Musky Shop Lake of the Month: Big Arbor Vitae

Musky Shop Lake of the Month: Big Arbor Vitae

Jodie Paul January 19, 2024

It’s an exciting time in the Northwoods when we are finally diving headfirst into the ice fishing season.  Every year all are eagerly anticipating pulling out the snowmobiles and cruising to their favorite iced-up waterway.  For this Lake of the Month, we think Big Arbor Vitae would be the perfect place for you and your family to set up some fun-filled pan fishing tip-ups while still being able to spread out from the other visitors to its well-loved shores. 

Big Arbor Vitae is a whopping 1070-acre lake in the heart of musky country.  Its location is a short 15-minute stint northeast of the Musky Shop, so you get all of the surrounding small-town creature comforts very nearby.  Big Arbor Vitae Lake has a max depth of 41 feet so if you’re interested in finding out what’s lying at the bottom of a big hole, this is your chance.  The center of the lake offers a steep drop-off from the edge into a great abyss!  Big Arbor Vitae is typically a low-clarity lake, so winter is a perfect time to fish because unless you’re Superman, you can’t see through the ice.  Low clarity will stop some musky anglers from enjoying the excitement of a follow, but it certainly doesn’t stop you from gathering your limit of panfish.

Big Arbor Vitae has a long, outstretched point from the Southern Shore that offers a long line of gathering places for prime tip-up fishing at just around 10 feet.  If you so desire, there are also plenty of mid-depth bay-friendly fishing spots calling to your augers as well.  This lake is wide open for finding a productive spot and depending on the weather, it can typically keep you fed during your visit. 

Big Arbor Vitae has two boat ramps: one on the North side of the lake and one at the South end.  For those who need to drive in, there are plenty of places to park and walk out.  You will likely see fellow ice anglers about to help you know where to go.  There is not much mystery to Big Arbor Vitae so it’s just recommended you stop into Musky Shop or ask a local guide what depth is working and set up shop on a breakline. 

Outside of ice fishing the BAV, don’t be afraid to stop in the downtown shops of Woodruff and Minocqua for some local merchandise.  There are also plenty of supper clubs and local pubs near the lake to keep you fed and watered if the bite is bad or the wheels fall off the wagon.  So, take the time to peruse all the locals have to offer.  And of course, stay safe this ice fishing season.