Wisconsin is blessed with access to the Great Lakes and the nation’s best walleye fishing. It also hosts some premiere ice fishing in the winter. With waterways comprising over fifteen percent of Wisconsin the state slogan should be fish it like you mean it!
Walleye are the most popular fish in Wisconsin. High Lake is responsible for the state walleye record, weighing in at a whopping eighteen pounds! For a large inland walleye experience Lake Winnebago is not to be missed, where you can also catch a variety of bass, muskellunge, and lake sturgeon. The Mississippi River is a good walleye locale worthy of mention, and it teams with bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie, and bigmouth buffalo.
Lake Wisconsin is a very effective fishing spot for not just walleye, but trophy sized muskellunge, along with healthy bass, crappie, and bluegill. Walleye pulling in at eight or nine pounds swim just below the waters of Yellow Lake. The fairly shallow Yellow Lake is home not only to impressive walleye, but also to trophy muskellunge.
In fact, Wisconsin appreciates the walleye so much that the state has what is called the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, which improves habitats, expands fish hatcheries, and funds summer programs. Stocking of larger walleye (between six and eight inches) is now more widespread than ever in Wisconsin.
Salmon are favored game fish in Wisconsin. Coho and chinook salmon are stocked within the state. Lake Michigan is a popular salmon site, boasting the state records for coho, chinook and pink salmon catches. Lake Superior is a great salmon location for both coho and chinook, as well as the splake (lake trout and brook trout hybrid).
Wisconsin takes no exception to the ever popular trout! Brown, brook, rainbow and lake trout are stocked throughout the year. Trout are great along Wisconsin streams, but be careful where you fish from as many streams carry over into private property.
If one goes solely by visitor number, then Lake Michigan is the most popular lake in Wisconsin. Home to sought after species like the salmon, trout, bass, walleye, and sturgeon, it is no wonder Michigan is a popular sport fishing lake. Sturgeon Bay within the lake is a great spot for large sized smallmouth bass, and of course, lake sturgeon! Lake Michigan is stocked with an impressive average total of fifteen million fish a year.
Ice fishing can be a great way to get outside in the slower winter months. Wisconsin has excellent ice fishing for walleye, panfish, bluegill, and northern pike. Remember to check thickness carefully and keep safety in the forefront of your mind!
Wisconsin has many differing licenses that are organized by age (senior and youth), duration of fishing (one and two day, and annual for residents, one, two, four, fifteen and annual for non-residents), groups (a couple for residents, and non-residents are offered family packages). Different locations and species (such as trout and sturgeon) need additional licenses or stamps. Licenses can be purchsed online and at state agencies. To encourage new fisherpersons to get out there and test the waters they offer a first time buyer licenses at a cheaper rate.
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.