The 6 Best Lakes for Ice Fishing in Wisconsin

Written by Volia Schubiger
Updated: April 21, 2023
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Key Points

  • The best spots for anglers who enjoy ice fishing are in Wisconsin!
  • A fantastic ice fishing spot, Lake Winnebago is the largest lake in Wisconsin to catch walleye, white bass, perch, lake sturgeon, panfish, and northern pike.
  • The Madison Chain of Lakes, which includes Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa, Lake Kegonsa, and Lake Wingra, is a unique spot with five different experiences.

When the temperature starts to drop and the cold begins to settle in, anglers know it’s time for only one thing: ice fishing! Ice fishing is an incredibly popular activity during the winter months, especially in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is known for having some great spots where you can drop your line and catch some great fish. However, if you’re unfamiliar with these areas, then you may be looking for some advice on where to start ice fishing. Or perhaps you’ve grown tired of heading to the same lake every winter and are looking for a change of scenery. No matter why you’re interested, we have a comprehensive list of the best lakes for ice fishing in Wisconsin. 

Anglers who enjoy ice fishing know that there’s no other feeling quite like getting up early, heading to your spot, and waiting for the fish to bite. So if you’re excited to get started, then check out some of the best lakes for ice fishing in America’s Dairyland.

Green Bay

The shoreline of the bay in Green Bay Wisconsin

Ice anglers in Wisconsin head to Green Bay thanks to the great number of walleye and whitefish that you can catch here.

© Neal

Our list starts off with one of the more popular choices: Green Bay. Green Bay is a gorgeous basin of Lake Michigan. The body of water is incredibly large at 2,000,000 acres and it is one of the most popular ice fishing spots in the country. Since Green Bay is such a large body of water, you’ll run into quite large fish. The area is known for some pretty big walleyes. In addition, you can catch whitefish as well. There are other fish that swim in these waters as well, such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike, and rainbow trout just to name a few. 

However, if you’ve never been ice fishing before, this may not be the most beginner-friendly lake. The lake can actually be quite dangerous as huge pressure cracks can cause the ice to shift and buckle. Keep this in mind if you’re planning an excursion here. Be sure to get a bathymetric map and look out for spots where the water is at least 20 to 30 feet deep.

Lake Winnebago

Sunset on Lake Winnebago Wisconsin

Anglers throughout the country come to Lake Winnebago to engage in ice fishing.

© Frohmader

As the largest lake located only in Wisconsin, Lake Winnebago is known throughout the country as a fantastic fishing spot. Ice fishing at Lake Winnebago is an incredibly popular excursion that locals and out-of-towners both participate in. One of the biggest reasons so many anglers head here is because of just how huge it is. This means that there is plenty of room for you to spread out.

There are tons of easy access points throughout the lake and plenty of bait shops as well. You’ll have a chance to catch some pretty great fish, such as walleye, white bass, perch, lake sturgeon, panfish, and northern pike. Something to keep in mind is that as winter progresses, many of the fish begin to move toward the main lake basin. If you’re willing to put in the effort of drilling holes and roaming the lake, you’ll find tons of fish underneath the ice.

Dairyland Reservoir

Ice fishing hole

During the winter months, anglers will head to Dairyland Reservoir to catch lots of panfish and walleye.


If you’re looking for one of the best ice fishing spots in Wisconsin, look no further than Dairyland Reservoir. Dairyland Reservoir is an 1870-acre lake located in Rusk County. What makes this such a popular choice for ice anglers is that it is technically part of a river. As it is part of the Flambeau River, this reservoir is filled with tons of fish. You’ll be able to fish out crappie, walleye, pike, bass, and bluegill fish. However, the area does require a catch-and-release requirement for bass, so keep this in mind. This area gets especially busy on the weekends with anglers hoping to catch large pike. So be prepared to share the ice with others. If you’re looking for a more private experience, try checking Dairyland Reservoir out during the weekdays.

Green Lake

Big Green Lake in Wisconsin

You’ll find tons of white bass at Big Green Lake, as many anglers come here in search of trophy white bass.

©NealVickers, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Also known as Big Green Lake or the Big Green, the Green Lake happens to be one of the deepest lakes in the state. The lake reaches a depth of 235 feet and has 7,920 acres. This means there is lots of open space here for you to engage in ice fishing. The ice here is generally ready for ice fishing by the end of January. There is plenty of fish that you can catch here, including walleye, pike, bluegill, and crappie. 

However, the fish that everyone comes to Green Lake for happens to be the white bass since it is found in such large numbers here. It is important to keep in mind that the sheer size and depth of this lake means that this isn’t necessarily a novice’s paradise. The fish that swim through here are on the larger side, so you should come prepared to handle that!

Boom Lake

Fishing Walleye fish in the angler's hands.

This lake is located in Hodag Country, which is known as the Ice Fishing Capital of the World. Walleye is one of the types of fish that you can catch here.


Boom Lake is a 365-acre lake located in Oneida County, in Rhinelander. This lake is on the smaller side, and it is only about 30 feet deep. However, despite its small size, it is a popular ice-fishing location. In fact, the weekends here are pretty chaotic because of how many anglers make their way to this little lake. Hodag Country, which is where this lake is located, is actually known as the Ice Fishing Capital of the World. There are lots of fishing tournaments that take place in the area as well as tons of lodging and amenities in the area if you plan on staying for more than one day. Some of the fish that you can catch here include walleye, bass, northern pike, musky, and panfish. 

The boat launch area offers easy access to many of the best areas to ice fish here. If you happen to be at the north end of the main lake, you’ll come across more shallow water. However, as you head in at about 17 feet and at roughly 21 feet, you’ll find two holes present where you’ll come across many bluegill and crappie fish.

Madison Chains

Lake Mendota

The Madison Chain of Lakes includes five different lakes that are all diverse and unique bodies of water. 

© Venker

The Madison Chain of Lakes, which includes Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa, Lake Kegonsa, and Lake Wingra, are some of the best options if you’re interested in ice fishing. All five of these lakes are unique and will offer you a different ice fishing experience. The lake area usually freezes around the end of December or around the beginning of January. Once the lake freezes over, you can typically expect to be able to fish up until the end of March. Lake Mendota is the largest of the Madison Chain of Lakes. This lake is 9,781 acres and reaches a depth of 83 feet. It is known for having tons of perch, pike, crappie, bluegill, bass, walleye, and catfish

Lake Monona is another deep lake with a maximum depth of 74 feet. In the center of the lake, you’ll find several 70-foot-deep holes. Since a lot of the water in this lake is actually shallow it is home to a wide population of fish, such as walleye, pike, and largemouth bass. Lake Waubesa is 2074 acres and is also another shallow lake with the deepest hole being 36 feet. Here you’ll be able to catch lots of bluegills, crappie fish, and largemouth bass. Since the lake is smaller it also freezes over quickly.

Summary of the 6 Best Lakes for Ice Fishing in Wisconsin

1Green Bay
2Lake Winnebago
3Dairyland Reservoir
4Green Lake
5Boom Lake
6Madison Chains

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Randy Kostichka/

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About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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