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Lake Wausau, Wisconsin

Fishing in and around the Great Lakes region including all tributaries and adjoining states.

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Lake Wausau, Wisconsin

Postby JDeBoer » Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:46 pm

February brings with it many things – the Super Bowl, Valentines Day, and the beginning of late-season ice-fishing. While Marathon County alone is home to multiple bodies of water offering excellent angling opportunities for those willing to venture forth, there are but a handful of waters that offer the diverse fishing that Lake Wausau does. Located in the heart of the Wausau, Rib Mountain, and Schofield area, Lake Wausau provides an array of access points to some fine fishing while still remaining close to the thriving business and entertainment center that has grown here in Marathon County.

While Lake Wausau is certainly no secret to the numbers of anglers locally who visit it on a regular basis, its many bays, flats, backwaters, and channel edges remain home to numbers of gamefish, including trophy class specimens of several species, many of which are caught and subsequently released.

Panfish anglers love the late ice-fishing season as it often produces some of the best catches of bull bluegills, slab crappies, and the occasional jumbo perch. As the ice begins melting, good areas to begin your search include weedy mid-lake humps and flats in proximity to deeper water. As the late ice season wears on, expand your search to include predominantly shoreline related flats and structure containing weeds, wood, or a combination thereof. Jigging is by far the most popular method of cashing in on the hot action, although anglers often score consistently on tip-downs, especially once areas holding numbers of active fish have been located.

Walleye fishing in our area is often spoken of respect to Half-Moon, Lake DuBay, the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir, or the Wisconsin River itself. While each of these fisheries in and of itself is an excellent walleye fishery, Lake Wausau is the “dark horse” on the list. There are big walleyes in Lake Wausau, trust me! Each season, my clients and I catch a number of truly large walleyes while fishing both for muskies, and the ol’ marble-eye themselves. One thing I have noticed in recent years is the increase in the average size of the fish and also what I perceive as a relative decline in walleye-fishing pressure.

For later season walleyes on Lake Wausau, begin your search by probing shallower water, sometimes as “thin” as 1’-3’ by late ice. By far the most effective method of catching this predator during this time in the skinny water is by fishing tip-ups. I prefer large to extra large golden shiners or big sucker minnows for the late bite. The mouths of back bays and structure-strewn flats adjacent to the river channel are excellent places to begin your quest.

One of the most popular quarries pursued on Lake Wausau’s frozen surface is the northern pike, and for good reason. Lake Wausau, like the Wisconsin River system in general, is home to some of the largest northern pike in the state. Each and every season, verified catches into the mid to upper forty inch range come from the mighty Wisconsin and its reservoirs. This ice fishing season alone I have witnessed photos of pike up to 44” from Lake Wausau – that fish was released by the way! Northern pike fishing, TROPHY northern pike that is, begin with one key word – location.

As with the resident walleye population, some of the best big-fish pike action can be had in ultra shallow water as the ice begins to wear thin. Use BIG bait, be it live or dead. Ranging from giant golden shiners to sucker minnows almost able to trip your tip-up on the heavy setting, go big or go home! Dead smelt have their place as well, given the right conditions. As with any of our trophy fish, remember, catch-photo-release. I’ll see you on the water…

Tight lines,
Joel DeBoer
Wisconsin Angling Adventures Guide Service
"Fishing's our business, and business is good!"
Cabin Boy
Cabin Boy
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:37 pm
Location: North-Central WI

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