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Beyond the Big Lakes: 10 Secret Fishing Spots in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has more than 15,000 lakes, 1,000-plus miles of Great Lakes shoreline and roughly 150 species of fish. Angling is astonishingly accessible with bass, bluegills, bullheads, crappies, catfish, muskie, perch, pike, and walleye all ready for reeling in.

Lakes Michigan and Superior offer fantastic charter fishing opportunities, and the state's inland lakes are well-known destinations for cracking a beer and casting a rod on the boat.

Lakes Monona and Mendota surround Madison's booming isthmus, Lake Geneva offers largemouth bass in an exciting resort town, and Lake Winnebago narrates a nature-dweller's dream in the state's underrated Fox Valley area.

But if you're looking for some fishing off the beaten path, there are plenty of smaller and secluded fish-filled waterways in Wisconsin. Here are 10 of the state's best under-the-radar spots for anglers that only the locals know about!

Chippewa and Flambeau Rivers

Accessible by canoe and kayak and also from bridges, the intersecting Chippewa and Flambeau rivers provide unbelievable smallmouth bass fishing near Winter, Loretta and Park Falls. You'll feel immersed in nature and come away with a great haul.  

Altoona Lake Altoona 

An excellent fishing spot for kids in Eau Claire County, this lake has muskie, panfish, walleye and smallmouth bass in addition to public boating and swimming options. Expect the area, nestled up against Wisconsin's ninth-biggest city, to receive a lot of traffic during the internationally-acclaimed Eaux Claires music and arts festival each summer.

Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit – Campbellsport

This gorgeous state park is the perfect camping spot for someone rolling through eastern Wisconsin looking to hike, explore and fish. With more than a dozen fishing spots ranging from small ponds to the three-mile Long Lake, Kettle Moraine's Northern Unit offers fishermen and women the opportunity to pick and choose based on fish species and lake size, along with proximity to campsites and the park's other natural features.

Kickapoo River

Touted for its world-class fishing by Brian Jensen, president and co-founder of social network Fishidy, the Kickapoo and its tributaries are must-visit places for anglers. The "crookedest river in the world" is flanked by gorgeous cliffs and benefits from the baseflow of coldwater springs. 

Delavan Lake – Walworth County

Just minutes from the quaint tourist oasis of Lake Geneva and its 5,400-acre Geneva Lake is this dynamic fishing location and solid muskie-catching spot in Walworth County. Equipped with a public beach and surrounded by some top-tier resorts, Delavan Lake is perfect for southern Wisconsin travelers looking for active fishing and secluded relaxation.

Fox Lake – Dodge County

The biggest lake on our list sits on the outskirts of a town of fewer than 1,500 people. The Native Americans named the area "Hosh-a-rac-ah-tah," meaning "Good Land." To this day, it's still a fantastic place for fishing, where visitors can find muskie, panfish, walleye and largemouth bass. During the winter freeze, it's one of the best ice-fishing lakes in the state.

Lower Menominee and Lower Peshtigo rivers

Below the first dam and connected to the waters of Green Bay, you can find an abundance of game fish. Depending on the season, we're talking trout, walleye, whitefish, smallmouth bass, muskie and salmon. Both rivers also are hot rafting locations if you're looking to extend your day on the water.

Coon Creek Fishery Area

Sprawled out in Vernon, Monroe, and La Crosse counties, Coon Creek balances shore and wading fishing with deer, squirrel, rabbit and wood duck hunting, making it a repeat spot for die-hard sportsmen. Plus, it's one of the best wheelchair-accessible fishing areas in the region.


Looking for more great spots to drop a line, take a look through our directory.

This entry was posted in Fishing