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 9/13/2021

The hot fall fishing can’t come soon enough for those of us looking at warmer than usual mid-September lake temps and some finicky fish of late.

Even early fall patterns have yet to kick in fully, leaving some anglers frustrated at the level of activity. Some, on the other hand, are seeing good action based on the reports of anglers targeting Musky and large Smallmouth!

Musky: Good-Very Good – Top-water action has been picking up as anglers are finding shallow water fish eager to take tail baits (Whopper Ploppers, Tally Wackers and Top Raiders) fished from just inside weed lines to just outside. Smity’s Flaptails have also been a good “throwback” bait on short sighted fish.

Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Don’t tell that to deep gravel anglers as only smaller fish seem to be out there. But outside weed edges are holding average fish, while the real brutes (19”+) are hanging in weeds (inside edges) hitting #90 Whopper Ploppers and buzz baits.

Northern Pike: Fair-Good – A few reports of decent Pike action on spinner baits and 4” swim baits. Live bait seems to have been a better choice for the “windows” when the bite was good.

Bluegill: Fair-Good – Interestingly, another flying ant hatch (usually about the third week of August) appeared this past weekend. Saw signs of small Gills feeding, but not as much from larger Gills. Weed beds without wiltering (yellowing) weeds best.

Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good – Best in heavy, green cabbage on jig/creature combos or wacky worming. Some top-water action on warming evenings.

Yellow Perch: Fair – Loosely mixed into green cabbage of 8-12” on some lakes taking crawlers. Not many reports.

Walleye: Fair - Anglers finding some migration to rock humps on lakes the further north you go. 1/8 – 1/4 oz jigs tipped with large fatheads best.

Crappie: Fair – Very few reports but some anglers using medium fatheads caught some scattered fish. Best bet to start at weed edges in 16’ with fish suspended 6’ off the bottom.

Lake surface temps range 64-69 degrees still! Rising in afternoons. Seems the flat, clear days were tough but wind created opportunity for anglers to find action by Saturday. Doesn’t look like temps will drop very fast, highs in mid-70’s will see to that. Trees just starting to show a little color in the Lakeland Area.





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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.