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Onion River Fishery Area and Stream Bank Protection Area

DNR Fisheries Areas

Onion River
The Onion River Fishery Area and Stream Bank Protection Area (SBPA) is the premier trout fishing property in this region. The properties that make up the Onion River Fishery Area and Stream Bank Protection Area are located within the Plymouth, Lyndon and Mitchell townships in Sheboygan County. The department currently owns 1,071 acres plus 50 acres in easements in the SBPA and 49 acres in the fishery area.

The restoration of the Onion River is an exemplary collaboration that involved the Lakeshore Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Windway Corporation, the River Alliance of Wisconsin, the Sheboygan County Conservation Association, the Sheboygan River Basin Partnerships, Michels Corporation, private citizens and DNR. These efforts restored the stream to Class 1 trout stream status. This collaborative effort began in the early 1990s and these protection and restoration efforts continue to this day. Habitat restoration included thousands of feet of bank protection, bank covers, brush removal and other activities to improve habitat quality and protect water quality. This effort highlights what can be accomplished with thoughtful and motivated partnerships.

The Onion River is formed by the confluence of two spring-fed, headwater streams (Ben Nutt Creek and Mill Creek). Ben Nutt Creek, Mill Creek and a 5.2-mile segment of the upper Onion River from the confluence to County Highway N are classified as Class 1 trout streams (i.e., trout populations are sustained by natural reproduction). Public access is provided on about 9.5 miles of the 13.6 miles of stream frontage within the project boundary.

The dominant habitats on the Onion River are lowland hardwood forests and grasslands with minor amounts of upland hardwoods and shrublands. This property consists of several parcels along the Onion River, Ben Nutt Creek and Mill Creek. This property also contains the Kamrath Creek Forest and Fen Primary Site (60 acres) which is recommended for state natural area status. Kamrath Creek Forest and Fen feature high-quality natural communities of regional importance including a red oak and shagbark hickory forest, a small Calcareous Fen dominated by sedges and calciphile plant species and a rich Southern Mesic Forest and Forested Seeps at the base of the slope.

The Onion River is the most popular trout and upcoming resource in Sheboygan and surrounding counties. All sections of the river that have been improved are either on public land or private land eased for public trout fishing access. In addition to fishing, the property provides opportunities for hunting, trapping, nature appreciation, hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing and photography. Fishing pressure early in the season on the property is high and lessens as the season progresses. Other hunting opportunities on the property include pheasant, grouse, woodcock, turkey, rabbit, squirrel and deer.


This property is located several miles south and west of the City of Plymouth in Sheboygan County. Hwy Z bounds the property in the north and County Hwy's U and N in the south. Additionally, it is located within minutes of the Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit and easily accessible to the Greater Milwaukee, Green Bay and Fox Cities areas.


Recreational Opportunities

  • Hunting - deer, turkey & small game
  • Trapping
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling (only on the county-wide trail segment that runs through the property)
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Fishing - trout
  • Bird watching
  • Pets
  • Berry picking


For questions and comments contact:

Property Manager
Department of Natural Resources
1155 Pilgrim Road
Plymouth WI 53073

Fisheries Biologist
Department of Natural Resources
1155 Pilgrim Road
Plymouth WI 53073

Management partners:

Lakeshore Chapter of Trout Unlimited [exit DNR]

Sheboygan County Conservation Association (SCCA) [exit DNR]