wisconsin musky

Every wonder how Wisconsin classifies musky lakes…here’s how!

Angling quality can be looked at in various ways by different anglers. In some situations, an angler might consider a lake with an abundance of muskellunge a Class “A” water, whereas another might view water with fewer muskellunge, but a larger size structure a Class “A” fishery. Because of this, Class A muskellunge waters have been separated into two types to help describe specific water further. Anglers should keep in mind that this general classification is provided to assist them with the selection of waters and may be subject to change as natural conditions are altered or management objectives are modified. For more detailed information on a specific water, a local fisheries biologist should be contacted.

Classifications for angling quality are based on the following criteria:

  • Class A – These are premiere muskellunge waters, considered by most to provide the best muskellunge fishing. These waters are broken down into two categories, depending on population numbers, size structure, and angling quality of the water.
    • Class A1 – These waters are best known as “trophy waters” for their ability to produce large muskellunge, but overall numbers of muskellunge may be relatively low. Angling action can be inconsistent in these waters, but fish that are caught have a larger average size. At certain times when conditions are right, however, these waters can also provide good action.
    • Class A2 – These waters are best known for providing the most consistent angling action, and they have the potential to produce some big fish as well. They generally have the best overall numbers of muskellunge, but big fish make up a smaller percentage of the total compared to the Class A1 waters.
  • Class B – This intermediate class consists of waters providing good fishing. In general, angler success and catch rates may be less than in prime waters.
  • Class C – These waters have fishable muskellunge populations, but they are not of major importance in the total fishery.


Gregg Thomas

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