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Fisheries Management

Wisconsin trout fishingTrout stream classifications

The DNR uses three categories to classify the different types of trout streams throughout Wisconsin. These are evident in Wisconsin Trout Stream Maps, which provides a comprehensive list of trout streams and a set of trout stream maps covering the majority of the state. Efforts have been made to list all trout streams in the State of Wisconsin, but it is recognized that this listing in not exhaustive.

The trout stream classifications are as follows:

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 5,365 miles of Class 1 trout streams in Wisconsin and they comprise 40% 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 6,120 miles of Class 2 trout streams in Wisconsin and they comprise 46% 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 1,786 miles of Class 3 trout streams in Wisconsin and they comprise 14% of Wisconsin's total trout stream mileage.

Public notice on trout stream classifications/reclassifications

Trout stream classifications or reclassifications are reviewed and updates to the trout stream classification list may occur every other year. The stream biologist will publish a public notice in a newspaper or other media to inform local residents. The notice will also be published here for statewide distribution. The Department will waive any hearing requirement on this classification unless a written request for hearing is received within 30 days of the posting date.

Last revised: Monday January 23 2017