Have you taken the time to reach one of these lakes and was all the effort worth it ?
Lakes with difficult access
Love fishing remote lakes myself. But, I've found most to be not very fertile and full of small bass and panfish. Up north at least. Best lakes seem to have a little pressure and harvest, but not too much. That said, there are definitely gems out there, but I once thought that just because a lake doesn't have pressure, it's gonna be good...not the case. But, having a lake to oneself is pretty awesome!
As an experienced winter camper, hiking in a day,fishign and hiking out sounds fun. Have snowshoed into the BWCA and fished for trout, was a blast.
I used to go on Google Earth and try to hit every puddle I saw in an area. Now I do way more research before I even bother. Years ago I’d find one good one out of 10. Now I’d say I’m about 70% success rate. I did do one a few years back in Montana where it was literally about a days hike in, sleep in the pop up, fish all day, sleep in the pop up, and then hike out again.
Now I wouldn’t advise doing a 3 day excursion if you’re not used to winter camping. Navigation through snow covered forest isn’t for the novice. But that was one of the craziest fishing days I ever had. Legitimate 10”+ bluegills all day and into the night. I caught my PB at just under 13”.
I have a handful of lakes that are real gems, usually difficult access or "not obvious".
For true remote lakes they are usually strikeouts. This year about 4 have been good. I've hit a dozen so far. But I have refined my criteria so getting better.
When you do find one keep your mouth shut. Don't tell anyone. Except me.
Edit: And I'll say this. Small lakes in the middle of nowhere that you'd never expect to see anyone on....this year I've found people at most of them.
Lakes don't necessarily have to be remote to offer excellent action. For the past few years we have been targeting lakes in central Wisconsin with poor launches and no wake restrictions. Keeps the bass boats guys off the lakes and most of these lakes don't get much intelligent fishing pressure. Gets even better if you are willing to use a kayak. Lots of little lakes with no ramp or a carry in. Get on these around opening day you can have 30 fish days
My definition would be a lake where you have to haul or drag your gear in from at least a half mile from your vehicle . I have done 3 I am 1 for 3 . One with great fishing the other 2 so so .To me all 3 were worth the work. .Just the feeling when your making your way there and you finally see the lake . You wonder when was the last time someone has fished this lake .It is a adrenaline rush.I am working on doing more research before I go to up the odds . At 58 yrs old it is quit a task .
What is your definition of difficult access? Back roads? Or hiking through the woods? I think that would be cool as can be, especially if you could make an overnight out of it.
You'll find some great fishing and, in many cases, stay in shape dragging/carrying your stuff and yourself in there! We've found fantastic lakes for musky, bass, northern that way. Be sure to know the local ordinances, easements, property lines, etc so you're not trespassing. I've called local police/sheriff departments to ask and they appreciate the effort and respect. Google sat view, use county land GIS services to see lot lines/property ownership and pack lite. Favorite outings every year in WI and MI. And yes, no need to tell other people about what you find...how you found them sure...part of the fun is the process.
My favorite way to fish over the last 10 years as been exploring small lakes hidden in the woods. I try to get to 5 new ones each year. The number one thing I learned over the years is if it has depth (+15') it will have fish of some kind. The shallow small lakes tend to freeze out and are strikes out more often then not. After years of searching countless lakes in the 5-20 acre range I have several lakes that I return to annually now. One lake has gills up to 11" with 10" being very common. Last weekend my son and I found a new crappie lake, we caught only a dozen crappies but marked MANY more. We had (5) +12"ers with one close to 14". I have never found a good lake for northerns which was my goal when I started doing this. I don't keep more than 10 fish per year out of each of these small lakes and there are always there waiting for me year after year. And most importantly I keep my mouth shut about where I am at. My children are all I fish with on these lakes.
I like to pick an area that has several lakes I can get to in a reasonable time frame to make the trip worth it. But yeah, definitely need to go into it with the mindset that you likely will get skunked, but the reward of catching a fish on a lake that very likely hasn't been fished in years is a great experience! I'd rather catch a handful of small fish on a remote lake than a limit of fish in the middle of a crowd, but that's just me.
By educating yourself on agriculture and soil composition you can better your odds. I know it seems like overkill but what is growing around a lake can tell you a lot about the water quality within the lake.