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 6/15/2021

The heatwave has finally broken with cooler temps and less humidity. That’s been a plus for angler comfort. The downside is, especially for Walleye anglers, we have to contend with Mayfly hatches.

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Reports of good-sized fish coming in, many 4 and 5-pound fish being caught. Ned Rigs, tubes, drop shotting have all been effective. Look for the larger fish to come on the first breaks.

Walleye: Good – Pick your lakes, if you see Mayflies try a different lake. Lakes where Mayflies haven’t been an issue, fishing has been fairly good. Leeches seem to be producing the most fish. Fishing the weed beds, 8-15’ is a good area to target fish right now.

Largemouth Bass: Good – A lot of action being reported, Waxy worms, creature baits, and tubes have all been producing. Look for the majority of fish to come on inside weed edges. Top-water action is starting to get better as well, pick your times to throw them though, mid-afternoon to sundown is when it has been best.

Musky: Good – Have been hearing quite a few fish being caught, most fish in the 30” range. Bucktails & swim baits have been producing, while top-water has been productive late in the day.

Northern Pike: Good – French spinners, spinner baits, and chatter baits fished above the weeds has been good as of late.

Crappies: Good – Plastics seem to be producing fairly well as of late. Crappie scrubs, twister tails, tubes worked over weeds in 8-12’ of water has been taking fish.

Bluegills: Good – Spawning is pretty much over, fishing remains good though, pick your bait of choice, leeches, worms, waxies are all working. For a little added fun, try a popper with a fly rod or a casting bubble.

Yellow Perch: Fair – Not many reports again, weed flats in the 10’ range has been getting fish, leeches and pieces of crawlers have been working.

Looks to be some cooler, more stable weather in the coming week, which will be a nice break from the 90-degree temps and strong storms. Remember Smallmouth Bass is still catch and release until June 19th.





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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.