Fishing Season: Spring and Fall

Root River - WI

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


Orvis Milwaukee's Tip of the Week

Levels steady at about 70CFS. The river has been still fishing well for smallies and the Kings have begun to move in bit by bit. Fish are still isolated in deeper pockets. Highs will be much milder this week so the heat will be less of a factor and the water temps will cool a bit. Salmon in the harbors will be a factor in a couple weeks.

Directions open in app

Map of Root River

Water Flow Data

5-Day Outlook as of 10/2/23

Check or your local weather for more updates. After an unseasonal warming trend over the weekend, temps steadily fall off throughout the week with lows dipping in to the low 40s and even upper 30s by the end of next weekend. No substantial rain in the foreseeable future.

Techniques & Tips as of 10/2/23

With Kings in the river, it's time to bust out egg patters, egg sucking leeches and nymph rigs, swing flies through the seams with fluoro leaders on floating lines. Smallies and pike will still be eating streamers through the end of the month.

Local Species Available Spring and Fall

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    Chinook / Coho Salmon

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    Lake Run Brown Trout

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Orvis Milwaukee's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Meg A Egg Sucking Leech All Colors 2
Senyo's AI Intruder All Colors 4
Kauffman's Stone Black, Brown 8,10,12
Hot Cone Woolly Bugger Black, Olive 4,6,8
Skiddish Smolt White, Olive 4
Alaskabou Popsicle Orange/Purple/Pink 1/0
Trash Can Streamer White, Olive 6
GD SculpSnack Tan/Olive 8
Intruder All Colors 2
Bantam All Colors 2

Meg A Egg Sucking Leech

An effective imitation of a leech and egg, perfect for salmon and steelhead fly fishing.

Orvis Milwaukee's Recommended Gear

Description: About Root River

The headwaters of the Root originate in West Allis. Fishing is best south of the Horlick Dam near highway 38. The DNR run Root River Steelhead Facility collects eggs and is also a fish hatchery and located just south of Colonial Park. Seasonal runs of salmon, steelhead and brown trout in spring and fall from the mouth of the river up to the first dam. Low water in the summer Season by season: Spring: Beginning at ice out lake run browns and steelhead will begin entering the river. This annual run of fish is rain dependant. The most dependable fishing begins when the water temperature reaches 40 degrees, usually in March, and lasts until the end of April. Swung streamers and nymphed glo-bugs are solid producers. Summer: The river does have some pike and smallmouth fishing in summer, but the river mostly tends to run at very low levels. Fall: Around October 1st, big king salmon begin to ascend the river. These brutes will test the medal of any angler. Steelhead will follow when the water temps drop below 50 degrees. This run will last until ice up of the river.

Nearest Airport:

General Mitchell International Airport



Best Time to Fish:

Mornings; Late afternoon into evenin

Best Stretch:

Lincoln Park

Best Access:

Quarry Park, Colonial Park