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 10/3/2023
Looks as if Mother Nature is going through the “Change”! You know, hot (10/1 – 88 degrees) to cold (10/5,6,7 – highs of upper 40’s, bbbrrrr!) Short sleeves, sunburn, swatting flies to pull out the long johns! It’s that time of year, we should expect anything to happen.
Water temps, thanks to the heat of late, have risen into the mid-upper 60’s. Following a wet week, it’s hard to believe things didn’t cool off more. Once Saturday (9/30) mornings storm moved out, conditions have become very nice as people were seen taking advantage of what might have been the last “nice weekend”. We’ll see.
Bluegill: Good–Very Good – Sunny, warm weather following all that rain has the Gills fired up. Great catches of 7-9”, thick Gills with a few honest 10” measured to send off September. Crawlers and floats. Weeds of 8-12’ or available cribs or drowned wood.
Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good – Cabbage edges in the same 7-10’ depths as well as cribs or wood. Nice Perch to 12” taking 1/2 crawlers or medium fatheads on 1/16 oz jigs or under slip-floats.
Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Big bronze backs still hitting Whopper Ploppers and Choppo’s in shallow, 3-8’ depths. Twitchbaits (X-Raps, Husky Jerks) also producing in these areas. Nice, fat Smallies to 21” this past week.
Largemouth Bass: Good – Green weeds holding plenty of Largemouth. Wacky Worms, jig and Sweet Beavers as well as chatterbaits and spinnerbaits all producing well.
Crappie: Good – Lake fish still suspending outside weeds. Work from 5’ to as much as 15’ down outside coontail edges of 18-24’. Wood holding some fish. Medium fats, small jig/plastics and 1/16 oz beetle spins working best.
Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Not as much, as water warmed past couple days, but should pick up on spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and 4-5” swimbaits this weekend.
Walleye: Good-Fair – Rain and overcast last week helped until lightening storm shut fishing down on Saturday (9/30). Still, Shiver Minnows (#2.5-#3), Jigging Raps (#7’s & #9), 1/4 oz – 3/8 oz jigs tipped with crawlers, fatheads or chubs along gravel/mud transitions in 18-30’. On flowages, fish light, weedless jigs with 3-4” redtail or black chubs through timber along river channels.
Musky: Good-Fair – Electric storm hurt, but still some good action on bucktails and top-water this past week. A few reports on sucker action, but with this weekend’s outlook for a sharp drop in highs (88 to 48) expect the sucker bite to get hot!
Fishing pressure on some species such as Bass and Gills will likely drop following the cold to come. On the other hand, Musky, Walleye, and for a while, Crappie action should pick up.
Colors still beautiful, with more to come. Bundle up and come see for yourself.
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.