Skip to main content

Boat and Shore Fishing Access

Fishing Wisconsin

Launch the Boat Access Map.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) created a statewide inventory containing over 2,000 identified public boat access sites and over 100 developed shore fishing sites. We provide our inventory information visually through a mapping application and through queries & searches.

Mapping update notice

The Bureau of Facilities and Lands has completed the migration of the Public Access Lands web map application from Silverlight to the non-proprietary HTML5 platform.

If you have save a direct link via bookmarks or web page links to the Public Access Lands web map, make sure that the link is to the HTML5 version.

This web mapping application is powered by Geocortex Essentials middleware and provides a robust intuitive platform to display geometry, perform spatial analysis and create custom maps. The mapping application is formatted to HTML5 and can be viewed in most web browsers.

Visit the help document [PDF] for guidance on map navigation and tool usage.


Why is the map not available?

Answer: The web map server might be down temporarily.

What is a Shore Fishing Site?

Answer: Developed shore fishing sites are specifically created sites where the public can go fishing without a boat. They include fishing piers, flat fishing spots on the shoreline, and shoreline fishing trails with multiple fishing stations. Each facility is designed to be accessible by those with disabilities, but can be used by all anglers.

Who can use these boat access and shore fishing sites?

Answer: The general public has access to these sites. A fee may be required to launch a boat from some of these locations.

Why are privately owned launch and shore fishing sites (i.e. restaurant/tavern) not included in this inventory?

Answer: These are only public sites that DNR Field Staff have identified and for which they provided information. Private boat access and shore fishing sites are not displayed on this site.

I'm not sure where a lake is located in a specific county. How do I find it on the map?

Answer: There are two ways to search for sites.

  1. Type in the name of the lake in the search bar in the top right corner of your screen. The lake name will show up in the results column on the left side of your screen. Click on the name, and then click on "Zoom to Feature" on the top of the pop-up box. It will take you right to your lake.
  2. Go to the "Search Map" tab at the top of the screen. Click on the "Find Location" button above the map. Click the "Lakes and Open Waters" dot, and then click on "Find." Type in your lake name, select the county, and press "Find." It will automatically zoom to your lake. Click on the lake name in the left column to get more information.
How can I see air photos/topographic information?

Answer: Click on the Map Layers or Show Layers buttons. Scroll to bottom of list and select 2008 NAIP Aerial Photo. If the text is grayed-out, click the text and select "Zoom to Visible Scale" to see this layer. Aerial photos are designed to display between 1:200 and 1:24,000 scale.

How do I see additional detail?

Answer: You can zoom in or out by using the scroll wheel on your mouse. Users can also press the "Zoom In" or "Zoom Out" buttons on the left side of the map, then single click using your left mouse button, or draw a box around your desired destination using the Ctrl key and your left mouse button. You can also zoom in or out pressing the + or - keys on the zoom slider on the left side of the map.

How do I find out detailed information for a specific site?

Answer: After you've zoomed into your specific site, click on "Point Identify" button above the map. Then click on the site. A name should appear in the column on the left side of the map. Click on the name, and a pop-up box with specific information will appear.

I see coordinate positions reported on the map system, can I use these with my GPS?

Answer: The accuracy of these lat/long, utm, or wtm coordinates is unknown. While we have generally found it to be quite good, we do not consider it to be an appropriate tool for, say, collecting lat/long coordinates and incorporating them into a database. These coordinates are generated "on-the-fly" by the application. You must be aware of how your GPS collects, stores and displays data.

How much does it cost to launch a boat?

Answer: Launch fees vary by community, as each municipality sets their own rates. DNR owned sites located in State Parks require either a park sticker or daily park entrance fee.


This web mapping application is powered by Geocortex Essentials middleware and provides a robust intuitive platform to display geometry, perform spatial analysis and create custom maps. Microsoft Silverlight plug-in must be loaded on the computer for Geocortex Essentials to open. Get the free download [exit DNR].

If you are experiencing problems with map display in the Windows 8 environment, some users have found success in using Google Chrome as a browser.

Home button

Home – Provides description of the mapping application and a link for feedback and questions regarding the display and content of the application.


Show Layers Button

Map Layers – List of data layers available to the user within the mapping application. User can toggle between a list of all layers or the symbology legend of layers displayed at the current scale.


Show Layers Button

Show Layers – Lists all data layers available to the user in the web map application. Layers can be checked on or off to display in the map. Layer symbology transparency can be altered to display underlying layers. Displays scale at which layer is active.


Show Legend Button

Show Legend – Displays symbology of features displayed at the current scale.


Search Bar

Global Search – Keyword search for select features within the mapping application.


I want to

I want to… – Short cuts to popular tools such as print maps, draw on maps and measure distance.


Map inset

Map Inset – Located in the lower right hand corner of the map display, selection of this icon will open the reference map inset.



Map Tools – Mapping functions organized by tabs to provide display options, map analysis and feature search capabilities within the mappng application.

  • Basic Map – Basic map navigation tools of zoom-in & -out, pan, map scale and tool help.
  • Search Map – Identify map features either by feature selection or Find Location tool.
  • Analyze Map – Measure distance or area, enter or plot coordinates.
  • Customize Map – Add custom graphics and text, shapefile to map; save map to export or print Save Project/Open Project –Save a customized map as a amp project file to share with others.
Save and Open buttons

Save Project/Open Project – Save a customized map that can be shared with others.


All Wisconsin citizens have the right to boat, fish, hunt, ice skate, and swim on navigable waters. This also includes enjoying the natural scenic beauty of navigable water and enjoying the quality and quantity of water that supports these uses. The state Constitution and the Public Trust Doctrine declare that all navigable waters are "common highways and forever free." Since all navigable waters are public, they may be used for water based recreation, provided public access is available, or you have permission of the landowner to cross their property to reach the water. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is in charge of upholding this Public Trust Doctrine.

People in Wisconsin enjoy the luxury of being close to water nearly everywhere they go. Wisconsin has over 15,000 inland lakes, 43,000 miles of rivers, and 650 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. Two highly favored pastimes throughout the state are boating and fishing.

Therefore, DNR created a statewide inventory of both public boat access sites and public fishing piers. This inventory contains over 2,000 identified public boat access sites and over 100 developed shore fishing sites. Developed shore fishing sites include accessible fishing piers, flat fishing spots on the shoreline, and shoreline fishing trails with multiple fishing stations.

Boat Ramp Fees

Upkeep and maintenance for these boat launches/ramps is provided through user fees (launch fees). The mapping application indicates which sites require user fees.

Project Funding

Funding for this project was provided by a Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) [Exit DNR] grant through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This program is designed to help conserve, develop, and enhance the Nation's fish and wildlife resources, and to protect their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The SFR program is funded through an excise tax placed on the sale of fishing equipment such as fishing rods, reels, artificial bait, flies, and lures, import duties on fishing equipment and pleasure boats and a tax for motorboat fuel sales.


Information pertaining to boat launches and shore fishing sites may be incorrect or incomplete and is subject to change without notice. Department staff are continually updating and gathering information about boat launches and shore fishing sites. At this time the shore fishing sites are only those that were funded and/or developed by the Department of Natural Resources. For other boat launch or shore fishing sites, please contact the county, city, village or township listed in the information box for conditions.



SFR Logo

This web site is made possible in large part by Federal Sport Fish Restoration funds [exit DNR] through your purchase of fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.