Wisconsin has more than 15,000 lakes, 1,000-plus miles of the Great Lakes shoreline, and nearly 150 species of fish. Angling is astoundingly accessible with bass, bluegills, bullheads, crappies, catfish, muskie, perch, pike, and walleye, all ready to be reeled in. You should know the best bass fishing lakes in Wisconsin to fully enjoy your fishing trip!
Lakes Michigan and Superior offer excellent charter fishing opportunities, and state inland lakes are well-known destinations for cracking a beer and tossing a rod on a cruise. Lakes Monona and Mendota surround Madison’s booming isthmus. Lake Geneva offers big-mouth bass in an exciting resort area, and Lake Winnebago narrates the dream of nature-dwellers in the overlooked Fox Valley state.
But if you’re looking for some fishing off the beaten track, there are many smaller, secluded, fish-filled waterways and best bass fishing lakes in Wisconsin.
Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin
With its tranquil scenery and more than 15,000 lakes, the state of Wisconsin is a refuge for fishers. Though Boulder Junction is a self-proclaimed Musky Capital of the World, there are also thousands of hot fishing spots for big and smallmouth bass, crappie, northern pike, and walleye.
Wisconsin has one of the world’s highest concentrations of natural lakes, even more than Minnesota. Vilas County alone has more than 1,300 lakes. Beyond the trophy-sized fish that grow in Wisconsin’s wild waters, anglers can reconnect with nature as eagles fly overhead, and the only sound on the water is the movement of the fish in harmony with the sunrise.
Your greatest challenge when fishing in Wisconsin is to figure out which species to pursue and which lakes to navigate first. Close down your options with our list of the best bass fishing lakes in Wisconsin.
1. Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin: Big Saint Germain Lake
The coveted fish of Wisconsin is the musk. The musk is called the fish of 10,000 castings because it’s not easy to catch, but you can improve your chances by reaching rivers like Big St. Germain Lake in North St. Germain, Wisconsin. The 1,600-acre lake is more extensive than most in the state, which means that there is more space for mosquitoes to grow to boast sizes.
This is the prize in the pool. It’s got big fish in high numbers. The population, the food, and the habitat here are all greater.
The Musky season runs from Saturday of Memorial Day to the weekend of November 30. The two best times of the year for the trophy musk goal are mid-August to early September and October for the river’s ice-up. Boat fishing is better on Big St. Germain Lake than the shore fishing, as it is largely surrounded by private land.
Due to the lake’s size, hiring a guide for this body of water who knows the topography and changes in depth will maximize your chances of landing an elusive musky. It’s easy to stay in a lodge in St. Germain that can also link you to a reputable guide in the city.
2. Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin: Lake Winnebago
Ice road and fishing huts on Lake Winnebago Royal Broil / Photo changed.
Lake Winnebago, East-Central Wisconsin, is the largest inland lake in the state. The towns of Appleton, Fond du Lac, and Oshkosh are situated directly on the lake for easy access by boat or fishing from the shore. For convenience, in the early morning hours, you’ll want to stay in one of these cities for easy access to the water, which is the best time to fish.
Lake Winnebago is renowned throughout the country for its sturgeon-lake season, which lasts 16 days every February. It is one of only a few lakes in the country with managed sturgeon spears. Licensing criteria are stringent and must be granted by October 31 of the previous season. The self-sustaining lake sturgeon community of Lake Winnebago is ranked as one of the finest in North America.
The success rate for landing a sturgeon is only around 13-percent, but those who do may find one weighing more than 200-pounds at the end of their line. Lake Winnebago is also known for its large population of walleye, often in the 12-to 23-inch range, as well as northern pike, largemouth bass, perch, and bluegill.
3. Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin: Eau Claire Chain Of Lakes
The Eau Claire Chain of Lakes is a small chain of rivers in northwest Wisconsin. It consists of 11 associated lakes and streams covering 10,000 acres. The largest lakes in the chain are Upper Eau Claire, Middle Eau Claire, and Lower Eau Claire, the most famous for recreational fishing. The additional smaller lakes are more difficult to locate, but some anglers prefer to spend a day navigating the entire chain.
The Anglers have the ability to land musk, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, perch, crappie, and bluegill. Deep, clear water in this chain of lakes is one explanation why many of these species are trophy-sized fish.
Owing to these rivers’ remote nature, the easiest way to navigate is with a local guide to save you time and make it worse to get to the right location. Cable and Drummond are your nearest towns to find food, accommodation, and bait shops.
4. Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin: Jute Lake
In Vilas County, Jute Lake, situated at Boulder Junction, is a quiet 191-acre lake that turns out to be an impressive largemouth and smallmouth bass. The depth of the water is between 8 and 23 feet, and the water is mainly clear. With 194 lakes within a 10-mile radius in this area, Jute Lake is a gem, but a guide best navigates it because it is so remote. Other fish present in the lake include musk and different forms of pancakes.
The smaller lakes have less pressure and a really strong catch. Jute Lake is one that we enjoy because the bass is abundant and eager to take most of the bait. The isolation is what the Northwoods is all about.
When you get to Jute Lake, the time of year will decide whether the bass is hanging around the perimeter or in open water around the rock piles. Make sure to look up to the sky as the fog rises early in the morning, as you are likely to see the eagles circling overhead. Vilas County is a more isolated place in northern Wisconsin, so you may want to book a private lodging cabin during your stay to be near the lake system.
5. Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin: Kickapoo River
Trout anglers flock to the Kickapoo River in southwest Wisconsin as one of the best spots for trout fishing in the world. For its world-class fly-fishing, the river and its tributaries are surrounded by hilly countryside, beautiful cliffs, Amish fields, orchards, and stands.
One of the waterway hallmarks is the base flow of cold water streams, which provides a pristine natural habitat for trout. The Kickapoo River West Fork trout fishing site is a 24-mile spring-fed river in Wisconsin’s unglaciated Coulee Country near La Crosse.
Cold waters support natural populations of brooks and brown trout, and this is the primary goal. Gays mills is a town right on the river, but Viroqua, 15 miles away, is a nice place to stay and eat.
6. Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin: Mississippi River Pool 10
Another hot fishing spot in southwest Wisconsin is Mississippi River Pool 10, between Prairie du Chien and Lynxville. This portion of the waterway stretches 32.8 miles and is home to more than 119 species of fish. There are a lot of islands, backwaters, and side channels alongside limestone bluffs that support a diverse aquatic ecosystem.
The Anglers come here to hunt the walleye, the sauger, the big mouth bass, the smallmouth bass, the catfish channel, the northern pike, the bluegill, and the crappie. Good populations of more rare species such as blue sucker and paddlefish are also present. Apart from the vast number of species to see, this location is ideal because you can fish by boat, shoreline, or fishing pier, depending on your exact location and time of year.
7. Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin: Black Earth Creek
Black Earth Creek is a prime waterway for fishing since it has been shielded from urban sprawl. Conservation organizations have worked to preserve a quality habitat, making it a top fishing spot for trout. Located in south-central Wisconsin, the creek is very remote. The towns of Cross Plains and Black Earth are directly on the creek, but most anglers tend to remain in neighboring Madison, 20 minutes south.
The cool, clean, clear water winds through the woods and meadows with healthy brown, rainbow, and brook trout populations. The 27-mile creek, just west of Madison on Highway 14, has access points marked with road signs and parking in certain places.
8. Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Wisconsin: The Barge Fishing River Mississippi
Some of the Midwest’s best fishing events take place from the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin, near Alma, La Crosse, and Trempealeau. The floating platforms, also known as fishing boats, are on some of the river’s best fishing spots. Anglers can expect to catch walleye; bass; pike; sturgeon; bluegill; catfish; perch; and occasionally, sauger.
The barges are stable, making it a safe and convenient way for children to experience river fishing. A shuttle service that takes you from the town dock to the barge is included in the float charge. Several floats are accessible in various locations along the river and provide rod rentals and bait supplies, as well as toilets and food service. The best time of the year to fish from the barges is March through November.
You should stay at LaCrosse, Alma, Trempealeau, or Genoa and pick up a shuttle to the barges.
Why Fishing Is Good For You
Fishing is one of the most affordable outdoor sports and one that almost everyone – regardless of age, health, and income – will enjoy. While it is one of the most popular leisure activities in the world with a rising number of participants every year, very few people seem to know that fishing is an enjoyable pastime and contributes to a person’s mental and physical well-being. And the best thing is that all of these advantages are not only enjoyed when participating in the sport, but they last for a long time after the fishing trip has finished. So if you’re always on the fence to try fishing, here are some of the best reasons why fishing is good for you.
Fishing Is Helping To Alleviate Tension.
In a country where most people live a stress-filled life (and with less than half doing a decent job of handling it), finding a way to relax is essential to maintaining excellent mental health. While other things can help with this, such as participating in contemplative things such as meditation or paddleboard yoga, it is the response to spending a day in a field casting for trout on a cool mountain stream or fishing for bluegills on a pond. In reality, just letting your eyes rest on the softly shining water, or even just being close to the water and listening to the lapping waters of a fishing kayak, gives you a feeling of anxiety and peace.
One of the reasons that many anglers enjoy fishing is that it gives them a feeling of ‘independence’ and avoiding the stresses and decisions at work and even at home. When life piles up and becomes too much to bear, fishing will provide a much-needed weekend away from where you can relax, unwind, and come back rejuvenated and energized, ready to take on the world and all its troubles.
To really have a relaxing day of fishing, switching off your phone. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy (and even normal) for everyone in our society to prefer to computers, smartphones, tablets, and any other gadgets out there. And it is a fact that a large amount of stress faced by many people is because they are still related. That’s why you’re going to want to turn off your phone when you go fishing. By removing yourself from text messages, texts, Facebook updates, and any other distractions, you’re going to be able to go back to a simpler time where it was easier to get off the grid and just get away and leave your tension behind.
Enjoy The Outdoors.
It is very natural in this modern world that we find our lives overwhelmed by technology, from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep at night. With all the ‘busyness’ and commotion that’s going on around us, we find it harder and harder to get away from our busy lives and enjoy the outdoors. Fishing offers us the ideal opportunity to reverse the lifestyle.
When you go fishing, it’s hard not to connect with nature. The warm sun on your face, the cool water, and the scent of fresh air is something that we all need. You’ll be able to take in the scenic views of the surrounding mountains when you’re out on the lake and listen to the quiet around you. The beautiful sights and rhythmic sounds of birds and insects chirping in the distance will definitely make you feel much closer to Mother Nature.
Enjoying the outdoors also has a calming effect on the mind. Few things on earth can give you a feeling of being alive and grateful than being out there communicating with Mother Nature.
Fishing Helps To Support Mother Nature.
In fact, when you go fishing, you are contributing to the safety and conservation of the environment. Through buying fishing licenses (and paying the taxes associated with the acquisition), you are helping to finance numerous wildlife and restoration projects around the country or in the state where you are fishing. Some fishermen also form organizations and societies committed to the conservation of marine animals and their habitats. Angling has also become an effective method for controlling wildlife. Over the years, angling has managed to keep the wildlife populations of most fish species healthy and even successful.
Fishing Keeps You Fit Physically.
At first glance, fishing does not look like a physically taxing or strenuous task. After all, fishing looks a lot like it’s about sitting in a boat or a bank (with a bit of dozing out here and there). Fishing, however, can actually be a healthy type of exercise.
Although fishing itself won’t get your heart rate up (unless you feel anxious about falling into the water, although reeling in your catch), many of the best kayak fishing spots in the country will require some hiking and paddling, all of which will help you boost your cardiovascular fitness. Put your kayak and fishing gear in a box or backpack, and you’re bound to give your muscles and lungs a pretty decent amount of low-impact workout.
Fishing Improves The Intake Of Vitamin D.
Going out to the lake or river helps you get some exposure to the sun, helping your body recover from its vitamin D reserves. Vitamin D is required to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body, keeping your bones and teeth healthy. This happens even though you intend to go fishing on an overcast day. That said, be sure not to forget to spray any sunscreen every now and then because overexposure to harmful ultraviolet sunlight can lead to a bad sunburn event.
There are few outdoor sports as thrilling as bass fishing. Wisconsin is home to both largemouth and small-mouth bass, and you can find one or both types in almost every lake in the state. But bass is not just ubiquitous — it’s also some of the most aggressive predators in the sea. Bass doesn’t have teeth like musk or a pike, but they do have a huge, strong mouth that swallows little fish, worms, frogs, insects, and everything they can catch. When the bass hits your bait or lure, there is no doubt about it. Almost every lake or river in Wisconsin houses a bass. But some of Wisconsin’s fishing opportunities for bass are all of their own in a class. Hopefully, with this guide, you found the best bass fishing lakes in Wisconsin.