Adventure: fishing

Learn more about fishing


There’s perhaps no better way to spend a summer day than on a Vilas County lake, casting a line. Vilas County’s outstanding fishing lakes draw serious anglers as well as families who just want to enjoy some time on the water together. Anglers have plenty of options here. Vilas County is home to more than 1,300 lakes and 73 rivers and streams. 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. Also, guides are a bargain when you factor in the great value of being able to use their boat and equipment. A beautiful lake that is a great place to start your fishing adventure: Presque Isle Lake in Presque Isle. But you can find fantastic fishing in Vilas County even if you’re casting from the shore. Try accessible piers and shore fishing at Upper Gresham Lake in Boulder Junction, Rest Lake in Manitowish Waters, Star Lake in Sayner/Star Lake or several locations in Presque Isle, including Big Horsehead Lake, Little Horsehead Lake and Oxbow Lake.


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 summer fishing is excellent; the days are long and the lakes beckon. 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. Trout fishermen should check out Stormy Lake in Conover. This 522-acre lake has a long tradition of trout fishing, and the DNR keeps the lake well-stocked with brown trout. If you’re feeling competitive, consider entering a Vilas County fishing tournament. The Eagle River area hosts competitive musky tournaments in June and August.


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 to explore, 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 bigger water to explore includes Lac Vieux Desert near Land O’ Lakes, North Twin Lake near Phelps and Fence Lake near Lac du Flambeau. Trout fishermen will also find some prospects in Vilas County; the county has dozens of trout streams. The Deerskin River near Eagle River is a popular spot.


Want more fishing info?

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