Top smallmouth bass angling action in Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago
Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago is one of the finest fishing lakes in the country and it’s smack dab between my in-laws cabin and their home. In numerous visits with the family to visit the in-laws I’ve driven by the lake but never fished it.
I called Carrie Stollenwerk of the Fond du Lac Convention and Visitors Bureau and she guaranteed to fix that problem.
A few months later, I arrived in Fond du Lac and dropped my kayak into the Supple Marsh right in town. There wasn’t much daylight left to spend a lot of time fishing so I just explored and soaked in the sights. A beautiful sunset painted the scene and the water around me was bursting with life.
My guide the next day explained about Winnebago’s massive forage base and said that it makes for some impressive catches. I put his theory to the test and left that day with a limit of chunky walleye and a few hours of tackle-busting smallmouth fishing.
Using three planer boards on each side of the boat, Troy Peterson (aka Mr. Bluegill) and I dragged crawler harnesses over the mud flats as we soaked in the sun. A consummate professional, Mr. Bluegill even found plenty of sheepshead to keep us busy when the walleye were taking a break.
Earlier that morning, we’d slowly worked a field of boulders and each caught a dozen or more smallmouth bass. All that forage made for some chunky smallies and I even managed to pull a walleye out of the area with the tubes we were using.
Mr. Bluegill said that there are tremendous crappies, perch and (of course) bluegill in the lake as well. Catfish abound and the famous lake sturgeon that are famously speared in the winter are the only other giants of the lake. “The entire area is loaded with smaller lakes that are fun to fish for trophy bluegill and crappie," Mr. Bluegill said.
June and July are prime times for fishing on big Lake Winnebago and the other lakes that constitute the system.
Actually, I’ve been on Lake Winnebago before but it was in late October on a waterfowl hunt for the bluebill that stage on the lake during the migration. The big water is very attractive to divers but there are also plenty of puddlers to round out a limit.
Now the problem is when I go back to visit the in-laws in the fall do I spend the time on the water hunting or fishing. Then again, there are deer and turkey fields nearby not to mention the well-known Horicon Marsh.
I can’t wait for the next time my wife says we’re heading into Packer country to visit her family. Look for the guy in a boat or blind wearing purple if you want to join me.
Watch my latest video podcast for some of that smallmouth action.