Winans Lake is known to have some of the best sport fishing in the region.  This is largely due to its private/protected status, careful management by the WLA, and the cooperation of WLA members.

The predominate sport fish in Winans Lake are largemouth bass, northern pike and bluegills/sunfish.  Lesser populations of crappie, yellow perch, gar pike, catfish and other species are also present.

The management goal of the WLA is to provide a trophy fishery for largemouth bass and northern pike while maintaining an appropriate balance of good-sized panfish for sport and consumption.  The WLA strives to make fish management decisions based on sound scientific data and professional advice versus anecdotal evidence or opinion.

Bass and pike are critical to maintaining a healthy balance of smaller panfish in Winans Lake.  Without adequate numbers of predator fish, smaller panfish become too numerous relative to their food base and, consequently, fail to grow to a desirable size (i.e. they become stunted).  In addition, larger, older predator fish accumulate relatively high levels of toxins, such as mercury, and should not be consumed.  Finally, predator fish take a long time to grow to trophy size, so these fish should be released so that they can reproduce and pass on their superior genes to future generations, and also so that other anglers can enjoy catching them over and over.

Based on these considerations, as well as the recommendations of a professional fisheries biologist, the WLA strongly recommends practicing catch and release on all pike and largemouth bass.

In support of these goals, the WLA has enacted special fishing rules that are more restrictive than state regulations.  The following is a summary of WLA fishing rules  (please see WLA RULES for a complete listing of rules):

  • State fishing laws and WLA fishing rules, whichever are more restrictive, shall be observed by everyone fishing from Winans Lake.
  • Any member or guest who violates state law or WLA rules shall be subject to suspension or revocation of lake privileges, as determined by the WLA Board.
  • Bass over 18 inches and pike under 26 inches must be released.
  • No tip-ups, tip-downs, or other set-lines are permitted.  A set-line is defined as any fishing line that is more than fifteen (15) feet from the fisherman or that is not under the direct sight and control of the fisherman.
  • No spearing shall take place in Winans Lake at any time.
  • Any live baitfish used must be obtained from a State-certified bait dealer, and must not be disposed of in the lake or on the ice.
  • Valid ice fishing flags must be clearly displayed at all times when ice fishing.
  • No motorized ice augers are allowed.