Boasting more than 15,000 lakes, Wisconsin beckons anglers to drop a line and land their next big catch. And when the lakes freeze over, they become playgrounds for ice fishing. Here’s to reeling in story-worthy fish this winter.
Discover a love for ice fishing during Free Fishing Weekend
In Wisconsin, ice fishing is a cherished pastime. It combines our love for the outdoors and spending time with those who matter most.Whether in a heated shanty or enjoying the open air on the frozen lake surface, there’s no wrong way to make warm memories this winter.
For those interested in taking up ice fishing, the weekend of January 20 and 21 is your chance to wet your line without a license during Free Fishing Weekend!The annual initiative from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources allows folks to ice fish without a license.Communities across Wisconsin often host clinics and educational events during Free Fishing Weekend to help those new to the sport get started.
One event to check out is OutWiGo Snow on Saturday, January 20. The DNR is hosting the event at Willow River State Park near Hudson to introduce visitors to popular winter activities.They’ll have clinics and demonstrations on winter sports, including ice fishing.If you get hooked, a first-time fishing license for state residents is only $5.
Wherever you may go fishing, it’s important to know about ice conditions before heading out.Local bait shops, fishing clubs and resorts often have the most up-to-date information on how thick ice is on area lakes.
Angle away on Lake Menomin in Dunn County
Make a trip to northwest Wisconsin this winter for exceptional ice fishing on Lake Menomin.The city of Menomonie is nestled around this 1,000-acre lake, which was formed when the Red Cedar River was dammed.
Located right off Interstate 94, it’s a convenient destination to travel to this winter. Plus, several public boat landings make it easy to get your gear out onto the lake.You’ll find Lake Menomin full of large and smallmouth bass, northern pike, panfish and walleye.
When you’re in Menomonie, make sure to visit Log Jam Bar and Eatery for local flavors and a welcoming atmosphere.The downtown restaurant makes visitors feel a part of the community and serves elevated versions of popular bar food.Start out with an appetizer or try the house-made chicken wild rice soup.For mains, choose between wraps, sandwiches, burgers and bowl entrees like the Thai peanut bowl.
Catch walleye, musky and more in Ladysmith (Rusk County)
In Rusk County, the Dairyland Reservoir is an angler’s delight.Just outside of Ladysmith, the reservoir, which is also known as Lake Flambeau, offers nearly 1,900 acres of prime fishing opportunity.
Get cozy in your ice shanty as you drop a line in for a diversity of fish.It’s especially known for walleye, which are considered abundant in the Dairyland Reservoir. You may even have a chance to hook a musky!If you need tackle or bait, head into Ladysmith to supply up at Flambeau River Outfitters.
When in the area, swing by the Cedar Lodge for lunch or dinner.The Cedar Lodge partners with a local farm that raises pastured cattle to source top-notch beef for burgers and prime rib.You’ll enjoy specialty burgers that get creative with toppings and sauces, as well as a classic prime rib dinner on Saturdays.Or visit on a Friday for deep-fried walleye, which is a perfect way to warm up after a day of ice fishing in Rusk County.
Start your winter getaway at TravelWisconsin.com