Guide To Exploring The Secrets Of Walleye Fishing In Wisconsin
Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye
Wisconsin is renowned for its excellent walleye fishing opportunities, with anglers targeting these prized game fish in lakes and rivers throughout the state. Alongside walleye, anglers also have the chance to catch sauger and saugeye, which are closely related species.
Walleye are highly sought after for their delicious flesh and challenging fight. They can be found in various lakes and rivers across Wisconsin, including well-known destinations such as Lake Winnebago, Green Bay, the Wisconsin River, and the Mississippi River. These waterways provide ample habitat for walleye populations to thrive and offer anglers diverse fishing experiences.
Sauger, a close relative of walleye, share similar habitat preferences and are often found in the same waters. They are known for their aggressive strikes and offer anglers an exciting challenge. Sauger can be targeted in many of the same locations as walleye, particularly in the Mississippi River and other larger river systems.
Saugeye, a hybrid species created by crossing walleye and sauger, possess characteristics of both parent species. They exhibit the hard-fighting nature of walleye and the resilience of sauger. Saugeye are stocked in various lakes and reservoirs throughout Wisconsin to provide additional fishing opportunities for anglers.
Wisconsin holds several state records for walleye, sauger, and saugeye catches, showcasing the potential for trophy-sized fish in the state's waters. These records highlight the quality of walleye fishing available and attract anglers from near and far in pursuit of their personal best catches.
Anglers employ a variety of techniques to target walleye, sauger, and saugeye, including trolling, casting, jigging, and live bait fishing. Understanding the preferred habitats, feeding patterns, and seasonal movements of these species is crucial for success on the water.
It's important for anglers to familiarize themselves with fishing regulations, such as size and bag limits, as well as any specific regulations for the lakes and rivers they plan to fish. Practicing catch-and-release whenever possible helps maintain sustainable populations and ensures future generations can enjoy the thrill of walleye, sauger, and saugeye fishing in Wisconsin's waters.
Walleye Fishing Lakes in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is walleye country. You can find quality walleye fishing in most every major lake in the state including Beaver Dam Lake, Big Eau Pleine Reservoir, Big Green Lake, Castle Rock Lake, Chetac Lake, Fence Lake, Geneva Lake, Gile Flowage Lake, Grindstone Lake, Holcombe Flowage, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac Vieux Desert, Lake Butte des Morts, Lake Chippewa, Lake du Bay, Lake Kegonsa, Lake Koshkonong, Lake Michigan, Lake Monona, Lake Mendota, Lake Onalaska, Lake Pepin, Lake Poygan, Lake Puckaway, Lake Superior, Lake Winnebago, Lake Winneconne, Lake Wisconsin, Lake Wissota, Long Lake, Namekagon Lake, Pelican Lake, Petenwell Lake, Pewaukee Lake, Rainbow Flowage, Shawano Lake, Shell Lake, Tomahawk Lake, Trout Lake, Turtle Flambeau Flowage, Willow Reservoir. Rivers flowing into and out of these reservoirs are likely to contain walleye as well. In winter most lakes in the state ice over, many of them offering opportunities to go ice fishing for walleye.
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 18 lbs 0 oz
World record: 17 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 6 lbs 6.7 oz
World record: 15 lbs 6 oz
State Record: 8 lbs 14.7 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Top lures for walleye in Wisconsin
Jigs with a variety of trailers and bait work well in virtually any depth water. When ice fishing, jigs and ice jigs are very popular. When walleyes are shallow, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and rip baits are the often very productive. As they move deeper, spoons are ideal for active walleye. Understanding the seasonal movements of walleyes improves your odds of selecting the right lures for conditions on local waters.
Wisconsin Walleye Records
The state record walleye was caught out of High Lake.
The state record sauger came from the Mississippi River.
The state record saugeye was taken out of the Wisconsin River.
Fishing For Walleye
This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker water. Trolling for walleye with deep diving crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners and live bait provides a way to cover vast areas and locate concentrations of fish. Use of planer boards allows anglers to cover water out both sides of the boat while trolling. Try fishing for walleye from sundown to midnight, particularly during the heat of summer.
Fishing For Sauger
Closely related to the walleye and similar in appearance, sauger are generally smaller than walleye, reaching 4 to 5 pounds (or more) and up to about 20 inches. Often found in muddier rivers, it thrives in larger, silty lakes. They spawn in the shallows at night, without creating or guarding specific nests.
Fishing For Saugeye
This hybrid is created by mating sauger with walleye. The walleye influence allows the hybrids to grow larger than sauger, often to sizes equaling walleye. Saugeye tend to survive best in turbid/silty water and are caught in the same general areas and habitat populated by walleye and sauger.
Walleye prefer moderately deep lakes with gravel, rock or sandy bottoms. It is found primarily in cold water lakes but has proven to survive in warmer impoundments. It is prized for its great tasting filets. Click here to learn all about walleye fishing.
Wisconsin walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
Watch this video for walleye tips and tactics.
Also find information about walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing in these states.
Learn the migration patterns of walleye
Walleye become active in spring and begin the spawning process in medium-depth water. As summer arrives they move to deeper, cooler water. In fall walleye migrate into shallower water again and feed aggressively preparing for their move to deeper water where they will spend winter.