Trout Lake, north of Minocqua, Wisconsin, is famous for having a trophy muskie and walleye fishery and outstanding wilderness aesthetics. Excellent public use facilities are available for recreation. The muskie population and a unique strain of inland lake trout are protected by special size regulations. During the winter, ice anglers often target cisco and whitefish.
Trout Lake is a demanding challenge and warrants your consideration of hiring a guide. Most of the lake is deeper than 20 feet. Depthfinders are a must to pick out the dozens of underwater islands, small humps, rock bars and drop-off edges that can be found. Exercise caution in navigation as reefs are present, especially on the “south lake”.
Here are some key tips and locations for catching fish on Trout Lake:
- Fishing under low-light conditions is always recommended because of water clarity. Depthfinder structure identification and boat control allow anglers to work small cover, such as the corner of humps which may be productive on Trout Lake.
- For walleye, concentrate on the 10-to 30-foot range for late May and early June fishing. As a general rule, when walleye are found note the depth since fish in other areas of Trout Lake usually relate to the same depth. Don’t overlook the inlet creek mouths during the early season, especially during the evening hours.
- By October, walleye have moved onto the deep breaks, often 30 to 50 feet deep. Large red-tail chubs are a lake tradition for fall anglers seeking large fish.
- The lake deserves its reputation for trophy muskie, including fish up to 50 pounds. Big baits are normally used. Large jerkbaits in the Eddie and Smity tradition along with big bucktails are highly recommended. Black, natural and yellow bucktails are good selections. Deep-running crankbaits are a tradition. Depthraiders, Cisco Kids, Smity Divers, Ernies, Cranes and Bagleys are recommended for working the depths, especially the edge cover of deep drop-offs.
- Large suckers on quick-strike rigs are effective in October and November. Most anglers place weight on their rigs to work depths of 20 to 50 feet. The steep shoreline drop-offs and deeper rock bars, including the “Narrows” and the east shoreline of the “south lake” offer the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime trophy. The availability of cisco moving shallower for fall spawning makes late October and November the premier season for a trophy fish.
- Smallmouth Bass are under-fished and represent an angling resource waiting to be discovered.
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