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DNR Fisheries Areas

Fishing Wisconsin

Wolf River Fishery Area

Upper Wolf River Fishery Area, taken from the HWY M Bridge in Langlade County. DNR Photo.


Fishery and Stream Bank Protection areas along streams, rivers, and lakes protect water quality by reducing erosion and run-off and improve habitat and fishing opportunities. In conjunction with State Forests, Natural Areas, Parks, Recreation Areas, Trails, and Wildlife Areas, DNR Fisheries Areas will provide you with the outdoor adventure you can only find in Wisconsin!

Fisheries Areas

The state's first land purchase for conservation occurred in 1876 when 40 acres were purchased south of Madison for the Nevin Fish Hatchery. This and other hatcheries later established helped replenish native fish populations that had diminished from over-harvesting and deteriorating habitat and water quality. More recently fishery projects that meet both habitat and public use need have broadened in scope to include lands adjacent to streams and lakes. These lands protect the watershed and provide for compatible recreational uses such as hunting, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

Stream Bank Protection Program

The Stream Bank Protection Program (SBP) was established in 1990 as a supplement to the traditional Fisheries Areas Program with the goals to protect and restore corridors along cool and coldwater streams to improve water quality and provide public access. The program purchases easements directly from landowners to manage fish habitat and angling access on selected exceptional waterways identified under the program. A subset of the streams are also eligible for fee acquisition.

A report commissioned by Trout Unlimited shows that recreational angling in the Driftless Area of southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, northeast Iowa, and northwest Illinois generates $1.1 billion to the local economy. For every dollar spent on stream restoration, an additional $25 is returned to the regional economy each year thereafter.

Management Objectives

Management objectives for individual properties fall within the broader DNR goals of sustaining ecosystems and providing outdoor recreation articulated in the Fisheries Strategic Plan [PDF].

This web site is made possible in part by Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program whose goals are to acquire and develop recreational, wildlife, and fishery lands, and the Federal Sport Fish Restoration funds [exit DNR] through your purchase of fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.

Stewardship Lgo


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