The smallmouth bass fishing is very good on some of the lakes in the Eagle River area. Some nice smallmouth bass are caught on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes, but you won’t usually find large numbers of smallmouth bass on the chain. If you do find them though, it is not uncommon to catch a bigger fish as anglers do report bass in the 3 to 5 pound range here. The better bass fishing near this town is definitely on the lakes just outside of town.
The best bass lakes near town are technically not in Vilas County, however, they are close to Eagle River, so we are listing them here. When you click on the links though, it will take you to our Forest County, Wisconsin fishing section of our website. Butternut Lake gets the most attention here from anglers who are looking to target smallmouth bass. The water is clear, it has an excellent boat landing and plenty of parking, so this is an easy choice for most anglers visiting here. Butternut Lake is home to large numbers of smallmouth bass with some big fish too. Franklin Lake is also very good for numbers and quality fish, but the boat landing can definitely give you problems when the water is low. There is a campground on the lake too, which appeals to some people. Kentuck Lake and Anvil Lake round out these smallmouth bass lakes just outside of town. Kentuck Lake can be very good early in the year, but gets tougher to fish when the weeds come in thick in the middle of the summer. Fishing the deeper weed line is key to finding some of these bass through the summer and fall. Anvil Lake has some decent bass fishing available too, but most anglers prefer to fish Butternut or Franklin Lake.
Anvil Lake is a 377 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 32 feet with moderately clear water. Fish include smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye and panfish. According to the DNR, walleye are common in the lake while the other species of fish are listed as present.
Butternut Lake is a 1246 acre lake located in Forest County. It has a maximum depth of 42 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from public boat landings. Fish include panfish, smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye. The lake’s water clarity is very clear. According to the DNR, smallmouth bass and walleye are listed as abundant. Panfish are listed as common and northern pike are listed as present.
Franklin Lake is a 839 acre lake located in the Nicolet National Forest of Forest County. It has a maximum depth of 46 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include panfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye. The Wisconsin DNR lists smallmouth bass, panfish and walleye as common on this lake, but many anglers report it is also a good northern pike lake even though the DNR has pike listed only as “present” for this lake. The water is very clear on this lake.
Kentuck Lake is a 1001 acre lake located in Vilas, Forest Counties. It has a maximum depth of 40 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from public boat landings. Fish include muskie, panfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleye. According to the DNR, muskie, panfish, smallmouth bass and walleye are common in the lake. Largemouth bass are considered present.