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Make New Memories in Langlade County as Fishing Season Opens

April 28, 2022

Author:  
Lisa Haefs

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In Langlade County, May means fishing.

While our County of Trails offers outstanding and unique fishing opportunities throughout the year, ranging from cool spring holes at the height of summer to “hard water” opportunities on the ice in the dead of winter, May is when anglers' thoughts turn to the walleyes and muskies, brookies, bass, and bluegills.

The general fishing season in Langlade County, which includes trout, walleyes, northern pike, and largemouth bass, opens the first Saturday in May, which comes late this year, on May 7. Muskie season comes a bit later, on May 28, while panfish such as bluegills, crappies, perch, and sunfish may be caught year-round.

Dave Seibel, fisheries biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Antigo, predicted a good opener for visitors and residents alike.

 “We have abundant aquatic resources for anglers and a diversity of fishing opportunities from our spring ponds to steams to lakes,” Seibel said. 

That amazing diversity of over 840 lakes, including about 200 spring ponds, as well as 400 miles of trout streams, offers something for everyone.
 
Targeting walleye
A favorite among anglers for catching and dining, walleye are abundant or common in a score of county lakes, according to the DNR’s “Find A Lake” link on its website. From bodies of water as large as Pickerel, at 1,272 acres, to tiny Otter. at 83 acres, the gamefish abounds. And that’s not counting those quiet “fishing holes” favored by tight-lipped anglers.

“I think walleye fishing especially will be pretty darn good for the opener,” Seibel said. “They will be just past the spawn and those are the easiest walleye to target.”

Spawning fish expend plenty of energy, Seibel explained, and they go into a feeding frenzy afterwards to replenish.

“The water will still be cool so the walleye should be in the shallower bays or just at the edge of drop-offs. They will be where the food is,” Seibel said. “That’s where they can be targeted and caught.”

Langlade County is in the Ceded Territory and most lakes within that designated area have a daily bag limit of three walleye, a minimum size limit of 15 inches, a no-harvest slot range of 20-24 inches, and only one walleye over 24 inches may be kept per day.  Regulations can vary from lake to lake, so please make sure to check the regulations book or online. 

“We’re hoping these walleye regulations will provide more consistent reproduction and larger walleye than in the past,” Seibel said. “Lots of anglers are also starting to practice catch and release. They are seeing the value of putting those bigger, female walleye back.”
 
Excellent trout streams
Fast water anglers will also discover numerous opportunities in Langlade County.

“We have great trout water and the sport remains very popular in Langlade County,” Seibel said. We also have lots of access. If you can keep your feet wet, you’re legal to be there.”

Places to try include various sections of the East Branch of the Eau Claire River, Spring Brook, Elton Creek and the Evergreen, Hunting and Wolf Rivers.

“The Wolf especially should fish really good early in the season,” Seibel said.
 
Landing a lunker
Muskie anglers are often called a different breed, willing to cast thousands of times for a chance to land the largest of Langlade County’s game fish.

Seibel said muskies should still be spawning late in May, which will keep them in the shallows. Lakes to try include Summit, Greater Bass, Enterprise, Upper and Lower Post, and Moccasin among others.
 
Everyone’s favorite fish
For many anglers, young and old, nothing can compare to landing a mess of slab-sided bluegills and crappies. They are easy to catch with a simple pole and hook, or even better, with a fly rod and artificial lure. And Langlade County is full of opportunities.

“When the ice comes off, all those panfish will be in the warmer waters,” Seibel said.
 
Traditions continue, memories made
Seasoned anglers know that fishing is about much more than catching a fish. It’s about heading out in the boat with grandpa, enjoying a brook trout cooked over a campfire, or visiting with friends at a watering hole of a different variety, talking about the “one that got away” or bragging about the one that didn’t.

“It’s reconnecting with family and friends,” Seibel said. “It’s such a great tradition.”