April 23, 2024

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Green Lake fishing: the Complete Guide

Reading Time: 10 minutes

If there’s one thing that the Badger State doesn’t lack, it’s lakes. There are around 15,000 of them, and most of them boast excellent angling fun. Of course, we’re not picking favorites, but there are definitely some that stand out more than others, so today we’re talking about Green Lake‘s fishing opportunities.

Also known as the Big Green Lake, this watershed in central Wisconsin has a lot to offer to anglers of all skill levels. With 29 miles of shoreline at your disposal, the lake is a playground of many freshwater game fish. This is also the deepest inland lake in the state – dropping to over 230 feet. If you plan on visiting soon, here’s what you need to know.

What kind of fish are in Green Lake, WI?

The best thing about Green Lake is its diversity. Whenever you come out here, whether you fish from land or from a boat, chances are you’ll hook into something good. Both warm-water and cold-water species live here, with cold-water fish usually sticking to the northern tip of the lake. Add to that the fact that the lake is regularly stocked, and you’ve got a winner. Let’s talk about some local favorites that you can target.


First in line are Lake Trout, the most prized and sought-after species in Green Lake fishing circles. Not only are they a joy to reel in, but they’re also tasty. And to top it all off, they grow big here – and we mean big. 10 lb catches are considered to be on the small side! Bear in mind that Lakers usually have a closed season from September to January.

Photo taken by Leah’s Voyage Guide Service

One of the main perks when fishing for Lake Trout is that they’re ready to bite and fight year-round. They’re a popular target of ice fishermen and traditional anglers alike, the only trick is to know where they are at different times of the year. In spring, they stick closer to shore, and as it gets warmer, they move into deeper waters.

To get them in the summer and early fall, trolling at depths of at least 70–100 feet works best. Lake Trout respond well to live bait, especially if it’s in the form of fresh Cisco. If you prefer artificials, spoons and plugs are the way to go. Once you get one on the line, hold tight, because they’ve got a lot of fight in them.

A man in a hat and sunglasses holding a good-sized Rainbow Trout, with water and shoreline in the background
Photo taken by Firl Outfitters Fly Fishing Adventures

Green Lake is also stocked with Rainbow and Brown Trout on a yearly basis, so don’t be surprised if you find one of them on your line. They’re not targeted as often as Lakers – and they’re much smaller. But they’re still great fun to reel in.

Bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth, White)

No less than three species of Bass call Green Lake home, each of them a fantastic catch in their own right. There’s no overstating just how good the Bass bite can be here, as long as you chase them on warm days. Bass don’t have a closed season, but they’re pretty lethargic during winter.

A man in sunglasses standing on a boat, holding a big Smallmouth Bass, with water and clear skies in the background
Photo taken by TheHautdoors

Smallmouth Bass are loved by local anglers because of the incredible fight they give once hooked. No other fish in the lake is as feisty as Smallies, and the fact that they’re delicious doesn’t hurt either. They thrive in Green Lake and can reach 5 pounds. Smallmouth Bass hide around rocks and underwater structure, and won’t say no to crankbaits and spinners, as well hellgrammites, and a variety of flies.\

White Bass live in Green Lake in huge numbers, and very often, they’re the most common catch of the three. Nobody’s mad about that though, because they taste great. They can grow to be up to 3 pounds which is huge for White Bass. They’re not picky eaters, either, so they’ll gladly snatch the bait you set up for their Largemouth and Smallmouth cousins. 

A smiling middle-aged man in a cap and white t-shirt holding a Largemouth Bass, with greenery behind him
Photo taken by TheHautdoors

Finally, Largemouth Bass are not as present in the lake as Smallies and White Bass, but they’re out there. They’re most active during low-visibility hours, when they come close to shore, looking for food. They use weeds to stay covered and safe, so that’s where you’ll need to cast your offering. Plugs and poppers, as well as flies, worms, and minnows, will all get their attention.


Another superstar on your Green Lake fishing adventure could be the mighty Walleye. They might not be as numerous as Bass and Trout, but there’s a solid population living here, and they’re not bite-shy either. Wallies weigh 5–10 pounds, they’re on the menu all year, and the best time to fish for them is usually in spring and summer.

Two men in baseball caps standing on a fishing charter boat, each holding a Walleye, with water and grey skies in the background
Photo taken by Eye Catching Guide Service

As is usually the case with Walleye, the key to finding them is knowing how they move around the lake throughout the year. When the ice melts, you can find good fish congregating around rocky areas and underwater vegetation. As summer approaches, they pull back and stick to the middle of the lake. You can also go ice fishing for Walleye with great results.

One of the many reasons anglers love Walleye is their appetite. They have no problem chomping down on live bait and lures, as long as it’s presented well and the fishing line isn’t visible in the water. If using live bait, nightcrawlers and minnows will do well, or you can use jigs with artificials that imitate the movement of a minnow. You won’t be disappointed!

Northern Pike

If you love going after toothy and aggressive fish, then Northern Pike should be on your to-catch list. These fellas come out to play when the water temperatures come down and when most other fish aren’t that interested in biting. Ice fishing for Pike is a lot of fun, but you can also find strong action in spring and fall. During the summer, they hunt in waters that are up to 50 feet deep.

A fishing guide in a cap, standing on his boat, holding a Northern Pike, with greenish waters and rocky shore behind him
Photo taken by Anglin’ Adventures

Similar to Walleye, Pike are ambush predators and, as such, are not too fussy about their diet. Their preferred hunting grounds are around weeds, where they can hide easily, so that’s where you should cast your bait. It’s easy to find a 10 lb Pike on the end of your line, even during the ice fishing season. The lake also holds Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge, which have an open season from May through November.

Not to much surprise, these bad boys won’t say no to live bait, especially in the form of minnows, smelt, and golden shiners during the winter. Pike also love Cisco, so you can use it as bait in October and November. As for lures, spoons, spinners, and soft plastics will also do the trick when going Pike fishing on Green Lake.

Panfish & Others

The variety of species you can target on Green Lake is impressive, and the amount of different Panfish proves it. They take this fishery to the next level and are the “bread and butter” fish for locals. The best part is that there’s always a type of Panfish available, even in the coldest days of winter. Catfish are another go-to species, and they’re probably the biggest fish in the lake.

A smiling angler in a cap and glasses standing on a fishing boat, holding a White Bass and a Yellow Perch, with a dock, water, and greenery in the background
Photo taken by Leah’s Voyage Guide Service

Crappie, Yellow Perch, Bluegill, and Rock Bass are also common catches on the lake. These make for good “beginner fish,” as there are a lot of them out there and they’re tasty. Along with Lake Trout, Yellow Perch are the favorite target of local ice fishermen. Other Panfish aren’t far behind though, because, even though they’re smaller, they’ll reward you with some of the most delicious meat you’ve ever tasted.

On the Green Lake fishing scene, Catfish don’t get the spotlight as much as other game fish. But they deserve it because they can grow to be upwards of 25 pounds and reeling them in isn’t easy. Channel Catfish dominate these waters, but there are other species like Blue and Flathead Catfish out there. You never know what you might reel in, but chances are it will make a good dinner after the trip.

How to fish on Green Lake?

Green Lake is a productive fishery all year, and there are different approaches you can take, depending on your preferences. Fishing from shore, ice fishing, or fishing from a boat with a guide are all good options.

Fishing from Shore

A man in a hat standing on the lakeshore, caught mid-cast whjile fly fishing, with greenery all around him

Green Lake fishing escapades can take on many forms. For anglers who like to keep their feet firmly on the ground but still get something good on the line, fishing from shore will not disappoint. From late March to early November, there’s a lot you can catch from land.

The city of Green Lake, located on the north of its namesake body of water, is an excellent starting point. The best places to go fishing if you’re staying in the city are its nine parks. You’re allowed to cast a line from most of them and look forward to Bass, Trout, Panfish, maybe even a Pike here and there. If you’re coming with your family, you can spend a day picnicking, hiking, and fishing – it’ll be a blast!

Green Lake Fishing with a Charter

A charter boat on the murky waters of Green Lake with one man steering it, and another sitting on the bow
Photo taken by TheHautdoors

If you want to get on the best bite and get to know the watershed properly, then going out with a guide is the best way to do it. Since this is a well-known fishery in Wisconsin, there’s no shortage of Green Lake fishing charters to take you out.

Experienced charter captains know how to navigate the lake and where the fish hide at all times of the year. While you can hook into smaller fish from the shore, to get to the trophy specimens, you need to explore the deeper sections of the lake. This is especially the case if you’re after Lake Trout, Walleye, and big Smallmouth Bass.

Most of the guides have fished the lake their whole lives, so they have local insight and knowledge. That’s exactly what you need for a fantastic day on the water.

Ice Fishing

A smiling ice fisherman in full winter gear, sunglasses, and a hat, crouching on the ice and holding a Yellow Perch he caught

It’s no secret that Wisconsin has some of the best ice fishing in the country, and Green Lake is the poster child for it. The hard-water fishing season starts in December and can last well into March, depending on the weather. It’s crucial only to go fishing when the ice is safe, so be sure to follow local information on the topic.

Remember that ice fishing is a winter pastime for many locals, so there will always be people out there. There are ice fishing huts that you can use if you prefer not to be out in the open. The most common catches are Lake Trout, as well as Northern Pike and Panfish. Everyone is after a Laker, but they hide in deep waters and you’ll need a sonar to figure out where they are. If you’re up for some competitive fishing, check out the Winterfest Trout Derby.

Where can I fish in Green Lake, WI?

Solo anglers can pretty much cast a line whenever, but there are some fishing spots on Green Lake that produce more fish than others. Here are a few of them.

A view of the shore of a lake with two rowing boats perched next to it on the edge of the water, with a trail leading behind the trees on the shoreline visible on the right of the image
  • Woods Bay: You’ll find Woods Bay on the eastern side of the lake. Here, you can target good-sized Walleye in spring, along with Panfish, and smaller Bass. Rocky areas attract the most fish.
  • Green Lake Inlet: If you find yourself in Sunset Park, the productive waters of the inlet are at your disposal. Fish for Crappie, Trout, and even Catfish. And when you’re done, stop to watch the sunset and you’ll understand how the park got its name.
  • Dartford Bay: There’s no need to get out of the city of Green Lake to get solid fishing. Dartford Bay and Mill Pond serve all levels of anglers, so you can come with your kids or solo. Anything from Cisco and Bluegill to Walleye is in the cards.
  • Hill Creek: Not too far from Woods Bay, you’ll find the spot where Hill Creek runs into the lake. Since this is a narrow pass, you can often hook into Walleye and Pike waiting to ambush bait fish, as well as Smallies and Panfish.
  • Pigeon Cove: On the west side of the lake, Pigeon Cove is known as a good place to go golfing. However, the lake is never far away, so you can pack your fishing gear as well, and get some Bass, Bluegill, and Crappie.

Green Lake Fishing Regulations

An infographic featuring the Wisconsin state flag, a vector of a boat, and the FishingBooker logo, and text stating "Green Lake Fishing Regulations: What You Need to Know" against a blue background

Before you start enjoying all the riches of Green Lake, you need to make sure you’re familiar with all the local regulations. The most important piece of information is that you’ll need a valid Wisconsin fishing license before you hit the water. There are a few different license packages to choose from, so pick the one that best suits your needs.

Even when you’re fishing with a charter, you still need to buy the fishing license on your own. Your guide will take of everything else you might need. If you’re going out alone, check the seasonality of available species, so that you know what you’re allowed to keep.

Fishing on Green Lake – Something for Everyone!

An aerial view of Green Lake from its north side, with greenery along the shoreline and cloudy skies visible above

Green Lake’s fishing scene is as diverse as it is accessible, no matter how skilled you are. This prolific watershed reflects the best of what Wisconsin has to offer – a great number and variety of fish available year-round. It’s enough to get any passionate freshwater angler giddy!

Have you ever been fishing on Green Lake? Do you have any tips or stories for your fellow anglers? Is there something we missed? Let’s talk in the comments!

The post Green Lake Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Andriana
Title: Green Lake Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/green-lake-fishing/
Published Date: Wed, 03 May 2023 09:47:00 +0000

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