While fishing is a multi-season activity in Wisconsin, with the fishing opener May 1, anglers across the state are thinking about where to drop their first line of the season! Fortunately, Wisconsin is full of options to reel in some fun throughout the state.
Fishing is a fun and relaxing way to spend time outdoors and with more than 15,000 inland lakes, two great lakes and more than 43,000 miles of river, there are waterways across Wisconsin for all types of anglers. If you tried fishing for the first time last year, you’re not alone! The DNR reported a 75% increase in first time fishing licenses in 2020 compared to 2019. It’s not just Wisconsinites who know Wisconsin as a prime fishing destination, In fact, Wisconsin ranks third in the country for the number of out-of-state fishing licenses sold! It just proves that Wisconsin is a nationally sought-after fishing destination and is a true testament to the beauty and abundance of our Wisconsin lakes and waterways. Wisconsin’s rivers, lakes, and streams provide a home to roughly 150 different species of fish. Angling is astonishingly accessible with trout, bass, bluegills, bullheads, crappies, catfish, musky, perch, pike and walleye ready for reeling in. To purchase your fishing license or for other in-state fishing resources and information on responsible fishing, head to The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website (dnr.wisconsin.gov).
Near La Crosse, the Upper Mississippi sprawls well beyond its main channel, creating hundreds of tiny islands, channels, and deep pools which harbor more species of fish than any other temperate-climate river in the world. Nearby lake fishing includes the 8,000-acre Lake Onalaska and Neshonoc Lake in West Salem, which has a maximum depth of 11 feet. If you’re not the catch it and cook it kind of angler, you can always head to Howie’s on La Crosse for their excellent Friday night Fish Fry. Spend the night at the Northwoods themed Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center while enjoying amenities like a pool and free continental breakfast before heading back out on the lake or river.
If fishing the Mississippi is not your thing, head to the north or to the east and try fishing on of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes instead. With over 800 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, there are ample opportunities for ocean-like, freshwater coastline fishing. Or Wisconsin has great places for charter boat fishing on both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Check out Optimum Charters out of Superior for a guided trip on the largest freshwater lake in the world. Even if you’re a first time angler, they’ll guide you through the experience and get you right in on all the action. Stay at the Superior Inn located in downtown Superior with amenities like a pool, sauna, whirlpool and free continental breakfast. Stop for a meal at Superior Family Restaurant, home to generous portions and low prices, this local favorite serves breakfast all day long!
The Turtle Flambeau Scenic Wilderness Waters Area and Trude Lake is comprised of nearly 19,000 acres of water and 35,500 acres of public land to enjoy throughout the year. The Turtle Flambeau Flowage encompasses 16 natural lakes, three rivers and several creeks. The Flowage is best known for its superb walleye fishery but is also home to muskellunge, smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappie, perch and bluegill. Stop for dinner at Ding-A-Ling Supper Club, decorated with numerous wildlife prints from well-known and local artists, along with mounted trophies from past and present owners. With crab, lobster, shrimp and a Friday fish fry this is a great stop for seafood lovers looking to relax over a bite to eat and a cool beer after a long day of fishing. Stay at the Great Northern Hotel right on the shores of San Domingo in Mercer. Not only are you staying in a premier fishing destination, but you’re also staying in the Loon Capital of the World. As you boat on almost any size lake, you’ll likely see a nesting pair of common loons in the spring and summer. Mercer has the highest concentration of nesting loon pairs in the continental United States. So before you depart from the Loon Capital of the World, don’t forget to get a photo with Claire ‘d Loon – a 16 foot loon that weighs 2000 pounds!
We love helping listeners dream up their next Wisconsin adventure, but please call ahead to businesses to check if their hours or offerings have changed and learn what necessary health precautions are in place.
For more great travel ideas and resources, visit TravelWisconsin.com or call 1-800-432-TRIP.