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Most Overrated Lakes in Wisconsin

10/20/21 @ 2:30 PM
USER SINCE 9/14/21

What lakes in Wisconsin do you consider to be overrated/never live up to the hype?


10/24/21 @ 8:56 AM

Mille Lacs in Minnesota...

The DNR there says the Walleye population is out of balance. 

Closing the fishing would put resorts out of business. 

I just googled, 'problems on Mille Lacs Minnesota '....

10/24/21 @ 8:15 AM
USER SINCE 1/14/13

Vilas county is absolutely overrated and overcrowded nowadays. Especially if looking for a 30”+ walleye or 50”+ musky. It’s a shame because it wasn’t this way even 15-20 years ago. 

There were a handful of lakes in Vilas county that I could go to every year that I could almost count on getting a 30”+ walleye. We had times when me and a buddy would go out and get 8-10 walleyes over 26” in 1 outing. 99% were released to hopefully grow into a monster like the 1 walleye I did keep for the wall. 32.5” and 13 lbs. Good luck trying to have an outing like that now.  I know I haven’t in about 15 years. The big fish are simply not there. At least not in any decent numbers. Word got out and idiots were keeping everything they caught. The small lakes in northern Wisconsin cannot handle the pressure nowadays especially with all the advanced technology. Sure, there’s walleyes to be caught. The vast majority will be 1/2”-1” under whatever the legal size is. Why? Because as soon as they hit that Magical legal size, they’re in a live well. Pressure. Why has Canada fishing been so phenomenal since the border opened? Lack of pressure. 

Now with musky. I’ve been a diehard musky angler since I caught my 1st one on North Twin when I was 8 years old. I’ve fished many tournaments and placed well a few times. I’m not a novice. When I was 18 to about the age of 22-23 I fished a different vilas county lake every day after work during the summer.  Rain or shine. I remember at one point looking at the list on my Fishing the north country map book and there were only a handful that weren’t crossed out…. I’ve fished most lakes in Vilas county that contain musky and the vast majority simply do not contain muskies greater than 45”. Those who think every lake with muskies has a 50 incher in it are fooling themselves.  They simply cannot produce them due to lack of forage, cover, depth, etc. I have caught tons and tons of muskies from 34”-46” Couldn’t even put a number on it. I’ve caught 6 fish from 47”-50.5”. I guarantee if someone were to take the man hours I’ve put in to Vilas county lakes and applied them to the bigger Minnesota and Canadian lakes, they would probably have dozens and dozens over 48”. 

10/24/21 @ 6:09 AM
Brent Hess

I have nothing negative to say about Minnesota lakes and/or Minnesota fishing, and I'm glad to hear you guys enjoy it!

That said, I'm not sure all of of your have fully explored Vilas County (and surrounding counties.)  There are so many lakes where you won't see a single soul while fishing, and are well off the beaten path.  As an example, when I fish Lone Tree Lake, always have the place to myself, and that is just one of hundreds of similar lakes. 

I of course fish Plum quite a bit, and it is a well known lake, and even there I don't have any trouble fishing my favorite spots without any company.  You might see on the high side 10 boats out fishing on a weekend, and very light traffic during the week. 

The Woodlands Resort
(262) 661-3968
10/24/21 @ 5:48 AM
USER SINCE 4/24/20

Leech lake has more water acreage than Vilas AND Oneida lakes combined.  And you might want to check the regulations because I believe you only can keep 4.

10/23/21 @ 10:14 PM
USER SINCE 3/23/20

Northern mn leech lake to lotw and just about every lake between the two  is way better than over rated Vilas county. I use to fish Vilas a ton till I rediscovered northern MN lakes plus the regs play a big part in the great fishing . Yes green bay you can catch 30" + walleye and big musky and the Mississippi has big fish of all species but honestly that's about it for WI. While you can catch the same fish in northern MN with way less pressure and you can keep 6 walleye compared to Vilas 3 walleye because of better management. Vilas county is a over rated over packed fishing area. 

10/23/21 @ 8:05 PM
USER SINCE 8/24/07

There are a lot of factors in play, but part of the reason MN is as good as it is may be due to the limits on the number of lines. Only one during open water. Unsure of ice fishing, but I thought it was two. 

10/23/21 @ 4:36 PM

If you’re looking for 50 inch musky or  a giant walleye I would put Green Bay up against any lake in Minnesota.

I prefer the tranquility of some of the Northern Wisconsin small lakes. Yes, for sure I catch smaller fish. The experience is more important to me. I still get excited over a 38 inch fish, especially when it’s caught in an out of the way lake in the middle of a National Forest. 

Agree on Pelican struggling. It’s seems guys really have a hard time finding fish through the ice. I don’t ever remember it being that way 25 years ago. 

10/23/21 @ 9:02 AM

There are quite a few lakes in Wisconsin that can and do produce quality fish. They may not be the “A” typical lakes that people have been fishing for years and years though. Those “A” typical lakes have been pounded so hard due to their past history that perhaps the numbers of these fish are at a lower level.

I have fished the Minnesota lakes quite a bit over the past 25 years both open water and on the ice. There are some really nice areas and I’ve seen some monsters caught of all species. 

It boils down to the pressure these lakes have seen and the length of time it has been going on. 

Hopefully through good fish management these lakes can produce for many years to come.

10/23/21 @ 8:36 AM
USER SINCE 10/24/17

I agree with Brent on the SM fishing, northern WI is as good as anywhere.  Here's the results from the recent Muskie Inc Tournament around Hayward.  From the " Home of World Record Muskies"  417 participants fishing 2 1/2 days, biggest fish 46", 56 fish caught.  That is a lot of experienced muskie fisherman out on for no one to pop a fish close to 50" I think, 48" was the big fish in 2019.    Its hard for me not to think that the muskie fishing around here isn't overrated. .  

10/23/21 @ 7:03 AM
Brent Hess

No doubt that's a dandy MFC, don't think anyone could say different. 

I'm not going to get into a whose johnson is longer contest and post a bunch of big fish pics caught on WI lakes, but I will say this:

I have a bud who has caught more 50"+ Skis and 30" eyes in Vilas County than you can shake a stick at. 

Also, in my small corner of the world 14-16" Crappies, and 5-6 pound smallies are frequent in Vilas County, 

Certainly there is awesome fishing in Minnesota, but there is some equally as awesome fishing in Wisconsin.  You just have to put your time in to find the lakes that hold what you're looking for. 

By the way, (for nif) Plum Lake is overrated, don't waste your time there lol!

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