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Sawyer Creek Fishery Area

DNR Fisheries Areas

Sawyer Creek
Sawyer Creek is clear water, spring-fed trout stream located in the southwest part of Washburn County. It originates from springs at the base of steep hills just north of the Village of Shell Lake and flows in a northerly direction (6.2 miles) to its confluence with the Yellow River. As the stream flows from its headwaters, it passes through tag alder-tamarack-black spruce swamps, sedge marshes and well-drained wooded upland. The stream picks up additional water from numerous spring seeps. Sawyer Creek Springs (a 1.1-acre natural spring pond), Beaver Lodge Pond (a 4.0-acre natural spring pond which empties into Sawyer Creek by way of Creek 15-1), and two tributaries (Creeks 14-14 and 23-16) all support trout. Sawyer Creek is a tributary of the Mississippi River, arriving in that major waterway by way of the Yellow and St. Croix Rivers.

Sawyer Creek is home to a trout stocking program and trout research surveys going all the way back to 1933. Numerous instream trout habitat projects have been completed over the years in the stream and spring ponds. Timber sales have been conducted as timber matures. Osprey have nested on the property since at least the 1970's and a platform has been in use and producing young since being erected in the mid-1980s on Beaver Lodge Pond. The DNR Hayward State Nursery has planted pines on parts of the old fields on the property for nursery seed stock. Numerous trails traverse the property and are gated to provide quiet, quality recreational experiences. A major snowmobile trail cuts through parts of the property.


Sawyer Creek Fishery Area is located in southwest Washburn County, approximately four miles southwest of Spooner and one mile northwest of Shell Lake. Numerous access points and parking lots can be found off Sawyer Creek and Brook Roads.


Angling opportunities

Waters of the stream offer a diversified fish population. Although a total of 19 different species of fish inhabit the springs and streams within the fishery area, only the brook and brown trout are sought by anglers. Warmwater game and panfish species are present in low numbers and include northern pike, black bullheads, yellow perch, rock bass, and pumpkinseed. Chestnut lampreys and redhorse are also present while white suckers are abundant. Minnow species present in low numbers are bluntnose minnow, finescale dace, log perch, and central mudminnow. The fathead minnow, blacknose dace, and Johnny darter are common; and brook stickleback, common shiner, and creek chub are abundant.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling trail
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching
  • Berry picking
  • Snowshoeing


Sawyer Creek Fishery Area is managed to protect the trout habitat and provide public fishing, hunting, and other compatible recreational and educational activities.


For questions and comments contact:

Property Manager
Department of Natural Resources
810 W Maple Street
Spooner WI 54801

Fisheries Biologist
Department of Natural Resources
810 W Maple Street
Spooner WI 54801

Wildlife Biologist
Department of Natural Resources
810 W Maple Street
Spooner WI 54801