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Badfish Creek Wildlife Area

Sunset Behind Trees at Badfish Wildlife Area

Badfish Creek Wildlife Area is located in Dane County, about 3 miles southwest of Stoughton and 3 miles southeast of Oregon. This property currently consists of 1,147 acres of state-owned lands and 287 acres of leased lands.

The land cover on the property consists of wetlands, cattail and sedge marshes, shrub-carr, old farm ponds, waterfowl scrapes old agricultural ditches, prairie grass fields and cool season fields. There is a small percentage of the property that has wooded vegetation, but for the most part it is made up of box elder and is low quality. The southern entrance and the eastern entrance have a bit of oak savannah.

Badfish Creek flows through property from northwest to southeast. The creek and the drainage ditches are the greatest management and access problems on this property. It was altered to accommodate the Madison Metropolitan Sewage flow needs and restoring it to presettlement status is not possible.

This property can be reached from Madison by taking Highway 14 south, go east on Highway A and pass the Anthony Branch Fisheries and Wildlife Area, then take your first right on Oak Ridge Road on continue to follow the boundary of the fisheries area. This road dead-ends at Old Stone Road. Take Old Stone Road until you get to Badfish Creek Wildlife Area.

There are three parking lots on this northern boundary. You can then follow the outskirts of the property by turning right (south) and follow Danks Road along the eastern side of the property. There is one small parking lot on this road. Danks Road dead-ends at Old Stage Road. Turn right (west) and Old Stage Road follows the southern boundary. A DNR parking lot is located a third of a mile west of the last intersection, which takes you to a few small fields and a bit of oak woods. Taking the next right or heading north on Lake Kegonsa Road will allow you to skirt the western portion of the property. There is no public access to this property from the west. Remember, stay clear of the private land and respect their property rights. Enjoy the property!

Friends Groups

Many groups have stepped up to the challenge of supporting Badfish Creek Wildlife Area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and waterfowl stamp dollars helped provide the waterfowl scrapes. The Stoughton Conservation Club [exit DNR] graciously helped finish the project when budgets were low. Recently, the Dane County Conservation League [exit DNR] has taken interest in the property and hopes to help with funding and volunteer habitat work. The Friends of Badfish Creek Watershed [exit DNR] is a group focusing on the creek in the adjoining area. To lend a hand, visit the Friends Groups' websites.

Management Objectives

The property was acquired in the 1970s from Stoughton Farms. The cropped areas were planted to tall-grass prairie in the northern fields along Old Stone Road. The interior upland fields are predominantly cool season grass. A large percentage of the property is wetland and many acres are covered with reed canary grass and ragweed. There are desirable sedge communities in the southwestern corner and western side of the property.

As funding allows, we are using a forestry mower to reclaim brush and trees that have taken over grass fields and the wetlands. We intend to establish safe firebreaks with this tool and start mowing and burning on a more regular basis. This will encourage desired native vegetation and greatly improve the property.


Badfish Creek Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding;
  • Canoeing (landing at the northern parking lot);
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Fishing;
  • Hiking (no designated trail);
  • Hunting (especially noted for waterfowl, deer, turkey and stocked pheasant);
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.

We are trying to remove box elder along the roads. Contact the manager if you have an interest in a firewood permit.


Download [PDF] a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

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