Skip to main content

C.D. Besadny Fish and Wildlife Area


C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Fish and Wildlife Area is a 2,632-acre property located in Kewaunee County. Find it west of Kewaunee with many access points. The property is comprised mostly of forest, wetlands, river (warm water), stream (cold water) and grasslands. Ahnapee State Trail runs through the property.


The property was established in 1957 to manage fish and wildlife resources associated with the Kewaunee River and surrounding landscape. It is located in eastern Kewaunee County and contains one of the largest wetland complexes bordering Lake Michigan as well as one of the largest remaining blocks of forest in the county. The property bears the name of the late C.D. "Buzz" Besadny, who served for 40 years in the DNR and its predecessor, the Wisconsin Conservation Department, including more than a decade as DNR secretary.

Management objective

The fishery portion of the project consists of the Kewaunee River, a warm water stream, and Little Scarboro Creek, a cold water stream. The Kewaunee River has native populations of smallmouth bass and northern pike. It also receives seasonal migration of trout and salmon from Lake Michigan. Recreational fishing is very popular during these seasonal runs for both species. The Little Scarboro, a tributary of the Kewaunee River, is a Class I brook trout stream with a self-sustaining fishery.

The wildlife portion of the project is managed for a wide variety of species. The area provides habitat particularly for songbirds, waterfowl, water birds and upland game. It supports a diversity of birdlife due to its proximity to Lake Michigan and the varied habitats present. This area is also a migration corridor for many raptors and other birds. Portions of the property receive annual pheasant stocks for hunting opportunities. Forests are primarily lowland, consisting of cedar and bottomland hardwood species.

For more information on master planning for this and other wildlife areas around the state, visit the property planning page.


C.D. Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility is also located within the boundaries of the property. This facility collects eggs from Great Lakes trout and salmon for propagation. A unique viewing window allows visitors to see fall and spring runs of fish as they enter the facility. Call ahead for tours.

  • Location: 3884 Ransom Moore Lane, off of County Highway F west of Kewaunee on the west bank of the Kewaunee River, Kewaunee County.
  • Dates: March to December, public viewing window open at all times.
  • Hours: Site is open daily, dawn to dusk. The building is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.
  • Telephone: 920-388-1025.
  • Note: Call ahead for tour information (minimum 10 people).


The C.D. Besadny Fish and Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding;
  • Canoeing;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Fishing (salmon, steelhead, inland trout and bass);
  • Hiking;
  • Hunting (especially noted for waterfowl, pheasants [12 p.m. closure and hen-rooster area rules apply], small game and deer);
  • Snowmobile trail;
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.


Download [PDF] a map of this property.

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

Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area


Find out more about how to adopt this wildlife area.