Wisconsin is a paradise for bass anglers, offering great prime fishing spots. Anglers flock to this Midwestern state for largemouth bass, northern pike, and other fish species.
Nestled between the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior, and crisscrossed by the Mississippi River, Wisconsin River, and Flambeau River, the options for prime bass fishing are endless.
With over 15,000 lakes, the state is home to some of the best bass fishing opportunities in the United States.
In this guide best bass fishing lakes in Wisconsin, we will explore 10 of Wisconsin’s best lakes to catch these feisty fish.
Whether you prefer ice fishing, navigating the numerous smaller lakes, or casting your line in the vast expanse of the Great Lakes, Wisconsin has something for every angler’s preference.
10 Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Wisconsin
1. Lake Winnebago
Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin is a fantastic destination for anglers of all ages and skill levels, particularly those seeking bass fishing opportunities. The largest inland lake in Wisconsin, Lake Winnebago, spans an impressive 215 square miles (approximately 137,700 acres) and is home to a robust and diverse fish population.
In addition to being populated with other species, such as walleye, perch, and sturgeon, Lake Winnebago has an excellent population of smallmouth and largemouth bass, making it a favored hotspot for bass anglers. Spring and fall are the best times to fish for bass, but there’s solid action throughout the summer.
The lake has a diverse structure with areas of deep water, shallow flats, rocky bottoms, and dense weed beds. This variety of habitats creates an ideal environment for bass to thrive. Smallmouth bass are commonly found around rocky areas and submerged structures, while largemouth bass prefer the weed beds and softer-bottom areas.
Lake Winnebago’s status as a premier fishing destination also means it has excellent facilities for anglers. Numerous boat ramps around the lake, bait and tackle shops, fishing guides, and even a few fishing tournaments throughout the year.
Marinas on Lake Winnebago:
- High Cliff Marina: Located on the northwestern shore of Lake Winnebago within High Cliff State Park, this marina offers boat slips for seasonal rental and provides direct access to the lake.
- Sweetwater Performance Center Marina: Situated on the eastern shore of the lake in Oshkosh, this marina offers boat slips, storage, service, and boat sales.
- Harbor Bar & Marina: Located in downtown Fond du Lac, this marina offers boat slips, fuel, and a popular waterfront bar.
- Calumet Harbor Marina: Located on the northeastern shore of Lake Winnebago, this marina offers boat slips, service, and fuel.
Public Boat Launches on Lake Winnebago:
- High Cliff State Park Boat Launch: Located on the lake’s northwestern shore, within the High Cliff State Park. It offers multiple ramps, and ample parking, and is conveniently situated near the High Cliff Marina.
- Asylum Bay Boat Launch: Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, this boat launch provides good access to the lake and has a decent amount of parking.
- Lakeside Park Boat Launch: Located in Fond du Lac on the lake’s southern shore, this boat launch offers multiple ramps and parking.
- Menominee Park Boat Launch: Located in Oshkosh on the lake’s western shore, this boat launch has multiple ramps and parking.
- Streich Family Park Boat Launch: Situated on the north shore of the lake, this boat launch offers good access to the lake with a nice parking area.
- Merritt Avenue Boat Launch: This is another good boat launch located in the city of Oshkosh.
Here are some of the best spots for bass fishing on Lake Winnebago:
|Asylum Bay||Known for its submerged structures and depth changes, this bay is a great place for smallmouth bass.|
|Black Wolf Point||Its rocky bottom is ideal for smallmouth bass.|
|High Cliff State Park||Known for its rocky shoreline and access to deeper waters, making it a good spot for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.|
|North and South Asylum Points||Dense weed beds make these spots great for largemouth bass.|
|Oshkosh area||With its diverse underwater structure and proximity to the Fox River, this area holds good numbers of both bass species.|
|Fond du Lac area||This southern area of the lake is characterized by softer bottoms and heavy weed growth, attracting largemouth bass.|
|Garlic Island||This small island is surrounded by deeper waters and rocks, making it a hotspot for smallmouth bass.|
2. Big Saint Germain
Big Saint Germain Lake, located in Vilas County, Wisconsin, is a popular destination for bass anglers, especially known for its robust population of largemouth and smallmouth bass. Covering around 1,622 acres with a maximum depth of 42 feet, this lake provides an array of diverse habitats for bass to thrive.
Like many of the best bass lakes, Big Saint Germain Lake has a great underwater structure.
You’ll find a mix of sand, gravel, rock, and mud bottoms, along with an abundance of weed beds, fallen timber, and man-made cribs, which provide perfect cover for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
The water is generally clear, which can make the bass a bit more wary and challenging to catch but also provides an exciting visual element to the fishing.
Spring, summer, and fall can all be productive seasons, but you’ll want to adjust your tactics according to the bass’ seasonal behaviors.
Public Boat Launches on Big Saint Germain Lake:
- Big Saint Germain Lake Public Boat Landing: Located on the lake’s southeastern shore, this public boat landing provides easy access to the water. It features a ramp, dock, and parking.
- West Bay Boat Landing: Situated on the western part of the lake, this boat landing offers another access point to Big Saint Germain Lake with similar amenities.
Here are some of the top spots to fish for bass on Big Saint Germain Lake:
|The West Bay||This area has a lot of submerged timber and weed beds, making it a great spot for largemouth bass.|
|Baker’s Bay||Predominantly sandy and muddy, with many weed beds, it’s a prime spot for largemouth bass.|
|Content Keys||Known for its diverse structure, it’s a good spot for largemouth and smallmouth bass.|
|North Bay||Its mix of rock, sand, and mud bottoms, with some weed growth, attracts both bass species.|
|South Bay||Predominantly sandy and muddy, with lots of weed beds, it’s a prime spot for largemouth bass.|
3. Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva, located in Walworth County, Wisconsin, is another prime destination for bass anglers. The lake spans approximately 5,262 acres with a maximum depth of 135 feet, making it one of the state’s deepest and most complex lakes.
Due to its unique makeup, Lake Geneva is home to a thriving population of both largemouth and smallmouth bass.
The lake has a diverse underwater structure, with a range of depth changes, steep drop-offs, flats, rock piles, and a considerable amount of submerged timber.
There are also vast areas of dense weed growth, providing ideal cover for largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass, on the other hand, are often found near rocky structures and drop-offs in deeper waters.
Marinas on Lake Geneva:
- Gage Marine: A full-service marina offering boat sales, rentals, service, and storage, as well as a popular boat-in dining spot.
- Gordy’s Marine: Offers a range of services including boat sales, service, storage, and rentals. They also have a boathouse restaurant.
- Jerry’s Majestic Marine: Provides various services, including boat sales, service, winter storage, and summer dockage.
- Fontana Paddle Company: While not a full-service marina, they offer rentals of paddle boards, kayaks, and pedal boats.
Public Boat Launches on Lake Geneva:
- Lake Geneva Public Boat Launch: Located in downtown Lake Geneva, this boat launch provides easy access to the lake and requires a fee.
- Williams Bay Public Boat Launch: Situated on the lake’s northwest shore in the village of Williams Bay, this boat launch also requires a fee.
- Linn Pier Boat Launch: Located on the southern side of the lake, this boat launch offers another access point to Lake Geneva and requires a fee.
Best spots for bass fishing on Lake Geneva:
|Trinke Estates||This area is characterized by dense weed beds, making it a great spot for largemouth bass.|
|Buttons Bay||With its mixed structure and good weed growth, it’s a hotspot for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.|
|The Narrows||Known for its depth changes and abundant structure, it’s an ideal spot for smallmouth bass.|
|Black Point||The rocky drop-offs here make it an excellent place to find smallmouth bass.|
|Williams Bay||This bay is characterized by a mix of weed beds and rocky structures, making it ideal for both species of bass.|
4. Eau Claire Chain of Lakes
The Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, located in Bayfield County, Wisconsin, offers an exceptional fishing experience with its interconnected bodies of water.
The chain consists of eleven lakes, all with unique characteristics, providing a diverse habitat that supports a healthy population of both largemouth and smallmouth bass.
The lakes’ structure varies, featuring deep holes, shallow bays, underwater reefs, rocky points, sandbars, and fallen timber. These diverse features make it an attractive habitat for bass.
Given the variety and size of the lakes in the chain, a good approach is to use a versatile set of lures such as plastic worms, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and topwater lures, depending on the time of year and specific conditions on the day.
Public Boat Launches on Eau Claire Chain of Lake:
- Upper Eau Claire Lake Boat Landing: Located on the northern part of the Upper Eau Claire Lake, this boat landing provides a good access point to the chain of lakes. It features a ramp, dock, and ample parking.
- Middle Eau Claire Lake Boat Landing: This boat landing is located on the northeastern shore of the Middle Eau Claire Lake and provides easy access to this lake and the others connected to it.
- Lower Eau Claire Lake Boat Landing: Located on the southwestern shore of the Lower Eau Claire Lake, this boat landing offers a ramp, dock, and parking.
Best bass fishing spots in the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes:
|Upper Eau Claire Lake||Its mix of shallow bays and deep water areas makes it a prime spot for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.|
|Middle Eau Claire Lake||Known for its deep holes and rocky areas, it’s a good spot for smallmouth bass.|
|Bony Lake||This clear-water lake is known for its underwater reefs and abundant structure, making it a hotspot for bass.|
|Robinson Lake||The smallest in the chain, but still offers good bass fishing, especially in the weed beds.|
|Lower Eau Claire Lake||The smallest in the chain but still offers good bass fishing, especially in the weed beds.|
5. Pelican Lake
Pelican Lake, located in Oneida County, Wisconsin, is a large, shallow water covering approximately 3,585 acres.
Despite being quite shallow, with a maximum depth of only about 39 feet, Pelican Lake has a thriving largemouth and smallmouth bass population, making it a popular spot for anglers.
The lake features a variety of structures, such as sandy bottoms, rocky areas, fallen timber, and weed beds, which make excellent cover for both species of bass.
Largemouth bass are usually found around the weed beds and submerged structures, while smallmouth bass are more likely to be around the rockier parts of the lake.
Public Boat Launches on Pelican Lake:
- Breezy Pine Road Boat Landing: Situated on the southwestern side of the lake, this boat launch provides easy access to the lake and has a paved ramp, dock, and plenty of parking spaces.
- Lakeview Road Boat Landing: Located on the eastern side of the lake, this boat landing features a paved ramp, a dock, and ample parking.
- Shady Rest Road Boat Landing: Located on the northern side of the lake, this boat landing also offers a paved ramp, dock, and parking.
Here are some of the top spots to fish for bass on Pelican Lake:
|Irish Bay||A shallow bay with many weed beds makes it an excellent spot for largemouth bass.|
|Buckingham Narrows||Known for its varied structure and depth changes, a good spot for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.|
|Pelican Lake Island||The surrounding waters of this island are known for their rocky bottoms and patches of weeds, attracting both species of bass.|
|Northwest shoreline||It’s a good spot for smallmouth bass because of its rocky areas and deeper waters.|
|Southwest Shoreline||A shallow bay with many weed beds makes it a great spot for largemouth bass.|
6. Trout Lake
Trout Lake, located in Vilas County, Wisconsin, is a large and deep lake, spanning over 3,816 acres and reaching depths of up to 117 feet.
Known for its clear waters and abundance of fish species, it’s an excellent choice for bass fishing. This lake boasts a robust population of both largemouth and smallmouth bass, with an average size that will impress even the most experienced anglers.
The lake’s structure is varied, with numerous deep holes, steep drop-offs, shallow bays, and underwater reefs.
The clear water of Trout Lake can make the bass more wary, adding an extra layer of challenge and excitement.
Public Boat Launches on Trout Lake:
- Trout Lake Boat Landing: Located on the lake’s northern end, this public boat landing provides easy access to the lake. It features a paved ramp, ample parking, and restrooms.
- South Trout Lake Boat Landing: Situated on the southern side of the lake, this boat launch provides another access point to Trout Lake and is equipped with a paved ramp and parking.
Best spots for bass fishing on Trout Lake:
|South Bay||Known for its shallow water and weed beds, making it an excellent spot for largemouth bass.|
|Colman Island||This island and surrounding area are characterized by rocky structure and drop-offs, making it a hotspot for smallmouth bass.|
|Trout Lake Narrows||This area is characterized by its mix of shallow and deeper waters with weed growth, making it ideal for both bass species.|
|North Bay||The rocky structure and steep drop-offs make it an excellent place for smallmouth bass.|
|East Shoreline||The rocky structure and steep drop-offs here make it an excellent place for smallmouth bass.|
7. Long Lake
Long Lake, located in Washburn County, Wisconsin, is a popular fishing destination known for its clear waters and diverse fish population. This lake spans over 3,290 acres, reaching depths up to 74 feet, providing a healthy habitat for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.
The structure of Long Lake is quite diverse, with a mix of shallow flats, deep basins, rocky points, sandbars, and substantial weed beds. This variety of habitats allows the bass to thrive.
Marina’s on Long Lake:
- Dave’s Outboard LLC
- Gateway Marina on Long Lake
Best spots for bass fishing on Long Lake:
|Narrows Area||Known for its rocky points and varied depth, making it a great spot for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.|
|Bass Bay||True to its name, this bay features abundant weed beds, making it a hotspot for largemouth bass.|
|Long Island||The water surrounding this island has depth variations and good structure, offering opportunities for both species of bass.|
|DNR Cribs||These man-made structures provide great cover for both species of bass.|
|Big Island||With a mix of depth variations and underwater structure, this spot attracts both largemouth and smallmouth bass.|
8. Beaver Dam Lake
Beaver Dam Lake, located in Dodge County, Wisconsin, is a relatively large but shallow body of water covering approximately 6,542 acres with a maximum depth of 7 feet.
While it may not be as deep as some other popular fishing lakes, it offers a robust habitat for largemouth bass, making it a favorite destination for bass anglers.
A sandy and muddy bottom, extensive weed beds, and submerged timber dominate the lake’s structure.
Public boat launches on Beaver Dam Lake:
- Edgewater Park Boat Launch: Located in the city of Beaver Dam, this boat launch offers convenient access to the lake.
- Derge County Park Boat Launch: Situated on the lake’s northern shore, this boat launch is maintained by Dodge County and provides easy access to the lake.
- Waterworks Park Boat Launch: Located on the lake’s southern end, this boat launch is another good option for accessing Beaver Dam Lake.
Best spots to fish for bass on Beaver Dam Lake:
|Edgewater Bay||Known for its extensive weed beds, making it a great spot for largemouth bass.|
|Beaver Dam Bay||This bay is characterized by dense weed growth and submerged structures, making it a hotspot for bass.|
|Mill Creek||The inflow of water here attracts baitfish and, subsequently, largemouth bass.|
|Waterworks Park||This area has a mix of sandy bottom and weed beds, attracting a good number of bass.|
|Crystal Lake Park||Characterized by weed beds and fallen timber, it’s a promising spot for largemouth bass.|
9. Big Green Lake
Big Green Lake, located in Green Lake County, Wisconsin, is the state’s deepest natural inland lake, reaching depths of up to 237 feet. Spanning over 7,346 acres, it is well-known for its diverse fish population, including a thriving population of both largemouth and smallmouth bass.
The diverse lake structure offers a range of habitats, from shallow flats to deep underwater cliffs and numerous rocky points.
Other fish species you can target on Big Green Lake include panfish, catfish, northern pike, trout, and Walleye.
Best spots for bass fishing on Big Green Lake:
|Norwegian Bay||Known for its shallow water and weed beds, making it an excellent spot for largemouth bass.|
|Sugar Loaf Point||With its rocky structure, it’s a hotspot for smallmouth bass.|
|Dartford Bay||This bay is characterized by its mix of shallow and deeper waters with weed growth, making it ideal for both species of bass.|
|Malone Bay||The weedy areas here are great for largemouth bass, while the deeper parts can hold smallmouth bass.|
|Taycheedah Creek Inlet||The inflow of water here attracts baitfish and, subsequently, bass.|
Marinas on Big Green Lake:
|Green Lake Marina||A full-service marina offering boat sales, rentals, repairs, and storage.|
|Norton’s Dry Dock||Offers boat rentals, sales, service, and storage.|
|Action Marina||Provides boat rentals, including fishing boats, pontoons, and speedboats.|
10. Big Eau Pleine Reservoir
The Big Eau Pleine Reservoir, located in Marathon County, Wisconsin, is a man-made lake that spans over 6,830 acres. Despite being artificial, it offers a great environment for large and smallmouth bass, with an impressive depth of up to 30 feet.
The reservoir structure is quite varied, boasting an array of sunken islands, underwater points, large flats of various depths, and vast weed beds and fallen timber.
Best spots for bass fishing on Big Eau Pleine Reservoir:
|Moon Island||Known for its varied structure, including deep holes and weedy shallows, making it a great spot for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.|
|The Narrows||The depth variations here make it a hotspot for both species of bass.|
|Grape Island||This area is known for its fallen timber and weed beds, great spots for largemouth bass.|
|East Bay||Known for its extensive weed beds, which attract largemouth bass.|
|Southwest Shoreline||This area is known for its fallen timber and weed beds, which are great spots for largemouth bass.|
Fishing Guide: Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Wyoming
Local Species and Coexisting Fish in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, anglers can find diverse fish species in various lakes, making it a top destination for bass fishing enthusiasts. Large and smallmouth bass are commonly found alongside northern pike, walleye, and muskies in these lakes.
One prominent lake region is Vilas County, known for its clear water and high concentration of lakes. This area encompasses Trout Lake, which boasts a maximum depth of over 100 feet. Lake Trout and brook trout are frequently caught here, as well as salmon and rainbow trout.
Vilas County is home to smaller lakes with thriving panfish populations, such as bluegill, perch, crappie, and bullheads.
Northern Wisconsin Lakes
Wisconsin’s vast lakes, especially those in northern Wisconsin like Mille Lacs Lake and Lake Geneva, are home to more than bass and trout species.
Here anglers can also find other popular game fishes, such as musky, northern pike, and walleye. These prized fish coexist with other species like whitefish, sturgeon, catfish, and eagles.
Eastern Wisconsin Lakes
Heading east, Lake Michigan and Green Bay provide a unique fishing experience due to their connection to the Great Lakes.
Lake Superior and Lake Erie, located on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin, offer prolific fishing opportunities within the region. Anglers often target fish like coho salmon, lake trout, and white bass in these large bodies of water.
The flourishing fish populations in the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and northern pike. Waters in these areas are home to diverse species, such as walleye, catfish, and brown trout.
Fishing hot spots like Sturgeon Bay maintain high water temperatures, making them ideal for deep and shallow water species that thrive near weed edges and lines.
Ice Fishing in Wisconsin
If ice fishing is of interest, Oneida County’s lakes are a popular destination during the winter months. Fish such as yellow perch, walleye, and bluegill are commonly caught through the ice, offering an exciting and unique fishing experience.
Fishing Guide: Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Minnesota
Fishing Amenities and Tourism
Wisconsin is a paradise for anglers, with numerous bass fishing lakes, rivers, and other fishing amenities available throughout the state.
Fishing Destinations in Wisconsin
Among the top destinations for largemouth bass, northern pike, and other fish species are Appleton, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac. These cities offer diverse fishing opportunities, including shore and boat fishing in the surrounding lake systems.
Fishing enthusiasts can find piers in many locations, such as Eau Claire, home to the Upper Eau Claire, Middle Eau Claire, and Lower Eau Claire lakes.
These lakes are known for their clear water and healthy fish populations, making them excellent choices for bass anglers. Jute Lake, located near Boulder Junction, is another popular spot for anglers, offering boat and shore fishing opportunities.
Wisconsin’s Flambeau River is a prime destination for fly fishing and is home to various fish species, including lake trout, brown trout, and panfish. A fishing license is required for all anglers in the state, and it can be easily obtained through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Best Time to Fish
Before setting out to fish, knowing the best times and locations for each species is essential. For instance, Lake Winnebago is one of the largest lakes in the United States and is a hot spot for bass fishing, especially during early spring and late summer.
Lake trout can be found in the deep holes of the Mississippi River and Lake Superior, while white bass are abundant in Door County’s smaller lakes.
Tourism in Wisconsin
In addition to the fantastic fishing opportunities, Wisconsin offers a broad range of tourist attractions and natural beauty. Campgrounds, resorts, and state parks provide comfortable accommodations and access to outdoor activities like hiking and birdwatching.
For instance, Rusk County, located in northern Wisconsin, is known as the “Musky Capital of the World” and offers picturesque views of bald eagles, pines, and clean water.
For anglers who prefer a more urban experience, cities like Appleton, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac also boast excellent fishing amenities. With natural lakes, dams, and piers, these cities provide ideal bass fishing environments for shore and boat anglers.
Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for fishing in Wisconsin, as many resorts and campgrounds open for the season. Anglers are encouraged to book their accommodations well in advance to secure their spots at these sought-after locations.
With its abundant fishing amenities, diverse locations, and fantastic tourism opportunities, Wisconsin truly offers something for every angler, from novice to seasoned pro.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the top lakes for largemouth bass in Wisconsin?
- Lake Mendota
- Big Green Lake
- Lake Monona
- Delavan Lake
- Chippewa Flowage
When is the best time for bass fishing in Wisconsin?
The best time for bass fishing in Wisconsin is usually during the spring and early summer months when the water temperatures range from 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This typically falls between late April and June. However, fishing can still be successful in the fall months as the water cools down.
What are some popular shore fishing locations in Wisconsin?
- Milwaukee’s Lakefront: This is a popular place for shore fishing, offering chances to catch various species, including bass, perch, and trout.
- Lake Mendota: Known for various fish species, there are many accessible shore fishing spots around the lake.
- Grant Park, South Milwaukee: This spot offers a long pier for shore fishing.
- Menomonee River: There are various spots along the river in Milwaukee that offer great shore fishing.
- The Mississippi River: The riverbanks offer great shore fishing spots, with diverse species available.
Which Wisconsin lake has the record for largest bass?
The record for the largest largemouth bass in Wisconsin was set in 1940 by an angler at Ripley Lake, with a weight of 11 pounds, 3 ounces.
What techniques work well for bass fishing in Wisconsin?
Fishing with ned rigs, spinner baits, or traditional live bait can yield success. Fishing near weed lines, dropping baits near deep holes, or casting around small islands is beneficial. Ultimately, being adaptable and trying various methods based on the body of water, time of year, and observed bass behavior will give anglers the best chance of catching bass.
Are there any size or bag restrictions for bass in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) establishes size and bag limits for bass fishing each year. These regulations can vary, so anglers must check with the Wisconsin DNR before heading out on the water to ensure compliance with current rules. A valid fishing license is also required for anyone planning to fish in Wisconsin.