Fishing Lake Wisconsin
Lake Wisconsin is one of the best all-round fisheries in the state. The lake offers very good fishing for most species of fish from the spring thru the fall. This outstanding fishery includes; walleyes, saugers, crappies, bluegills, muskies, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sturgeon, drum, and catfish.
Walleyes and saugers are the most sought after species on the lake. The fishing season is open year-round for both species. The best spring action is on jigs/minnows and jigs/plastic tails, but since we are coming into summer the walleye action switches to the river channel edges and the lake’s wood and stump covered flats. Lake Wisconsin has few weeds in the main lake, so walleyes use the wood for their structure. You can still jig and cast crankbaits in the summer, but open-water trolling is becoming more popular and successful. Anglers use planer boards (OFF Shore OR-12’s) to get their baits (Shad Raps and Wally Divers) in # 5 and # 7) away from the boat and to cover more water. Another good method is to use bottom bouncers and spinners baited with night crawlers or Power Bait. The best colors for crankbaits and spinner blades are blue/silver, black/white, fire-tiger, and black/gold.
Good summer locations to fish include; the stumps and wood near the Ferry and the Merrimac park past the old tressels, the north shore of Pine Bluff, the points around Sunset Bay, the channel edges at Moon Valley, the points as you enter Weigands Bay, and outside the first break line and channel edge from Weigands to the dam. Troll both sides of the lake toward the dam and watch your electronics for schools of baitfish and suspended fish.
The crappie population on the lake provides good fishing year-round. The spring spawning period is very good with many fish in the 12 to 15 inch range. You can also catch nice crappies during the summer, but the bite shifts to deeper water and suspended fish. The crappies suspend throughout the lake and usually still relate to wood and fish cribs. Use websites like Fishidy to locate underwater structure to find crappies and their forage. Anchoring near wood and fishing a minnow under a slip float works as does open-water trolling thru the stump fields with #5 Shad Raps in blue/silver, fire-tiger, and shad colors.
Muskies have been stocked periodically in the lake since the mid 1990’s and there are now fish in the mid and high 40 inch range. The muskies use wood, rock, islands, and fish cribs for holding structure especially if there is deep water in the vicinity. Good locations to fish include; the scattered stump fields at Lake Wisconsin’s north end and at the entrance to Moon Valley, the small island near Whalen’s Grade, the many rock bars, and the back bays. Good colors for the lake are purple and black. If casting bucktails, try using gold blades for the flash that they give off in the stained water.
There is a good population of largemouth bass in the 2 to 3 pound range with some bigger fish always present. Anglers should concentrate on the shallow and weedy bays like Whalen’s Bay, Okee Bay, Moon Valley, Weigands Bay, Gruber’s Grove, and Gallus Slough. Spinnerbaits casted to the vegetation and wood always produces fish. Weed less baits, like the Slop Frog work in heavy cover. Shorelines with a steep drop-off close to structure are good locations all year long. Cast and pitch Texas-rigged worms, pre-rigged worms, and pig/jig combos tight to any cover for bass. Gallus slough and Whalen’s Bay are prime summer areas.
The number of smallmouth bass in Lake Wisconsin has been increasing for the last few years. Most bass are in the 12 to 15 inch range with some fish over 18 inches. They prefer the rocky and rip-rap shorelines especially if they are close to some current flow. Many of the smallmouth migrate into the upper Wisconsin River during the heat of summer because the water is more oxygenated up there. Try fishing from Tipperary Point to Fockes Bluff for both spring and summer smallmouth. The best techniques are jigs/plastic, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits casted to any rip-rapped shorelines. Crayfish color is the hot pick for Lake Wisconsin.
White bass have saved many a day on Lake Wisconsin. They bite well in the summer and are often found in schools which can provide fast and furious action. Look for the fish schools on your fish locator or look for feeding seagulls. The gulls are feeding on the same baitfish schools as the white bass. When you see the gulls feeding, use a quiet approach and make long casts to the fish. Spinners like a Mepp’s #2 and Mann’s Little George will produce fish. Okee Bay can be a summer “hot-spot” for schooling white bass.
Lake Wisconsin has good boat landings at Sunset Bay, the Grade, Moon Valley, and Okee. Bait is available at Wilderness Fish and Game (608)-643-2433 in Sauk City and at Moon Valley Resort (608)-493-2706). There are quality resorts and restaurants in the local towns of Lodi, Sauk City, and Prairie du Sac.