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Fishing For Salmon In Wisconsin

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Guide to fishing for Atlantic, chinook, coho, kokanee and pink salmon.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Salmon fishing in Wisconsin

Wisconsin offers fantastic salmon fishing opportunities, particularly in Lake Michigan and its tributary rivers. The state is known for its vibrant salmon runs and attracts anglers from far and wide seeking to catch these prized sportfish. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about salmon fishing and identify popular salmon waters in the state.

One of the most sought-after salmon species in Wisconsin is the Chinook salmon, also known as the king salmon. Chinook salmon are known for their impressive size and powerful fighting ability. Anglers target them using a variety of techniques such as trolling with downriggers, casting spoons, or fishing with bait such as alewives or spawn sacs.

Another popular salmon species in Wisconsin is the Coho salmon. Coho salmon are prized for their acrobatic jumps and energetic fights. They can be targeted using similar techniques as Chinook salmon, such as trolling with spoons, flashers, or flies.

Lake Michigan's salmon fishing season typically peaks during the spring and fall. Spring offers opportunities for staging salmon near river mouths, while fall brings the annual spawning runs. Anglers can also target salmon in tributary rivers, such as the Milwaukee, Sheboygan, or Manitowoc Rivers, during the spawning season.

Wisconsin's salmon fishing is not only thrilling but also rewarding, as these fish provide excellent table fare. Whether you're trolling the open waters of Lake Michigan or casting in the rivers, the chance to hook into a powerful salmon is an unforgettable experience for any angler in Wisconsin.

Lake Michigan and Lake Superior are the primary waters for salmon fishing around Wisconsin. The tributaries flowing into these lakes also contain salmon at varying times of the year, especially during the spawn.

Fishing Boats For Rent In WI

Fishing for salmon in Wisconsin

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon

World record: 79 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 23 lbs 15 oz

Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon

World record: 97 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 44 lbs 15 oz

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon

World record: 33 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 26 lbs 1.9 oz

Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee salmon

World record: 9 lbs 10 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 8.2 oz

Pink Salmon

Pink salmon

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 1.9 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Wisconsin Record Salmon

The state record Atlantic salmon was caught from Lake Michigan.

The state record chinook salmon came from Lake Michigan.

The state record coho salmon was caught in Lake Michigan.

The record kokanee salmon was taken out of Upper Bass Lake.

The state record pink salmon was caught from Lake Michigan.

Wisconsin Salmon Fishing

The preferred method for catching salmon is fly fishing. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies, as well as a variety of other lures and baits.

About The Pacific Salmon Family

Salmon lure

Pacific Salmon are born in and remain in freshwater streams for the early years of life. The number varies by species. Afterward they migrate to the Pacific Ocean waters where they bulk up and prepare for their once in a lifetime spawning run up the freshwater stream where they were born. They will instinctively return to their birthplace, spawn and die. They are found in the streams which empty into the ocean, and adjoining ocean waters.

The preferred method for catching salmon is fly fishing. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies. For more details check here for articles about fly fishing.

Salmon Organizations

Atlantic Salmon Federation

Atlantic Salmon Trust

Atlantic Salmon Museum

Pacific Salmon Commission

Pacific Salmon Foundation


Salmon fishing waters and information, by state.

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RI Salmon Fishing SD Salmon Fishing VT Salmon Fishing WA Salmon Fishing WI Salmon Fishing WY Salmon Fishing

Learn the life cycle of salmon

The more you know about the life cycle and seasonal migration of salmon, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Wisconsin salmon fishing waters. Visit the salmon fishing page for more information about the life cycle of the different species of salmon.

Contribute WI Salmon Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to salmon fishing in Wisconsin, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best salmon fishing waters in Wisconsin!