1. Everyone should ice fish Wingra at least once. The fish aren't large but the action is always non-stop! Kept slush in half of side of my holes and this increased ...more bites in the shallow water. CPR'd all crappie but kept a bunch of smaller gills.

    Black Crappie with a Little Cecil w/red spikes

    1. Rich Pardy 0
      Nice crop!!
  2. Hole hopped around this small lake to see if anything was present. Surprised by the number of cisco moving around. Released all that were caught. Hopefully the numbers ...more will get larger in these lakes.

    9 in. Cisco with a Buckshot rattle with blood worm dropper

    1. Brian K 0
      @Perry Dunn I did bring one up to the hole that had to have been at least 12". Good luck pickling those!
    2. Jacob Anderson 0
      Wow, I didn't know if there were any cisco left in the Chain! Good bait for those larger pike.
    3. perry dunn 0
      yes we got a lot of little cisco hopefully next year we'll get some that are bigger and pickle
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  3. Strange winter. Open water fishing the "Fall" bite in Wisconsin after Christmas. This was a first. Winter arrived the next day and the bay froze over.

    24 in. Walleye with a X-Rap 3" - purple/gold

    1. Rich Pardy 0
      Nice walleye!!
  4. Caught quite a few short walleye after dark. Wisconsin walleye initiative stocking I'm assuming. Mendota may be a good walleye fishery in a couple years..

    1 lb. 14 in. Walleye with a VMC Tumbler UV + minnow head

    1. Brian K 0
      I'll agree to that Jordan - mostly because of the potential I've encountered during the fall bite. I don't think walleye over 28" are uncommon in ...more Dota but I would love to know where those fish (and other size-able numbers) migrate to during the rest of the gamefish season
    2. Jordan Truttschel 0
      It already is a great walleye lake!
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  5. When I saw a wake forming behind the Top Raider I was pulling in, I knew it had to be a big pike. Never heard of a catfish going after a topwater musky lure. I ...more think the huge gut on this fish explains it all.

    32 in. Channel Catfish with a Top Raider

    1. wayne lensert 0
      nice catch eats good to 5 stars buddie
    2. Brian K 0
      No, I was fishing in waders in about 3.5 ft of water. Based on your pic I can imagine that you've seen big musky make a wake while following baits. I was certain ...more this toad catfish was a big pike given that it was Mendota and was surprised when I found out I had a catfish hooked
    3. Matt Newman 0
      Brian were you shore fishing?
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  6. If you look closely, the bass had a crappie jig stuck in its mouth with about 2 ft of monofilament still attached. First time I've ever received a fishing lure ...more from a fish!

    20 in. Largemouth Bass with a Clown Minnow Jerk Bait

    1. Brian K 0
      Yeah Jon, I believe so. Bonus - it was glow in the dark!
    2. Jon Giacalone 0
      Looks like a mini mite?
    3. Brian K 0
      Thanks Rich! Steve- I'll take a freebie any day. I checked out your catches and see you fish Mendota a little bit. I'm hoping that's where you hauled ...more in those hawg northerns! I have caught a two largemouth in Mendota that I would like to think could be considered small trophy fish (not the one pictured) for the species in Wisconsin. The one thing those fish have in common is that they were caught in the complete dark on baits that were subsurface (not topwaters) while I was targeting walleye. I've also never caught bass that would be considered small at night while doing so. I guess this has kind of confirmed for me that the big ones really do feed at night but I think that term is still dependent upon conditions
    4. Steve Kappel 0
      Freebie's are alway welcome!! Get many at night?
    5. Rich Pardy 0
      Nice bass!!
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  7. Pike over 30" used to be common in these lakes but that is not the case any more. The only proven method I've found to catch the bigger pike is by trolling ...more open water and dropping a line every time I see big arches under schooled baitfish. This fish was suspended in 60 ft of water

    36 in. Northern Pike with a Gulp! minnow w/darter jighead

    1. Tim Steinmetz 0
      Kitchitikipi is not a place you can fish, unfortunately. It is a huge natural spring that the state turned into a park and tourist attraction. I'm sure before ...more it became a park it was an excellent trout fishing spot though!
    2. Jacob Anderson 0
      Brian - We definitely should, I'm usually fishing by myself as well. It's cool to meet another angler on here who fishes the Waupaca area and it seems like ...more you know quite a bit about fishing the Chain. There are two boat landings on the Upper Chain, but both aren't that great and are suited for smaller boats only. I've found that fishing Marl on a cloudy day is usually your best bet. If it's sunny, I have a really hard time finding bass in my usual spots; I feel like they might go out into the deep hole in the middle but I don't have a fish finder to pin them down in the 59 foot depths. There are some nice ones in there though.
    3. Brian K 0
      Tim - The Big Spring sounds wild, it's now on my list of lakes to check out. Exactly, there are a ton of springs that feed these lakes in different areas. These ...more lakes are one of the few spots in central wisconsin that support a mass amount of cisco. A creek that supports naturally producing brown trout also feeds into these lakes. The brown trout move into the lakes when they get bigger and develop teeth and then get fat chasing the cisco. You need to get Jacob to take you down sometime. They can be very challenging because of water clarity & boat traffic in summer (pleasure boats - not fishermen) but a knowledgeable person like yourself would probably find some larger fish quickly Jacob- let's maybe get in touch this Spring. I'm usually fishing alone and two lines in the water is always better than one. I haven't done much fishing in the upper chain because of the limited public access. I do know that Marl lake is tough because of the extreme water clarity
    4. Tim Steinmetz 0
      36" is a respectable pike in my book! Those lakes sound pretty cool. They must be spring-fed. The only thing like that around me is Kitchitikipi -- Ojibwe for ...more "The Big Spring." The water temperature is 40 degrees year-round and you can watch huge lake trout swimming around in 50 feet of water. Have you ever tried tossing huge musky lures around in the Waupaca Lakes? I didn't even know big pike existed in my home waters until I started using those big lures. As soon as I started with the musky lures the 40 inch pike were just there.
    5. Jacob Anderson 0
      Yes they are, I haven't seen many other lakes as clear as these ones are. Cool, I mostly fish the upper chain, particularly Marl Lake, because I only have an ...more 8 foot kayak to fish from. From what I've read, the DNR stocked those in the 80's, so I'm guessing most if not all are gone by now, unless a private party stocked them more recently. My dad remembers them though, he grew up on Marl and would catch the smaller ones occasionally when they were first planted.
    6. Brian K 0
      Tim - yes I think Jacob can confirm that these lakes are extremely clear. It's unreal how clear they can be especially in the spring when water is still cold. ...more You can troll around and spot huge bass staging to spawn in 15 ft of water. Please don't make fun of this pike b/c I know the ones you catch on a daily basis would eat this one as a snack! Jacob - I've only been fishing the lakes for the past 3 yrs in the summer. I have a little dinger boat stashed in a boat house on Limekiln. I looked at fishing reports back to 2004 and people were posting pics of big pike on a regular basis. Were you old enough to remember the tiger muskies that were in the lakes?
    7. Tim Steinmetz 0
      That's really cool. Pelagic pike are not something you hear about every day! That looks like a really clear lake too.
    8. Jacob Anderson 0
      Nice pike! I've been fishing the Chain pretty regularly for several years and I think the biggest one I ever got was 28.
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  8. They are Eagle Claw Lazor Sharpe hooks

  9. Hey Brian,

    Just curious if you wadder fish Lake Wingra in Madison and Where you find access?


    1. Luke Stacey 0
      Hey Brian, Thank you so much for the information. I will for sure be out there to try for those muskies and bass. How far out roughly from shore? Good thing I didn't ...more take the trek through that woods....haha.
    2. Brian K 0
      One more tip, fish the area just east of Wingra boats this spring in your waders. Walk until you are about waist deep and in front of the big white house that is ...more next to the field by Wingra boats. You will see what I am talking about when you get there. Fish a soft plastic bait (mr. Whiggley) that sinks slow (jerk retrieve) or a black/orange Mepps Buck tail with a Colorado blade in the evening before sunset. I guarantee you will catch fish
    3. Brian K 0
      Hi Luke, sorry for the delayed response. I've been on the 80/20 schedule lately due to tax season, 80% work and 20% ice fishing! Ice has melted so I'm back ...more on here.

      Good question about Wingra. On the north side of the lake, your best bet is to access lake by Wingra boats and head east. The water is very wade able for about 400 yards and then it gets too mucky.

      The south side has very limited access. You can't park in the arboretum unless you park in a parking lot and walk about a mile down the street and through the woods. You may find this out for yourself but it is not a pleasant journey. Woods are very thick/bushy - it's a marsh so go figure haha. Very difficult to navigate with 2 $200 musky rods. Anyway first time I did that I decided never again. Only option without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes or breaking the tip off of your rod is to load your stuff in a kayak and anchor it wherever you want. That is what I did a couple times and had good success.

      Hope this helps. Unfortunately the south side of the lake is a preservation and thus no walking trails or lake access. Judging by all of the no parking signs around there, you'd probably get a ticket pretty quick so be careful.
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  10. Most of the chain is frozen over with about 2.5" on the deeper lakes and 4-6" on the shallower lakes. I fished Lime Kiln and part of Round Lake this past ...more weekend and stayed about 100 ft from shore. Was walking on 3" of clear ice (ice picks, life jacket, and spud bar in tow) and never heard a single crack from it settling with my weight. Small gills in the weeds and small northern at 15-25'.

    1. Brian K 0
      Note of caution for those unaware, cold springs in several small areas of the lakes allow dangerous ice conditions until December/January, so be careful.


I grew up fishing the Missouri Ozarks and then spent several years in Northern WI. Big climate and wildlife change but I love fishing for them ...more all. Also a fan of whipping a fly around for trout on occasion.

Fishing Favorites

  • Species Walleye
  • Waterway Truman Reservoir
  • Lure Smithwick Rattlin' Rogue