Wisconsin – Top Fly Spots

Wisconsin, with its diverse range of fish species and extensive network of rivers and lakes, has long been recognized as a paradise for fly anglers. From the serenity of tiny spring creeks to the vast expanse of the Great Lakes, Wisconsin presents endless opportunities for both novices and seasoned fly fishing enthusiasts.

A. Spot #1: Bois Brule River

i. Local Conditions and Tips

The Bois Brule River, located in Northern Wisconsin, offers a variety of fishing opportunities year-round, known especially for its steelhead, brown trout, and salmon.

ii. Access Points

a. Bois Brule – mouth of the river

One popular access point is off Highway 2, near the mouth of the river, providing opportunities for steelhead and salmon.

b. County Road B

Further upstream, access off County Road B offers fantastic brown trout fishing.

iii. Fishing Tips

As the waters here are clear, using a lighter tippet and smaller flies often yields better results. Stealth and presentation are paramount.

iv. Best Times to Fish

Steelhead and salmon runs peak in the fall, while brown trout fishing is excellent in the spring and summer.

v. Recommended Flies

Blue Winged Olives, Scuds, and Caddis flies are great for trout. For steelhead and salmon, consider swinging streamers and egg patterns.

vi. Local Eateries and Breweries

The Delta Diner and South Shore Brewery in Ashland provide excellent food and drink options after a day on the water.

vii. Accommodations and Lodging

Consider the Brule River Lodge or the Round Up North in Brule for accommodations that put you close to the water.

a. Brule River Lodge is a rustic resort located on the Brule River in Wisconsin. The lodge offers a variety of accommodations, including cabins, lodge rooms, and a campground. The lodge also has a restaurant, bar, and a variety of amenities, including a swimming pool, hot tub, and game room.

b. Round Up North is a family-friendly restaurant located in Brule, Wisconsin. The restaurant is known for its wood-fired pizzas, its casual atmosphere, and its friendly service.

viii. Local Attractions

Besides fishing, you can explore the Brule River State Forest or hike along the North Country National Scenic Trail.

B. Spot #2: Chippewa River

i. Local Conditions and Tips

The Chippewa River, meandering through West-Central Wisconsin, is a scenic and productive fly fishing location. It’s known for its diverse range of fish species, including smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, and a variety of panfish.

ii. Access Points

a. Chippewa River State Trail

One convenient access point is at the Chippewa River State Trail bridge in Eau Claire. Here, the river is broad and slow-moving, ideal for targeting smallmouth bass and walleye.

b. Dunville Wildlife Area

Another excellent access point is at the Dunville Wildlife Area in the lower section of the river. This location is a haven for northern pike.

iii. Fishing Tips

A slow, methodical approach is generally best when fishing the Chippewa River. The water is often murky, so using larger, brightly colored flies can improve visibility and attract fish.

iv. Best Times to Fish

Spring and early summer tend to be the most productive times for fly fishing in the Chippewa River, with the warming temperatures stimulating fish activity.

v. Recommended Flies

For smallmouth bass, consider using crayfish imitations or large streamers. For the northern pike, big, bright streamer flies work well.

vi. Local Eateries and Breweries

Post-fishing, check out the Lazy Monk Brewing and The Informalist in Eau Claire for locally brewed beer and a fantastic meal.

vii. Accommodations and Lodging

The Lismore Hotel in Eau Claire offers upscale accommodations. If you prefer a more rustic experience, consider camping at Lake Wissota State Park.

viii. Local Attractions

Beyond fishing, the Chippewa River State Trail offers excellent hiking and biking opportunities. The city of Eau Claire also has a vibrant arts scene with many galleries and music festivals throughout the year.

C. Spot #3: Black Earth Creek

Black Earth Creek, located in Dane County, Wisconsin, is considered one of the top trout streams in the Midwest, offering miles of fishable water stocked with brown and brook trout.

i. Local Conditions and Tips

The spring-fed Black Earth Creek boasts cold, clear water that is perfect for trout. The waterway meanders through farmland and woods, creating a diverse environment that the fish use to their advantage. Many sections of the creek are easily accessible, but there are also plenty of more secluded areas that are worth exploring.

ii. Access Points

a. Village of Black Earth

A popular place to start is the Village of Black Earth, where the creek runs through town. Here, parking is easy, and the creek is just a short walk away.

b. Black Earth Creek

Another excellent spot to access Black Earth Creek is at Festge County Park. This location provides an easy path to the water, as well as restroom facilities and picnic areas.

iii. Fishing Tips

Nymph fishing is often the most productive approach on Black Earth Creek. However, dry flies can also be effective during the Mayfly, Caddis, and terrestrial hatches. Additionally, sight fishing can be successful due to the creek’s clear waters.

iv. Best Times to Fish

Trout season in Wisconsin runs from the first Saturday in May through September 30. The prime fishing time on Black Earth Creek is in the late spring and early summer when the water levels are more predictable.

v. Recommended Flies

Effective flies for this location include Caddis imitations, Blue Winged Olive, and terrestrial patterns like ants and beetles during the summer. Nymph patterns such as Pheasant Tail and Hare’s Ear can also be successful.

vi. Local Eateries and Breweries

After a day on the water, consider grabbing a bite at The Old Feed Mill, known for its award-winning pot roast. For craft beer lovers, a visit to The Grumpy Troll Brew Pub in nearby Mount Horeb is a must.

vii. Accommodations and Lodging

There are several hotels in nearby Madison, such as The Edgewater, for those seeking a more urban experience. For a more rural stay, check out the bed and breakfasts and camping options in the surrounding Dane County.

viii. Local Attractions

When not fishing, check out the Cave of the Mounds, a natural limestone cave located in Blue Mounds. Another popular local attraction is the National Mustard Museum in Middleton.

D. Spot #4: Rush River

The Rush River, a gem in the heart of western Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, is a freestone stream renowned for its wild brown and brook trout population, making it a must-visit for any serious fly angler.

i. Local Conditions and Tips

The Rush River boasts a mix of riffles, runs, and pools, interspersed with undercut banks and overhanging vegetation, perfect for holding trout. The stream’s rocky substrate and hilly landscape produce clear, cool waters ideal for fly fishing. You’ll find mostly brown trout here, along with a smaller brook trout population.

ii. Access Points

a. Lower Rush River Public Fishing Area

The Lower Rush River Public Fishing area is a popular and easily accessible starting point. This public land provides ample stream access, and you’ll find good fishing both up and downstream.

b. Lost Creek

Lost Creek, a Rush River tributary, is another fantastic access point. There are several public easements along Lost Creek Road, providing good access to fish-filled waters.

iii. Fishing Tips

Due to its clear waters, sight fishing is often productive on the Rush River. Anglers will need to be stealthy to avoid spooking the fish. Nymphing can be very productive, and dry fly fishing can be excellent during hatches.

iv. Best Times to Fish

Trout season in Wisconsin runs from the first Saturday in May through September 30. Spring and early summer, when the water levels are more predictable, are prime fishing times on the Rush River.

v. Recommended Flies

Effective flies for the Rush River include Caddis imitations, Blue Winged Olive, and terrestrial patterns like ants and beetles during the summer. Nymph patterns such as Pheasant Tail and Hare’s Ear are also successful.

vi. Local Eateries and Breweries

After a day on the river, consider stopping by The Creamery, located in Downsville, where you can enjoy hearty American fare. For a refreshing pint, check out Lucette Brewing Company in nearby Menomonie.

vii. Accommodations and Lodging

For those seeking accommodation, the nearby city of Menomonie offers several options, including the comfortable and modern Hampton Inn & Suites. For a more rustic experience, consider camping at the nearby Highland Ridge Campground.

viii. Local Attractions

When not fishing, explore the beautiful Dunnville Wildlife Area, which offers a range of outdoor activities. Also, a visit to the nearby town of Menomonie could include a trip to the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, a stunning, historic theater.

Conclusion: 

With its abundant opportunities for fly fishing, Wisconsin is indeed an angler’s paradise. The diverse range of fishing environments, from tranquil creeks to the vast Great Lakes, makes Wisconsin a must-visit destination for any fly fishing enthusiast. Do your research, pack your gear, and get ready for the fly fishing adventure of a lifetime in Wisconsin!

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