Wisconsin offers everything an avid walleye angler could hope for.
The best walleye fishing in Wisconsin can stand against any state when it comes to size and numbers. There are plenty of options for you, so whether you’re targeting them through the ice or from a boat, there’s a lake out there for you.
Walleyes are a highly sought-after fish for good reason: They’re delicious. Read on to find Wisconsin’s best lakes and rivers for walleye fishing.
Top Walleye Lakes, Rivers and Bays
Walleyes are found in most significant waters in Wisconsin. That said, the best fisheries stand out for the numbers and size they offer. Green Bay is massive, while smaller places like Green Lake may get overlooked.
Green Bay is synonymous with Wisconsin. This giant Lake Michigan bay spans over 1,600 square miles and stretches 120 miles from top to bottom. Most of the bay varies between 10 and 20 miles wide. It’s recognized as the largest freshwater estuary in the world.
Walleyes are pretty fond of it as well.
The bay has a max depth of 175 feet, making it plenty deep enough to support a thriving walleye population. It really is the perfect habitat for them.
The Fox, Oconto, and Menominee Rivers flow into the bay, creating the perfect opportunity for early-season fishing. Even when ice may still cover the main lake, the confluences of these rivers will have walleye holding and bunching up in pre-spawn mode.
Green Bay is full of forage fish, which allows large populations of walleye to grow into enormous fish. Perch, shad, gobies, and whitefish make up most of the walleye’s food chain.
The bay provides a unique combination of shallow flats, deep channels, and rocky structures, creating ideal conditions for walleye to thrive. Anglers often find success casting jigs or trolling with crawler harnesses along the shoreline breaks.
Ice fishing can be insane on Green Bay. Catching walleyes through the ice, along with perch and whitefish, can’t be beat.
You’ll find all the amenities you could hope for along the length of Green Bay. Camping, lodging, food, and tackle shops are easy to come by.
Long Lake is a picturesque, spring-fed, 3,300-acre lake in the southeastern corner of Washburn County. It runs almost 19 miles and has 99 miles of scenic shoreline, with depths of over 70 feet. It’s billed as the “Walleye Capital of Wisconsin.”
What makes Long Lake particularly attractive for walleye enthusiasts is its underwater structure. The lake features submerged rock formations, expansive weed beds, and varying depths, creating an environment where walleye thrive.
Target the lake’s points, drop-offs, and submerged structures, as these are prime spots where walleye patrol for prey.
During the early spring months, walleye become increasingly active as the ice recedes and the water temperature rises. This period marks the pre-spawn and spawn, drawing walleye closer to the shallows. Anglers adept at reading water temperatures and understanding walleye behavior capitalize on this.
The usual seasonal patterns occur here, with the fish heading deep in the summer before returning to the shallows to fatten up in the fall.
Long Lake earns its reputation for producing trophy-sized walleye, with fish over 20 inches caught regularly and the possibility of landing a lunker over 30 inches.
Whether casting jigs, trolling with crankbaits, or employing live bait rigs, you should find success here.
Ice fishing can be incredible at Long Lake. Tip-ups baited with fathead minnows tend to be the most effective.
Plenty of amenities are around the lake, along with camping and lodging.
Sturgeon Bay is renowned for its epic walleye fishing, bringing in anglers from around the country seeking trophy-sized catches.
Nestled within the picturesque Door County, this bay within the larger Green Bay is a prime destination for walleye chasers.
Sturgeon Bay’s unique features contribute to its reputation as a walleye haven. Varied underwater structures and a mix of shallow flats and deep, rocky areas provide the perfect habitat for walleye.
Spring and fall are prime seasons for walleye fishing in Sturgeon Bay. As temperatures begin to rise in spring, walleye migrate towards the shallower waters for spawning. This migration pattern lets you target these trophy-sized monsters in relatively predictable locations.
Summertime finds walleyes moving into deeper waters, making them a much harder target.
In the fall, as temperatures drop, walleye move back to shallower areas to fatten up for winter, making them more accessible to anglers.
Anglers often utilize various techniques, including trolling, casting, and jigging.
Trolling with crankbaits or crawler harnesses along the drop-offs and contour lines is a popular strategy, as is casting to rocky structures and weed edges where they are known to hide.
Ice fishing Sturgeon Bay can be epic. There are plenty of guides that focus on the hard deck and will supply what you need to get the job done. Tip-ups with minnows or jigging are the preferred methods.
Several local guides are available to make the most of your trip to Sturgeon Bay. Guides know the water like the back of their hand and will put you onto fish. Your job is catching them.
Sturgeon Bay also hosts several fishing tournaments throughout the year. These events contribute to the vibrant fishing community in the area and highlight Sturgeon Bay’s status as a bucket list walleye destination.
The area has plenty of campgrounds, resorts, hotels, and RV parks, so you should be able to book your trip easily. Potawatomi State Park is on the west shore.
Lake Winnebago, a.k.a. the ‘Bago, is the largest inland lake in Wisconsin. It’s also renowned for its excellent walleye fishing. This massive 137,700-acre lake is part of the Winnebago System, which includes lakes Butte des Morts, Winneconne, and Poygan.
Spring and fall are the most active times for walleye fishing, as spawning and feeding patterns pick up in shallower waters.
Lake Winnebago has an abundance of structure and is dotted with underwater humps, points, and expansive flats, providing the perfect habitat for walleye to thrive. Target these areas with crankbaits or worm harnesses, and you’re in for an epic day of walleye fishing.
During the spring, walleye migrate to the shallow spawning areas, providing anglers with prime opportunities to catch trophy-sized fish. Try trolling with crankbaits, jigging, and slip-bobber fishing.
Trolling is the preferred tactic on Lake Winnebago, especially during the warmer months when walleye disperse across the lake.
Use a combination of crankbaits, spinners, and live bait rigs to cover large areas and locate schools of walleye. The key is to find the proper depth and speed that triggers the walleye’s predatory instincts.
Ice fishing is another highlight of Lake Winnebago, drawing another wave of anglers during the winter months.
As the lake freezes over, a unique fishing culture emerges with heated ice shanties dotting the frozen landscape at one of Wisconsin’s premier winter fisheries. Try tip-ups and jigging techniques.
Lake Namekagon, in the heart of Wisconsin’s Northwoods, is a pristine jewel known for its crystal-clear waters, lush forests, and, most notably, its exceptional walleye fishing.
Anglers from across the country are drawn to the serene beauty of this glacial lake, seeking the thrill of reeling in trophy-sized walleye.
With its numerous bays, points, and deep holes, the lake provides an ideal habitat for walleye to flourish. The varying depths and underwater structures create the perfect conditions for these elusive fish.
As temperatures rise, walleye become more active, migrating to shallower flats in search of food and spawning grounds. You’ll be able to target walleye in the shallows in this early season. Techniques like casting, trolling, and jigging are all productive this time of year.
Trolling is popular on Lake Namekagon, especially during warmer months. Trolling will let you cover more water and locate schools of walleye suspended at various depths. Crankbaits and spinner rigs are common, as are worm harnesses.
Ice fishing can be excellent here. Drop a jig tipped with minnow or artificial bait, enticing walleye hiding among submerged structures. This method demands patience and finesse, as the subtle bites are easy to miss. Try using a tip-up or two.
Northern pike and muskies are cruising this lake in big numbers, so catching one while targeting walleye is pretty common.
Lake Namekagon’s shoreline is dotted with resorts, cabins, campgrounds, and fishing lodges, catering to the needs of anglers. Many of them provide boat rentals, fishing guides, and valuable local knowledge to help get you on the fish.
Lake Chippewa, one of Wisconsin’s largest and most renowned lakes, stretches across 15,300 acres and provides a prime habitat for walleye, making it a sought-after destination for both novice and seasoned anglers.
The lake’s structure, made up of deep basins, rocky points, submerged humps, and expansive weed beds, creates an ideal environment for walleye to thrive.
During the spring, as the ice melts and temperatures rise, walleye move into shallower waters for spawning. Casting jigs tipped with minnows or soft plastics near rocky shorelines and submerged structures can yield great catches.
Electronics are an invaluable tool for locating schools of walleye.
As summer arrives and water temperatures increase, walleye tend to move to deeper sections of the lake. Trolling becomes a necessary technique using a variety of crankbaits and spinners to cover as much water as possible.
Key areas to focus your summertime efforts include drop-offs, underwater points, and the edges of weed beds, where walleye often gather in search of prey.
Come fall, as temperatures cool, walleye return to shallower waters, eating everything in sight. Casting or jigging along the lake’s structure remains effective, and the fish’s increased activity level can result in some of the year’s largest catches.
Anglers often find success with larger baits during autumn, mimicking the walleye’s preference for sizable meals as they prepare for the winter months.
Anglers also catch walleyes throughout the ice-fishing season, with the occasional trophy pulled onto the hard deck. Jigging and tip-ups are the go-to approaches.
Lake Chippewa’s easy accessibility and well-maintained boat ramps make it convenient for anglers to explore its various hotspots. Plenty of lodging and camping spots dot the area. Bait and tackle shops are readily available.
Green Lake is renowned for its exceptional walleye fishing. With its diverse underwater structure, Green Lake provides an ideal habitat for walleye, making it a favorite among walleye anglers.
It’s also known for its incredible lake trout fishing.
One of the primary reasons Green Lake stands out for walleye fishing is its sheer depth. It’s the deepest natural inland lake in the state, covering approximately 7,346 acres and reaching 237 feet deep. It offers walleye plenty of room to roam.
The lake’s depth provides a range of temperature zones, allowing walleye to find their preferred comfort levels depending on the season, leading to a healthy population.
Submerged rock piles, drop-offs, and weed beds create diverse habitats that walleye love. During different seasons, these structures become prime locations for anglers to target.
Spring and fall are particularly productive times, as walleye migrate to shallower waters, first for spawning and later to fatten up before winter.
Successful walleye fishing on Green Lake often involves a combination of techniques. Trolling along the lake’s contours with crawler harnesses or minnow-imitating crankbaits can be effective, especially when targeting suspended walleye.
Jigging near rocky structures or drop-offs is a favorite method, allowing anglers to present their bait precisely where walleye are likely to hide.
Ice fishing here is spectacular. The sheer number of walleye, perch, and pike will keep your tip-ups busy all day.
The area has several hotels and resorts, most with bait and tackle available. You’ll find everything you need.
Rock Lake, nestled in the heart of Wisconsin between Madison and Milwaukee, is a haven for anglers seeking walleye.
This picturesque lake, spanning over 1,300 acres, is renowned for its clear waters, diverse structure, and abundant walleye population, making it a prime destination for both seasoned and novice anglers.
After a day of fishing, take a dive to explore the mystery of the sunken pyramids. They are allegedly man-made, though we didn’t find definitive proof of their existence.
One of the key attractions for walleye enthusiasts on Rock Lake is its rocky shoreline. The lake’s unique topography, characterized by submerged rock formations and underwater structures, creates ideal habitats for walleye to thrive.
Walleye are ambush predators, and the rocky structures offer ample hiding spots to wait for their prey, making these areas hotspots for anglers.
Jigging is a popular method, especially around rocky points and drop-offs where walleye tend to congregate. Using jigs tipped with fathead minnows or soft plastics mimicking their natural prey can prove highly effective in enticing bites.
Trolling along the rocky shorelines with crankbaits or spinners is another favorite.
The best times for walleye fishing on Rock Lake often coincide with low-light conditions. Early mornings and late evenings are prime times to hit the water, as walleye are more active during these periods.
The lake’s rocky structures play a crucial role during these times, providing ideal cover for walleye to roam and feed.
This pattern holds true for ice fishing as well.
Set your tip-ups above the structure for the best chances.
Lake Mills has all the amenities you’ll need, and you can find camping around the lake.
Mississippi River Pools 9 and 10
The Mississippi River, forming Wisconsin’s western border, is a walleye hotspot. Pools 9 and 10 are excellent.
Walleye action begins to heat up in April, with May and June bringing yellow perch and other species into play. Walleye move into the shallows again during the fall to feed. Keep up the same approach throughout the colder months until spring sets in again.
Anchor a boat as close as you can below the dams and cast jigs like the Buck-A-Roo Jig, or try a paddle minnow or smelt minnow. Vertical jigging can also produce fast action.
The area is massive along the river, though lodging and camping are readily available.
Nestled along the Wisconsin River, Lake Wisconsin is a 9,000-acre reservoir known for producing trophy-sized walleye.
The lake’s proximity to the Wisconsin Dells and Madison makes it a convenient and attractive destination for anglers and their families.
The lake’s diverse structure, including rocky points, submerged humps, and weed beds, provides prime habitat for the toothy fish. Trolling with crawler harnesses, casting jigs, or using live bait rigs are effective methods for catching walleye here.
Lake Wisconsin spans over 7,000 acres, allowing anglers plenty of room to explore its waters.
The lake’s unique combination of clear and stained water, varying depths, and abundant structure make it an ideal environment for walleye to thrive. From submerged rock piles and weed beds to expansive flats, the lake offers an array of habitats that lead to epic fishing.
Spring brings the spawn, when walleye move to shallow waters. Target the rocky shorelines and submerged structures during this time, using jigs tipped with fathead minnows or soft plastics to entice hungry walleye.
As summer settles in, the walleye move deeper, requiring anglers to adjust their tactics. Trolling along the lake’s contours with crankbaits or spinner rigs is popular.
Come fall, as temperatures drop, walleye become more active again. The cooling water triggers a feeding frenzy as they prepare for winter. Casting and trolling near rocky points and drop-offs are effective strategies this season.
Resorts, hotels, and campgrounds dot the area. Bait and tackle shops are readily available, and all your amenities are nearby.
Lake Wisconsin also made our list of excellent yellow perch lakes.
Lake Eau Claire
Lake Eau Claire is renowned for its excellent walleye fishing, offering anglers a pristine and picturesque setting to pursue this popular freshwater species. The lake covers over 1,000 acres with a max depth of about 35 feet.
Spring and fall are particularly excellent for walleye fishing on Lake Eau Claire.
During the spring, as the water temperatures begin to rise, walleye migrate to shallow areas for spawning. As the water cools in the fall, walleye become more active again, fattening up before winter.
The lake’s diverse structure, including submerged humps, rocky points, rock piles, and weed beds, adds the perfect walleye habitat. Trolling along the drop-offs and over the rock piles can be productive.
Try bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses. Jigging near underwater structures is also a popular method.
Lodging and camping are available nearby, and you can find everything you need in the city of Eau Claire.
Lake Wissota, on the Chippewa River near Chippewa Falls, is a 6,300-acre reservoir offering excellent walleye fishing opportunities.
The lake’s depths, varying from shallow, weedy bays to deeper channels and drop-offs, create an ideal habitat for walleye. Plenty of submerged structures, from rocks, points, and timber to weed beds and stumps, hold hungry walleye.
Spring and fall are prime seasons for walleye fishing on Lake Wissota. Target them in shallower waters. In the fall, walleye move up the Chippewa River and congregate below the Jim Falls Dam, Stillson Creek, Paint Creek, and Yellow River.
Summer finds them in deeper waters. Trolling along the lake’s deeper edges or casting near submerged structures can yield bountiful catches in warm weather.
Landing walleye of over 25 inches is common here. The thrill of hooking into a powerful walleye is nothing short of epic.
The Wisconsin River, winding its way through the heart of the state, is a favorite among walleye anglers.
The river offers a mix of fast-flowing currents, deep pools, gravel bars, and rocky structures, creating the perfect setting for walleye to ambush prey.
During the spring, as the river’s waters warm, walleye embark on their annual spawning migration. This period presents an exceptional window for anglers to target these prized fish. The shallower areas near gravel bars and rocky outcrops are key hotspots.
Focus on sections with deeper pools, rocky areas, and current breaks for the best chances of a walleye encounter. Spring and fall are peak seasons for river walleye fishing, with both casting and trolling proving effective.
The Wisconsin River is long, but you likely will be near camping or hotels, depending on where you’re targeting walleye along different river sections.
Catch More Walleye
Check out our easy guide to walleye fishing, including tops techniques, tackle and bait.