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.



Minocqua Area Fishing Report  3/28/2023

by Kurt's Island Sport Shop

This past week is what late ice fishing should be. Plenty of ice (even for trucks), great weather and cooperative fish!

Ice thickness, thanks to snow cover, remains in the two-foot range. Despite rain on 3/23, cold and wind helped dry surface so slush not the problem that was feared. Getting around became easier each day as warm days (40’s) followed by cold nights (teens) drained, compacted, then firmed up surfaces.

Crappie: Very Good - Excellent – Reports of anglers limiting out in 1 ½ - 2 hours. Lake by lake different depths. Weed related Crappies in 8-12’ using tip-downs with minnows 3-5’ under the ice (sometimes higher). Plastics on rocker figs also effective. Signs on the cleaning table showed these fish gorging on small Perch and Bluegills. Also bite in varying depths of 15-22’. Tip-downs again prevailing with small rosies held 5-8’ off the bottom. Some lakes Crappies found as deep as 35’, rattlin jigging spoons tipped with waxies to draw these deep fish in.

Bluegill: Very Good – Best still in 8-11’ of weeds, suspending in top half of water column. Dark plastics on #3 tungsten jigs or tipping dot jigs with waxies. Some Gills relating to deeper (15-20’) suspending over mud taking wigglers meant for Perch. Gills will typically move in shallower as ice lessens and water starts to work down holes.

Yellow Perch: Very Good – Most Perch anglers finding fish over soft bottoms in 15-22’ using wigglers on pimples or Halis. Nice size (10-12”) being caught mixed in (usually just below) Crappies and Gills in these areas.

Was a nice weekend to be on the ice. With open water to the south and east, angler pressure has been low and fishing great! Forecast for snow at the end of the week will just slow ice melt, though could make travel a bit more difficult. If it doesn’t come to pass, expect another great weekend of tip-downs on the ice.



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

The Minocqua Chain is a 5,929-acre chain of lakes in Oneida County. The Chain includes Kawaguesaga, Minocqua, Jerome, Mid, Tomahawk, Little Tomahawk and Mud lakes, along with the Minocqua and Tomahawk thoroughfares. The Minocqua Chain forms the headwaters of the Tomahawk River and is part of the Upper Wisconsin River watershed. Tomahawk (3,462 acres), Minocqua (1,339 acres) and Kawaguesaga (700 acres) are the largest lakes of the Chain and provide the majority of the Walleye spawning habitat.

The adult walleye population and natural reproduction of the Minocqua Chain of Lakes in Oneida County has experienced a substantial decline since the early 1990s because of low recruitment of young fish into the population. The Minocqua chain currently has catch and release walleye regulations through the 2024-2025 fishing season. 
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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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Watercraft Sales, Inc.

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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.