Fishing Boats, Pontoons, Heated Ice Shacks, & Equipment rentals @ 262-745-6820
Delavan Lake is a 2,072 acre lake. With a 52 foot maximum depth,
21 foot average depth drainage-basin lake created by a dam in the
lake’s northwestern corner.
A number of creeks drain into the lake. Combined with above the surface and underwater springs along the southeastern shore, these supply water constantly. Turtle Creek flows from the lake at the dam site.
The majority of the shoreline is privately owned and heavily developed. One public launch provides excellent access. The lake’s northeast- to southwest-orientation makes it difficult to fish when the wind blows from either of these directions.
However, the small coves and inlets scattered around the lake offer shelter and angling opportunities during rough water. Despite the single launch, recreational use of the lake can be heavy on summer weekends.
If you intend to fish the lake during these periods, go out early or late in the day or after dark to avoid the crowds. The water is clear, but not super clear. The lake contains areas with good weed growth out to the 16-foot depth, and also has a variety of underwater structure features.
Though not as predominant as on other lakes, these—as well as the weed edges—play a key role for finding fish throughout the year. Unfortunately, Eurasian water milfoil and zebra mussels live in the lake. These exotic species spread rapidly and spread easily to other lakes. Please remove weeds from your boat and drain your live well before moving to another lake.
The fishery of Delavan Lake has an interesting history, especially during the last 21 years. In the late 1980s, rough fish such as carp and bigmouth buffalo dominated the fishery. To remedy this problem, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with other local and state agencies, poisoned the lake in 1989 with rotenone—eradicating the entire fish community.
In 1990 an aggressive fish stocking program and two-year closure of the lake to restore the fishery began. When the lake reopened in 1992, success was readily apparent. The fish community has continued to thrive and Delavan Lake has become one of the best all-around fisheries in southern Wisconsin. The walleye is one of the most sought-after game fish in the lake.
Walleye populations are sizeable. The fish average 19–23 inches, with fish over 30 inches and 10 pounds present. Walleye stocking and reintroduction were so successful that the DNR has had to remove 32% of the adult population to increase the size and age structure of this species.
Northern pike are abundant in the lake and will average 26–34 inches. Pike grow large in Delavan Lake, and fish up to 40 inches in length are common. The moderate numbers of muskie will average 36–40 inches, with the potential for catching a muskie in the mid-to-upper 42-inch range.
Largemouth bass thrive here and are above average in size. Largemouth bass will average 15–19 inches in length, with some between 22 and 24 inches present. Smallmouth bass numbers are increasing. This species will average 14–17 inches in length, with fish up to 19-20 inches available. As good as the game fish are, Delavan Lake is perhaps best known for its panfish.
Crappie, bluegill, and yellow perch populations are good to excellent. Crappie in the 9–11inch range are common, with crappie up to 13 inches present. In the past bluegill between 9 and 10 inches were common.
However, sizes have decreased and now bluegill will average 5–8 inches, with some still in the 8–10-inch range. Yellow perch will average 7–10 inches, with fish up to 14 inches available. A number of good annual perch classes recently mean that the perch fishery should remain very good into the future.
Be aware that panfish are a primary food source for game fish in Delavan Lake and follow ups by big toothy critters are common.
Delavan Lake is perhaps one of the best success stories of revitalization through eradication and restocking. The lake has become an exceptional fishery with substantial populations of game fish and an outstanding panfish fishery. In addition, Delavan Lake is productive through all seasons of the year. Take the time to visit one of the gems of southern Wisconsin and see everything this lake has to offer. Enjoy your time on the water.
If you have any other questions about the lake give us a call Brian @262-745-6820
With your boat rental, you will receive a complimentary updated fishing map from Brian specific to the time period you will be fishing. Brian has been fishing & guiding on Delavan Lake for over 25 years and he will put you on fish.WDNR's Delavan Lake Map