In a state filled with freshwater lakes, deciding which one to drop a line can be a challenge. Wisconsin is home to more than 15,000 lakes. On a recent fishing trip, we made our way to Green Lake with poles in hand. We choose Green Lake not only for the fishing but also 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 a few photogenic clusters of rocks scattered along the shores and 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 were docking at the end of the day. While the conditions were perfect above the water, our guide explained sunny days aren’t always the best for bites, but we were lucky and caught plenty of fish off the boat.
To start our fishing trip, we dropped our lines for something smaller than we expected. Our guide had us begin our trip by catching our own bait. This is a style of fishing we’ve never tried before. The action was great picking up little perch which would later become a snack for the fish we were really after. With a few dozen baby yellow perch in the livewell, we made our way across the large lake to a few of the captain’s favorite spots.
We’ve always used worms, nightcrawlers, and the occasional leech to catch fish in Wisconsin, but this would be our first cast with a live fish as bait. With the standard live bait, large fish were few and far between. However, that was not the case today. Using this big bait, almost every fish we brought into the boat was bigger than any fish we’d ever caught before in Wisconsin – a few of them even belonged on the wall!
It didn’t take long before we were getting a few bites and the #FirstCatch made its way to our net! After about a ten-minute fight filled with 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 out on the lake we managed to catch a few fish an hour, it was a lot of fun and we were always casting and keeping busy. Which is different than other trips we have done, like when we went fishing in Homer, Alaska for halibut. While that was a lot of fun too, this was much more hands-on and required some extra skill. For most of the day, we caught and released the fish and took advantage of letting the pike go by hand by snapping a few pictures as they came to their senses in the water.
Our biggest fish of the day jumped on the line in the very middle of the afternoon as we were fishing a big drop off on the northern shores of Green Lake. When we began to reel this one in it felt heavy, but we weren’t sure if we were fighting through the weeds or if we had something big on the line. After fighting for a few minutes, the fish sprung out of the water and everyone on board went “Wow, that’s a big fish.” He put on a show jumping out of the water several times before our guide landed him safely in the net. With the net over the boat, he pulled out a massive smallmouth bass that tipped the scale at nearly 4 pounds and 19 ½ inches.
To finish the day, Hannah managed to hook a nice sized northern pike, her first ever pike. After running out at least 100 feet of line she set the hook and started to bring it back toward the boat. While not as feisty as the smallmouth, he put up a splash-filled fight on his way back to the net.
We had a great day fishing on Green Lake. It’s surprising that this was our first time fishing here because it’s so close to where Hannah grew up. We picked the perfect day weather wise and got lucky with the fishing, too!
Things To Know About Fishing On Green Lake, Wisconsin
Fishing licenses are required and can purchase your fishing license online or sports shops. We purchased our fishing licenses at a gas station the day of our fishing trip. Fishing licenses are available in annual or one day for residents and annual and 1/4/15 days for non-residents. Everyone 16 years and older requires a fishing license, licenses in effect April 1st through March 31st the following year.
Fishing is open year-round but specific fish have seasons and size regulations. May 6, 2017, to March 4, 2018, is the fishing season for largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, and walleye. Check the complete list of fishing regulations and seasons in Green Lake Wisconsin.
Green Lake is really big and if you’ve never been there before, it’s best to go with a local guide to bring you to some of the best spots on the lake. We went with 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 fishing holes saved in his GPS that we would have never found by ourselves.