"> '); Balsam Lake, Wisconsin (Polk County) – Best Lake Review On The Web – Go Midwest Fishing

Balsam Lake, Wisconsin (Polk County) – Best Lake Review On The Web

Lake Stats

  • Acres: 1901
  • Max depth: 37 feet
  • Water Clarity: 6.2 feet
  • Water Color: Light Green
  • Bottom: 20% sand, 80% gravel, 0% rock, 0% muck
  • DNR Contour Map: Click Here
  • DNR Interactive Map: Click Here
  • Google Maps Location: Click Here


  • Panfish (common)
  • Largemouth Bass (abundant)
  • Northern Pike (common)
  • Walleye (present)

Watch the video of our fishing trip below

Fishing Balsam Lake May 15th 2018


There are four public landing on this lake. We checked out all but the one on the far north side.

West Side Landing

Road leading to the landing
Trailer parking
Boat launch

This is the landing we used. It is a nice large landing with a concrete ramp and a dock. It has two entrances from the main road. There is a portable toilet near the dock. There are plenty of parking spots here. 

South Side Landing

South side landing view from lake

This is also a nice landing. It even has a pavilion in case you want to stop for lunch and a very small beach area.

South side parking

The landing is directly off the road, so you will have to watch for traffic as you back your boat in. The parking spots are on the opposite side of the road and should hold up to six vehicles.

South landing boat launch

East Side Landing

Balsam lake east side landing
Balsam Lake East Side Landing

This landing is surrounded by shallow water. It was only 3 feet deep where our boat is in the picture above. It appeared to be the most primitive of the three landings we looked at. There didn’t appear to be many places to park.

Shallow area buoy

We fished around the shallow buoy that was straight out from this landing. This was mid May and we could see many fish beds through the clear water. We must have spotted at least 20 bass swimming around. Unfortunately none of these fish were interested in biting.


At almost 2000 acres, with a maximum depth of 37 feet, this lake qualifies as big water. It is located near the town of Balsam Lake, WI. All the stats say it covers 1901 acres, but the sign at the landing says “A 2054 Acre Water Recreational Resource.” Either way, this is a beautiful lake that is becoming a favorite of mine to fish. It’s not too far from the Minnesota border so it is a perfect spot for me to meet up with some friends from Wisconsin. 

Sign at the west side landing

I’ve fished this lake three times so far, and the first thing I noticed is that this lake is full of bass! Some pretty good sized ones too. We caught an equal amount of northern pike too, but they all seemed to be fairly small, in the 20 inch range. Bluegills, crappies and perch seem to be abundant in this lake. I tried catching a few on a fly rod with some success. I’m sure I could have done much better if I was specifically targeting them. 

Look for crappies near the south landing

We saw a lot of crappies near the narrow channel by the landing on the south side. There were some nice weedy areas that were holding the fish. With just a few casts on the fly pole I had a couple on. 

Bridge to Mills Pond

Just south of the south landing, you can go under a bridge which will bring you to another small lake called Mills Pond. Not much going on in this lake, so we didn’t stay long.

View of Mills Pond

We tried a shallow bay on the north side about mid lake. It looked like it would be a great spot for hooking some northern pike.

Entering the bay

As you can see on the fish finder, there was a rapid rise of the bottom. We didn’t do so well in this bay. I would like to try it on another day to see if its any better.

View of the north bay

One of the better spots we found was on the east end of the lake. You pass through a narrow channel, and then it opens up into a larger area. 

The narrows on the east end

Just on the other side of this channel, Reggie hooked up with a 4 lb 7 oz largemouth bass.

4 lb 7 oz Bass

Reggie caught this one on a red and black Musky Killer. He also did well on a blaze orange Rattle Trap.

If you keep going east, you will end up near the landing on the east end where there is a large area of shallow water and plenty of spawning beds. We got quite excited about the amount of fish we were spotting over here, but we couldn’t get one to bite. 

If you are a walleye fisherman, this might not be the lake for you. Although there are walleye in this lake, from what I understand, you will have a tough time catching one. With that said, I did have something on the line in an area that should be a good walleye spot. I never got a good look at it, but it was fighting like a walleye. It was large and broke my line just before I could get a glimpse of it. 

Overall, I really like this lake and always had lots of action. The scenery is beautiful with lots of trees lining the shore. There are also plenty of houses on the shore line, but they are not always visible and are spaced apart. It has four nice landings to choose from making it an easy lake to access.  

Fishing Experience

The last time I was here was on May 15th, just after season opener. 
It was a beautiful day with a high of 83 degrees. The morning started out a little chilly and windy, but by afternoon was sunny, calm and hot. We put in on the far west side and the water temp was 54 degrees. By the time we worked our way to the east side the water warmed up to 64 degrees.

At the end of the day, Reggie caught 4 bass, 4 northern, and 1 bluegill. His big catch of the day was a 4 lb 7 oz largemouth bass. I only caught 2 crappies and 1 northern.

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