Catch a Trophy Muskellunge in Northern Wisconsin
Did you know that muskellunge—musky—is the state fish of Wisconsin? With more world records landed here than anywhere else, it’s not surprising. The challenge of musky fishing—physical size, moodiness, explosive strikes—make it one of the most difficult trophy fish, but also one of the most alluring catches, drawing anglers to the Cable, Wisconsin area from across the state and country.
So, what are the best places to find musky? Depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an easy(ier!) catch, smaller, shallower lakes with more vegetation or rivers often yield higher musky populations for a higher chance of landing a fish, but increased populations tend to mean smaller fish. Those seeking a trophy fish will have to be patient—these don’t come easily!—and should look to large, deep clear-water lakes with lower populations of musky.
When is the best time to catch a fish? Open season for musky begins Memorial Day Weekend in the Northern zone and the first Saturday in May in the Southern zone, though the biggest musky months tend to be during the summer, when the weather is warmest. The best conditions tend to be windy, rainy, or overcast days in times of low boat traffic.
Musky Lake Classifications
To help anglers find their ideal spot, the lakes of Wisconsin have been divided into different fishing classes, based on their ability to yield musky. Over 47% of Wisconsin’s lakes are rated as Class A1 lakes.
Class A1: These are trophy waters. The fish are large, but the number of catches tend to be low and inconsistent.
Class A1 lakes include:
- Eau Claire Lakes
- Grindstone Lake
- Lac Courte Oreilles
- Iron River
Class A2: These are more consistent waters and can yield large fish, but overall, while total numbers are higher, the percentage of large fish caught is less than an A1 lake.
Class A2 lakes include:
- Spider Lake
- Diamond Lake
Class B: These are intermediate lakes that tend to have good fishing, but overall success rates might be lower.
Class C: These are typically irrelevant fisheries.
Fish the Chippewa Flowage
Chippewa Flowage—the third largest lake in Wisconsin, and one of its most naturally beautiful, charming, and rewarding destinations. A true wilderness retreat, Chippewa offers miles of undisturbed shoreline, lush woods and trees, rushing rivers and gentle creeks, mysterious unexplored islands, abundant wildlife, and of course, top-notch fishing. This Class-A musky lake is not only the home of the musky World Record, but also of the Musky Hunt Fishing Tournament in September, and plenty of recreational fishing throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Though known for its musky, the Flowage also offers abundant walleye, black crappie, and bluegill, and yellow perch and smallmouth bass numbers are increasing.
Top Fishing Locations in Cable, WI
Discover True Seclusion in the Quiet Lakes
For those seeking a truly quiet, relaxing, and secluded retreat, there are the Quiet Lakes. These three lakes—Teal Lake, Lost Land Lake, and Ghost Lake—are located in the heart of the Chequamegon National Forest just 15 miles north of Hayward, WI, and their beauty lies in the numbers. Three lakes, a 10 mph speed limit, and 200 feet of lakeshore per home. What does this mean for anglers and recreational enthusiasts? It means no watersports, no tubers or skiers or jetskiers. It means undisturbed stillness, the perfect destination for quiet lakeside or boat fishing on Class A musky waters.
Explore the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame
The fishing culture of this area of Wisconsin reaches so deep that the small-town of Hayward is even home to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, which serves as an international center for education, recognition, and promotion of freshwater fishing. Though the Hall of Fame offers a wealth of knowledge and history, its highlight is most definitely the “Shrine to Anglers”—a massive 4-story leaping musky of concrete, glass, and steel.