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Panfish, Perch & Sunfish Fishing In Wisconsin

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Guide to fishing for sunfish in WI lakes and ponds.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Panfish fishing in Wisconsin

Throughout the state of Wisconsin you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, green sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, warmouth, white bass, white perch, yellow bass and yellow perch. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about panfish fishing and identify popular sunfish fishing waters in the state.

Wisconsin is renowned for its excellent panfish fishing opportunities, making it an ideal destination for youth fishing adventures. Panfish, such as sunfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, and green sunfish, provide a thrilling angling experience for young anglers.

Bluegill Fishing Basics Video

The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.

One of the most popular panfish species in Wisconsin is the bluegill. These feisty fish can be found in abundance in lakes, ponds, and rivers across the state. Bluegill are known for their aggressive strikes and fighting spirit, making them a perfect target for youth anglers. They can be caught using simple fishing techniques such as bobber fishing with worms or small jigs.

Another exciting panfish species for kids to pursue is the redear sunfish. Also known as shellcrackers, redear sunfish are sought after for their larger size and delicious taste. These fish can be found in lakes with sandy or rocky bottoms and are often caught using small jigs or live bait.

Green sunfish are another common panfish species in Wisconsin. They are known for their vibrant colors and willingness to bite. Green sunfish are often found in weedy areas or near structures, and they can be caught using a variety of baits and lures suitable for panfish.

Perch is another popular panfish species that offers thrilling fishing opportunities for young anglers. These fish are prized for their tasty fillets and can be found in both lakes and rivers. Perch fishing can be particularly rewarding during the spring and fall seasons when they congregate in large schools.

Wisconsin's panfish fisheries provide an excellent introduction to fishing for young anglers. The simplicity of panfishing techniques, coupled with the abundance of these species, makes it an ideal choice for youth fishing trips. It's a great way to instill a love for fishing in the younger generation while enjoying quality time in Wisconsin's beautiful outdoors.

Fishing Boats For Rent In WI

Panfish & Perch Fishing Lakes

You could search for a long while before finding fishing waters in WI absent of one or more species of sunfish. They tend to be everywhere. Fish for them in ponds, rivers, parks, small lakes and major Wisconsin lakes including Beaver Dam Lake, Big Eau Pleine Reservoir, Big Green Lake, Castle Rock Lake, Chetac Lake, Fence Lake, Geneva Lake, Gile Flowage Lake, Grindstone Lake, Holcombe Flowage, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac Vieux Desert, 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 Winneconne, Lake Wisconsin, Lake Wissota, Long Lake, Namekagon Lake, Pelican Lake, Petenwell Lake, Pewaukee Lake, Rainbow Flowage, Shawano Lake, Shell Lake, Tomahawk Lake, Trout Lake, Turtle Flambeau Flowage and Willow Reservoir.

Top Producing Panfish Lures & Bait

Check out the top producing lures and bait for bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass and warmouth, as well as other smaller sunfish. Click here for the best lures for white bass, yellow bass, white perch and yellow perch.

In-state panfish, sunfish and perch



World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 9.8 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.2 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 9 oz

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed sunfish

World record: 2 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 1 lbs 3.4 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 15 oz



World record: 2.4 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 1 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 5 lbs 3.8 oz

White Perch

White perch

World record: 4.6 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 6 oz

Yellow Bass

Yellow bass

World record: 2 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 12 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Wisconsin Record Sunfish

The state record bluegill was caught from Green Bay.

The state record green sunfish came from Wind Lake.

The state record pumpkinseed sunfish came out of Silver Lake.

The state record rockbass came out of Shadow Lake.

The state record warmouth came out of Eagle Lake.

The state record white bass came out of the Mississippi River.

The state record white perch came out of Chequamegon Bay.

The state record yellow bass came out of Lake Waubesa.

The state record yellow perch was caught from Lake Winnebago.

The term "panfish" comprises many species, each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.

One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Wisconsin, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.

Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.


Sunfish information in other states.

AL Panfish & Sunfish Fishing AR Panfish & Sunfish Fishing AZ Panfish & Sunfish Fishing CA Panfish & Sunfish Fishing CO Panfish & Sunfish Fishing CT Panfish & Sunfish Fishing DC Panfish & Sunfish Fishing DE Panfish & Sunfish Fishing FL Panfish & Sunfish Fishing GA Panfish & Sunfish Fishing HI Panfish & Sunfish Fishing IA Panfish & Sunfish Fishing ID Panfish & Sunfish Fishing
IL Panfish & Sunfish Fishing IN Panfish & Sunfish Fishing KS Panfish & Sunfish Fishing KY Panfish & Sunfish Fishing LA Panfish & Sunfish Fishing MA Panfish & Sunfish Fishing MD Panfish & Sunfish Fishing ME Panfish & Sunfish Fishing MI Panfish & Sunfish Fishing MN Panfish & Sunfish Fishing MO Panfish & Sunfish Fishing MS Panfish & Sunfish Fishing MT Panfish & Sunfish Fishing
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Learn the lifecycle of a panfish

There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in Wisconsin fishing waters.