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Fishing Lake Onalaska

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By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, walleye, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow perch and northern pike at Lake Onalaska in Wisconsin.

Lake Onalaska, WI

Located in the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Lake Onalaska is a 8,400-acre lake on the western border of Wisconsin, at La Crosse. These flooded backwaters create miles and miles of shoreline with an endless number of channels, islands and clusters of aquatic vegetation.

Lake Video

Lake Onalaska is located in western Wisconsin, near the city of La Crosse. It is part of the Mississippi River system and offers excellent fishing opportunities for anglers of all levels of experience.

Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are popular game fish in Lake Onalaska. Anglers can target these species near weed beds, submerged structures, and rocky shorelines using a variety of lures such as crankbaits, plastic worms, or topwater baits. Both species provide exciting action and are known for their aggressive strikes.

Walleye is another sought-after species in Lake Onalaska. Anglers can find walleye near drop-offs, points, and areas with current. Trolling with crankbaits or spinner rigs, jigging with minnows or artificial baits, or fishing with live bait rigs can be effective techniques. Walleye can offer both a challenging and rewarding fishing experience.

Channel catfish are abundant in Lake Onalaska, and they are a favorite among catfish enthusiasts. Anglers can target channel catfish using stinkbaits, cut baits, or live bait such as nightcrawlers or minnows. Fishing near structures, deeper holes, or along the bottom can increase the chances of catching a channel catfish.

Black crappie, northern pike, yellow perch, and bluegill are also popular fish species in Lake Onalaska. Anglers can find them near weed beds, submerged structures, or along the shoreline. Using small jigs, minnows, or live bait rigs can be effective in enticing these panfish species. They provide enjoyable fishing opportunities, particularly for families and youth anglers.

Lake Onalaska in western Wisconsin provides ample fishing opportunities for a variety of popular fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, black crappie, northern pike, yellow perch, and bluegill. With its location along the Mississippi River and its accessibility for boating and camping, Lake Onalaska is a favorite destination for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking both a rewarding fishing experience and a memorable recreational getaway.

Ice fishing is popular in winter when there is safe ice. In the warmer months opportunities for boating and fishing abound. The lake has nice populations of walleye, northern pike, perch, catfish, bass, crappie and sunfish. Canoes, kayaks, pontoons and fishing boats are available for rent at the lake. There is access for fishing from shore at numerous places on the northern and eastern shores, and on the island. A half dozen boat landings and boat launch ramps are open to the public.

Fishing Boats For Rent In WI

Primary fish species residing in Lake Onalaska

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Channel catfish Black crappie Walleye Bluegill Pumpkinseed Sunfish Yellow Perch Northern pike

Lake Onalaska Amenities

Marina: NO
Boat Rental: YES
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: YES
Convenience Store: YES
Bait & Tackle: YES
Restaurant: YES

Today's Weather & Forecast

Lake Onalaska is not only a great fishing spot but also offers ample opportunities for boating and camping. Boaters can explore the vast expanse of the lake, enjoy water sports, or simply relax and take in the scenic views.

Fishing Boat Rentals

American Marine
Rentals: Pontoon fishing boats
608 783-2628

Schafer's River Rentals
Rentals: Fishing boats, canoes, pontoon boats and kayaks
608 781-3100

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Dakota Creek Small Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, off River Street, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with limited, paved parking.

Fred Funk Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, off County Road ZB, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Mosey Landing Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, off N Shore Lane, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Mulder Road Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, west side, off Mulder Road, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with paved parking.

Click here for a Wisconsin Fishing License.

There are camping facilities available nearby, allowing anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to extend their stay and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

La Crosse Land Conservation Campground - 608 785-9867

Bluebird Springs RV Park - 608 781-2267

Scenic Acres Camp Ground - 507 643-6043

Mulberry Meadows RV Park - 507 429-1667

Lake Onalaska WI Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Lake Onalaska
La Crosse Land Conservation Campground
400 4th St N
La Crosse, WI 54601
608 785-9867


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Lake Onalaska in Wisconsin.

Information about fishing lakes in WI

Good walleye, northern pike, perch, catfish, bass, crappie and sunfish fishing opportunities abound at Lake Onalaska on the western border of Wisconsin.

Fishing on Lake Onalaska.