Fishing in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is about connecting with the people and nature around you. It's just difficult to beat a state that is known for beer, cheese, and fishing. This state has access to Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, consisting of more than 1,000 acres of shoreline between the two.

To find the best fishing lakes in Wisconsin, one has to look at themselves and what you prefer because a vast majority of the natural lakes in this territory are capable of producing legendary fishing memories.
  • Best Fishing in Wisconsin

    Lake Hayward Fishing

    • Located in the county of Sawyer, Wisconsin, it boasts five public beach areas, and several nearby hotels have indoor pools, helping this lake make this list for its family-friendly fishing experience.
    • With it's accommodating atmosphere and underrated bass fishing, this is a lake area where the whole family can grab their tackle and enjoy the easy life.

    Lake Winnebago Fishing

    • If you're going to choose one area for ice fishing Wisconsin, this is one of the best fishing spots in all of the lakes in Wisconsin! Located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and filled with Walleye, Crappie, Muskie, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, and Sturgeon, it’s an excellent choice for those not wanting to travel to Lake Michigan.

    Green Bay Fishing

    The "Toilet Paper Capital of the World," Home of the Cheeseheads and a place where the lake is home. For casting a line, you can stay close by and enjoy a fishing trip on one of the Great Lakes at the Bay of Green Bay, head north and fish the Oconto River, or migrate south and fish the Fox River, making this "fishing spot" a top destination for fishing in Wisconsin.

    • Bay of Green Bay is separated from the northern parts of Lake Michigan by the Door Peninsula and is one of the best fishing spots for Musky in the Spring.
    • The Oconto River is a 50-mile wide drainage basin and has excellent Brook Trout and Brown Trout areas. It's a unique way to mix things up for those used to fishing the big lakes.
    • Fox River means trophy Walleye in this part of the country. Public boating on the river picks up in March and April, as the fish begin moving up the river, from Lake Michigan, to start the spawning run in the middle of March.

    Northwoods Fishing

    The Northwoods area can take a fisherman or woman back to the days on the water with a lot less traffic if you choose the right honey hole.

    • Big Saint Germain Lake is one of the over 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin, but it is said to take 10,000 casts to catch a famed trophy-sized Musky! The season starts on memorial day weekend and stops at the end of November.
    • Most people venture onto the Eagle River Chain Lakes for a chance at catching a musky, but it is full of other popular sport fish. Catfish Lake is the largest of the chain and is a beautiful uncrowded lake that's popular with the locals and full of charm, but surprisingly doesn't have catfish.

    Other Fishing Spots

    • Lake Superior, Lake Mendota, Lake Geneva, Mississippi River, and Lake Monona
  • Fishing Licenses and Regulations

    If you're a kid or a parent, you will love the fact that people less than 16 years old can fish free every day of the year. By the way, Altoona Lake is an excellent choice for kids.

    Wisconsin also promotes fishing to those who haven't owned a fishing license before or haven't owned one in the last ten years. Even if you own a license, you can get points for a reduced price when you welcome a friend to fishing for the first time! We love to find states where the promotion of fishing is so well thought out.

    For residents, an annual fishing license will cost $20, and a one-day license costs for only $8. A trout stamp will need to be purchased when fishing for trout, either inland or Great Lakes).

    Sturgeon spearing and fishing also require a special permit and can vary based on location and other factors, so check with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to find the permit and/or license that meets your needs.

    For non-residents, you can buy a 1-day fishing license can at your local outdoor goods store or online for $10. If you plan for some multi-day fishing trips, then a 4-day license can be acquired for $24.

    As always, check with your local fish and wildlife departments, and please verify with your fishing charter, so you are fully prepared to follow the rules and regulations of that body of water.

Fishing Calendar for the Best Times to Fish in Wisconsin


Where: Petenwell Lake

Species: Crappie


Where: Mississippi River

Species: Walleyes


Where: Fox River

Species: Walleye


Where: Lake Dubay

Species: Northern Pike


Where: Lake Winnebago

Species: Smallmouth Bass


Where: Northwoods

Species: Bass


Where: Northwoods

Species: Crappie


Where: Bay of Green Bay

Species: Walleyes


Where: Legal Sturgeon Waters

Species: Lake Sturgeon


Where: Chippewa Flowage

Species: Muskie


Where: Northwoods

Species: Muskie


Where: Puckaway Lake

Species: Northern Pike


What is a rough fish in Wisconsin?

Rough fish in Wisconsin include suckers, carp, goldfish, redhorse, freshwater drum, burbot, bowfin, gar, buffalo, lamprey, alewife, gizzard shad, smelt, mooneye, and carpsuckers.

Where is the best walleye fishing in Wisconsin?

What is the biggest fish in Wisconsin?

Where can you trout fish in Wisconsin?

Best Lakes to Ice fish on in Wisconsin?