Adventure: fishing

Learn more about fishing


New to 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. Second, it’s part of one of the largest concentrations of freshwater lakes in the world, so this is your best fishing option in the region. Third, the big fun starts the first weekend of May, when the general fishing season opens. Spring is a great time to cast a line. 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 in Vilas County. 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, Little Horsehead Lake in Presque Isle and Allequash Lake in Boulder Junction. But the fishing in Vilas County is good enough that you don’t even a boat; you can cast your line from several accessible piers and shore fishing spots, including Lake Minocqua, Moss Lake (Lac du Flambeau), Silver Lake (Eagle River) and Spectacle Lake (Phelps).


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 spring fishing is excellent; it’s an ideal time to fish for crappie and largemouth bass. If you would like to join the hunt, three great spots include Big Arbor Vitae Lake in the Minocqua area, the Eagle River Chain of Lakes near Eagle River and Big St. Germain Lake near St. Germain. Consider entering a Vilas County fishing tournament. The tournaments draw some talented fishermen but anyone is welcome to enter, everybody has a chance to win and everyone has a lot of fun.

There’s a big walleye tournament in Presque Isle each May, sponsored by the Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce. The tournament features cash prizes and a fish fry lunch.


You’ve come to Vilas County for a reason – this place offers some of the best freshwater fishing on the planet, and the lakes are open for business. This may be familiar territory for you and you may already have your favorite spots. But if you’re looking for new 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, see depth information and more. A little shore research can help ensure success on the lake. 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. If you’re in the mood for a bigger challenge—literally—try tracking down Vilas County’s monster musky. Musky fishing season runs from the Saturday closest to Memorial Day until the end of November.


Want more fishing info?

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