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 1/12/2021

Maybe it’s based on how great things have been, lots of anglers on the ice, lower than normal barometer or just an ice fishing hangover! Fishing slowed some this past weekend. Anglers reporting having to work a little harder for the fish they did catch, but catching has continued! With ice thickness on average of 11-13” and only a couple inches of snow on the ice, travel by foot, sno-mo or ATV excellent. Can’t recommend truck travel yet, even though it’s being done.

Walleye: Good – Anglers working offshore humps jigging 13 Fishing Majic Mans, Hyper Rattles, Slab Raps and jigging Raps. Scoring fish during the early morning hours and dusk to just after period. Suckers on tip-downs best on these areas while those working 6-12’ weeds at dusk reporting better success on shiners.

Crappies: Good – Weed anglers still finding Crappies in 10-12’ narrow leaf cabbage using Lethal Cecils and Rockers to present plastics and beavertail to fish. Crappie minnows on tip-downs still producing well both there and on mud basin fish in 14-22’ while working Venom Inferno jigs and sling blade jigs tipped with waxies.

Bluegill: Good – Ice anglers getting good results using Clam Dingle Drop and Swirl Drop jigs tipped with mousees in 6-10’ cabbage pockets. Tungsten jig flys offered in a slow drop also a good way to tempt reluctant biters.

Northern Pike: Good – Some very good-sized Pike reported this past weekend, fish to 39” on big shiners over weed tops of 6’ in 12-16’ of water. Smaller Pike active in flats of 6-10’, river shiners and goldens best.

Yellow Perch: Good – Have to search to find active fish. In weeds, K-Rips and T-Rips tipped with waxies. Work bait aggressively to attract attention, then hold bait still once an audience arrives. Over mud flats Hali jigs, Kastmasters D-Chain tipped with wigglers or red spikes doing the trick. Tip-downs baited with small rosies or a large wiggler on a #16 treble upping the odds.

Largemouth Bass: Good – Most anglers picking up Bass on tip-ups using medium shiners. Jigging a #3 pimple tipped with a minnow head also producing.

Forecasted temps seem to be holding steady this week, the dreaded “Polar Vortex” to arrive on Sunday with lows in the low teens to highs in low 20’s (it is winter here) shouldn’t be as drastic as predicted. Some more cold to build another 2-3” of ice would make truck travel better. Overall, it’s been an incredible ice season so far.





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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.