Winnebago Lake Fishing Guide

Winnebago Lake Fishing Guide

Hey there, fellow fishing enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into the details of Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest inland lake and one of the premier fishing destinations in the Midwest. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just looking to cast a line for the first time, Lake Winnebago offers something for everyone. With its vast waters, diverse fish species, and scenic surroundings, this lake is a true gem for anyone who loves fishing.

Winnebago Lake Fishing Details

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what makes Lake Winnebago such a fantastic spot for fishing. Here are some key details about the lake:

  • Water Surface: Approximately 137,700 acres
  • Shoreline: Around 88 miles
  • Average Depth: 15.5 feet
  • Max Depth: 21 feet
  • Surface Elevation: 746 feet above sea level
  • Location: Northeastern Wisconsin, primarily in Winnebago, Calumet, and Fond du Lac counties
  • Coordinates: 44.0171° N, 88.4922° W
  • Accessibility: Multiple public boat launches and access points
  • Type of Lake: Natural freshwater lake
  • Lake Amenities: Public parks, marinas, fishing piers, and picnic areas

Lake Winnebago is conveniently located near several towns, including Oshkosh, Neenah, and Fond du Lac, making it easily accessible for a day trip or a weekend getaway. The lake is well-known for its clear waters, sandy bottoms, and abundant fish populations, making it a top choice for anglers of all skill levels.

Types of Fish in Lake Winnebago

Lake Winnebago is home to a variety of fish species, making it a haven for anglers. Here are some of the most popular fish you can find in the lake and where you might have the best luck catching them:


Walleye is one of the most sought-after fish in Lake Winnebago. These fish are known for their delicious taste and can be found throughout the lake. The best time to catch walleye is during the spring and fall when they are more active. Look for walleye near rocky structures, drop-offs, and the mouths of rivers and streams that feed into the lake.

Northern Pike

Northern pike are another popular species in Lake Winnebago. These aggressive predators can be found in weedy areas, shallow bays, and near submerged structures. The best time to catch northern pike is early morning or late evening when they are most active.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass thrive in the warm waters of Lake Winnebago. They are typically found near docks, fallen trees, and other structures that provide cover. Spring and early summer are the best times to target largemouth bass, as they move into shallow waters to spawn.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass prefer rocky areas and clear waters. Look for them near points, submerged rocks, and around the lake’s islands. Smallmouth bass are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, especially during the warmer months.


Yellow perch are abundant in Lake Winnebago and can be found in schools near weed beds, drop-offs, and sandbars. Perch are a great catch for anglers of all ages and can be caught year-round, though ice fishing for perch is particularly popular in the winter months.


Bluegill are a favorite among beginner anglers and are found in shallow waters near weed beds and docks. They are most active during the warm summer months and are easy to catch using simple baits like worms or small jigs.


Crappie fishing is excellent in Lake Winnebago, especially during the spring spawning season. Look for crappie near submerged trees, brush piles, and along the edges of weed beds. They tend to school together, so once you find one, there’s likely more nearby.


Lake Winnebago is famous for its sturgeon population, particularly during the annual sturgeon spearing season in February. These prehistoric fish are usually found in deeper waters and require special permits to catch.

Best Fishing Baits, Lures, and Tackle Recommendations for Winnebago Lake Fishing

Choosing the right bait, lures, and tackle can make all the difference in your fishing success. Here are some recommendations for each type of fish in Lake Winnebago:


  • Baits: Nightcrawlers, leeches, and minnows
  • Lures: Jigs tipped with live bait, crankbaits, and spinners
  • Tackle: Medium-action rod with a sensitive tip, 6-10 lb test line

Northern Pike

  • Baits: Live baitfish like suckers or large minnows
  • Lures: Spinnerbaits, spoons, and large jerkbaits
  • Tackle: Medium-heavy rod, 20-30 lb test braided line

Largemouth Bass

  • Baits: Plastic worms, crayfish, and frogs
  • Lures: Topwater lures, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits
  • Tackle: Medium-heavy rod, 10-20 lb test line

Smallmouth Bass

  • Baits: Live crayfish, minnows, and worms
  • Lures: Tube baits, jigs, and crankbaits
  • Tackle: Medium-action rod, 8-12 lb test line


  • Baits: Worms, small minnows, and insect larvae
  • Lures: Small jigs, spoons, and spinners
  • Tackle: Light rod, 4-6 lb test line


  • Baits: Worms, crickets, and small pieces of bread
  • Lures: Small jigs and spinners
  • Tackle: Ultralight rod, 2-4 lb test line


  • Baits: Minnows and small insects
  • Lures: Jigs, soft plastics, and spinners
  • Tackle: Light rod, 4-6 lb test line


  • Baits: Cut bait, nightcrawlers, and smelt
  • Tackle: Heavy rod, 50-80 lb test braided line (note: special permits required)

Best Fishing Spot Locations at Winnebago Lake Fishing

Lake Winnebago has numerous fishing spots that are known for their productivity. Here are some of the best locations to try your luck:

Asylum Bay

Located near Oshkosh, Asylum Bay is a popular spot for catching walleye, northern pike, and perch. The area features a mix of rocky structures and weed beds, making it an ideal habitat for these species.

Garlic Island

Garlic Island, situated in the northern part of the lake, is known for its excellent smallmouth bass fishing. The rocky shores and submerged structures provide perfect hiding spots for these fish.

Blackbird Island

Blackbird Island, located near Neenah, is a great spot for largemouth bass and bluegill. The island’s shallow waters and abundant vegetation create a perfect environment for these species.

Stockbridge Harbor

Stockbridge Harbor, on the eastern shore of the lake, is a hot spot for crappie and perch. The harbor’s protected waters and underwater structures attract schools of these fish, especially during the spring and fall.

Winneconne Bridge

The Winneconne Bridge area, where the Wolf River flows into Lake Winnebago, is a prime location for walleye and northern pike. The flowing water and deeper channels make it a favorite spot for anglers year-round.

Lake Butte des Morts

Although technically a separate lake, Lake Butte des Morts is connected to Lake Winnebago via the Fox River and is known for its excellent fishing opportunities. This area is particularly good for catching walleye, crappie, and bluegill.

Fishing Tips and Recommendations for Winnebago Lake Fishing

Here are some tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your fishing trip to Lake Winnebago:

Seasonal Tips

  • Spring: Focus on shallow waters where fish are spawning. Use live bait and slow-moving lures.
  • Summer: Fish early in the morning or late in the evening when the water is cooler. Target deeper waters and use fast-moving lures.
  • Fall: Fish are more active as they prepare for winter. Use a mix of live bait and lures.
  • Winter: Ice fishing is popular for perch and walleye. Use small jigs tipped with live bait.

General Tips

  • Check Local Regulations: Always check the local fishing regulations for size and bag limits, as well as any seasonal restrictions.
  • Weather: Pay attention to the weather forecast. Fish are more active during stable weather conditions.
  • Equipment: Make sure your equipment is in good condition. Check your line for nicks and replace it if necessary.
  • Patience: Be patient and persistent. Fishing can be unpredictable, and sometimes it takes a while to find the right spot and the right bait.

Winnebago Lake Fishing Reviews

Here are five positive reviews from anglers who have enjoyed fishing at Lake Winnebago:

“I’ve been fishing at Lake Winnebago for years, and it’s always a great experience. The walleye fishing is fantastic, especially in the spring. I’ve caught some of my biggest fish here!” – John D.

“Lake Winnebago is my go-to spot for northern pike. The variety of fishing spots and the beautiful scenery make every trip enjoyable. Highly recommend it!” – Sarah K.

“My family loves fishing at Lake Winnebago. There’s something for everyone, from bluegill for the kids to bass for the more experienced anglers. We always have a great time!” – Mike R.

“Ice fishing at Lake Winnebago is an amazing experience. The perch are plentiful, and the community of anglers is friendly and welcoming. Can’t wait for next winter!” – Lisa T.

“I recently tried sturgeon spearing at Lake Winnebago, and it was an unforgettable adventure. The lake’s rich history and unique fishing opportunities make it a must-visit destination.” – Tom S.

Top-Rated Closest RV Parks, RV Resorts, and Campgrounds for Winnebago Lake Fishing

If you’re planning to stay overnight, here are five top-rated RV parks, resorts, and campgrounds near Lake Winnebago:

1. Kalbus Country Harbor

  • Features: Full hookups, Wi-Fi, boat launch, sandy beach
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic areas, playground
  • Distance to Lake: Located directly on the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago

2. Osh Vegas Palms Resort

  • Features: Full hookups, Wi-Fi, swimming pool, clubhouse
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, recreation room
  • Distance to Lake: About 5 miles from the lake’s western shore

3. Fond du Lac East / Kettle Moraine KOA

  • Features: Full hookups, Wi-Fi, heated pool, mini-golf
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, camp store, pet area
  • Distance to Lake: Approximately 10 miles from the southern end of the lake

4. High Cliff State Park

  • Features: Electric hookups, non-electric sites, hiking trails, marina
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic areas, playground
  • Distance to Lake: Located on the northeastern shore of Lake Winnebago

5. Circle R Campground

  • Features: Full hookups, Wi-Fi, swimming pool, fishing pond
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, camp store
  • Distance to Lake: Around 8 miles from the lake’s western shore

Winnebago Lake Fishing Summary

Lake Winnebago is truly a fishing paradise in Wisconsin. With its vast waters, diverse fish species, and excellent amenities, it’s no wonder that anglers flock to this lake year-round. Whether you’re after the elusive walleye, the mighty northern pike, or just looking to enjoy a peaceful day on the water, Lake Winnebago has something to offer. So grab your gear, plan your trip, and get ready for an unforgettable fishing adventure at Lake Winnebago!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Winnebago Lake Fishing

1. What is the best time of year to fish at Lake Winnebago?

The best time to fish at Lake Winnebago depends on the species you’re targeting. Spring and fall are great for walleye and northern pike, while summer is ideal for bass and bluegill. Winter is popular for ice fishing, particularly for perch and walleye.

2. Do I need a fishing license to fish at Lake Winnebago?

Yes, a valid Wisconsin fishing license is required to fish at Lake Winnebago. You can purchase a license online or at local retailers.

3. Are there any fishing tournaments held at Lake Winnebago?

Yes, Lake Winnebago hosts several fishing tournaments throughout the year, including walleye and bass tournaments. Check local event listings for dates and details.

4. Can I rent a boat at Lake Winnebago?

Yes, there are several marinas and rental services around Lake Winnebago where you can rent boats, including fishing boats, pontoons, and kayaks.

5. Is there a limit on the number of fish I can catch at Lake Winnebago?

Yes, there are size and bag limits for different fish species. It’s important to check the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulations for the most up-to-date information on limits.

And there you have it, folks! Your comprehensive guide to fishing at Lake Winnebago. We hope you found this helpful and that it gets you excited for your next fishing trip. Happy fishing!


Directions To: Winnebago Lake Fishing Guide

Bass Fishing: Best Bait & Tackle

Best Bass Fishing Best Bait & Tackle for Winnebago Lake Fishing Guide includes the following:

Bluegill & Sun Fish Fishing: Best Bait & Tackle

Best Bluegill & Sun Fish Fishing Best Bait & Tackle for Winnebago Lake Fishing Guide includes the following:

Best Fishing Gear:

Here’s some of the best fishing gear to use by the Winnebago Lake Fishing Guide: