Featured Photo by Trempealeau County Tourism

Winter in Wisconsin: Ice Fishing In Trempealeau County

Trempealeau County

Spring, summer and fall fishing may have come and gone, but in Trempealeau County the fishing opportunities carry on year-round for avid fishermen and beginner sportsmen as well. During the winter months, shanty towns spring up on lakes around the county and grow throughout the season into little fishing communities on the ice. The backwaters of the Mississippi River and others nearby are also populated by ice fishermen during the winter. Whether you’re aiming to catch a monster northern or to bag the limit of panfish, there are ice fishing locations and events on waterways throughout the county. Check out these fishing opportunities and join the small communities of ice fishermen gathered outside this winter for some great fishing when the snow flies.

Snowmobiling the Trails of Trempealeau County, WI

1. Lake Ice Fishing

There are a variety of lakes around Trempealeau County that freeze over the winter, and numerous big rivers with backwater areas where the ice is safe that ice fishermen can explore. Lakes like Bugle Lake in Independence, Strum Lake (Crystal) in Strum, and Marinuka Lake in Galesville are popular for Largemouth Bass, Panfish, Trout (starting in January), and Walleye. Here, and on other lakes throughout the county, you will find small communities of shanties with fishermen armed with their augers, rods, and often permanent and portable fish houses. Many fishermen will bring their trucks out onto the ice, making it easy to carry their gear and create more permanent spots for the season. If you enjoy snowmobiling as well as ice fishing in the winter, you can bring your sled out on the ice, too. There are also many snowmobile trails that run throughout Trempealeau County, making it simple to combine the two with a little planning for an excellent outdoor winter weekend.

Snowmobiling the Trails of Trempealeau County, WI

2. River Ice Fishing

Another option for ice fishing is to head out on the backwaters of the nearby rivers in Trempealeau County, like the Mississippi and the Trempealeau. For those more accustomed to ice fishing in lake country, the river experience will be a little different with far more people sitting on buckets, bundled up to brace for the Wisconsin winter weather. On the backwaters, you may notice a lack of permanent fishing set-ups and more day-trip anglers setting out to enjoy the day and embrace the elements. However, it is important to be extremely careful when ice fishing on any river, as there is no entirely safe ice and there is always the risk of breaking through in thin areas. In this region, ice typically forms during the first or second week of December, but if you are new to ice fishing on the river you may want to seek guidance from a local guide or other local fishermen. Common fish that you will find in the back channels include panfish like crappies, perch, and bluegill.

Snowmobiling the Trails of Trempealeau County, WI

3. Annual Ice Fishing Contest & Jamboree

Along with getting out on the ice by yourself or with friends, each Wisconsin winter brings ice fishing derbies and tournaments for fishermen around the state. Ice fishing derbies are a Wisconsin staple and are a great way to experience winter fishing, meet other local and regional fishermen, and learn about new places to ice fish. In Trempealeau County, ice fishermen can look forward to heading to Bugle Lake in Independence, Wisconsin for the Annual Ice Fishing Contest & Jamboree. Running for over 60 years, the fishing contest is a highly anticipated event by community members and visitors alike. The day of the contest will be full of fishing, community, and fun, plus you can try your hand at catching “Old Bugler” and the $20,000 prize.

Snowmobiling the Trails of Trempealeau County, WI

4. Guided Fishing Experiences

With any type of fishing, but especially with ice fishing, safety on the water and ice is one of the most important parts of having a fun day or weekend. If you are new to ice fishing or want to explore some unfamiliar waters, you may consider heading out with a professional guide. A guided ice fishing experience can lead to a perfect day of fishing with a guide who knows the ins and outs of the area, and can familiarize you with some of the best local fishing spots. Blown Away Guide Service offers ice fishing trips with Captain Jon Borreson. Professional guide Captain Jon takes ice fishermen out on the weekdays and weekends on guided airboat ice fishing trips in the backwaters of the Mississippi River in search of panfish and perch.

Snowmobiling the Trails of Trempealeau County, WI
Take time to have fun in the beautiful natural landscape of Trempealeau County! Enter to win a trip at https://co.trempealeau.wi.us/visitors/index.php. Learn more about camping opportunities and more to do in Trempealeau County at Trempealeau County Tourism.

Trempealeau County Tourism
36245 Main Street 
Whitehall, WI 54773
Phone: (715) 538-2311
Email: dave.carlson@co.trempealeau.wi.us