Lake Winnebago Fishing: The Ultimate Guide

Studying Time: 10 minutes

Seeking to solid a line in Wisconsin? Properly, what could possibly be higher than spending your time cruising the most important lake within the state? Head out on a Lake Winnebago fishing journey, and also you’ll have entry to a freshwater fishery that covers a whopping 137,700 acres. This lake boasts reefs, islands, two tributaries, and, better of all, some world-famous fish species.

Whether or not you’re a Bass fanatic or extra of a Walleye fanatic, you’ll discover loads of fish ready to chunk. Come rain, shine, and even snow, native anglers make the pilgrimage to this physique of water to check their expertise, fill their coolers, and even participate in tournaments. Yep, Lake Winnebago actually has one thing to supply each angler. From households, to ice fishing fiends, to these searching for a freshwater sport fish battle – all the pieces is on provide.

Earlier than you seize your rods and reels, you in all probability have some questions on fishing the waters of Lake Winnebago. What species, precisely, are you able to catch right here? And how are you going to catch ’em? Don’t fear – we’ve lined all of this, and extra, under…

What can I catch on Lake Winnebago?

There’s a complete host of prized species lurking beneath the lake’s waters. Relying on once you go to, you would possibly effectively have entry to all of them. Beneath, we’ve highlighted our favourite catches within the space…


For a lot of native Lake Winnebago anglers, Walleye are the undisputed kings of those waters. That is because of the lake’s many reefs and underwater construction, which make for the right habitat. A neighborhood fishing group named Walleyes for Tomorrow even campaigned (efficiently!) for synthetic “Walleye reefs” to be positioned within the lake. They needed to make sure that this species would stay a goal for generations to come back.

Why? Properly, not solely do Walleye style scrumptious, however in addition they make for significantly thrilling angling opponents. You’ll be able to cruise these waters for them in the summertime when the season is at its peak, throughout the spawning season in spring, and even on an ice fishing journey in winter. Because of this there’s all the time a possibility to hook these fish, in addition to an abundance of how to catch them.

On the lookout for a family-friendly journey that’ll fill your cooler? Summer season sees Walleye flocking to underwater construction as close to as a mile from shore. In spring, the lake’s jap reefs are a hotspot for spawning fish. Trolling with dwell bait, particularly minnows, is a well-liked method. When winter comes round, you’ll discover loads of native anglers out on the lake, drilling holes and dropping traces topped with jigging spoons.


There’s a motive why Bass fishing is so widespread on this physique of water. The lake boasts not one however two beloved sorts of this fish. Native anglers like to explain ’em on this means: “Massive lake, huge Bass!” Wisconsin usually is thought for its unbelievable Smallmouth Bass fishing alternatives. Nonetheless, Lake Winnebago actually ups the ante, because it’s house to a giant mixture of each Smallmouth and Largemouth varieties.

Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass are widespread catches for 2 fundamental causes: they style nice and are enjoyable to catch. What extra might you need? That is very true within the Lake Winnebago space. It’s seen a giant increase in Bass fishing through the years, because of the variety of habitats that may be discovered right here. From shallow grassy waters to coldwater columns, it has all the pieces that Bass love.

Most anglers instinctively head to offshore reefs and construction to focus on colleges of summer time Bass, however issues work somewhat otherwise on Lake Winnebago. Native anglers truly suggest trolling the shorelines, and focusing your consideration round pockets of water about 6 toes deep, areas with laborious bottoms, and weeds. The lake’s docks are additionally a Bass hotspot. These fish are voracious feeders, and the standard worm is their snack of alternative!


With waters that attain a most depth of solely 21 toes, you might not first consider Lake Winnebago as being a high Pike fishing locale. These fish are identified for his or her love of deep, cool waters, in any case. Select your location fastidiously, nonetheless, and also you’ll be very pleasantly shocked. There’s a surprisingly spectacular variety of Pike in these waters, particularly throughout the winter months and proper after “ice-out,” when the lake begins to thaw.

Pike season hits its peak throughout winter, when Lake Winnebago is frozen. This implies one factor – ice fishing is within the playing cards! If you need the possibility to catch an enormous fish in a barely uncommon means, that is the right alternative. Native anglers focus their consideration across the western shore of the lake, in addition to smaller our bodies of water which might be a part of the Winnebago Chain.

The identical goes when fishing in a extra standard means, too. Each North and South Asylum Bays are widespread Pike spots, in addition to Millers Bay. The weed beds in these bays maintain loads of Panfish, small Bass, and different bait fish. Crankbaits, spinners, and enormous shiny spoons are particularly enticing to those fish, whether or not you’re fishing in spring or casting your line below a layer of ice!


Seeking to introduce your little ones to the magic of fishing on this lake? You’ll be happy to know that it’s bustling with quite a lot of tasty Panfish. Yellow Perch are the highest catch right here, however they’re additionally joined by Bluegill and Crappie. You’ll discover ’em year-round, inhabiting the lake regardless of the season, with ice fishing for Perch being a much-loved native custom. It’s time to fill the cooler!

Spring sees Panfish heading to the lake’s shorelines and shallow-water reefs. Perch are particularly plentiful within the southern a part of this fishery. When you’re visiting in summer time or autumn, head to the lake’s reefs. That is the place the Panfish exercise is! Sinkers topped with crawlers or worms are a preferred means of hooking these fish round construction. Winter is all about ice fishing, with the shoreline being particularly productive simply after “freeze up.”

Perch are interested in vivid flashy colours, so attempt topping off your dwell bait (worms, minnows, or crickets will do) with a small coloured bead or flag. Crappie and Bluegill additionally love worms, minnows, grubs, and different comparable forms of dwell bait. As these two fish have a tendency to remain near the floor, attaching a bobber to your line in addition to their bait of alternative is a successful mixture.

And Extra!

Lake Winnebago actually is proof that freshwater fishing doesn’t essentially imply dealing with up in opposition to a decrease variety of angling opponents. Though we predict the species we outlined above are the primary stars of the present right here, they’re on no account the one ones you’ll be able to goal.

You’ll discover quite a lot of Lake and Brown Trout exhibiting up within the spring, with summer time being the height season. Then there’s Muskellunge. The lake has traditionally had a low inhabitants of those fish, as a result of Nice Lakes stocking program ceasing in 2007. Nonetheless, this quantity is rising by the day because the lake was re-stocked with Musky in 2015.

Then, in case you’re searching for a prehistoric battle, head to the lake in February. That is when the annual Sturgeon spearing season begins! The timeline is tight, normally starting on the second Saturday of the month and lasting for a most of 16 days. Be sure you keep watch over this info to keep away from disappointment.

How can I’m going fishing on Lake Winnebago?

From a Boat

As a result of sheer measurement of the lake, hopping aboard a neighborhood constitution vessel is by far the best method to discover it. It might not be as pocket-friendly as shore fishing or as distinctive as ice fishing, however you’ll have the ability to effortlessly hop from reef to reef, cruising a complete number of hotspots in chase of your goal catch. Add to this your native information’s knowledgeable information, and it truly is an unbeatable mixture.

The vast majority of Lake Winnebago’s fishing charters are docked within the metropolis of Oshkosh, which serves because the dividing level between Lake Winnebago and Lake Buttes des Mortes. You’ll have direct entry to each of those waterways, which suggests a brief and candy journey to the best fishing spots. The kind of vessel you’ll be fishing from might fluctuate, however Bass boats are extraordinarily frequent – and are constructed for lake fishing!

On Foot

Need to discover the lake with out stepping on a ship? With 88 miles of shoreline on provide, there are many alternatives. The cities that dot this lake’s shoreline are house to quite a lot of pure parks, most of which boast boat launches, shore fishing spots, and even fishing piers. Native anglers wish to fish from the bridges close to the lake, too, and across the Neenah and Menasha Dams.

When fishing on foot, your almost definitely catches are Panfish, Walleye, and a few Bass. These species could be discovered all through the lake, however can congregate in massive teams round sure areas or piers. Native parks normally have an inventory of high catches, so in case you’re simply beginning out or are after a particular fish, we suggest heading to one in every of ’em. When you’re a extra seasoned fisherman, be a part of the locals that line the bridges or dams!

A Phrase About Ice Fishing

Lake Winnebago is famed for its ice fishing alternatives. When you’re searching for a novel winter journey, nothing fairly beats casting a line in opposition to this stunning frozen backdrop. Nonetheless, it’s not fairly so simple as simply grabbing an ice drill, some bait, and your fishing rod, and organising camp on the lake. As a result of reefs, breaks, and underwater construction, some areas are quite a bit safer than others to fish on.

So as to get essentially the most out of your ice fishing journey and in addition solid a line safely, we suggest heading out alongside a neighborhood ice fishing information. As a result of reputation of this fishing methodology within the winter months, you’ll have a lot to select from! Your information can even have the ability to equip you with all the mandatory gear. When you actually need to fish with out a information, keep on with frozen shorelines and fish round harbors and docks.

The place can I’m going fishing on Lake Winnebago?

  • Excessive Cliff State Park: When you’re new to Lake Winnebago or fishing usually, that is the right place to begin. You’ll be able to fish the lake from the marina or the close by rocks, with some anglers even selecting to wade within the waters for his or her goal catch. Perch, Crappie, and Walleye are widespread targets. It additionally has its personal disability-accessible fishing pond.
  • Kelly’s Level and Reef: Fishing from a ship and need to hook into a number of Walleye? Head round 5 miles north from Fon du Lac to the lake’s western shoreline, the place you’ll come throughout this construction. There are weeds throughout it, which suggests it attracts Walleye in droves.
  • Oshkosh: If it’s constitution boat fishing you’re after, Oshkosh is asking your identify! It’s completely positioned proper on Lake Winnebago’s shorelines, in addition to offering entry to Lake Butte des Morts to the west. Due to this, it’s a well-liked departure level for a lot of native constitution captains.
  • Neenah Dam at Fox River: Okay, this would possibly sound like a little bit of a wierd location, however bear with us. Head all the way down to the Neenah Dam, which is positioned proper close to the spot the place the mouth of the Fox River meets Lake Winnebago, and also you’ll see loads of anglers fishing on foot. Panfish and Walleye are the highest targets right here.
  • Fond du Lac: positioned on the southernmost level of Lake Winnebago, Fond du Lac is one other widespread departure level for native charters. You’ll additionally discover some productive on-foot fishing alternatives, because of the world’s assortment of parks. Columbia Park is a must-visit, and gives boat launches, shore fishing, and loads of facilities.

Anything I have to know?


With Walleye being such an enormous a part of Lake Winnebago’s fishing scene, it comes as no shock that there’s a whole event devoted to them. The Bago Walleye Membership was based in 2010 by native anglers to encourage some wholesome competitors inside the space’s fishing scene, and so they run 4 tournaments by means of the months of Could–July.

There’s additionally Battle on Bago, which runs annual summer time and winter tournaments, hosts the Midwest’s largest ice fishing event, and is domestically considered as being the world’s household and fishing occasion of the yr. Anglers can goal quite a lot of the lake’s fish in these tournaments – with over $275,000 in prizes, anybody has the possibility of going house a winner!

Guidelines and Rules

Yep, the legalities of fishing listed here are fairly vital to learn about earlier than you head out! Principally, any angler over the age of 16 wants a Wisconsin fishing license to discover Lake Winnebago. This is similar whether or not you select to fish with a neighborhood information or by your self.

There are some exceptions, which you’ll be able to examine in our information to getting a Wisconsin fishing license. It’s also possible to discover out the place to buy your license.

Fishing Lake Winnebago: Massive Lake, Even Larger Fishing Alternatives!

Bear in mind we talked about that native anglers like to explain this space’s Bass fishing scene by saying, “Massive lake, larger Bass!”? Properly, we predict this may be utilized to Lake Winnebago’s fishing alternatives as a complete. Whether or not you need to fish on a frozen wonderland for tasty Perch or big Pike, troll the grass beds for Bass, or do battle with Walleye, there actually is one thing for everybody. Seize your rods and reels and make your method to Wisconsin – Lake Winnebago awaits!

Have you ever ever been fishing on Lake Winnebago? What did you catch? Any ideas, methods, or native recommendation to share with us? Remark under. We love listening to from you!

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