By Mark Crawford
Fishing Lakes in Wisconsin
Over the years fishermen have caught some record-breaking fish in Wisconsin—some by serious fishermen who know where to find them, and others by casual fisher folk who ambled down to a dock to see what might be biting. Either way, when it comes to fishing on Wisconsin lakes, they both count!
Although most of Wisconsin’s record-breaking fish were caught decades ago, it doesn’t mean others aren’t lurking in these same waters across Wisconsin. Below are some lakes that have given up record-breaking fish.
Located about 15 miles east of Hayward, the Chippewa Flowage is one of the most pristine water bodies in Wisconsin, with hundreds of undeveloped islands and fantastic fishing structures like points, bays, reefs and downed timber. Hardwood forests line the shores and eagles and ospreys are plentiful. Even if you don’t catch a musky, the scenery is worth the trip.
Northern pike: 38 pounds, Lake Puckaway, Marquette County (1952)
You might think this fierce fighter was caught in the Northwoods—however, it was taken from Puckaway Lake, a 5,013-acre lake near the town of Green Lake. Several boat landings provide public access. Even though the lake is surprisingly shallow (maximum depth of five feet), it is well known for its northern pike, bass and walleye.
Located beside Cambridge, this 420-acre lake has a highly developed shoreline, with plenty of recreational boating. Big bass are still pulled from Lake Ripley, as well as panfish, northern pike and walleye. If you need a break from fishing, take a swim—it’s one of the cleanest lakes in the southern part of the state.
Lake Geneva is more than 5,000 acres in size and up to 135 feet deep—the varying depths and lake structures create plenty of places for fish to hide. Fishermen can expect to catch several species of trout, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass and panfish. This is a popular lake for pleasure boating, so an early morning start is recommended.
Located in the Northwoods, High Lake covers 741 acres in Vilas County and has a maximum depth of 36 feet. Fishermen access the lake from boat landings and public land along the shore. Fishing action can be hot, including walleye, panfish, bass and pike. The lake also has some nice-sized muskies (so be ready).
Everybody loves catching bluegills—especially big ones on light gear. It’s still easy to catch fat bluegills in Green Bay, especially during spawning season. Sawyer Harbor, Egg Harbor and Rowleys Bay in nearby Door County are also good spots to try. Fancy gear is not required—all you need is a pole, bobber and some worms.
There are plenty of other record-breakers to shoot for in your fishing excursions, such as yellow perch (3 pounds), channel catfish (44 pounds) and sturgeon (170 pounds). Maybe you’ll be the next to break a state record this summer.