Wisconsin Fly Fishing

Wisconsin is a state that is filled with outdoor recreation all year long and fly fishing is no exception. Here, you can find some fabulous places to cast your line. The state is divided into regions, which include central, northeast, south central, southwest, east central, northwest, and southeast. Each of these regions has its own highlights; some more than others when it comes to fly fishing.

Wisconsin Trout Stream Map

Wisconsin boasts more than 2,989 trout streams stretching more than 13,000 miles, up from 2,677 streams and 9,500 miles in 1980 (WI DNR). Those gains reflect improved farming practices, habitat protection and restoration work, regulations, stocking of wild strain fish, and other factors.

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WI - Black Earth Creek : 43.118121, -89.690130
WI - West Fork Kickapoo River: 43.785255, -90.549446
WI - Milwaukee River (Kletzsch Park): 43.139387, -87.924356
WI - Root River: 42.731567, -87.803596
2nd N Br Miller Creek: 44.949256, -88.836555
2nd South Branch Oconto River: 45.229583, -88.557252
3rd N Br Miller Creek: 44.948578, -88.860655
Abraham Coulee Creek: 44.136938, -91.350512
Alcohol Creek: 44.835406, -88.624849
Alder Creek: 45.505152, -91.281333
Alder Creek: 45.516240, -91.298536
Alder Creek: 45.544239, -91.342933
Alder Creek: 45.756730, -91.392428
Alder Creek: 46.424885, -90.265588
Allen Creek: 44.341947, -89.251988
Allender Creek: 44.963016, -88.826516
Allequash Creek: 46.038802, -89.614115
Anderson Creek: 46.602329, -91.680012
Anderson Spur Creek: 45.776723, -88.048380
Angel Creek: 46.409621, -91.744444
Apple Creek: 46.307361, -90.423481
Archibald Creek: 45.371423, -88.646568
Armstrong Creek: 45.446183, -89.853586
Armstrong Creek: 45.657913, -88.479461
Arnold Creek: 46.257158, -91.962739
Ash Creek: 43.287378, -90.330925
Assemble Creek: 43.818282, -89.035884
Augustine Creek: 46.213188, -90.380741
Babb Hollow Creek: 43.414192, -90.547515
Bacon Creek: 46.167084, -92.018512
Badger Creek: 45.691324, -91.259531
Baldwin Creek: 45.185036, -88.411087
Ballou Creek: 46.313045, -90.577121
Balsam Creek (Big Balsam): 46.421200, -92.273813
Bark River: 46.778890, -91.214115
Barr Creek: 46.428809, -90.533177
Basteen Creek: 44.436359, -89.057765
Battle Creek: 45.377054, -88.467912
Bean Brook: 45.927167, -91.542111
Bear Brook: 45.887830, -92.704617
Bear Creek: 45.716548, -87.837411
Bear Creek: 44.244274, -91.199679
Bear Creek: 44.435019, -89.309619
Bear Creek: 45.833662, -90.770186
Bearskin Creek: 45.707066, -89.687545
Beaver Brook: 45.772593, -91.841504
Beaver Brook: 45.740914, -91.814281
Beaver Creek: 43.978180, -90.822453
Beaver Creek: 44.808797, -91.271358
Beaver Creek: 45.007633, -92.161423
Beaver Creek: 45.990953, -89.139723
Beaver Creek: 44.745339, -88.704863
Beaver Creek: 44.812642, -91.151552
Beaver Creek: 45.710453, -91.296368
Beaver Creek (T28N, R9W): 44.945243, -91.510373
Beaver Creek (T31N, R10W): 45.137727, -91.699635
Beaver Creek, East: 44.023856, -90.801269
Becky Creek: 45.492695, -91.261828
Becky Creek: 45.573711, -91.319631
Beebe Creek: 46.405165, -91.842482
Behning Creek: 45.344611, -92.568367
Bell Creek: 46.560339, -90.549937
Beltz Creek: 44.171791, -90.546426
Ben Nutt Creek: 43.689151, -87.956201
Benson Brook: 45.722281, -92.820635
Benson Creek: 45.748982, -91.466132
Berge Coulee Creek: 43.743582, -90.910681
Big Beaver Creek: 45.164193, -92.032217
Big Brook: 46.254582, -91.379619
Big Cain Creek: 45.073494, -89.538330
Big Creek: 44.090018, -90.851132
Big Creek, East Upper: 43.975078, -90.894206
Big Creek, Upper (West): 43.975078, -90.894206
Big Eddy Creek: 44.963171, -88.638315
Big Elk Creek: 44.919133, -91.620993
Big Elk Creek: 44.935540, -91.696060
Big Green River: 43.018817, -90.695129
Big Green River: 43.075894, -90.845726
Big Green River: 42.998247, -90.664202
Big Pine Creek: 45.459287, -89.454909
Big Rib River: 45.265267, -90.167717
Big River: 44.692419, -92.698431
Big Roche A Cri Creek: 44.177313, -89.544785
Big Roche A Cri Creek: 44.176013, -89.597412
Big Rock Branch: 43.025676, -90.381617
Big Rock Branch: 43.035124, -90.350213
Big Rock Creek: 45.453359, -92.581895
Big Spring Branch: 43.072887, -90.411351
Big Spring Creek: 43.670332, -89.641205
Biller Creek: 45.754526, -88.503374
Bills Creek: 45.669465, -88.616463
Birch Run: 46.804842, -90.873409
Bird Creek: 44.060417, -89.291379
Biser Creek: 43.335477, -90.112820
Bishop Branch: 43.538443, -90.796876
Bishop Branch: 43.538382, -90.796723
Black Alder Creek: 45.236308, -89.643176
Black Earth Creek: 43.112968, -89.660019
Black Earth Creek: 43.115264, -89.687764
Blackjack Creek: 45.949892, -89.074903
Blackjack Creek Springs: 45.988916, -89.087492
Blackjack Springs feeder: 45.984550, -89.095269
Blackjack Springs outlet: 45.982949, -89.097197
Blake Creek - S. Fork: 44.537421, -89.035334
Bloody Run Creek: 44.343517, -89.799095
Blueberry Creek: 45.883718, -91.221990
Blueberry Creek: 46.533694, -91.625772
Blueberry Creek Tributary (17) (Creek 17-15 T47n R10w): 46.546277, -91.646388
Bluff Creek: 42.797068, -88.674674
Bohemian Valley Creek (Coon Cr): 43.770160, -90.910934
Bois Brule River: 46.747454, -91.607871
Bois Brule River Trib (22): 46.708049, -91.607237
Bois Brule River Trib (NW/SE S11): 46.561163, -91.618339
Bolen Creek: 46.469618, -91.192238
Bonita Creek: 45.130389, -88.480074
Bono Creek: 46.640714, -90.998483
Borah Creek: 42.885817, -90.728108
Borah Creek: 42.903051, -90.726685
Bosner Creek (Rapid Creek): 46.034928, -90.384993
Bostwick Creek: 43.782296, -90.972087
Boulder Creek: 43.442661, -89.633835
Boundary Lateral Creek: 44.360203, -89.492857
Bowers Creek: 44.072317, -89.303676
Boydtown Creek: 43.123137, -90.808986
Bradley Creek: 44.649068, -89.294907
Brandy Brook: 43.039343, -88.353080
Brandywine Creek: 45.437198, -88.319024
Brant Brook: 45.868078, -92.725981
Brant Creek: 45.555206, -89.961927
Brehmer Creek: 44.823128, -88.119816
Brewer Creek: 43.797469, -90.211081
Brewer Creek: 43.806235, -90.182929
Brooks Creek: 45.130149, -88.086417
Brown Creek: 45.323390, -91.810589
Brown Creek: 45.331193, -91.781913
Brown Spur Creek: 45.708975, -88.002111
Brule Creek: 46.015824, -88.858861
Brule River: 46.021782, -88.764114
Brunet River: 45.967290, -90.782683
Buck Creek: 43.330178, -91.075430
Buckhorn Creek Tributary: 45.712376, -91.270643
Buena Vista Creek: 44.367371, -89.472894
Buena Vista Creek: 44.379535, -89.436447
Buffalo River - South Fork: 44.547377, -91.000148
Bufton Hollow Creek: 43.497619, -90.584257
Burns Creek: 43.936614, -90.975751
Burns Creek: 45.363557, -92.336276
Burns Creek: 43.957189, -90.961324
Burnt Shanty Creek: 45.114441, -88.650435
Cady Creek: 44.878362, -92.172009
Cady Creek: 44.785038, -92.129538
Camp 12 Creek: 45.051947, -88.702302
Camp 7 Creek: 44.979918, -88.886506
Camp B Creek: 45.657689, -88.424445
Camp C Creek Tributary (S20-21, T40n, R2e): 45.931275, -90.253604
Camp Creek: 43.505657, -90.655482
Camp Creek: 45.121623, -89.488891
Camp D Creek: 45.694538, -88.351436
Camp F Creek: 44.778465, -89.310756
Camp F Creek: 45.608714, -88.335572
Camp Five Creek: 45.467795, -88.362335
Camp Nine Creek: 45.550932, -88.406358
Camp Twenty Creek: 45.525607, -88.675587
Camp Twenty-Six Creek: 45.302403, -89.891594
Campbell Creek: 43.873567, -89.720592
Campbell Creek: 45.484120, -88.301772
Carden Feeder Creek: 44.301946, -89.254579
Carpenter Creek: 45.615963, -90.503194
Carter Creek: 44.106017, -89.569568
Casco Creek: 44.545024, -87.635516
Casey Creek: 46.585493, -91.634762
Casey Creek: 45.860367, -90.903336
Catlin Creek: 46.422482, -91.803506
Cave Creek: 44.757663, -92.300943
Caves Creek: 43.926293, -89.549616
Cazenovia Branch: 43.528754, -90.192118
Cedar Creek: 45.986913, -90.228752
Cedar Spring Creek: 44.054533, -89.049521
Cedarville Creek: 45.453278, -87.960385
Center Fk. New Wood River: 45.391427, -90.033708
Chaffee Creek: 43.950776, -89.347238
Chambers Creek: 43.630503, -88.041594
Cheese Factory Creek (27-9): 43.734489, -90.187690
Chemical Creek: 45.612780, -88.264450
Chemical Creek: 45.627403, -88.335065
Chemical Creek: 45.628461, -88.365041
Chester Creek: 44.224852, -89.877197
Chickney Creek: 44.906568, -88.677801
Chickney Creek-W. Branch: 44.925995, -88.681741
Chipmunk Creek: 45.893566, -88.559356
Chipmunk Creek (3-6): 43.721641, -91.090305
Chippanazie Creek: 46.050768, -91.541414
Chippanazie Creek Trib (S9-16): 46.053260, -91.623653
Cisna Creek: 44.452860, -90.854367
Clam River: 45.674061, -92.285293
Clear Creek: 44.688254, -91.474621
Clear Creek: 45.585882, -91.334159
Clear Creek: 44.142834, -90.653995
Clear Creek (Creek 29-10): 44.355087, -90.777932
Clearwater Creek: 45.249107, -89.227138
Clemens Creek: 46.121103, -92.123786
Clemens Creek: 46.116165, -92.130024
Coates Creek: 45.687993, -88.090730
Coates Creek: 45.673761, -88.105655
Coco Creek: 43.098671, -88.313445
Cody Creek: 45.841879, -88.490973
Coe Hollow Creek: 43.533077, -90.965739
Coffee Creek (Depot Creek): 44.282241, -90.801437
Coldwater Brook: 45.443128, -88.064010
Coldwater Creek: 45.834737, -88.681367
Cole Creek: 45.645499, -88.117090
Coles Valley Creek (T17n R3w S24) (24-5): 43.942227, -90.680846
Columbus Creek: 44.209817, -91.138505
Comet Creek: 44.680576, -89.143842
Comet Creek: 44.713548, -89.189085
Comet Creek: 44.713549, -89.189086
Como Creek: 45.108757, -91.516427
Conners Creek: 45.209357, -92.117978
Connor Creek: 45.740409, -90.748065
Connors Creek: 45.207541, -92.120105
Connors Creek: 45.734372, -90.775137
Cooks Creek: 43.547633, -90.819247
Cooley Creek: 43.391680, -91.121805
Coon Creek: 43.725385, -90.975140
Coon Valley Creek: 43.064797, -90.592565
Coopman Creek: 44.858150, -88.136439
Copper Creek: 43.314108, -91.062595
Copper Creek, North Branch: 43.313973, -91.004026
Copper Creek, Upper: 43.324739, -90.965586
Corning Creek: 43.731767, -89.833617
Cranberry Creek: 46.203055, -91.936108
Cranberry Creek: 46.408636, -91.990792
Cranberry River: 46.744118, -91.251448
Creek 10-1 (T39n, R15e): 45.880048, -88.595214
Creek 10-10: 44.213944, -91.077235
Creek 10-10: 44.213953, -91.077248
Creek 10-10: 44.220195, -91.088603
Creek 10-11: 44.915531, -88.791418
Creek 10-11: 45.346509, -88.363247
Creek 10-11 (Crow Hollow): 43.265834, -90.839291
Creek 10-16 (T29n, R11e): 45.003020, -89.143335
Creek 10-4: 45.615761, -88.596973
Creek 10-6 (T38n, R17e): 45.787375, -88.383055
Creek 10-7: 45.270323, -88.492324
Creek 10-8 T11n R1w: 43.447226, -90.480203
Creek 1-11 (T40n, R16e): 45.969923, -88.441688
Creek 11-11: 45.260433, -88.481666
Creek 11-12: 45.180521, -88.469097
Creek 11-15 (T31n, R13e): 45.178721, -88.829825
Creek 11-2a T32n R11e: 45.278712, -89.078771

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Wisconsin Trout Stream Classifications

Wisconsin trout streams are classified into three categories Class I, Class II and Class III.

Class 1 - High quality trout waters that have sufficient natural reproduction to sustain populations of wild trout, at or near carry capacity. Consequently, streams in this category require no stocking of hatchery trout. These streams or stream sections are often small and may contain small or slow-growing trout, especially in the headwaters.There are 5,400 miles of Class 1 trout streams in Wisconsin and they comprise 41% of Wisconsin's total trout stream mileage.

Class 2 - Streams in this classification may have some natural reproduction, but not enough to utilize available food and space. Therefore, stocking is required to maintain a desirable sport fishery. These streams have good survival and carryover of adult trout, often producing some fish larger than average size.There are over 5,900 miles of Class 2 trout streams in Wisconsin and they comprise 45% of Wisconsin's total trout stream mileage.

Class 3 - These waters are marginal trout habitat with no natural reproduction occurring. They require annual stocking of trout to provide trout fishing. Generally, there is no carryover of trout from one year to the next.There are 1,864 miles of Class 3 trout streams in Wisconsin and they comprise 14% of Wisconsin's total trout stream mileage.

Here, you have 42,000 miles worth of rivers and streams to explore, as well as 15,000 inland lakes. The state is also known for having more fish species than any other state does in the Midwest. Some of the best fishing is that located at the state parks and forests, which also offer incredible panoramic scenery.So let’s get started and explore the best Wisconsin has to offer for fly fishing.

Best Wisconsin Fly Fishing

When you’ve got so many regions, lakes, rivers, and streams available to you, it can be hard to narrow down your options and find the best of the best for fly fishing. The great news is that this is the kind of state that offers so many unique fishing experiences that you can come back again and again and enjoy yourself.

Wisconsin is able to offer both cold and warm water fishing opportunities, which helps to provide that diversity of fish species that so many anglers enjoy. Obviously we can’t highlight all the top areas, so instead we’ll take a look at a few of the most popular ones.

Best Wisconsin Trout Fishing Spots

If you're interested in trout fishing, then you know better than anyone that the water temperature really matters. Trout love the cold water and it needs to be clear and clean for them to flourish. There are a handful of spots that really stand out and can be challenging enough to keep even the experienced anglers impressed. Take note that there are about 2,900 trout streams in the state, so clearly you've got tons to choose from.

Pike River, Marinette County

Here's a beautiful river that has the title of a Wisconsin Wild River. There are only three rivers in the whole state that have been given this designation. This water is very cold and quite deep, which are ideal conditions for trout. The common types you'll find are brook, rainbow, and brown trout. This river stays challenging and interesting thanks to the waterfalls and rapids that you can find in different sections.

Kickapoo River West Fork, Viroqua

If you're looking for a scenic location, this waterway will fit the bill. It is a spring-fed body and is 24 miles in length. There are no sections of the river that are off limits, and anglers like that the current is slow moving. Keep in mind that this river is popular for canoes, so you may be dealing with them as you fish.

Black Earth Creek, Cross Plains

Where do you go when you want to find one of the country's best streams for trout? Black Earth Creek instantly comes to mind, and was even placed in the top 100 trout streams list by Trout magazine. This creek spans 27 miles and is currently receiving lots of attention from conservation groups to ensure that the quality of this river is maintained and the trout fishing stays great.

Wisconsin Great Lakes Tributaries

The Great Lakes act as a wonderful location for trout, salmon, and steelhead. This is a great place to consider if you're looking for a variety of species. In this region, you've got two of the Great Lakes to enjoy, which are Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

Fishing Lake Michigan in Wisconsin

If you opt to fish in Lake Michigan, then you're in for fabulous trout and salmon fishing opportunities. Stocking programs are used here, which ensure that the fish stay plentiful. There is also steelhead to be found in these waters. The weather will help to determine just how many fish there are, with springtime being the start of the season. Springtime is ideal for the steelhead and brown trout. The water temperature helps to make them more active. It’s possible to see some rainbow trout here and there as well. It's the fall where you will start to find the salmon, so hold out until this time if that's what you're after. Steelhead, rainbow, and brown trout are also available at this time of year. Many feel that the fall is the best time for fishing in Lake Michigan.

Fishing Lake Superior in Wisconsin

Lake Superior has its own cycle which consists of stocked steelhead and wild steelhead in the spring. As well, you can find brookies and browns in the spring. The one problem that the spring brings is that depending on the snowfall that winter, the water levels may get so high that it is impossible to fish. Fall is a great time for Lake Superior and you can find chinook and coho salmon, as well as brown and steelhead trout. The fishing stays active through around mid to late November.

Wisconsin Driftless Area

If you're seeking out warmer waters, a quiet and serene environment, and little crowds, then the Driftless Area in southwestern Wisconsin is the place to be. Here, you'll find very gentle and slow moving streams. This region is known for its rugged landscape, stunning streams, valleys, and gorgeous clear creeks.

Expect to find a lot of brown trout here that respond well to dry fly fishing. This area is best fished using shorter rods that are no more than eight feet in length and are typically three and five weights. Fishing can be a bit more challenging in the southwest, so it may take a bit more skill and technique than what other areas call for.

This is also a region that is known for very heavy hatches, which helps with the fishing. Some of the stand-out streams in this area are Castle Rock Creek, Black Earth Creek, and the above mentioned West Fork of the Kickapoo River.

Best Time for Fly Fishing in Wisconsin

Although fish can be found year-round, it’s important to be aware of the fishing regulations that state enforces at the beginning of the fishing year. Typically, spring and fall are the best time to visit, not just in terms of the fish that are biting, but even in the weather conditions.

If you had to choose just one season, fall edges out spring by a bit. If you visit in the spring or fall, dress in layers as it can still feel quite cool. Summer will be warmer, but you’ll also be dealing with more anglers at that time of year.

Wisconsin Fly Hatches

Wisconsin is home to incredible hatches each year, which seem to be even more predominant in their west and east regions. The mayflies begin in early May and last until October. The different varieties happen throughout the season. There are also caddis flies, midges, terrestrials, and stoneflies. There are more hatches besides these, which are just the most common ones.

What You Will Need When You Get There?

Your equipment is based on the weather conditions, the water conditions, the season, and of course, what you plan to fish for. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

For steelhead and salmon it is suggested to aim between 6-10 weights and plan to invest in a good quality reel since the fish tend to be quite large.  Look for a reel that has a disc drag that is well made and of high quality.  For trout a 3- to 5-weight fly rod is usually best.

You can aim to carry a number of flies with you so that you're able to have one for all situations. Experts recommend that you stay stocked with attractor flies, streamers, naturals, and egg patterns.  As far as sizes go, again, bring a variety because each body of water will be a bit different. If you plan on fishing during the day, opt for flies that are brightly colored. Over time, you may find you’ve got a couple that are real winners and get you great results each time.

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding places to fish from shore in Wisconsin. You’ll also have the opportunity to wade in some of the streams and rivers, so be sure to bring your waders. Of course, if you prefer to float or use a boat, you can do so. Wisconsin is not short on locations and types of fishing.

Wisconsin Fishing License and Regulations

You will need to have a fishing license to fish in the state of Wisconsin, and it's also important to check the season's fishing dates for each of the fish species. Licenses are available for residents and non-residents of the state. You can purchase an annual fishing license, a family annual license, a one, four, or 15-day family or individual license, as well as other types. Your fishing license can be obtained through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Choosing Wisconsin as your next fly fishing adventure means that you’re in for a wide variety of streams, lakes, rivers, and creeks that yield all kinds of fish species. All of this while being surrounded by stunning natural beauty and serene landscapes.