In a state filled with freshwater lakes, deciding which one to drop a line can be a challenge. There are more than 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin. On a recent fishing trip, we made our way to Green Lake with poles in hand. We choose Green Lake not only for fishing but also for the scenery. We didn’t know before the trip, but Green Lake is the deepest natural inland lake in Wisconsin. Much of the lake is deeper than 200 feet. There are also some photogenic rock clusters dotted along the banks and a handful of picture-perfect peninsulas.
We picked a great weather day to be on a boat on Green Lake. We didn’t even have a cloud in the sky until we docked at the end of the day. While conditions over the water were perfect, our guide explained that sunny days are not always the best for bites, but we got lucky and caught lots of fish from the boat.
To start our fishing trip we dropped our lines for something smaller than expected. Our guide let us start our journey by catching our own bait. This is a type of fishing that we have never tried before. The action was great collecting small perch which later became a snack for the fish we were really looking for. With a few dozen baby yellow perch in the livewell, we made our way across the large lake to some of the captain’s favorite spots.
We have always used worms, night crawlers, and the occasional leech to catch fish in Wisconsin, but this would be our first cast with a live fish as bait. There were few large fish with the standard live bait. However, this was not the case today. With this big bait, almost every fish we put on the boat was bigger than any fish we’d ever caught in Wisconsin before – some of them even belonged on the wall!
It wasn’t long before we got a few bites and the #FirstCatch found its way into our network! After about a ten minute struggle of daring runs under the boat, Hannah did the honors of reeling in a nearly 3 pound smallmouth bass to start our day of fishing on Green Lake.
While we were on the lake we managed to catch a couple of fish an hour, it was great fun and we kept watering and being busy. This is different from other trips we took when we were fishing for halibut in Homer, Alaska. While that was a lot of fun, it was much more practical and required additional skills. For most of the day we caught and released the fish and hand-walked the pike by taking a few pictures as they came to their senses in the water.
Our biggest fish of the day jumped on the line in the middle of the afternoon as we fished a large slope on the northern shores of Green Lake. When we started rewinding this piece it felt heavy, but we weren’t sure if we were fighting our way through the weeds or if we had something big on the line. After a few minutes of fighting, the fish jumped out of the water and everyone on board said, “Wow, that’s a big fish.” He did a show where he jumped out of the water several times before our guide landed him safely on the net. With the net over the boat, he pulled out a massive smallmouth bass that weighed in at nearly 4 pounds and 19½ inches.
To end the day, Hannah managed to catch a nice big pike, her first ever pike. After she had run off at least 100 feet of line, she hooked the hook and began bringing it back to the boat. Although he wasn’t as lively as the Littlemouth, he had a splattered fight on the way back into the net.
We had a great day fishing on Green Lake. It’s surprising we fished here for the first time because it’s so close to where Hannah grew up. We picked the perfect day for the weather and we were also lucky when fishing!
Things You Should Know About Fishing on Green Lake, Wisconsin
Fishing licenses are required and can be purchased online or at sports stores. We bought our fishing licenses at a gas station on the day of our fishing trip. Fishing licenses are available annually or on one day for residents and annually and on January 4th, 2015 for non-residents. Everyone over 16 years of age needs a fishing license that is valid from April 1st to March 31st of the following year.
The fishing is open year round, but seasons and sizing restrictions apply to certain fish. May 6, 2017 to March 4, 2018 is the fishing season for trout and black bass, pike and pikeperch. Check out the full list of fishing regulations and seasons in Green Lake Wisconsin.
Green Lake is really big and if you’ve never been there it is best to consult a local guide to take you to some of the best spots on the lake. We went with the local fishing guide Justin Kohn, who was born and raised in the area and knows this lake like the back of his hand. He had stored fishing spots in his GPS that we would never have found ourselves.