most popular technique in St. Germain for winter pike is using a tip-up baited with large shiners or other live minnows. Crappies, bluegill and perch are also ice fishing favorites. If you’re looking for a great ice fishing getaway, check out the St. Germain resorts that specially cater to ice fishermen, with shanties and amenities ready when you arrive.
Pete Stoltman Report ~ Updated 05/01/2013
St. Germain 2013 Fishing Opener
Will the ice be off the lakes by opener this Saturday? In the past two weeks I can’t count how many phone calls and emails I’ve answered with a variation of this same question. If I had to bet all my accumulated wealth (about $6.47 at the moment) I’d say an unqualified “MAYBE”. This going to be really touchy. Over the past weekend and through Tuesday we’ve experienced some very nice weather. While a lot of snow has melted around St. Germain and the surface ice on the lakes is becoming very fragmented we still have a huge floating ice cube on most area lakes. There are still fishermen ice fishing on some lakes although it’s becoming more difficult with a fringe of shoreline open water starting to make access challenging. With a cold snap in the forecast for the next few days and on and off showers of mixed snow and rain predicted I think it will be difficult at best to find open water. The exception to this may be areas of flowages like the Rainbow and Willow or certain areas of lakes with strong current. However, I would certainly not count on being able to cruise up to your favorite lake and expect to find open water. Now in case I’m wrong, and I hope I am, I think we can expect walleye fishing to be a little tough. They may or may not be spawning and in shallow but since we haven’t been able to be on the water it’s really anyone’s guess. I sure don’t want to discourage anyone from coming north to fish but conditions compel me to give you fair warning.
If you do come up to fish, you may want to do yourself a favor and make sure you have your fishing license in order. In addition to purchasing a 2013 license at any bait or sportshop you also have the option to purchase online through the DNR website. First time purchasers will need to provide identification and a social security number so make sure you have that info handy for youngsters or anyone who has not purchased a DNR license in the past.
Of note I’d like to advise you that an enthusiastic group of anglers have formed a new Muskies Inc. Chapter in our area. The Northwoods Chapter 61 held their first meeting in April with over 100 members in attendance. This group has a goal of actively improving both the musky and walleye fishery in our area. The next general meeting will be held at Fibber’s on Big St. Germain on May 14. After a social hour and club business legendary angler Tom Gelb will present a seminar on open water fishing. For further information about the club please visit their new website at www.northwoodsmuskies.com .
Well, let’s hope the next few rainy days puts a hurt on the ice and we can all get out and enjoy the traditional sport fishing opener this Saturday. Have fun and be safe.
Regular Fishin' for Regular Guys Guide Service
St. Germain 2013 Fishing Report
Rob Manthei Report ~ Updated 05/06/2013
It was a pretty bleak opener in Vilas County. Very few people out and about, and lots of ice. Lots of local businesses expect a good opener to start the year off, well Mother Nature didn't get the memo.
Rob Manthei's Fishing Guide Service
Wisconsin Outdoor Report - Weekly report is updated every Thursday at noon.
- Click here for Wisconsin Boat Registration & Titling Information.
- Click here for online recreational vehicle registration.
- Click here to purchase your fishing license online.
St. Germain Area Fishing Guides
- Buck's Guide Service
- Erv Keller Guide Service
- Lakeside Guide Service
- Pete Stoltman - Regular Fishin' Regular Guys Guide Service
- Rob Manthei's Fishing Guide Service
Interesting Fishing Related Articles
- EEK! Environmental Education for Kids - Electronic magazine for kids. Learn about the great outdoors!
- Fish Identification Database - Search this database to identify all fish species in Wisconsin.
- Ice Fishing in Wisconsin - Early season forecast for ice fishing provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
- Invasive Species in Wisconsin - Department of Natural Resources information.
- Lake Maps - Oneida County
- Lake Maps - Vilas County
- Lake Turnover - The seasonal process of mother nature cleansing and oxygenating our lakes.
- Musky Fishing - Info, publications and regulations for musky fishing in Wisconsin.
- Take Me Fishing.org - Website features lists of places to boat & fish and other resources.
- Things to See & Do in Vilas County (PDF) - Fun spots to visit in Vilas County.
- Vilas County Lake Directory (PDF) - Online directory of useful information about Vilas County lakes.
- Wisconsin Angler Education Classes - Courses offered by the Department of Natural Resources.
- Wisconsin Boating Laws & Responsibilities (PDF) - Department of Natural Resources online publication.
- Wisconsin Fishing Regulations - Department of Natural Resources information.
- Wisconsin Fishing Report - From January to December, there's always a place to fish, fish to catch and fishing fun to be had!
- Wisconsin Lake Information - Important questions & answers on Wisconsin lakes.
The Department of Natural Resources has detected a virus affecting fish in the Lake Winnebago system called viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS for short.
The DNR reported that this virus is not harmful to humans and that it is completely safe to handle and eat fish caught in Wisconsin waters. It is important to note that VHS is a deadly virus to fish and spreads easily among a variety of fish populations. The DNR is actively responding to contain this threat and has issued the following recommendations that should be practiced on all Wisconsin waterways:
- Put your catch on ice and do not move live fish and unused bait minnows away from the landing or shore.
- Drain all water from bilges, bait buckets, live wells and other containers when leaving the landing or shore.
- Use live minnows purchased only from registered bait dealers in Wisconsin or catch it yourself in the same water you fish.
- Clean plants and debris from your boat before leaving the landing.
Below are some PDF files & links pertaining to VHS:
- Anglers, Bait & VHS Frequently Asked Questions
- Dead Bait Preservation Methods
- What is VHS?
- Species Affected by VHS (PDF)
- VHS Distribution in Wisconsin
- VHS Poster - General Prevention Steps (PDF)
- VHS Poster - Minnow Use Reminder (PDF)
- VHS Poster - Minnow Harvest Prohibition (PDF)