Anglers can count on netting walleyes throughout the state with rivers warming up faster than normal.

Most years the annual spring walleye run in Wisconsin’s rivers begins close to home in the Rock and lower Wisconsin, with more than a month to join the masses below dams and other barriers as water temperatures warm in more northern latitudes and large river systems like the Mississippi.

Water temperature right now in Rock River is close to 45 degrees—the magic number that pushes marble-eyes to procreate. Moon phase also has impact.

Full moon rising

The full moon will dominate the night sky starting Sunday. The next seven days should be off-the-charts fantastic for ’eye chasers right in our own backyard.

But action will be super on the lower Wisconsin, too. Not just from the Dells dam south, either. The bite is on clear up to Nekoosa.

Fishing at Nekoosa typically heats up about April 15, followed by Peshtigo, Fox and Menominee rivers three to seven days after that.

On the deep and massive Mississippi River, April 20 is a good time to vector northwest, with action on the St. Louis about May 1 as fish move inland at Duluth-Superior from America’s largest Great Lake.

The St. Louis is the only river fishery in the state where this migratory status quo is likely to stay on track.

Conventional wisdom says with the Big Dance commencing almost simultaneously all over Wisconsin, walleye gypsies who are forever searching for the hottest bite would spread out across the state.

But this certainly doesn’t appear to be the case. Could our common drive to breathe and live free be manifesting in more fishers out there? Almost certainly!

Hot spots everywhere

Essentially every river where walleyes can be legally pursued is a Charlie Foxtrot Fishapalooza right now, with April Fool’s Day the approximate midpoint of a 12-day walleye mad Hanukkah festival.

Ground Zero is the Fox River at De Pere. It is absolute nutso up there. All that’s missing is on-the-water hot dog vendors and a calliope on a paddle boat blaring “Here Come the Clowns.”

My apologies for the bohemian sarcasm. A long-time fishing gypsy, I was looking forward to the walleye version of a surfer’s “endless summer”—chasing the hottest action across the state for the next month or so.

Oh, well.

Save your gas money

It is time to click the heels of the ruby hippers together three times while whispering “there’s no place like home.”

There are worse scenarios in life than catching walleyes in our backyard river daily for the next couple of weeks. With gas prices skyrocketing over the past couple months, not joining the masses on the Fox, Menominee or Peshtigo has “St. Croix rod” instead of Kwik Trip written all over disposable income.

Ted Peck, a certified Merchant Marine captain, is an outdoors columnist for The Gazette. Email him at