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Your guide to fishing in Vilas County


  • Article
  • Events
  • Fishing
  • Lakes & Rivers

Here are some answers to a few common questions about fishing in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

Fall fishing in Vilas County WI

With 1,300 lakes and 73 rivers and streams, Vilas County has nearly limitless places to cast a line. We have big lakes with plenty of open water to test as well as small lakes that are rarely fished.

Here are some answers to a few common questions about fishing in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

What can I catch in Vilas County?

Vilas County lakes have exceptional fishing for crappie, bluegill, northern pike and more. Our lake grid breaks down the most common fish by lake—use it to locate the most productive waters.

Where can I find a good fishing lake?

You won’t have to look very hard! You can barely drive a country mile in Vilas County without passing a decent fishing lake. Our lake grid details waters with public access. The grid includes species of fish, the size and depth of each lake, and boat launch details, along with GPS coordinates for each lake. Just copy and paste the coordinates into an Internet browser and you’ll see the lake on a map.

Do I need a fishing license?

Yes—you’ll need a fishing license, unless you’re under the age of 16 or born before 1927. They are easy to get. You can apply online or find sales locations throughout the state. Learn more about how to get a fishing license here.

Does Vilas County have any fishing events coming up?

We have tournaments for competitive anglers, seminars for those who want to learn more and special events for kids. See a list of upcoming Vilas County events.

Do I need a boat to fish in Vilas County?

No! There are endless places to enjoy shore fishing. You’ll find accessible piers and shore fishing at Upper Gresham Lake in Boulder Junction, Rest Lake in Manitowish Waters, Star Lake in Sayner-Star Lake or several locations in Presque Isle, including Big Horsehead Lake, Little Horsehead Lake and Oxbow Lake.

How can I be sure to land a big fish?

There are no guarantees in life, but we’ll guarantee that your chances of success will improve drastically if you hire a fishing guide. Guides can share lessons you’ll use for a lifetime in Vilas County and they are a bargain when you factor in the great value of being able to use their boat and equipment.

Learn more about fishing in Vilas County.