Vilas County Crappie, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed and Perch

Caught CrappieWisconsin’s Vilas County is most famous for its musky, walleye, northern pike and bass. However, Vilas County is also an outstanding destination for catching panfish. In fact, in most Vilas County lakes, there’s a good population of crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed or yellow perch just waiting to be caught.

Crappie are the king of Northwoods panfish. Plentiful in many Vilas County lakes, crappie can be caught throughout the year. Spring is the most popular time for catching crappie. After the ice melts from Vilas County’s lakes, crappie are more aggressive and tend to strike at anything. The crappie action continues through the spring, peaking in late April or early May, depending on the weather.  During the summer and fall, crappie tend to seek out deeper water and submerged brush.

Winter is also a great time for catching crappie in Vilas County. Fishing for crappie through the ice allows you to precisely target fish. Look for crappie to live in areas with submerged timber or other underwater structure, such as fish cribs. When you locate a school of fish, you’ll have a better chance of putting a number of fish on your stringer.

Bluegill and pumpkinseed are also plentiful on many Vilas County lakes. Like crappie, bluegill and pumpkinseed also bite well throughout the year and are known for being spunky fighters at the end of the line!  Late spring and early summer are prime time for bluegill and pumpkinseed fishing.  Bluegill and pumpkinseed can be caught in a number of ways, including casting small jigs, fishing with a slip bobber and worm or using flies.   During the winter, bluegill and pumpkinseed can be caught through the ice by using tiny jigs tipped with wax worms.

Boulder Junction PerchYellow perch live in a number of Vilas County lakes. On some lakes, you’ll find true jumbo perch. Perch generally congregate in mud flats in the deepest parts of the lake.  Late afternoon is a great time to perch fish as the perch schools move in toward shore looking for a meal.  As migratory fish, perch can generally be found close to shore in the spring for spawning before moving out to deeper water in summer and fall.  Extremely tolerant of a wide range of water temperatures, ice fishing for perch is especially popular.  Small jigs tipped with wax worms, spikes, minnows or other live bait can be very effective. Perch caught through the ice make excellent table fare.

Next time you’re in Vilas County, bring your fishing pole and fish for panfish. For a fishing family, there’s nothing better than an afternoon casting for crappie, bluegill and yellow perch. Get more Vilas County fishing information.

See a list of Vilas County lakes with public access.

You don’t need a boat to catch panfish. Fishing from a pier or from shore is a great way to catch fish. See a complete list of Vilas County fishing piers.

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