Top Places for Bass Fishing in Wisconsin

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Wisconsin
Photo By Jeff Samsel

It seems like this winter never shake its grip. It really will, though. In fact, by the time bass open on seasonal waters, things should have warmed significantly and the largemouths and smallmouths should be ready to play. Let's explore a few fine places to play with them! Bass fishing in Wisconsin has never been better!

Door County

An array of bays and rocky shores off Green Bay and Lake Michigan support an extraordinary population of smallmouth bass, and over the past few years, even larger numbers of genuine giants have been showing up in anglers' catches. Lures of many kinds will produce big smallies over reefs and along rocky shores on both sides of the county, but it's tough to beat the simple approach of casting and winding a Kalin's Lunker Grub on a 1/8-ounce jighead. Keep the boat moving initially and let your lure do the searching. When you do catch a bass, repeat the exact same cast. If you get hit again, work that area thoroughly. The fish tend to congregate.



Mississippi River

The Mighty Mississippi River runs 250 miles along Wisconsin's western border, beginning along the Wisconsin/Minnesota line just southeast of the Twin Cities. Largemouths, which abound in backwater areas and can't resist a frog or a spoon swam through shallow grass, make up the biggest share of the normal bass catch through much of the river. That said, rocky areas along the main river hold good numbers of smallmouths and sometimes serve up fast bronzeback action to anglers who fish jigs around the rocks. A series of dams interrupts the Mississippi's flow as the river churns south and picks up volume from tributaries, so significant portions are very lake-like in character while other sections are highly riverine.

Duo Realis Crankbait M65-8A

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 8 feet

A highly detailed crankbait, the M65 confronts bass with a realistic baitfish appearance plus sound generated by a metal plate and steel ball. Available in two models and a variety of colors, this crankbait is effective in both stained and clear water.

Price: $12.99

Sebile Action First Bull Crank

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 4-7 feet

Patrick Sebile's Bull Crank is an excellent lure, especially at that low price point of $6.95. The Xternal weight system helps to keep a low center of gravity, dig deep, and stay on track, reducing the need to tune. It features a wide body to increase visual presence.

Price: $6.95

Storm Arashi Silent Square Bill

Length: 2 1/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3 feet

The Square Bill's self-tuning line tie lets you burn it and still have it track straight. The circuit board lip provides strong vibration up the line and helps the lure deflect well in cover, especially downed trees.

Price: $8.99

Gary Yamamoto Chikara

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 2-4 feet

This popularly-priced, rattle-equipped crankbait is designed to be worked through heavy cover and still get the job done. The Chikara features internal 3D holographic foiling that provides flash and cannot be chipped. The lure's value is enhanced by Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks.

Price: $7.99

Strike King KVD-1-5-Flat Side

Length: 2 ¼ inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 8-10 feet

This flat-side crankbait has a good thumping action and a tight wobble, and that means it's a great crankbait for cooler months or highly pressured lakes. Adding some weight to the hooks helps to cast the relatively light Flat Side on baitcasting gear, especially in windy situations.

Price: $5.79

Rapala Scatter Rap Crank

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 5/16 ounce
Depth: 6-8 feet

On a medium or slow retrieve, the Rap Crank is amazing: it tracks straight, then pops laterally and juts back onto the original track, ready for the waiting strike.

Price: $8.99

Spro Baby Fat John 50

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 0-2 feet
Spro Baby Fat John 50

This smaller version of the established Fat John effectively imitates smaller forage, and works on spotted and smallmouth bass as well as largemouth. It runs shallow at any speed, and its fiberglass lip makes it kick out and 'hunt ' frequently before returning to true.

Price: $12.03

Bass Pro Shops XPS Square Bill

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 5 feet

It's a good-looking lure, and fine quality for a hard-to-beat price. The XPS rattle is subdued, which is nice for spooky bass. The oval split on the line tie helps it run straight and avoid line slipping between rings.

Price: $4.29

Megabass Knuckle Jr

Length: 2.2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 1-3 feet

You'll be a megafan of Megabass lures because of their innovation and uncanny attention to detail. The Knuckle Jr.'s two-position adjustable bill really gives you two lures in one, making it easier to swallow the premium price.

Price: $4.29

Livetarget Bait Ball Square Bill

Length: 2 3/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3-4 feet

The Bait Ball is a crankbait with realistic 3D baitfish bodies inside the main body. The smaller lures inside cleverly mimic a school of shad. This crankbait casts very well and has a tighter wobble than most square bills, making it a perfect crank for clear water.

Price: $14.99

Lake Geneva

Although less expansive than the Mississippi River and the bays the border Door County, Lake Geneva offers more than 5,000 acres of fishing waters. Deep and clear, Geneva is best known among bass fishermen for its thick-bodied smallmouth bass; however, the same waters also yield plentiful largemouths, with a great average size and some serious jumbos in the mix. Early in the season, jerkbaits and jigs work nicely for largemouths and smallmouths alike and bass of either species can be caught shallow. As summer progresses, the smallies tend to move deeper and become somewhat finicky, but the largemouths continue to serve up fine action over weed-covered humps.

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