Dane County offers some of the best and most diverse fishing opportunities in Wisconsin. Fish from the shore, off a pier, or from a boat -- each offers a different experience. Please review state fishing license requirements (Wisconsin DNR) before you go. Note that a daily or annual Dane County Lake access permit is required to park at certain locations, view our Boating & Lake Access webpage for more information.
Fishing highlights include accessible fishing opportunities (from shore and piers), multiple cold water streams for trout fishing, Yahara chain of lakes for a variety of fish throughout the year, ice fishing opportunities, and fishing on many other streams and lakes. We also offer a designated facility that can be used for water-related events including fishing tournaments. Details for all can be found below.
Eating certain fish can be harmful because they may contain mercury, PCBs, or PFAS. Follow advice for Wisconsin and Dane County waters to choose fish with less chemicals - see Fish Advisories for Wisconsin Inland Lakes (PDF) from Public Health Madison & Dane County. Learn more about PFAS from Public Health Madison & Dane County.
Accessible fishing locations can be found at these parks below; view accessible pier locations on our Google Map.
Dane County Parks and the Foundation for Dane County Parks are partnering with local organizations to develop system-wide improvements to enhance fishing and boating access for all ages and abilities. Learn more about Accessible Fishing & Boating Improvements in the Dane County Park System.
The beautiful scenery and quiet solitude of the southwestern Driftless Area offers coldwater streams that have received national recognition for their excellent trout fishing. Dane County has acquired nearly 24 miles of streambank easements that provide public access to these streams and is a leader in improving cold water habitat in these areas. Learn more about our Streambank Easements program.
Please respect the landowner's property and carry out any trash. Public access is by foot travel only. Easements are along the stream banks and vary in width. Anglers should try to keep as close to the river as possible to avoid encroaching on adjacent private property.
Maps are available for the following streambank easements:
The Yahara chain of lakes provide abundant fishing for a variety of species throughout the year and are especially well known for their fantastic panfishing. Lake Waubesa, Monona and Wingra all offer excellent muskellunge and bass fishing. Lake Mendota is a destination for anglers from all over the state, offering exceptional fishing for bass, pike, walleye, catfish, and panfish. The Tenney Park breakwall near the lock and dam is a great spot for shorefishing. Lake Kegonsa provides excellent perch and walleye fishing, particularly in the winter months.
The lake maps below provide information on free and fee-required boat launches, canoe put-ins, walk-in fishing access, accessible fishing piers, lake depths and contours, and more.
Ice fishing offers a way to spend time outdoors in the fresh air with family and friends. Enjoy this popular activity on the Yahara chain of lakes or on other locations throughout the park system. A daily or annual Dane County Lake Access permit is required to park at ALL improved boat launch sites, Mendota County Park, and Upper Mud Lake.
Visit our Ice Fishing webpage for more information.
Crystal and Fish Lakes provide exceptional panfish and largemouth bass action in the in the far northwest corner of the county.
The designated facility for fishing tournaments and other lake events is Shelter Area #2 at William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park. Shelter #2 has improvements designed to support water-related events including accessible water access, a large mooring pier, water and electrical hookups.
For more information about organizing a fishing tournament please call the Parks Office at (608) 224-3730.