Discover the Public Islands of Wisconsin

Wisconsin, with its 84,000 miles of rivers and 15,000 lakes, is full of places to paddle, float, fish, or just watch and listen. The BLM has a share in all this beauty, since we manage about 500 islands in Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes. These are the islands that were omitted from the original land survey back in the 1830s and 1840s. We don’t manage all the islands. Many of our islands are close to other state-owned islands or private islands, and it is critical that you determine whether an island is public land before you use it.

These islands are your public lands, and many of them are perfect fishing spots, lunch sites for your next float trip, or even campsites. In years to come, we will likely post signs on some of these islands to make it easier for recreationists to know which ones are public. In the meantime, here is what we ask of you as you enjoy the islands, rivers, and lakes:

1. Practice leave-no-trace outdoor ethics, and leave the islands as you found them.
2. If an island has a fire ring, use it instead of making a new one.
3. Obey the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources laws and regulations when hunting or fishing.
4. Volunteer as an island steward with the BLM.  Contact Derek Strohl, dstrohl@blm.gov.

For more information, click on the river or lake that you want to explore.



Click here to download a PDF of this overview of public islands in Wisconsin rivers and lakes.


Click here to download GPS coordinates for all of the BLM Islands of Wisconsin (Excel spreadsheet).