Best Places to Fish in Wisconsin: Eau Claire Chain of Lakes
Last Updated: 2/12/2016
By Jon Giacalone
Located in southwest Bayfield County, the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes consists of 11 connected lakes, streams and waterways that span 10,000 acres.
The main lakes, Upper Eau Claire, Middle Eau Claire, and Lower Eau Claire, are the largest of the surrounding waterways and where most of the recreational and fishing activity takes place. There are also several smaller 80- to 200-acre lakes that include Bony, Pickerel, Robinson, Birch, Schunenberg, Smith and Sweet.
Compared to surrounding waterways, the Eau Claire chain (which means "clear water" in French) is both deep and crystal clear, making it an excellent environment for producing a variety of trophy-sized fish. Throughout the Eau Claire chain, anglers have the opportunity to land muskie, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, perch, crappie and bluegill.
Interactive Lake Map
Here are some tips for locating and catching fish on the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes:
- Upper Eau Claire Lake: During spring, walleye are found near hard-bottomed areas in depths of 4 to 10 feet. As the water warms, look for inside turns along the sharp breaklines to hold many fish. Drifting or trolling with live bait or artificials during low-light periods is the most productive.
- Upper Eau Claire Lake: The lake has a history of growing trophy-size muskie. These fish can be tough to catch due to the clear, deep water. Deep-diving crankbaits worked along the shoreline breaks, or above the roaming schools of cisco are favored methods.
- Middle Eau Claire Lake: For largemouth bass work the slop bays in midsummer with surface lures, such as the Moss Boss, Weed Walker, Ghost or an unweighted, 8-inch plastic worm. Look for openings in the weeds to hold the most fish.
- Middle Eau Claire Lake: Summer and winter walleye relate to deep weed edges adjacent to steep drop-offs. Slowly backtroll the weed edge with jig and live bait combos in summer or use jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head or perch eye during the winter months.
- Lower Eau Claire Lake: After ice out, look to the shallow, protected bays to provide the best crappie and bluegill action of the season. Slip bobber rigs and live bait should be worked near stumps, bog edges and developing weed growth.
- Lower Eau Claire Lake: The sand drop-off at the Eau Claire River inlet is exceptional for spring walleye. Slowly work jig/minnow combos down the sand break. This can be especially effective after dark.
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