Resources Spotlight: Yahara Lakes Fishery

Perch in Lake Mendota

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manages the fisheries of the Yahara lakes for recreation and water quality.


Popular destination for larger fish, especially northern pike and catfish. Management changes are being considered to deal with the spiny water flea, a tiny zooplankton that is negatively impacting water clarity in the is cold, deep lake.


Popular destination for muskellunge, also known as the muskie. Management studies are underway to improve muskie stock. The lake is also a high quality pan fishery.


Popular for bass and bluegills. Lake Wingra is also known for its tiger muskies. Management changes are being considered to increase the size of the bass and bluegills.

Waubesa and Kegonsa:

Popular for their high quality pan fishery. The lakes are fished primarily for food instead of for larger trophy fish. There are no plans to change the management of these lakes. In 2015, coarse woody debris was added along the shoreline of Lake Waubesa near McFarland to increase fish habitat.

This article was first published in the 2015 State of the Lakes Annual Report. Special thanks to Kurt Welke at the Department of Natural Resources for his contributions. 

Photo by Ted Bier, UW-Madison Center for Limnology.

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