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Cherokee Marsh Fishery Area

DNR Fisheries Areas

Cherokee Marsh represents a gradient of habitat types ranging from open water to hardwood forest and warm season grass fields. The banks adjacent the Yahara River is typical emergent wetland vegetation consisting of cattail, bulrush, and wetland plants. Typically, this is bordered by a shrub/car band of somewhat wet tolerant low covers like tag alder, willow, and dogwood. The property does contain a representative southern Wisconsin mixed hardwood stand of white oak, hackberry, hickory, and related species. Unfortunately, much of this woodlot also harbors honeysuckle, buckthorn, and box elder. The western edge of the property most adjacent to the road access is replanted with warm season grass and forbes and provides excellent ground nesting bird cover.

The area represents critical spawning and nursery habitat for northern pike and gamefish that use the marsh to complete their life cycles. The complex is an extension of the overall Lake Mendota system and provides flood relief and nutrient and sediment settling services to the downstream water bodies.


The Cherokee Marsh Fishery Area is located in Westport Township (T 8N, R 9E, sections 12 and 13) and overlaps into Burke Township (T 8N, R 10E, sections 5, 6, and 7) in Dane County.

Road access is from River Road, off State Hwy 113 on Madison's north side. Water access is from the confluence of the marsh with Lake Mendota or from the School Road launch in the Cherokee park on the property's east shore.


Recreational Opportunities

  • Hunting
  • Trapping
  • Hiking (no established trails)
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching
  • Berry picking
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Geocaching (with property manager approval)

No overnight camping or fires are allowed. Signage indicates permitted and prohibited uses.


The Cherokee Marsh Fishery Area is managed to protect fish spawning and wetland habitat.


For questions and comments contact:

Property Manager
Department of Natural Resources
3911 Fish Hatchery Road
Fitchburg WI 53711


Friends of Cherokee Marsh [exit DNR]