Minocqua • Arbor Vitae • Woodruff
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Northern Wisconsin Fishing

Seasoned anglers and novices alike enjoy testing their skills in the Minocqua area’s lakes, rivers and streams. Most support a variety of fish, such as Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Large and Smallmouth Bass, Trout and Walleye, and most have public access.

Popular Fishing Lakes

Some of the more popular fishing lakes favored by visitors and locals include, Big Arbor Vitae, Clear Carrol, Madeline, Squirrel and Squaw. Bassmaster recently named the Minocqua chain one of the 25 best bass lakes in America’s central region and one of the top 100 in the nation. There are numerous wilderness sites for a quiet escape. Some good bets are the Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area and the many lakes dimpling the Northern Highlands-American Legion State Forest.

Mid Lake, which has shallow water that warms quickly, is the place to be in spring, when Musky and Northern swim here to spawn.

Minocqua Chain Walleye Project

Given the lack of significant natural reproduction, the partners* have put forth a proposal to continue one more year of harvest closure for both Tribal spearers and state-licensed anglers. This would allow the Walleye population to continue to build as quickly as possible. Pending results of an online public survey, and if approved by the Natural Resources Board, this would potentially push back the opening of Walleye harvest on Minocqua Chain to May 7, 2022. If this plan is approved, then DNR plans to estimate the Walleye population on Tomahawk in spring of 2021, and comprehensive fisheries surveys and angler creel surveys in the year Minocqua Chain re-opens to harvest. The DNR is also planning to model different regulation options and make a recommendation about whether to implement an 18-inch minimum length limit or another appropriate regulation once harvest resumes.

*Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Headwaters Chapter of Walleyes for Tomorrow, Lac du Flambeau Tribe and the Tribal Natural Resources Department, Mid Lake Management and Protection District, Minocqua/Kawaguesaga Lakes Protection Association Inc., Tomahawk Lake Association Inc., Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company.
Read more and take the public survey.

Fishing Report

Minocqua Area Fishing Report by Kurt's Island Sport Shop 12/07/2021

A 9” snowfall and lots of wind 12/5 thru 12/6 shut down what had been a nice start to our ice season. Fortunately, high winds and cold temps (sub-zero) made for light snow that in many cases blew off the unsheltered portions of the lakes. This should allow for the cold to work its way in and make some more ice!

Walleye: Very Good-Good – Action (and participation) slowed by Sunday (12/5) but good catches and nice Walleyes even during mid-late afternoons. Jigging rattle baits (Rattlin Raps, Hyper Rattles and Rattlin Google Eyes) and vibration baits (such a Z-Vibers) also effective during these early ice days when Walleyes are the most active. Shiners on tip-ups are the preferred live bait while Eyes are still in the weeds.

Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Great time to ice some nice Pike in shallower water using big shiners or Pike suckers. Good reports of nice Pike in the 26-34” range. Try jigging a large Slender Spoon tipped with a minnow head on a medium to medium/heavy spinning rod and reel set up for some real fun!

Crappie: Good – Most anglers trying for Crappies finding action in green weeds of 5-8’. Minnows on tip-downs and Lethal Cecils fluttered down to entice action.

Bluegills, Perch, Bass: Few reports, not many anglers targeting.

Ice will still build, but not the way we would like with the snow cover. Walking still the only safe mode of transportation. Spud your way out anywhere you go. Look for 3” of solid clear ice for a safe platform. Many smaller lakes and protected bays have 3-5” as of now with 1-1 ½” of “soft” ice on top. Above all, be safe and use good judgement on the ice.





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Browse some top blog posts to help plan your next trip

Bass Fishing

The Minocqua Chain has been named one of the top 25 Bass fishing hotspots by Bassmaster. Find the Fish

Musky Fishing

Looking for that ‘one for the wall'? The musky is the ultimate trophy & Minocqua area lakes are the right place to find... Find the Fish

Walleye Fishing

One of the most sought fish in the Minocqua area, Walleye are ideal for trying your hand at making a shore lunch. Find the Fish

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Fish Recipes

The fish are caught. They are all cleaned and ready for cooking. Now, how are you going to prepare them? What will you use to complement the flavors of the fish? Here are some tasty ideas...

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Ice Fishing

If you enjoy fishing, don't let the snow and ice slow you down. Ice fishing in the Minocqua area is a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months.