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DNR Fisheries AreasBig Rib River

COVID-19 Update

On Friday, May 1 and at the direction of Gov. Evers, the department reopened state parks, forests and sites within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway with special conditions. Four State Natural Areas remain closed: Parfrey's Glen, Pewits Nest, Gibraltar Rock and Dells of the Wisconsin River. All Wildlife Areas and Fisheries Areas are open. For more information, please visit the DNR's COVID-19 information webpage for the full list of conditions, including hours of operation, admission fees and more.

Big Rib River Fishery Area is 952 acres with many portions containing trout. The fish population includes brook trout and brown trout, smallmouth bass, and forage species. The majority of the property adjacent to the river is wooded and wild and the remaining land low density residential, agricultural uses, and wetlands. A portion of the Big Rib River in Taylor County is classified as Exceptional Resource Waters (ERW).


Big Rib River is located in southwest Lincoln County, eastern Taylor County, and northwest Marathon County. West of Merrill, go 18 miles on State Hwy 64 to Greiner and Silver Fox Road.


Angling opportunities

The primary angling activities this property serves include wading and shore fishing for a variety of warm and cold water fish species.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Hunting - deer, bear, turkey and small game
  • Trapping
  • Hiking
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Fishing - trout with restrictions and closed in refuge areas
  • Bird watching
  • Pets
  • Auto travel
  • Berry picking
  • Canoeing


The priority management objective for this property is to protect and enhance the natural aesthetics of this scenic area. Additional management and development alternatives for the property include improving existing parking areas and access to the property, maintain grassy and brushy openings for wildlife habitat diversity, maintain diversity of forest types, and improve aesthetics through forest management practices.

Interim forest management plan (2016) [PDF]


For questions and comments contact:

Property Manager
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
223 E Steinfest Road
Antigo WI 54409
715-623-4190 ext. 3118

Fisheries Biologist
Department of Natural Resources
5301 Rib Mountain Drive
Wausau WI 54401


Lincoln County Lakes & Rivers Association
Wisconsin River Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited [exit DNR]

Last revised: Wednesday May 06 2020