Musky Shop Lake of the Month: Moen Lake

Musky Shop Lake of the Month: Moen Lake

Jodie Paul December 26, 2022

This month as the North Woods weather have pushed our local lakes into the hour of the BIG FREEZE, it seems appropriate to highlight a lake that would give respite to the weary, traveling ice fisherman.  As you can imagine, most of the lakes in the North Woods freeze well enough to provide ample ice fishing opportunity to those who wish to brave the elements in the name of “fresh fish”.  So, it isn’t rare to have shanty’s, tents, sleds, and bucket stools from here to eternity.  Though many fishermen are prepared with their tried-and-true winter ice holes, it never hurts to share the info for non-locals and those looking to freshen up their ice game.

This month’s lake, Moen Lake, resting just east of Rhinelander in Oneida County is a great place to hang your ice fishing hat without leaving all the creature comforts behind.  Rhinelander has everything you need as far as shopping, dinner, and even it’s very own small airport.  You can fly in and stay minutes from the action if you are traveling to the North Woods, or driving locally, you can find Moen Lake right near a main highway.

Moen Lake was named after John Moen, a Norwegian immigrant who relocated to the North Woods area in the late 1800’s.  After being conscripted to prepare the area for a sawmill and logging venture, Moen’s footprint in the area would grow through various business ventures and live on through the name of the largest lake of the chain.  The Moen Lake chain has a long history of residential and rental properties soon after the land was logged.

Moen Lake is 461-acre lake recording quiet shallow depths of only 11 feet.  Shallow lakes are the first to freeze in musky country so you might be able to get out on Moen before many of the deeper bowl lakes.  The bottom of Moen is a gravelly mixed bag of sandy rocky muck and the water can be dark in the heat of Summer, but ice fishing is another animal and you can’t really see under your feet anyway.

Moen Lake boasts a nice launch area with parking on the West side of the lake right off of Lake Shore drive that makes it easily accessible to ice fairing fisherfolk.  Though you might be traveling through, or driving over, don’t miss out on the opportunity to walk out your door and directly onto the ice as Moen Lake has many places to stay like Conro’s Resort or the landmark Pine Valley Lodge.  Moen lake also boast a campground and other rentals for travelling guests.  There is even Birchwood Bar & Lodge for a place to stay and bite to eat nestled on the South East corner.

Moen Lake is the largest of a small chain of lakes featuring Second, Third, Forth, and Fifth Lakes which can also be great fishing.  Over the years, the lake has been given life by additional fish cribs growing throughout.  Position your ice hole over a fish crib and you’ll have access to all of the panfish you can eat this winter.  It doesn’t get better than relaxing on the ice knowing your dinner is freshly frozen as soon as it hits the air.

As far as ice fishing goes, the perfect gear isn’t really hard to find. For a jigging experience, a small set up with a rod/reel and jig head or spoon.  Panfish limits are large at 25 (10 for each species), Pike has a limit of 5 with no length limit, and 3 each 15-20” walleye can be kept.  You can always fish with a minnow and tip up to keep yourself occupied with enjoying the company of friends without missing a catch. 

When looking for a lake to hang your tip-up this ice fishing season, look no further than Moen Lake.  It has everything you need for a newbie to the sport with shallow water and several linked lakes.  The ease to town for extra supplies is great and the ability to stay directly on the water is always a great possibility.  There are even snow mobile trails through the area for those who choose to travel on motorized skis.  Enjoy the beauty of Moen Lake!