Whether it’s trolling the backwaters of the Mississippi River for bass or casting a fly over a cold-water stream in hopes a trout will rise, Driftless Wisconsin fishing is the perfect place to land a fish.
The Driftless Area is known for its trout streams. Class I streams like Timber Coulee that flows from Westby through Coon Valley towards Chaseburg, or the West Fork of the Kickapoo River, flowing through Bloomingdale and Avalanche, have the type of high quality waters to sustain natural populations of brook and brown trout.
The lower Wisconsin River is popular with anglers. There are game fish in the main channel such as walleye, channel catfish, sauger, smallmouth bass, and northern pike. There are also significant numbers of panfish, including bluegill, crappie, white bass, and rock bass. The point where the Wisconsin joins the Mississippi is said to hold good numbers of fish. Big catfish can be caught where the Wisconsin meets Dam No. 9.
The Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien is known for walleye, smallmouth bass, and sauger. One bait shop owner claims that the best place for northern pike is below Lock and Dam No.9. No boat? There’s a large floating dock in a very prime fishing spot just below the lock and dam, and for a daily fee or with a season pass, you have access to refreshments, bait, and great river fishing. And just below Dam No. 8 near Genoa, you will find Clements Fishing Barge, the oldest, first-of-a-kind fishing barge in the country. There, you can fish to your heart’s content for walleye, sauger, northern pike, bluegill, crappie, perch, bass, and more, all from the friendly atmosphere of a family business that opened in 1936.
For the more intrepid, ice fishing is a favorite sport. Those brave enough to endure the cold of a Wisconsin winter will be rewarded with bluegill and crappie from inland lakes, and the Mississippi will yield walleye, northern pike, bass, and panfish. Blackhawk Island near De Soto and Goose Island near Stoddard are excellent spots.
Driftless Wisconsin Fishing Guides
Go on your own or with one of the area’s knowledgeable guides, who know all the best spots and often have access to private land. To get everything you need, there’s a full service fly shop in Viroqua and a major hunting and fishing outfitter near Prairie du Chien.
Driftless Wisconsin Fishing Resources
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is a great place for information: