Fish Lake

Fish Lake, just south of Sauk City and Roxbury, has a good population of largemouth bass with some bass pushing 7 pounds. Though only a couple hundred acres in size, this spring-fed lake has good numbers of largemouth bass, northern pike (though rather small), bluegills, crappies, and now muskies that should be approaching the legal size of 34 inches.

The key for Fish Lake is to fish early in the season before the Eurasian milfoil blooms and makes summer fishing rather difficult. This depends on the weather. This has been a cool spring, so the weeds are still at a minimum. The lake is ringed with fallen trees and standing timber, so you have good shoreline structure to fish and it also gives the bass good cover. There is one boat landing at the west corner of Fish Lake Road. This is another lake where you can use only electric motors which keeps the big boats away.

largemouth bass from fish lake

Try fishing and slow-rolling spinnerbaits like the Mann’s Hank Parker Classic with gold blades around the cover. Jigs and plastic (lizards, worms, and twister tails) also work well with black, purple, white, and pumpkinseed being the best colors. There is a minimum size of 18 inches and 1 fish which should keep the big fish potential. There are also muskies, but this is the first year that there may be some legal fish and it should be interesting.

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake is just a few miles east of Sauk City or 30 minutes from Madison. It is known for the huge numbers of crappies that it has been producing every spring for years. After the great spring action, the crappies, bluegills, perch, and largemouth move to the deeper water. But, deep water is only 10 to 12 feet deep. The trick after spring is to drift the main lake basin and look for the suspended fish.

Rig your rod with 4 pound monofilament and have a good assortment of ice fishing jigs and jigs like the Bait Rigs Cobra in 1/32 ounce. For bait, have wax worms, leaf worms, and small minnows. Use a slip float and vary your depth till you contact fish and then repeat the process for success. Another successful rig is using a plain long shank hook and a piece of worm under a slip float. Drift with the wind and watch your floats. You’ll also catch perch while drifting and fish the wood with spinners and shallow running crankbaits for largemouth bass.

If unfamiliar with the lake, hire a guide. Local guides are; Wally Banfi (608)-644-9823), Tony Puccio (608)-212-6464), Terry Frey (608)-220-6366), Ron Barefield (608)-838-8756), and Gary Engberg (608)-795-4208).