Everything You Need to Know
About Walleye Fishing in Oconto County
A longtime tradition in Wisconsin, the Friday Night Fish Fry kicks off the weekend all over the state with friends, family — and plenty of fish, of course. Fresh walleye is one of the most beloved Friday Night Fish Fry dishes. When the fish is dipped in a light beer batter and deep-fried to a golden crispness, it’s just about perfect.
In Oconto County, however, many aren’t satisfied with simply tasting walleye. They want to catch a few themselves. And they’re in luck: Oconto County offers some of the finest walleye fishing on the Bay of Green Bay (not to mention on several of the County’s 378 lakes). Here, experienced outfitters and guides offer everything from simple boat or fishing-kayak rentals to multi-day guided excursions out on the waters of Lake Michigan. If you’re looking to land a few walleyes in Wisconsin, Oconto County is one of your very best options.
Wisconsin Walleye Fast Facts
Walleye Fishing in Oconto County FAQ
When Is Walleye Season?
- The walleye is the largest member of the perch family (Percidae) in North America, a group that includes sauger, darters and yellow perch.
- These slender, white-bellied fish vary greatly in overall body color, but generally, the upper body has a metallic bronze or brass tone shaded by an olive-yellow color and is mottled all over with black.
- The walleye are usually found in large rivers and lakes. However, excellent populations are sometimes found in smaller, landlocked lakes.
- Notable walleye waters in Wisconsin include the central and lower portions of the Wisconsin River, the Mississippi River, the Fox and Wolf River basins and their connecting lakes, and the lakes “up north” in the state’s resort country.
- Dawn, dusk, and after dark are the best times to fish for walleye.
- The average catch weighs about one and one-half pounds; walleye that tip the scales at 10 pounds plus in Wisconsin are rare — but not unheard of.
- Walleyes’ delicate, subtle flavor of walleye makes it an extremely popular dish in Wisconsin. It’s also healthy. With 0.5 percent fat in an average serving, the walleye is a dieter’s dream. Fresh walleye fillets freeze well and can be kept for long periods of time without loss of flavor or texture.
- Anglers are encouraged to release walleyes less than 15 inches long so that they can grow to adulthood and reproduce. It keeps the walleye population healthy and gives you the chance to hone your angling skills.
Walleye fishing usually kicks off on the Bay of Green Bay tributaries in late March or early April, depending on the weather. In June and July, schools of walleye make their way to mid-lake flats and reefs. From August through November, anglers head to the north part of the Bay to catch trophy walleyes in the 25-33-inch range.
Why is Oconto County Such A Walleye Hotspot?
Like clockwork, every spring when the ice clears, walleye migrate to the numerous rivers that feed into the Bay of Green Bay. The Bay has a thriving baitfish population for walleye to chow down on, as well as a lot of offshore structure. It’s a combo that makes the walleyes grow quickly and often to very large sizes.
Where Are the Best Spots?
In addition to the Bay itself, there are a number of rivers and tributaries in Oconto County that deliver phenomenal walleye runs. Machickanee Flowage near Oconto Falls is a fisherman’s dream come true, offering walleye, northern pike, bass, and panfish, in addition to trout and salmon. The same goes for the Oconto River. These various river systems provide an opportunity to fish all spring and even provide opportunities for shore fishing, but if you want a chance at your personal best, the Bay of Green Bay is the place to go. Big water = big fish.
Do I Need A Fishing License?
Yes, you’ll need a paper copy of your current Wisconsin fishing license (DNR requires a paper copy for fishing on the bay of Green Bay: Non-resident
How Can I Get Started with Walleye Fishing in Oconto County?
The area is filled with great outfitters and guides
who can take you to the best walleye spots in Oconto County — and teach you how to land the trophy catch you’ll be bragging about for years to come.
- Walleye Patrol Guide Service – With over 20 years of experience, professional walleye guide Captain Danny Woodke will teach you the latest and greatest in tackle, presentation, and techniques on the world’s best walleye fisheries.
- Your Fishin' Pal Guide Service – Head out on the water with Lynn Niklasch, a multi-species angler with over a decade of full-time professional experience as a guide and diverse tournament fisherman.