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Shawano Lake, Wisconsin Ice Fishing for Beginners

Shawano Lake is one of the best places in Wisconsin for ice fishing, particularly for panfish, northern pike, and walleye. If you’re new to the world of ice fishing, figuring out where and how to begin can be intimidating. Below is a look at some of the basics you need to get started when the Wisconsin boat season has come to an end and the lake finally freezes over.

Stay Safe

If there is one ice fishing rule you should keep in mind more than any other, it is to stay safe. Ice fishing is fun when done right, but if you cut corners in terms of safety then a great day can quickly turn dangerous. When you are out on the lake you will definitely feel the cold temperatures and blowing winds. Dress appropriately, which means wool hat and mittens, as well as waterproof boots. Most importantly, dress in layers and make sure that the layer closest to your skin is made of moisture-wicking material. Also, before you leave, check the forecast: being out on the ice when a snow storm moves in can leave you lost and disoriented. Being lost on the ice in a storm is not just scary, it can also be life threatening. Even if the forecast is calling for sun, bring a compass anyway — weather can be unpredictable and you might not make it back to shore until after nightfall. Finally, always head out with somebody else and always check the ice conditions beforehand. If the ice is less than four inches thick, it’s not safe.


You will need an ice auger for actually drilling a hole in the ice, as well as a skimmer for scooping out slush, an ice chisel, and a bucket for holding your bait in. A shanty is also a great way to keep warm and protected from the wind, while you’ll also want a seat to sit on and stay comfortable. Of course, fishing tackle is a necessity, including hooks, lures, line, leaders, and a jigging rod.

Catch and Release

Fish under a certain maximum length must be released back into the wild. You may also want to release fully grown fish back into the water as well in order to keep fish stocks healthy in the lake. You can use needle nose pliers to remove the hook or, if the fish has swallowed the hook, you can just cut the line.

Ice fishing is a great way to get outside during the winter months and have fun while doing it. If you’re new to ice fishing, then a few days spent out on Shawano Lake will be enough to convince you why this wintertime activity continues to be so popular.