Fishing the Fox River All Year
Written by Kyle Wogsland - Educated Angler Field Staff   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 17:07
Wouldn’t you love a chance to hook into a thirty inch walleye or a fifty inch muskie on the same trip?  In that case the Fox River in DePere, WI is the place to go.  This is the river connecting Lake Winnebago and the Wolf River to Green Bay and it is full of trophy fish.  I have viewed pictures of walleyes up to thirty-three inches long and muskies over fifty-four inches caught in this river.  The Fox is quite polluted so it is almost entirely catch and release which gives you a great shot at catching a lot of big fish.

Kyle with a nice walleye
In the spring the Fox is one of the first rivers in the DePere area that is open and has an early run of walleyes.  You catch populations of fish from both the river and fish from Green Bay that have come up the river to spawn.  You have a very good shot at a trophy here and for spring fishing the bag limit is just one and it must be over 28 inches.  Even with that limit you have a great chance to get a keeper, but be prepared to battle for it because it is very crowded and patience can sometimes be lacking.  There are many ways to fish at this time, but most anglers either jig the channel with a jig-tipped with a minnow or fish near the dam.  Anglers at the dam typically are jigging in less than 10 feet of water or casting cranks into 5 feet or less trying for a bite.  I know a lot of anglers catch even bigger fish here when they are willing to fish through the night.  Don’t forget to check out the warm water discharges they will usually be holding fish.



Jenny Wogsland sporting a fiesty river smallie
As spring turns to summer, the pleasure boater’s take over the river.  It gets a bit crowded and not as many people fish it.  You can still however catch fish, but are better off limiting your hours to low light conditions when the traffic is reduced.  Lots of people troll the channel, especially in the dark, and have success on both walleyes and muskies.  There is also some gigantic catfish to be caught in the deeper holes if that is what strikes your fancy.



It's a muskie - told you they were here
As the nights get colder it is muskie time.  On any given day you’ll see lots of die hard muskie angler trolling and casting and having great success.  I have seen pictures of several muskies over fifty inches that were caught in 2006.  This is also a great time of year to catch that trophy eye or hook into some nice river smallmouth bass action.  You can find both on all different kinds of structure that the Fox River provides, but don’t neglect targeting the dam in the same places as the spring.  These eyes also drop back into the large hole directly below the dam during cold fronts and can still be caught by slowly back trolling and jigging.



Don’t let winter end your fishing success it’s a great time to catch large numbers of walleyes with a few trophies mixed in through the ice.  The thing I must stress more than anything is that it is a river and has lots of current.  You must be very careful if you don’t know the river because the ice thickness can change rapidly over a few feet.  There is no reason to fish the channel before it has solid ice, as you can catch eyes in 10 feet of water and less at this time.  This is also a good time to stay away from the dam; I don’t consider that ice ever to be safe.  Most people walk on from Voyager Park in DePere, it is the easiest access with a short walk. 

Troy Simonar with an average ice eye
You can catch walleyes with a variety of tactics; you have fish on the bottom and fish that come through suspended.  Some people put out tip ups with luck but most focus on jigging, either spoons, lead jigs, or jigging Rapalas all produce.  If you find fish and are able to catch them, it is common to catch twenty eyes in one evening.  A little tip here is if you’re jigging, drill your hole for your vexilar transducer about 5 feet downriver from you and you will still be able to see your bait.  If you do see fish swimming through about 5 feet below the ice, get a jig up there, you will be shocked to find out these are normally walleyes.  You may even get surprised by catching a whitefish or two while out on the ice jigging for eyes.


As well as walk on access there is good shore fishing at Voyager, along with three pretty good boat landings on the river.  The most common boat landing is Fox Point in DePere right next to Dairy Queen.  This is a very nice launch with great facilities but can get crowded; you may want to get here early during peak fishing times.  The next is on the West side of the river at the Brown County Fairgrounds.  This is a decent launch but is kind of shallow so be careful on what size boat you launch there.  I know they dredged it this year, but haven’t been over there to confirm how deep it is.  Another nice launch is the Green Bay metro boat launch where the river meets Green Bay.  This gives you lots of opportunity to go any direction you want to fish.  Keep in mind that it is a long no wake ride from here to the dam.  In the spring even before the no wake markers are in, it is still no wake and it does get enforced.

Another thing to consider is that this river is very murky.  I have had great success on brightly colored baits and if they are big and rattle, even better.  I like fire tiger colored crank baits for walleyes and chartreuse jigs.  When fishing smallies I try for bright orange crayfish looking baits and these must rattle.  Whether you want to target muskies, walleyes, smallmouth, catfish or even pan fish, the Fox River is a great place for a lot of action with a great chance for a trophy!

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