Fishing for trophy fish in Vilas County

How to catch the biggest fish in Vilas County

Published: March 19, 2021

With more than 1,300 lakes and 73 rivers and streams, Vilas County has drawn generations of anglers. The county’s lakes have produced trophy fish, including some that have even landed a spot in the record books. In fact, the county boasts some of the best smallmouth bass, walleye and musky fishing in North America. How to catch one of these Vilas County monsters? Read on.

Get a guide

So what’s the first secret to catching a big fish?  Go fishing with someone that has the secrets. Angler’s Choice Guide Service has a lot of knowledge and advice that will help you catch fish. Angler’s Choice owns two world records and two outstanding angling achievement awards for fishing. They will take you out on the lake in any season–in the winter, they have 6 insulated/heated ice houses, each equipped with an underwater camera.

Get a boat

To catch the big one, you’ve got to get out on the water. Luckily, many lakeside cabins and resorts in Vilas County offer fishing boats or pontoon boats as part of your lodging cost or for a small fee. You can also check with chambers of commerce and convention & visitors bureaus in Vilas County’s communities to find rentals.

Do your part

Vilas County’s lakes are a pristine resource, and it takes all of us to protect them for future generations of anglers. The Vilas County Land & Water Conservation Department leads these efforts. It is important that everyone follow Clean Boats Clean Waters practices to keep our waters free of aquatic invasive species.

Find a lake

See a listing of Vilas County’s Lakes, including boat landing locations and the fish you can catch here.

Chase the records 

Vilas County has produced some really big fish. Here are some fish that have landed in the record books.

  • Tiger Muskellunge (51 lbs. 3 oz., caught 7/16/1919 on Lac Vieux Desert)
  • Silver Redhorse (11 lbs. 7 oz., caught 5/29/1985 on Plum Creek)
  • Walleye (18 lbs. 0 oz., caught 9/16/1933 on High Lake)