Best Places to Fish in Wisconsin: Chippewa Flowage

The Chippewa Flowage, in Sawyer County east of Hayward, was created in 1923 when Northern States Power Company, now Xcel Energy, constructed the Winter Dam on the Chippewa River just below the confluence of the East and West forks. The flowage was built to control flooding and provide a water source for six hydroelectric power plants downstream. Many sections of the shoreline and islands have been preserved in a wilderness state. Most of the shoreline is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe Indians and the United States Forest Service.

The Chippewa Flowage is noted for its many floating bogs. These bogs range in size from a few acres to over 40 acres. Since these bogs are not attached to bottom, wind and moving ice often change their exact location. On October 20, 1949, Louis Spray landed the world record muskie from the Chippewa Flowage. The fish weighed 69 pounds, 11 ounces and was 63 ½ inches long with a girth of 34 ½ inches. Some believe the next world record muskie will again come out of the Chippewa Flowage.

Interactive Lake Map

For a more detailed lake map and up to the minute fishing reports connect with the Chippewa Flowage waterway page on Fishidy.

Here are some tips for locating and catching fish in the Chippewa Flowage:

  • Weedbeds, stump fields and submerged bogs attract walleye during summer. Shallow areas with weeds tend to hold larger fish while smaller fish will utilize deeper structure and cover. Weeds will continue to hold fish from June through August. Weedbeds adjacent to deep water will generally hold more fish. Jigs tipped with a leech, minnow or nightcrawler should be worked in the pockets and along the weed edges. No. 11 or 13 floating Rapalas, Husky Jerks or No. 3 Mepps Aglia should be worked over weeds in depths of 3 to 5 feet on cloudy days or at night.

  • By mid-September, walleye leave the shallow as the weeds begin to die off. Walleye tend to scatter at this time and can be difficult to patter. Typically by the end of September, old river channels and deep cover hold concentrations of walleye. Heavier jig/minnow combinations or Lindy Rigs tipped with a 3 to 5-inch minnow should be used.

  • September and October are the prime months to take a trophy muskie. Weedbeds, stumps, bogs and rock bars near river channels are prime areas. Jerkbaits, such as Suick, Eddie Bait, Bobbie Bait and Smity Bait, can be very productive. Channel breaks should be worked with deep-diving crankbaits. Live bait, on quick-strike rigs, worked slowly along the bottom can yield above average fish during fall. Large suckers, averaging 10 to 16 inches, are often used.

  • From mid-May through summer, the floating and submerged bogs will hold crappie. Jig and minnow combos or small tube jigs should be worked tight to the bogs. Low-light periods typically produce the most consistent catches.

  • The west side of the flowage tends to produce better largemouth bass action while the stained water on the east side of the flowage produces better for smallmouth bass. Smallmouth bass tend to hit smaller lures compared to largemouth bass.

  • During spring, developing weeds will attract both species. Look for fish to hold in depths of 3 to 5 feet. Spinnerbaits and tube jigs produce best at this time. Weeds will continue to hold fish during summer, but fish can be found in depths of 3 to 11 feet. Wood cover provides excellent habitat at this time. Berkley Gulp and Kreature baits produce well during summer.
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