By: Kyle Deavers

The skein bite has been hit or miss the past few weeks in Southeast Wisconsin. Some days we’re getting a few fish to bite in the harbors and rivers on skein. Meanwhile, warmer than normal river and harbor temperatures are keeping most of the salmon pinned to the lakefront.

With the current weather forecast I’m not anticipating a major change in conditions for at least a week. Once we either get a significant amount of rainfall or nights when temperatures fall into the 50s we will see salmon migrate further into our rivers. However, for now the best bite is going to remain within a few hundred yards of Lake Michigan’s shoreline.

We’ve been catching lots of coho and Chinook salmon on the lakefront and even a few brown trout are starting to show. Harbors from the Illinois border on north to Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee are experiencing the same conditions. If you push north to Port Washington and Sheybogan you’ll find the same thing. Lots of salmon on the lakeshore.


Last night we had hoped to film Pautzke Outdoors catching salmon on Fire Cure and BorX O Fire cured skein. Unfortunately, the bite in the rivers wasn’t happening. Instead of cancelling I chose to hop on a buddy’s boat and troll. While we only had a few hours of light to film we hooked more than two-dozen salmon.

The bite on the lakeshore is coming on crankbaits. It’s hard to fish skein in open water and against Lake Michigan’s rocky lakefront. Drifts can be challenging, which is why we troll hardware. With adequate numbers of salmon still on the lake trolling is an effective way to cover ground and locate active fish.


Fortunately, we had a west wind yesterday which kept the lake in good shape for an evening troll. Meanwhile, if there’s an east or northeast wind conditions tough for trolling. We can fish a south wind, but a hard north wind is bad news for trollers. Keep an eye on the wind forecast before you head out. If conditions are favorable you can expect consistent action.


We’ve been catching some salmon on spoons, but it seems like they are more keyed in on crankbaits largely because they make a louder noise. Last night we trolled Flicker Shads and Bay Rats HD Battle 1.5 crankbaits. Purple, fire tiger and blue were the hot colors. All of our lures were coated in Pautzke Liquid Krill, which is something I’ve been doing for a few years now.


Editor’s Note: Kyle Deavers operates Big Boy Fishing. For more information on his Wisconsin salmon, trout and steelhead guided trips please visit