Fly Fishing Wisconsin

Wisconsin is not only home to high-quality cheese, it is also home to over 13,000 miles of trout streams scattered all over the state.

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Since Wisconsin is divided into many regions, it can be challenging to narrow down to the best places for trout fishing. So we put together this list to the top places to visit if you’re planning a trip to Wisconsin.

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Best Places for Fly Fishing Wisconsin

1. Rush River

Rush River

The Rush River is a favourite among many people heading to Wisconsin for fly fishing adventures. Over the summer, the heat gives the water adequate warmth to produce more food to feed the different fish species in these parts of Wisconsin.

Some of the fish species you can expect around this stream are the brown trout and brook trout. There are incredible sights like limestone outcroppings to keep your eyes busy as you continue to fly fishing. Although the fish population may not be that huge, the size of the fish will compensate for the low numbers.

The best spots to fish the Rush River are in the area between Martell and Baldwin in the Rush River Wildlife Area. You can get the public access point towards the northeast corner of the area, giving you access to around 1.2 miles of stream shoreline for wading. Make sure you carry a good pair of wading boots with you. However, you can also use a canoe since the water flows at around 130 cubic feet per second. The best flies to use in the Rish River are the Black X Caddis and the Grey Leech.

You can also see our post here on the Best Wading Boots for more selection.

2. Black Earth Creek

Black Earth Creek

The Black Earth Creek is a great trout stream near Madison and boasts a huge population of brown trout. If you want to fly fish for rainbow trout, you can head further downstream where they are stocked.

The best spots to fish in the Black Earth Creek are around Festge County Park. The fly fishing section of this area is open between March 5 through September.

The best flies to use are beetles and hoppers, especially over the summer months. This makes for some extremely exciting dry fly fishing. If you want to have easy manoeuvrability, make sure you carry your waders or boots as you’ll need to navigate through the water fairly often.

3. Lower Wisconsin River

Lower Wisconsin River

The Lower Wisconsin River is an amazing warm water fishery where you can fly fish for pike or smallmouth bass. To reach the Lower Wisconsin River, you can head over to Prairie du Sac at VFW launch or in Sauk City via Highway 12.

The best time of year to fish the Lower Wisconsin River is from May through October. During this time, try using flies like the Boogle Bug or the 3M Minnow and fish them unpredictably. These are great flies for fly fishing smallmouth bass. See also our full Flyfishing For Bass here so you can catch more of those smallmouth bass!

The Lower Wisconsin River is fairly slow-moving river easily fly fish from a fishing kayak or float tube.

For a more selection of fishing kayaks and float tube, see our Best Fishing Kayak Under $1000 and Best Float Tube For Fly Fishing here.

4. Kickapoo River West Fork

Kickapoo River West Fork

The Kickapoo River West Fork stream is located in the driftless area. The West Fork is a catch and release fishing area, and you will find a pretty amazing brown trout population in the river. However, you have to be very careful when fishing at West Fork not to scare the trout. So try to fly fish from the banks without wading into the river.

As with most trout, the trout love obstacles. You should throw flies towards the opposing bank and lure the fish out to feed. Especially if you’re fishing streamers. The best hatches over the summer are the Tricos and the Little Black Caddis in spring.

5. Pine River

Pine River

This is one of the wild rivers flowing through Wisconsin that you absolutely must fly fish. The Pine River was declared as a wild river in 1965 and has since maintained its natural condition. As a result, the area is quite natural, with limited access making to a lot of the sections.

The best spot to fish on the Pine river is 33 miles downriver at the Menominee River confluence. Here you can fly fish smallmouth bass, brown trout and brookies.

The best flies to use in the Pine River are the big Woolly Buggers and the Mosquito flies in mid-summer. That said, you absolutely will need to bring some bug spray with you during this time.

6. The Bois Brule River

The Bois Brule River

The Bois Brule River in Wisconsin is a 44-mile trout fishery, famous for brown and rainbow trout. The Bois Brule River has some of the best views in Northeast Wisconsin so you’ll love this one. It is however relatively easy to access, so is a Wisconsin favourite. Make sure to adhere to the Brule Trout Fishing Regulations [1] to make sure you are on the right side of the law.

The 44-mile long stretch is divided into regions so you can easily find where you need to go. The mouth of the river around Lake Superior and all along Highway 2 is full of big salmon and steelheads. So head here if you have a taste for some big fish. You might have to walk along the banks of the river to cover enough ground.

The other spots we recommend just below Highway 2. Here you’ll find mainly brown trout and rainbows. You may want to find a kayak to cover the water at this point.Finally, you can head over to Brule Dam in Wisconsin in the Forest State Natural Area. This is a spectacular spot, full of fish.

The best flues to use on the bois brule river are the Burnt Wulff, especially on the Upper Brule. We also recommend a Peacock Herl or Burnt Orange Floss. If you want to land steelheads, try a Superior X-legs or Kaufman’s Brown Stonefly.

7. Kinnickinnic River

Kinnickinnic River

This is yet another river in the driftless area of Wisconsin and it stretches to Prairie du Chien from La Crosse. The river has the highest population of trout in the Midwest. It marks one of the trout streams in Wisconsin that thrive without being restocked. The brookies and browns have been repopulating well over the years, especially since 1973, with about 5,000 to 10,000 trout per mile.

You will find it relatively easy to access the river’s upperparts.The densest population of the fish in the stream is in these upperparts. Although gaining access to the stream is easy, the best access point is in the Kinnickinnic River State Park. The best flies to use on the Kinnickinnic river are Midges or Blue Winged Olives as with most other rivers in this part of Wisconsin.

8. Root River

Root River

The Root River is situated 20 miles south of Milwaukee and is a premium fly fishing river. This proximity to Milwaukee means that it does get fished a lot, so be prepared to meet other fishermen. It has a fish-weir dam, which traps enough fish for breeding to sustain a healthy population.

The location is especially great for beginners as gives them a chance to have a glimpse of what fly fishing is all about. The best spots to fish the Root river are in the Colonial or Lincoln Park. As with a lot of these rivers being sturdy wading boots since canoeing can be pretty challenging. The best flies for the Root River are Tungstenhead Stoneflies. We recommend you chack out the Root River fishing report before heading out too [2].

Wrap Up

So there you have it, some of the best spots for fly fishing in Wisconsin. If you’ve been to any of these spots, be sure to drop a comment below and let us know how you got on.

Take care and tight lines!



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