Adventure: fishing

Learn more about fishing


New to fall fishing in Vilas County? Here’s a quick primer on what you need to know. First, you’re in the right place. Vilas County is home to more than 1,300 lakes and 73 rivers and streams. In fact, it’s part of one of the largest concentrations of freshwater lakes in the world. Fall is one of the best times to go fishing in Vilas County. The fish bite with vigor and the colors offer a dramatic backdrop to the lakes. To get started, you’ll need a fishing license, unless you’re under the age of 16, born before 1927 or are a Wisconsin resident who is on break from active military duty. Find a sales location here. You can find all the tackle, gear and bait you need at Vilas County’s sport and bait shops. Also, consider hiring a guide. Guides can drastically improve your chances of success, and they can also share lessons you’ll use for a lifetime of fishing. Also, guides are a bargain when you factor in the great value of being able to use their boat and equipment. Some great places to start your fishing adventure: Upper Buckatabon Lake in Conover, Big Sand Lakes in Phelps and Little Horsehead Lake in Presque Isle. All hold plenty of panfish. Plus, there’s plenty of shoreline spots and piers to cast from even if you don’t have a boat, like the pier at Mud Lake (south of Presque Isle), Van Vliet Lake (southeast of Presque Isle) and the pier at Wilderness Park on Presque Isle Lake.


There’s nothing better than fall fishing in Vilas County. Generations of fishermen return here every fall, year after year, for the chance to cast a line. If you’ve been fishing for a while but would like to take your game to a new level, Vilas County is the perfect spot. The county produces some large musky. If you would like to join the hunt, three great spots include Boulder Lake in Boulder Junction, the Eagle River Chain near Eagle River and Big St. Germain Lake near St. Germain. Consider trying your luck in a fall musky fishing tournament. You can win big prizes, and the events are a lot of fun even if you don’t finish in the money. Fall tournaments can be found in Phelps, St. Germain and Manitowish Waters.


You’ve come here for a reason – this place offers some of the best freshwater fishing on the planet, and fall is trophy musky season. This may be familiar territory for you, and you may already have your favorite spots. Welcome back, we’ll see you shore-side. If you’re a new prospector on these waters, check out this lake information. You can see all the public-access lakes in the county, learn what fish are common in each lake, get depth information and more. Some great larger lakes to explore include Lac Vieux Desert near Land O’ Lakes, North Twin Lake near Phelps and Fence Lake near Lac du Flambeau.


Want more fishing info?

See all Vilas County public-access lakes.
For a full list of Vilas County fishing events, click here.