Four fantastic fishing holes that won’t disappoint
The mind-boggling number of lakes in Wisconsin can make choosing one overwhelming. Not every lake is created equal—and neither are anglers. Some fishermen are looking for enough panfish fillets to fill their skillet. Others are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime pike to hang on the wall. So, here are fishing options to suit nearly every type of angler. If you want to catch pike, bluegill, walleye or catfish, these four bodies of water are where you should start.
In Star Lake, northern pike are the star of the show. Located in the heart of Vilas County, Star Lake is just over 1,200 acres and 68 feet deep. But this medium-size lake holds jumbo-size pike. In early summer, look for pike along the edges of weedbeds. In late summer, Star Lake pike head to deeper water. Cast large crankbaits and heavy spoons to tempt these suspended fish. There are some real lunkers in Star Lake, so hang on tight.
If you’re looking for big bluegill, head to the “Sunfish Capital of the World,” also known as Onalaska. Lake Onalaska, a 7,700-acre pool on the Mississippi River, holds huge numbers of enormous bluegills. The weedbeds, backwaters, channels and holes that constitute this complex fishery give the panfish angler endless options. If you like bluegill, it doesn’t get any better than this.
The Willow Flowage in western Oneida County might be Wisconsin’s best all-around fishing destination. At 6,400 acres, it’s one of the largest bodies of water in northern Wisconsin. But the highlight of this beautiful and undeveloped flowage is the walleye. Some of the Northwoods’ largest walleyes swim through the Willow Flowage’s channels, lakes, bays and more than 100 islands. Many anglers compare fishing the Willow Flowage to fishing in Canada. The drive is certainly shorter—and the fishing is at least as good.
The Mississippi River is the best place in Wisconsin to catch a trophy channel catfish or flathead catfish. And if you had to pick one place on the river to launch your catfishing expedition, it would have to be Prairie du Chien along the Wisconsin Great River Road. Not only does the river in this area hold huge numbers of catfish, Prairie du Chien offers everything an angler needs for a great outing, from lodging and dining, to fuel and fishing bait.