In French, l'eau means "the water" and claire means clear so Eau Claire is literally named for "the clear water." There are plenty of places to go and enjoy the sparkling clear waters around Eau Claire, especially to spend a leisurely day fishing with your friend or family.

Three of the top spots for fishing are Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls, Lake Eau Claire in Augusta, and Lake Altoona in the city of Altoona. You can see how close these are to Eau Claire on the map at: http://www.visiteauclaire.com/TravelTools-Maps.asp.

The local fishing climate is great at all three spots with some local variations. You can find walleye, bass, black crappie as well as muskie, white crappie, bluegill and perch in Lake Altoona. You might cast your line out from the shore or from a small boat here. Lake Altoona Park is only a ten-minute drive from downtown Eau Claire. The park is located on the south shore of Lake Altoona with easy access to its 840-acre lake from the boat landing. The park includes a clubhouse and park shelter, which you can reserve ahead of time through the Eau Claire County Parks and Forest department.

Southeast of Eau Claire, you will find Lake Eau Claire County Park, whose lake is about 300 square feet larger than Lake Altoona. It boasts three boat launches while Altoona has two. Most of the same species of fish can be found there as in Lake Altoona. Lake Eau Claire is north of the Augusta State Wildlife Area and about forty minutes from the city of Eau Claire. The facilities here include a clubhouse, six picnic shelters and a barbecue pit shelter as well as plenty of places to play outdoor games such as horseshoes, volleyball and baseball or softball if your family tires of fishing or wants to combine the outing with a picnic. There are mooring docks on the Lake Eau Claire Channel with barrier-free fishing access.

Lake Wissota is in Lake Wissota State Park, about seven miles northeast of Chippewa Falls. This lake is about six times bigger than the other two lakes and boasts pike, walleye, bass, northern catfish, crappie as well as muskie, sturgeon and perch. You might catch any of these from a boat launched from one of its nine launches. Still only about a half-hour drive from downtown Eau Claire, Lake Wissota State Park is open all year from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. This park contains more than 1,000-forested acres along with open prairie and this 6,300-acre man-made lake. Lake Wissota features a permanent fishing pier along the shoreline just west of the boat launch. Anglers of all ages can check out basic fishing equipment at the park office.

Fishing Licensing and Regulations for Wisconsinites and Visitors

Anglers must obtain a Wisconsin fishing license to fish in any of these locations with just a few exceptions. Those who are under 15 and seniors born before 1927 fish free as do active duty military who are Wisconsin residents. Options for licensing include a one-day license for tourists who may just want to try out their fishing luck and a first-time buyer license. Wisconsin even encourages residents to recruit their friends and gives the resident angler points toward a reduced price license when he signs up a friend.

Wisconsin has several fishing regulations depending on which type of fish and how you are fishing: with a hook and line or with bank poles, etc. You should familiarize yourself with these before you go out fishing. You can find these for any particular lake you will be fishing.

Wisconsin has a special walleye initiative developed by the Department of Natural Resources and the Governor's office with the purpose of increasing the number of walleyes in state waters.

Finding the Best Bait and Lures to Use for Fishing in Eau Claire

To find the best type of bait or lure for fishing, ask the local bait shop owner or employee, as they are most familiar with the fishing at that location.

Visit Eau Claire's many scenic fishing spots and take the time to enjoy an afternoon of fishing and relaxing while you are here!