Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

VFC Producer Profile: Rushing Waters Fisheries

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 @ 03:00 PM

Rushing-Waters-Logo-01-01.pngRushing Waters Fisheries, Wisconsin’s largest trout farm, lies nestled on 80 acres of pristine forest and valleys at the edge of the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest in Palmyra, Wisconsin. The story of Rushing Waters begins in the 1940s when the property was originally a fox farm, raising trout as supplemental fox feed. A few years later the farm changed its focus to bringing its fresh fish to Navy Pier in Chicago.

In 1994, the property was purchased by Bill Graham, with a vision of changing the farm into a unique fishery. In 1997, Graham hired Peter Fritsch who had just completed a fisheries biology major at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. Eventually, Fritsch became partner to Graham, and now manages the day-to-day operations at the farm.

Kamloop Rainbow TroutTrout-whole-Fish-web.jpg

Rushing Waters raises an exceptional strain of rainbow trout called Kamloops. Fish begin life on the farm as fertilized eggs, which are tended to in their hatchery for two weeks before hatching.

During their life, the fish are constantly sorted and graded according to size. The very cold 49°F water year-round temperature causes slower growth, insuring premium quality, texture and flavor. They are fed a specially formulated trout diet rich in natural proteins (no animal byproducts or antibiotics) and have access to wild food they find in the water as well. Trout at Rushing Waters will reach one-pound size in eighteen months. Harvesting the fish by hand year-round ensures a consistently high-quality fish that has the flavor and texture that customers prefer.

All-Natural Smoked FishRusing-waters-smoked-salmon.jpg

The on-site smoke house combines the best traditional methods and modern technology to transform freshly harvested Rainbow Trout, Farm-Raised Atlantic Salmon and Wild Alaskan Salmon into moist, tender and delicious hot-smoked fish. Each fish is brined in a savory blend of salt, sugar and spices, then finished with the smoke of northern hardwoods. No artificial flavors or chemical preservatives are used.

From Pond to Table

Consider taking a day trip to Rushing Waters, only 150 miles from Viroqua. Visit the crystal-clear ponds and raceways full of rainbow trout. The public fishing pond is a fun and educational way for the entire family to relax and unwind. Fish the ponds any time of year – no entrance fee or fishing license is required, and you only pay for the fish you catch. You can even have the on-site restaurant, The Trout House, prepare your catch (Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-3pm). Although, you don’t have to catch fish in order to have a delicious meal. The Trout House is a unique, mouthwatering, farm-to-fork, culinary experience. The menus celebrate local and seasonal ingredients sourced on-site from the fishery and the area’s bountiful farms.

Other special events at Rushing Waters Fisheries, LLC include wine tastings, fish boils, farm tours, culinary classes and more. Private parties, events and catering are also available. For more information, visit their website.

Rushing Waters products at the VFCRushing-Waters-Spreads.jpg

Look for Rushing Waters fresh trout, smoked trout, smoked salmon, trout spread and salmon spread in the VFC meat case. 

Traditional and Italian salmon burgers are located in the freezer case.

For your dog, we have Cranberry and Sweet Potato Dog Treats!



Bordsen, John, “Fun fishing at Wisconsin’s Rushing Waters trout farm – no license required,” Chicago Tribune, August 31, 2017.

Mix, Rhonda, “Reel in Some Fun,” At the Lake, May 25, 2015.