Best Places to Fish in Wisconsin: Big & Little Arbor Vitae

For fisherman who want more of a wilderness setting without having to spend two days driving there, Big and Little Arbor Vitae Lakes are perfect. Both lakes are drainage lakes and offer a quality fishery for a wide variety of fish but are still within a relatively short distance of Minocqua.

The musky fishing on the lakes couldn’t be better with a fair number of fish in the mid-thirties to low fourties being caught. Both lakes have a good possibility of giving up a fifty-inch fish. If this is the first-time fishing musky, then Little Arbor Vitae is a good lake to increase the chances of putting a fish in the boat.

Aside from musky, both lakes have very good walleye populations that allow for a few fish over then 25 inches to be caught. For fisherman who are into panfish these lakes also offer a great fishery for quality sized perch, crappie and bluegill.

On both lakes there is some boat traffic from water skiers but most of these water skiers stay away from a majority of the good fishing areas.

Here are some key tips and locations for catching fish on Big & Little Arbor Vitae:

  • Perch and sucker patterns will work well moving into fall season. Use Suicks and Smitty Jerks will bring on some action at this time. Once the lake turns over start fishing the wedges. When the water gets colder late in the season work the deeper water with suckers.
  • Due to water color in May and early June stick with perch patterns or natural colors to catch muskie. When summer begins then switch to brighter colored baits because of the greener water due to the algae bloom. Crane Baits, High Fin Teasertails and bucktails with large fluted blades are optimal for working over tops of cabbage.
  • The largest muskie of the year are taken in late fall along steep sand/gravel dropoffs.
  • During summer the best time to fish for walleye is in the evening. Fish lighted slip bobbers at Buckthorn Point which is a good location to start. Check rock humps to see if there are any fish on them. When fish move on to the humps fishing will be very good. As weeds start to die, fish the west side breaks of Center Bar fishing the deep weedlines.
  • During late fall look for any vegetation that hasn’t died. If weeds are found walleye will usually be found.
  • Little crappie minnows or a 1/32-ounce jig with a Twister Tail will work well. The best Twister Tail colors are white and chartreuse which will work on darker days and purple on clearer days.
  • Center Bar and Northwest Bar are popular spots to look for yellow perch. During winter perch will be off the weedline north of North Bay or on the mud flats in 18 to 22 feet of water. A jig and a minnow will work quite well. During winter tip a Swedish Pimple with a waxworm or a minnow for best success.

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