Dane County offers some of the best and most diverse fishing opportunities in Wisconsin. In the southwestern Driftless Area of the county, multiple cold water streams provide excellent trout fishing. The Yahara chain of lakes, Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa, provide great fishing for a variety of species throughout the year, including ice fishing in the winter. In particular, all are well known for their fantastic pan fishing. Lake Waubesa, Lake Monona and Lake Wingra are all excellent muskellunge fishing lakes. In the far northwest corner of the county, Crystal and Fish Lakes provide exceptional panfish and largemouth bass action. The Jenni & Kyle Preserve offers great shore fishing opportunities for kids under the age of 16 and persons with permanent disabilities.
Check with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for state fishing license requirements.
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. Lakes Waubesa, Monona and Wingra all offer excellent muskie 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. Our lake maps provide information on free and fee-required boat launches, canoe put-ins, walk-in fishing access, accessible fishing piers, lake depths and contours, and much more.
Maps are available for the following lakes:
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.
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:
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. More information about the program is available on the Accessible Fishing & Boating Improvements webpage.
The designated facility for fishing tournaments and other lake events is Shelter Area #2 at William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park. This facility has improvements designed to support water-related events including accessible water access, a large mooring pier, water and electrical hookups. Keep in mind while this facility has additional amenities for fishing tournaments, it is also available for general rentals.
Early reservation priority is given for water-related special events (such as fishing tournaments) to use this facility: lake event organizers may make reservations before February 1st each year by submitting a Special Event Permit Request. After this date, the general public may rent the shelter on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about organizing a fishing tournament or lake event please call the Parks Office at (608) 224-3730.
Enjoy this popular activity on the Yahara chain of lakes. Visit our Ice Fishing webpage for more information.