Trout Lake Station

Trout Lake Station (TLS) is a year-round field station operated by the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that has been supporting environmental and limnological research, training, and outreach in the northwoods of Wisconsin since 1925.  TLS is located in the Northern Highland Lake District, provides access to a wide variety of aquatic ecosystems and their surrounding landscapes including the Northern Highland-American Legion Sate Forest and Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, and is well-equipped to support both short- and long-term visits. TLS is also in close proximity to all of the NEON Domain 5 research sites.

Read Trout Lake Station Newsletters starting in 2021 and all Center for Limnology newsletters from 1987.

The station is located on the south shore of Trout Lake in Vilas County. The main laboratory offers visiting researchers access to labs and office space for their research needs. The station has meeting facilities including a library, a large conference room (60 people) and a small meeting room.

To request station use, complete the reservation form. Feel free to contact TLS director Amber Mrnak if you have questions.

Station Use


Trout Lake Station is well-equipped to provide access for researchers to nearly any aquatic site in the Northern Highland Lake District. Major field gear includes: four-wheel-drive trucks, numerous boats equipped with motors and trailers, and four canoes. Scuba gear is also available. A snowmobile, ice augers, and snowshoes are available for winter field work. Several instrumented buoys are deployed on nearby lakes. We have most standard collecting gear for general limnological work.

If you are interested in doing research at Trout Lake Station, please contact Gretchen Gerrish, Station Director, or call 608-890-4763.


Six year-round cabins/houses and four seasonal cabins can accommodate 37 people year round and 48 during May-October. All cabins have fully equipped kitchens and the year-round buildings have bathroom/shower facilities. Residents of the seasonal cabins use a centralized bathroom/shower building. All housing units have WiFi available.

Lab Retreats, Conferences, & Meetings

The Tug Juday Conference room build in 2011 offers a comfortable space for up to 60 people and is available for environmental focus groups.

Class Field Trip

Trout Lake Station offers housing and equipment for class field trips in the spring, fall and Winter. Class space in summer is not available.

Community Relations

Trout Lake Station is part of the University of Wisconsin, not the DNR. We do collaborate with the DNR in research and conservation efforts. Our research scientists are available to speak at lake association’s or civic group’s meetings. Contact Gretchen Gerrish station director if interested in this opportunity. While we welcome questions about any lake, not all lakes have been studied extensively, will answer your questions to the best of our knowledge. We have several specialists available to identify any species of plant or animal from your lake brought to the station.


UW-Trout Lake Station is located in Vilas County, Wisconsin, USA (46 deg 01’N,89 deg 40’W). The closest commercial airport is Rhinelander-Oneida Country (RHI) in Rhinelander, WI (37 miles/60 km southeast of the station). Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA) in Mosinee, WI (80 miles/130 km south) is served by more airlines and has more daily flights.

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