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.

Fishing Report

Minocqua Area Fishing Report by Kurt's Island Sport Shop 9/15/2020

Following what seemed like late October weather in early September, morning temps in the 30’s at launch time on several days, temps warming up mid-week, though mornings can still be downright cold.

The yo-yoing temps have made for inconsistent fishing on many days with afternoons better than mornings as the difference between water and air temps shrink.

Crappie: Good+ – Deep wood holding Crappies in Flowages. Slip-bobber medium fatheads for slabs of 12-14”. On natural lakes anglers finding Crappies along deep coontail edges of 14-18’, suspended 3-4’ off bottom, and around deep cribs of 18-28’.

Bluegill: Good – Not for action but big Gills taking ½ crawlers beneath slip-floats in and around same areas as Crappies, deep!

Northern Pike: Good – Casting swim baits, spinner baits and #4 Mepps Comets above cabbage. Also jig and chubs. Windy days providing best action.

Musky: Good – Reports have been mostly of anglers using
fast moving glide baits, twitch baits or bucktails. Some top-water. Suckers on bladed quick-set rigs as surface temps in low 60’s already.

Walleye: Good-Fair – Deep lakes vertical fishing gravel/med transitions using Shiver minnows/Jigging Raps or ¼ oz jig w/ large fathead or ½ crawler. If trouble finding in this area, drift mud flats with Lindy rig and crawlers in 18-30’.

Largemouth Bass: Fair – Weather has kept Bass anglers off water. Plunging weeds with heavy jigs and creature baits best to draw reluctant fish. Afternoon warmth improving fishing.

Smallmouth Bass: Fair – Same as above. Sandgrass flats giving up a few fish on drop-shot rigs, gravel humps of 20-28’ holding some Smallies feeding on crayfish and sculpin!

Yellow Perch: Fair – Few reports, probably due to wind.

Mid-September already and not a typical one, cool, wet and windy. Water temps down, water levels up from typical average this time of year.

So Far Musky suckers look to be getting hard to get. Pond suckers due to past two winters in Minnesota, wild suckers due to high river levels. Cool down of lakes from nights in 30’s should get the Musky bite going this week.






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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.