By Jon Giacalone
Big Cedar Lake, in Washington County, is the largest of five lakes that make up the Cedar Lakes watershed. At more than 900 acres in size, with 10.2 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 105 feet, Big Cedar Lake is set up as an outstanding fishery where anglers can cast a line for many species including panfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, lake trout and northern pike.
In addition to fishing, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy their time at the lake with recreational boating, water skiing, picnicking and walking the surrounding trails maintained by the local park district.
Because Big Cedar Lake is in close proximity to a major metropolitan area it can often become overcrowded, especially during peak summer months. Choosing "off-hours" to be on the water increases your chance of a successful fishing outing.
Interactive Lake Map
For a more detailed lake map and up-to-the-minute fishing reports, follow the Big Cedar Lake waterway page on Fishidy.
Here are some tips for locating and catching fish on Big Cedar Lake:
- In early spring, the best largemouth bass action is found in Gilbert Lake and the North Basin. Cast white spinnerbaits into areas that have developing weed growth. Night fishing for largemouth can be extremely productive. Buzzbaits, black spinnerbaits and poppers can take fish from weed flats that are adjacent to deep water.
- By early summer, trophy pike are present in the South Basin, suspended just above the thermocline at about 28’. Trolling silver-colored crankbaits on wire line or downriggers is necessary to take these deep-water fish. During early ice, concentrate on weeds that are along steep drop-offs for trophy pike. Suspend smelt or large golden shiners below tip-ups.
- In the South Basin, fish the slots and pockets in the weedy flat for bass, pike, and panfish. The nearby small, 10-foot deep hump consistently yields bass, pike and the occasional walleye.
- The 10-foot hole found off the western shore in the North Basin can concentrate bluegill and perch early or late in the day. Try a slip bobber and small jig tipped with a wiggler, worm or crawler.
- Along the eastern shore of the North Basin, slip bobbers and small minnows will take crappie from the shoreline cover in spring and fall.