- Where to Go
- The Best of Milwaukee and Madison
- The Best Wisconsin Weekends
- A Perfect Week in Door County
- Wisconsin for Recreationists
- Rustic Road Tripping
- Made in Milwaukee
- Madison Weekend
- Sports: The Packers and Beyond
- Out on the Town in Milwaukee
- Say Cheese!
- Four Days in the Mad City
- A Wisconsin Family Road Trip
- Wisconsin’s Best Brews
Given that Wisconsin has more than 16,000 lakes, 27,000 miles of fishable river and stream, and more than 1,000 miles of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Mississippi River coastline, and that most of the state’s 135 native species of fish are fair game, it’s no surprise that the number one activity is angling. Wisconsin ranks in the top five states nationwide for number of fishing licenses dispensed and is first in number of nonresident licenses sold annually. Most of the North Woods resorts cater to muskie anglers and tagalong families. Boulder Junction and Hayward both claim to be the Muskie Capital of the World. Though the muskellunge is revered as king of the waters, in sheer numbers the most popular sportfish is the walleye.
Wisconsin’s only native stream trout is the brook trout, closely related to the lake trout. Good news—hundreds of blue-ribbon streams are chock-full of these suckers.
Great Lakes fishing has grown to become an enormous industry, with entire fleets devoted to working the well-stocked waters. Not all the fish in the Great Lakes are native species, but nobody seems to mind. Much of the restocking took place in response to early- century overfishing and the decline of fish stocks due to exotic species. In terms of fish taken per angler hour, Kenosha, Racine, and the Kewaunee/Algoma stretch rate extremely high. The entire Door Peninsula is also hugely popular. In all, the state Department of Natural Resources stocks more than 2.1 million coho and chinook salmon, 1 million lake trout, and 2 million brook, brown, and steelhead trout.
Driving the truck out on a frozen lake to a village of shanties erected over drilled holes, sitting on an overturned five-gallon pail, stamping your feet quite a bit, and drinking a lot of schnapps is a time-honored tradition in the Great White North. Ice fishing is serious business in Wisconsin: Up to two million angler-days are spent on the ice each year, and ice fishing accounts for up to one-fifth of the state’s annual catch.
For all information, it’s imperative to contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (877/945-4236, www.dnr.state.wi.us).
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition