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How to catch the biggest fish in Vilas County


  • Article
  • Fishing
  • Lakes & Rivers
  • Shopping & Services

Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your next fishing getaway to Vilas County.

Pair fishes on fishing boat in a lake surrounded by trees

With more than 1,300 lakes and 73 rivers and streams, Vilas County has drawn generations of anglers to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The county’s lakes have produced trophy fish, including some that have even landed a spot in the record books. In fact, the county boasts some of the best smallmouth bass, walleye and musky fishing in North America. Wondering how to catch one of these Vilas County monsters? Read on.

Get a guide

So what’s the first secret to catching a big fish in northern Wisconsin?  Go fishing with someone that has the secrets. Angler’s Choice Guide Service has a lot of knowledge and advice that will help you catch fish. Angler’s Choice owns two world records and two outstanding angling achievement awards for fishing. They will take you out on the lake in any season–in the winter, they have 6 insulated/heated ice houses, each equipped with an underwater camera.

Get a boat

To catch the big one, you’ve got to get out on the water. Boulder Marine Center is a good place to rent pontoon boats (choose from 20-foot or 24-foot options), fishing boats (selections include a basic 16-footer or a deluxe 17-footer), and ski boats. If you just need a motor, Boulder Marine rents 15-horsepower outboard motors, too.

Do your part

Vilas County’s lakes are a pristine resource, and it takes all of us to protect them for future generations of anglers. The Vilas County Land & Water Conservation Department leads these efforts. It is important that everyone follow Clean Boats Clean Waters practices to keep our waters free of aquatic invasive species.

Find a lake

See a listing of Vilas County’s Lakes, including boat landing locations and the fish you can catch here.