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Best Places to Fish in Wisconsin: Chetek Chain of Lakes
Last Updated: 8/26/2013
The Chetek Chain of Lakes is a popular, navigable chain of six lakes in Barron County including Chetek, Moose Ear, Ojaski, Pokegama, Prairie and Ten Mile. The chain is well-known for quality panfish and largemouth bass - heavily utilized by anglers and recreational boaters. No-wake areas are posted under all bridges and channel areas. Prairie Lake is noted for its floating and submergent bogs. These range in size from ½ - 3 acres and since some are not attached to the bottom, wind and moving ice can often change their location.
An abundance of fish species exist in the Chetek Chain including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, pickerel, perch, bluegill, crappie, bullhead and rock bass. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stocks the Chetek Chain with walleye. These stockings occur on an every other year basis and consist of small fingerling walleye at a rate of 35 fish per acre. In recent years, the local resort owners association and Walleye’s for Chetek and Tomorrow have stocked additional large fingerling.
Interactive Lake Map
For a more detailed lake map and up to the minute fishing reports connect with the Chetek Chain of Lakes waterway page on Fishidy.
Here are some tips for locating and catching fish in the Chetek Chain of Lakes:
- Walleye move toward the inlets and gravel shoreline areas to spawn in the spring. They tend to migrate from southern lakes into the northern ones at this time. Gravel shorelines, especially ones with submerged stumps and developing weed growth, should be worked with jig/minnow combinations.
- Weedless jigs tipped with plastic grubs are effective for working open pockets and weed edges, especially when walleye are active. Slip bobber rigs tipped with leeches or fatheads are also effective for working pockets and edges of weeds. Nightfishing can produce good catches when using large glow plastics on a rattling jig head.
- Shoreline areas of Prairie and Chetek lakes that have willow trees extending over the water hold largemouth bass throughout summer. Get as far under the trees as possible and flip plastic worms or jig n’pig combos next to shore.
- Surface lures dragged across the top of heavy, slop covered bays can provide some exciting strikes from largemouth bass. Moss Boss and rat-style baits produce well.
- Shallow bays containing stumps, submerged timber or floating bogs are ideal for spring crappie. The northern ends of Prairie, Ojaski, Moose Ear and Ten Mile lakes are prime early season locations. Slip bobber rigs tipped with small minnows should be worked tight to the cover.
- Fly-fishing for bluegill can produce excellent numbers and exciting action from ice out through mid-June. Foam spiders, poppers and #12/#10 wet flies are preferred.
- Following the spawn, larger bluegill leave the shallow bays and move to the edge of the deep weeds. However, stumps and bogs that are adjacent to deep-water can hold fish throughout the year.