Northwoods Lakes and Piers for the Shoreline Fisherman and Family
Fishing the Northwoods during fall can seem daunting if you don’t have a boat in tow; but fear not, the Fall in Wisconsin means turnover, and turnover can present some amazing shallow water fishing for your favorite predator: Muskellunge. In fall the turnover is gradual, but in preparation for a frozen winter tundra, muskies tend to move up into shallow waters to feed and bask in the last of summer warmth. This is a great time for non-boaters to explore musky fishing with family and friends from docks and banks across the state.
Try heading up to the Northern Top of Vilas County for a visit to Horsehead Lake and Little Horsehead Lake in Presque Isle for some walkable shoreline and pier fishing near the public boat ramps.
This area of the North woods offers a great serene background for fun day of shallow casting. Nearby at Oxbow Lake, more shoreline fishing can be enjoyed. And as long as you are in the area, don’t shy away from the Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area, where you can hike and fish 15 wild lakes and ponds (catch and release only) with artificial lures for an all-day love affair with fishing. I wouldn’t expect to run into any musky here but fishing in the wilderness is worth the day trip.
Outside of Boulder Junction sets a small but handy lake for those on foot: Upper Gresham Lake. The Wisconsin DNR has installed a lovely pier here that jets out into the shallows on the North End of the lake. This pier is next door to the Upper Gresham Lake Campground where you can get a rustic retreat with your family. Upper Gresham Lake has some good fishing and you might run into a musky in the shallows near the pier.
Another option for shore fisherman and their families is Rest Lake of Manitowish Waters. This lake has a lovely public park with pier. There is a public boat launch and shoreline to fish. The public Rest Lake Park and Pavilion is right around the bend for a place to relax with your family and unpack your picnic. This area offers one of the most comfortable shoreline fishing experiences but it might be a bit more crowded on certain days. The park and pavilion are located on the North West end of the lake and offer a lot of family friendly area to fish.
One of the busiest but definitely most family friendly shoreline spots would be Boom Lake at Hodag Park. Hodag park offers a ton of activities outside of fishing, but also offers a pier and shoreline for your favorite activity. It has a swimming area, and many recreational spots, but could be a bit too busy for someone looking to hone in their skills. Still a great suggestion for a day out with children.
Outside of these suggestions, don’t be afraid to map your favorite musky or multispecies lake and mark the public lands. Fall means great temps for short hikes. If you find a nice shallow bay on public land, make a trek through the wilderness to pull a sleepy musky out of the shallows. It’s worth the time and the energy to get there. Some may think that you have to walk miles of shoreline, but this is just not the case. I know many guides and anglers that park their boats in skinny water for hours and pick apart the underwater terrain; changing lures, bombing casts, and taking notes of movements. Just because you have a narrow scope doesn’t mean a musky isn’t waiting for the perfect lure to catch its eye.