Best Places to Fish in Wisconsin: Lac Courte Oreilles

Lac Courte Oreilles is the largest natural lake in Sawyer County and the 8th largest in the State. The lake is managed as a trophy muskie fishery and special limits apply; check the current regulations booklet for details. The east portion of the lake is within the Lac Court Oreilles Indian Reservation.

As a trophy muskie hangout, a 60in.-class fish was taken from here. Northern are also abundant, and both bass species, perch and bluegill can be found.

The deep clear water of Lac Courte Oreilles is always a significant challenge to catching fish. The use of a depthfinder to locate cover, structure and fish is a key to success.

Lac Courte Oreilles

Here are some key tips and locations for catching fish on Lac Courte Oreilles:

  • Pondweed and coontail weedlines are important to finding and catching walleye. Besides jigs and slip-bobbers, casting crankbaits (Rapalas, Shad Raps, Husky Jerks, Rogues) also yields good results, particularly during the evening hours.
  • Summer walleye often relate to deep weedlines in depths ranging from 17 to 25 feet. The water clarity of the lake means that sand grass can be found as deep as 25 feet. During years when weed growth occurs at these depths, walleye are usually present. Weedless jigs tipped with jumbo leeches are the favored presentation. Additionally, by midsummer some walleye have moved to the deep humps in depths ranging from 30 to 50 feet. Local experts use 1/2-ounce jigs tipped with jumbo leeches or large minnows.
  • Trolling live bait rigs in the Lindy and Roach tradition is productive. Late summer and fall trolling with crankbaits is also successful.
  • In general, muskie fishing on this lake is better during overcast days or low-light periods. Additionally, the water clarity in combination with offshore structure (humps, points, etc.) makes Lac Courte Oreilles ideal for night fishing. Top-water baits, such as The Creeper, Hawg Wobbler and Tally Wacker are longtime favorites, although new models with rattles are becoming popular.
  • The water clarity suggests natural colors in lure selection for daylight fishing. Overcast or evening efforts are better served with bright colors.

The presence of cisco forage means that muskie are suspending over deep water by mid-summer. Use a depthfinder to locate schools of cisco, then thoroughly troll the area with deep-diving crankbaits.

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