Friday, June 3, 2011

a "how to" for finding new wisconsin trout water

Recently, a few people have inquired about how I go about finding trout streams in a particular area. Most trout fisherman are very tight lipped when it comes to sharing the exact location of their favorite streams (they believe that good trout water is something earned and not just given away for free). This is a mindset that I support to a certain extent, but I’m always willing to point a person in the right direction. From personal experience, any information received from strangers should be taken lightly until proven to be true. Research and time on the water is the only sure fire way to add stream to your own personal list of quality trout water. Here are a few tools I utilize in my pursuit for quality streams.

southern wisconsin all outdoors atlas
Southern Wisconsin All Outdoors Atlas & Field Guide- Published by Sportsman’s Connection (the maker of fine quality fishing maps), this atlas gives users clearly marked classified trout water, public access, campground, trails, and ect. The trout streams are on this map are identified with a darker, thicker, shade of blue. I use this map in conjunction with a page off the Wisconsin DNR website called Stream Maps by County. On this page, they color coordinate the streams by the class of the water in each specific county. Blue is used for class one and green is for class two. The class three water is yellow on their website but I will ignore all class 3 water. I take the DNR information and transfer it to my map using the same color highlighter to correspond with the DNR stream class. This information is a valuable tool for research, but we also carry the map while on the road. It’s a great map when used for navigation because it contains some of the smallest streets in Western Wisconsin. But more importantly, we use this map to jump from stream to stream when fishing is slow or conditions are poor.

flyfisher's guide to wisconsin and iowa
Flyfisher’s Guide To Wisconsin & Iowa- It’s most comprehensive list of trout waters and fly fishing destinations for Wisconsin and Iowa anywhere. John Motoviloff has done a wonderful job of compiling detailed information regarding access, steam history, angling opportunities, and accommodations for hundreds of trout streams throughout the state. The information in this book is as close to reliable as you get. It’s a great read that can be found on Amazon for fewer than fifteen dollars.

Another good resource is the Wisconsin DNR Stocking data for 2011, I’m sure the data contained on this page is self explanatory.


  1. Great looking fish, gotta love western Wisconsin! good advice on finding water...something that translates anywhere.

  2. For me catching the fish is just one small part of the adventure that starts out with research. Looks like some excellent resources there Blake.

  3. John, i think you said it best. Some of the best fisherman are great at research and just ok at catching fish. They put themselves in the right place at the right time

  4. I've spent hours and hours hiking streams here in SW Wisconsin. Still haven't covered even half of them. Looks like a great way for me to discover some more. Thanks.

  5. My state of CT has recently posted online maps complete with stocking and parking areas. A great starting point when looking for new waters.

  6. its really alot of information to take in all at once, you kinda have to take it in pieces

  7. Blake
    Those browns make me want to get out to the Caney Fork near my daughters house. Thanks for sharing the info on locating streams, really interesting.