Rivers, Lakes and Water


Yellowstone Lake State Park is in the driftless area of southwest Wisconsin. This 1,000-acre park, has a 455-acre lake, which offers visitors ample space to enjoy camping, swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, biking and picnicking. In winter, the park is open to ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Many of the campsites offer electricity hook up for those who prefer this convenience. There is an area of the lake that is a no-wake area, perfect for the canoe enthusiasts. Canoe, row boat and paddle boat rentals are available at the lake for those who do not have a canoe or boat.

Yellowstone Lake is regularly stocked with game fish and offers premium fishing opportunities for those who enjoy fishing. Fishing license and trout stamp is required. Please review the fishing regulations for the lake to enjoy the best fishing experience.


The Pecatonica River offers over 90 miles of gentle canoeing on both the east and west branches - the longest unrestricted flow of water in the state of Wisconsin. The water moves at 2 1⁄2 miles per hour, occasionally dropping over small ripraps. The river meanders in large loops back and forth across a beautiful broad valley and some claim that “Pee-ka-tol-a-ka” is the Winnebago word for “crooked river”. Scenic bluffs tower above some sections of the river. It may be necessary to maneuver around and over occasional fallen trees which provide shelter for raccoon, muskrat, beaver, deer and a wide variety of birds that make their home along the river. It is not uncommon to see beaver cuttings along the bank; great blue herons gracefully rising from the water; or a mother wood duck hurrying her ducklings along. The Pecatonica yields its share of excellent game fish every year. The muddy banks are quite deceptive, as most of the river bottom is gravel. Catfish, walleye and occasional northern are the main game fish taken from the river.

Many of the best fishing spots are accessible only by canoe. The Pecatonica River, whose name means “place of many canoes” starts in Iowa County and flows through Lafayette County into Illinois. The canoer will enjoy beautiful scenic farm pastures, marshes and woods filled with many species of wildlife. The river will be a pleasant two day trip going through Lafayette County.


Fever River is 29.4 miles long, 28 feet average width, 1.2 feet average depth, and base flow is 22 cfs (cubic feet per second). This is an enjoyable one day canoe ride. The Fever River is considered to be the best small stream for smallmouth bass fishing in the area. There are also 14 miles of public fishing easement along the river for more fishing enjoyment.

Lake Joy, located outside of Belmont, WI, is a family owned and managed campground that has been a favorite summer getaway for more than 40 years. They provide a clean, relaxing, friendly environment for families and friends to enjoy time together. The 60-acre private, spring fed lake is no-wake and provides swimming, boating and some of the best fishing in this part of the state.



Lafayette County is a fisherman's paradise. Many of our locals have favorite fishing holes that have been family secrets for generations, but it's no secret that Steiner Creek, the Fever River and many of the tributaries for the Pecatonica River are prized for their trout, smallmouth and brook trout that call these waters home. 

Trout Streams are particularly important to Lafayette County and with the hard work of Trout Unlimited, many of the waters have seen an increase of trout over the past few years. Steiner Creek is of particular interest because it is one of the only Brook Trout Streams in southern Wisconsin. Brookies are a native trout of Wisconsin and prefer clear, cool, well oxygenated creeks which makes Steiner Creek the perfect habitat. 


If you prefer fishing for Smallmouth Bass, then head to the Fever (Galena) River in southern Lafayette County. This slow moving river is one of the better smallmouth rivers in the State of Wisconsin. 

To view a trout stream map of Lafayette County, click here: Trout Stream Map

For more information regarding Fishing in Lafayette County, contact Bradd Sims, DNR Fish Biologist for Lafayette County at bradd.sims [at] wisconsin.gov