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Catfish Fishing In Wisconsin

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Guide to fishing for flathead and channel catfish in WI.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Catfish fishing in Wisconsin

Most catfish gurus will tell you to fish for the big ones in the rivers and the better eating ones tend to come from lakes and impoundments. In Wisconsin you have plenty of both. Many rivers, ponds, parks and small lakes offer catfishing opportunities. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about catfish fishing and catfish waters in the state.

Catfish Fishing Video

Wisconsin is home to thriving populations of channel catfish and flathead catfish, making it a fantastic destination for catfish anglers. These species are highly sought after for their size, strength, and delicious flesh, providing exciting fishing opportunities throughout the state.

Channel catfish are abundant in Wisconsin's lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. They can be found in various habitats, including deep holes, submerged structures, and along the edges of channels. Anglers target channel catfish using a variety of baits, such as cut bait, chicken liver, worms, and stinkbaits. They are known for their voracious appetites and are active feeders, making them accessible year-round. However, summer nights are particularly productive for channel catfish fishing.

Flathead catfish, also known as "mud cats" or "yellow cats," are known for their immense size and fighting abilities. They inhabit larger rivers and reservoirs, favoring deep pools, undercut banks, and areas with submerged logs and brush piles. Flatheads are opportunistic predators, often preferring live baits such as large minnows, sunfish, or bullheads. They are more active during the night and tend to feed along the bottom.

Wisconsin's catfish fisheries offer opportunities for both recreational and trophy catfish anglers. The state record for channel catfish is an impressive testament to the quality of fishing available. Whether you're targeting channel catfish or seeking the thrill of battling a massive flathead, Wisconsin's diverse waterways provide excellent catfish angling experiences.

It's important to note that catfish fishing in Wisconsin requires a fishing license, and anglers should familiarize themselves with the specific regulations and size limits for each species. Additionally, practicing catch-and-release helps maintain the sustainability of catfish populations and ensures future generations can enjoy the excitement of catfish fishing in Wisconsin's waters.

Catfish Lakes

And, you'll find catfish in most of the WI major lakes including Beaver Dam Lake, Big Eau Pleine Reservoir, Big Green Lake, Castle Rock Lake, Holcombe Flowage, Lake Butte des Morts, Lake Chippewa, Lake du Bay, Lake Kegonsa, Lake Koshkonong, Lake Michigan, Lake Monona, Lake Mendota, Lake Onalaska, Lake Pepin, Lake Poygan, Lake Puckaway, Lake Superior, Lake Winnebago, Lake Wisconsin, Lake Wissota, Long Lake, Petenwell Lake and Turtle Flambeau Flowage.

Fishing Boats For Rent In WI

Catfish in Wisconsin

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 44 lbs 0 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 74 lbs 5.1 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

What's the best bait for catfish in Wisconsin?

Choose from the top 5 all-time catfish baits and try them on local waters. Appealing to the keen sense of smell and taste could turn a so-so day into a memorable event.

Wisconsin Catfish Records

The state record channel catfishwas caught in The Wisconsin River.

The state record flathead catfish came from the Mississippi River.

Big Wisconsin Catfish
Trenton Dykstra.

There are many species of catfish and even more ways to catch them. Adults range in size from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. Catfish are found in all types of water including ponds, streams, lakes and rivers throughout Wisconsin. There are even species which spend a limited amount of time on dry land. Big giant catfish put up a very noble fight once hooked.

Additional catfishing information resources.

Catfish Conservation Group

U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournaments

Planet Catfish

Most catfish are considered bottom feeders to one extent or another. They will generally eat anything that can get in their mouth. Their strongest sense is smell which they use to locate potential food sources. Capitalizing on this sense is the primary weapon in your search for these creatures. Aggressive catfish have been caught on most types of fast moving bass lures so don't under estimate their ability to catch live bait.


Information for states with catfish.

AL Catfish Fishing AR Catfish Fishing AZ Catfish Fishing CA Catfish Fishing CO Catfish Fishing CT Catfish Fishing DE Catfish Fishing FL Catfish Fishing GA Catfish Fishing HI Catfish Fishing IA Catfish Fishing ID Catfish Fishing IL Catfish Fishing
IN Catfish Fishing KS Catfish Fishing KY Catfish Fishing LA Catfish Fishing MA Catfish Fishing MD Catfish Fishing ME Catfish Fishing MI Catfish Fishing MN Catfish Fishing MO Catfish Fishing MS Catfish Fishing MT Catfish Fishing
NC Catfish Fishing ND Catfish Fishing NE Catfish Fishing NH Catfish Fishing NJ Catfish Fishing NM Catfish Fishing NV Catfish Fishing NY Catfish Fishing OH Catfish Fishing OK Catfish Fishing OR Catfish Fishing PA Catfish Fishing
RI Catfish Fishing SC Catfish Fishing SD Catfish Fishing TN Catfish Fishing TX Catfish Fishing UT Catfish Fishing VA Catfish Fishing VT Catfish Fishing WA Catfish Fishing WI Catfish Fishing WV Catfish Fishing WY Catfish Fishing