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 7/20/2021

More mild like Northwoods summer weather has prevailed with temp fluctuations not so severe as to throw patterns off. This being said, not everything has been “hunky dory”, but many species are reacting well to this summer pattern.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – The Boys (and Girls) of Summer! Mornings through afternoons in thick cabbage beds. Work swim jigs, swim baits, pre-rigged plastic worms, and spinnerbaits mid-range through cabbage of 7-12’. Not so active? Go deeper with Ned rigs, Wacky worms, and jig and creature combos. Evenings are a great time for topwater action on buzz baits, frogs, Whopper Ploppers, and jitter bugs! Lots of action and size this week!

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good/Good – While some nice fish are being found shallow (hunting in 6-8’ cabbage) for numbers work off-shore humps of 16-24’ using drop-shot rigs, football jigs with plastic craws and Ned rigs.

Bluegill: Very Good/Good – Active with water temps in the 70’s. Work deep outside weed edges to find suspending gills 6-8’ down along 16-22’ coontail using small leeches and jigs with tiny plastics. Evenings using poppers on small “ants” or sponge spiders in the shallows.

Northern Pike: Very Good/Good – Better during the early A.M. using spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and 4” swim baits over and through 6-9” weeds.

Musky: Good – Topwater action good with evening and early mornings using loud tail baits (Whopper Ploppers and Top Raiders) followed up by more subtle top baits such as Creepers and Hawg Wobblers.

Yellow Perch: Good – Lots of perch activity in weeds on medium fatheads, leeches, and pieces of crawler. A few reports from anglers fishing deep sand grass on frozen soft shells.

Crappie: Fair – Scattered and hard to locate #’s. Small 1-2” twister tails on 1/32 – 1/16 oz jigs worked through weed tops is best

Walleye: Fair/Poor – Following reports of other mayfly hatches last week, walleye understandably slow. A few nice fish here and there but mostly smaller fish in heavy weeds in the A.M. Small chubs on ½ crawlers best.

While walleye and crappie action still off, overall other species biting better this past week. For action and fun, summer bass can’t be beat!





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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.