Winter is a great time to target what might be Wisconsin’s tastiest gamefish. Walleye bite throughout the winter, and ice fishing is the ideal way to target this elusive predator. Best of all, Wisconsin is home to some of the top walleye fisheries on the planet.
Ice fishing allows walleye anglers to pinpoint active fish and carefully present lures and baits—the same careful approach would be difficult from a rocking boat. When an ice angler finds a group of active fish, he can quickly catch his limit. And, there’s nothing like the sight of a big, fat walleye coming up through the ice.
This winter, experience the thrill of catching walleye through the ice. Here are eight of the very best Wisconsin winter walleye waters.
Oshkosh – Lake Winnebago
At 138,000 acres, Lake Winnebago is the king of all Wisconsin walleye destinations. The Lake Winnebago System, which includes the Wolf and Fox rivers, has unmatched natural reproduction. The result is a fishery with numerous walleye and good numbers of big fish. During the winter, the area around Oshkosh offers some of the giant lake’s best walleye fishing.
Rusk County – Lake Holcombe
Few Wisconsin lakes offer such a diverse, high-quality fishery as Lake Holcombe. This 4,000-acre lake is a flowage on the Chippewa River. Lake Holcombe boasts more than 120 miles of shoreline. Walleye anglers will find good fishing throughout the winter.
Stevens Point – Lake Du Bay
The sprawling Lake Du Bay is a nearly 7,000-acre flowage on the Wisconsin River. The lake is known for its musky, pike, smallmouth bass, panfish and walleye. Anglers should look for sunken trees and other structure along the old river channel. Some of the deeper backwaters can also hold fish.
Oneida County – Lake Tomahawk
This classic Northwoods lake provides great walleye fishing during the winter. It is one of the biggest lakes in northern Wisconsin, weighing in at 3,392 acres. The lake is famous for its fishery, which includes a healthy population of walleye.
Boulder Junction – Trout Lake
Deep and cold, Trout Lake is stands out as one of Wisconsin’s best fishing lakes. The crystal-clear waters hold not only the usual selection of warm-water gamefish, but also lake trout and whitefish. The walleye on Trout Lake grow big and fat on the healthy forage base. Be ready to tie into a hefty fish.
Rhinelander Area – Boom Lake
This flowage on the Wisconsin River is one of the most popular fishing destinations in Wisconsin—and for good reason. Walleye anglers will find good action here throughout the winter.
Onalaska – Lake Onalaska
The Mississippi River is one of the best walleye fisheries in the country. Lake Onalaska, a 7,700-acre pool on the Mississippi River, is an outstanding walleye destination. In addition to walleye, Lake Onalaska offers great fishing for northern pike and panfish.
Black River Falls – Lake Arbutus
Lake Arbutus is a multifaceted destination. In addition to northern pike, musky, bass and crappie, you’ll find good numbers of walleye. It’s a great place to set out some tip-ups. You never know what you’re going to catch here.