Walleyes fuel Fox River fishing madness

DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - If you've been anywhere near the Fox River near De Pere in recent days, you've likely noticed the river is jam-packed with boats.

Fishing boats crowd the Fox River in late March 2019 (WBAY photo)

The attraction is simple.

"What brings me here is the chance of getting a big walleye, obviously, but the quantities, you can catch good quantities here," said Josh Seebruck, who came from Wisconsin Rapids.

"Thousands and thousands of walleyes coming up to spawn," Fritz Peterson, a Sturgeon Bay fishing guide, said, laughing, "and you're chance of catching like a 30-inch walleye is really good here."

Thanks to word of mouth, outdoors shows and publications, and more recently social media, the spring walleye run on the Fox River is famous and considered one of the top trophy walleye destinations in the world.

"For the Upper Midwest, I tell you what, there's no better place to catch a 10-, 11-, 12-pound un-spawned female for pictures, and then we just recommend letting those go to do their business," Jason Muchel of Oshkosh said.

"Oh, one of the top places, absolutely. I mean, look at the people that are out here. They come from all over the state of Wisconsin and other states," Peterson said.

Sometimes, though, that makes for an interesting dynamic on the water.

Crystal Guerrero from Illinois told us, "Last year my mom was laughing when I sent her the pictures because it looked like a parking lot up there. If somebody had to leave, like go to the bathroom, the next person sank right in."

So if you're looking to join the fray this weekend, just remember this advice.

"Don't run into people, and just stay safe out there," Seebruck offered.