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 2/23/2021

Following two weeks of brutally cold weather, anglers are gearing back up to head onto the ice. With only two weekends left of the inland gamefish season, it's nice to see some good weather and great ice to get out on!

Northern Pike: Good-Very Good – Warm-up has helped get tip-up anglers going, holes not freezing up so fast (not to mention fish pulled from the ice). Mid mornings to late afternoons on the big baits (shiners, suckers, frozen smelt). Reports of some nice, heavy fish caught this past weekend to 34”.

Walleye: Good – As more anglers getting out, more reports. Fishing offshore humps using suckers (supplies of this bait getting low), river shiners or medium goldens. Large rosies and large fatheads using #12 trebles also good. Upswing in action as anglers using jigging Raps, Shiver Minnows, Hyper Rattles and Tikka Minos reporting better action. Working the 17-28’ depths seem best.

Largemouth Bass: Good – Jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads in 7-12’ depths. Tip-ups with medium shiners.

Bluegills: Good – Action has improved as the weather turned and anglers moving about. Wind of late cause for use of tungsten jigs to hold baits (mousses, waxies, beaver tail) in place.

Crappies: Good – Best over deep mudflats. Fish suspended 3-5’ off bottom taking waxies, small minnows on glowing jigs, spoons. Best action occurring 2 hours prior to and 1 hour after dusk.

Yellow Perch: Good – Mudflats of 22-34’. Hali jigs, Clam Pinhead and Kastmaster chained spoons with wigglers (very tough to find) or red spikes best.

Anglers targeting Ciscos and Whitefish having some success on pimples tipped with waxies.

Temps in the 20’s – low 30’s this week will allow for comfort. Ice of 20-34” great for travel. Some slush, but not enough to slow down travel on most lakes.





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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.