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Pine River System Fishery Area

DNR Fisheries Areas

Pine River
The Pine River System Fishery Area includes the most productive trout water on the Pine River and its major tributary streams. The Pine River Fishery Area is composed of the Pine River and seven tributaries: Lower Pine, Jones, Davis, Clayton, Upper Pine, Kaminski, and Little Silver Creeks in Waushara County. These streams are quality trout waters. The waters are generally crystal clear. There have been numerous stream bank improvement projects throughout the system, enhancing the already excellent fishing opportunities.

DNR owns 2,090 acres of fragmented parcels stretched along the stream corridors. Public access is a substantial land area following the Pine River Watershed as it flows through much of northern Waushara County. Generally, the Pine is split into the Upper Pine River (above the Wild Rose Millpond) and the Lower Pine River (below the Wild Rose Millpond). After leaving the millpond outlet, the Pine and its tributaries flow through Idlewild, Saxeville, Pine River, and Poysippi Millponds before entering Lake Poygan and the Fox-Wolf River system.

The name "Waushara" is an English derivation of an Indian word meaning "Good Earth." The surface waters of natural lakes and streams are a product of the land, and "good trout fishing" is synonymous with the good waters of this fishery area.

The vegetative cover is rich with diversity, with a large portion being lowland brush and swamp hardwoods to upland forests and grasslands. Additionally, many old agricultural fields have been abandoned and are reverting to natural vegetation; others have been planted into pine plantations, converted into native prairies, or continued to be farmed in share-crop agreements. This unique mix of woods, water and fields provides prime habitat for a variety of game and non-game species, offering a pleasant satisfaction to all who visit this natural and beautiful area.

Amphibians sampled on fishery surveys include green and leopard frogs and spring peepers. Snapping and painted turtles are known to be present.

The major game animals and furbearers in the fishery system are common to central Wisconsin and include white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrels, cottontails, ruffed grouse, mallards, teal, wood ducks, woodcocks, raccoons, muskrats, foxes, beaver, otter, and mink. A variety of non-game birds and animals are present in the area both seasonally and permanently. Sandhill cranes inhabit low marsh areas in spring and summer and successfully nest there.

There are seven known archaeological sites within the system that are chiefly campsites and some burial mounds.


Pine River System Fishery Area is located in central Wisconsin in Waushara County. There exist numerous parking areas scattered about the entire stretch of the property, providing ample access points.


Angling opportunities

Management of the fishery is primarily directed at the wild brown trout and native brook trout. The brown trout is the dominant trout species throughout the system except in Little Silver Creek, where brook trout dominate. The upper reaches of Davis-Clayton Creek, Kaminski Creek, Jones Creek, Besnah Feeder, and Upper Pine River also support fairly good populations of brook trout.

Other fish species present include white and hog suckers, creek chubs, various dace species, mottled sculpins, and brook lampreys. All forage species are rated as of common abundance. An occasional sunfish and bullhead round out the complement of fish types present.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling trail (designated areas only)
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching
  • Berry and Mushroom Picking
  • Canoeing
  • Snowshoeing


Pine River System Fishery Area is managed to develop, manage, preserve, and protect the Pine River in conformance with sound scientific management practices and to provide multiple benefits and public uses consistent with the area's natural resource capabilities.


For questions and comments, contact:

Wildlife Biologist
Department of Natural Resources
N2480 Hartman Creek Road
Waupaca WI 54981-9727 715-258-4778

Fisheries Biologist
Department of Natural Resources
427 E Tower Drive
Wautoma, WI 54982
(715) 410-4222