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Fish Hotel

The Fish Hotel Kit contains a variety of instructional materials designed to help children and adults alike learn about the benefits of leaving trees in lakes. Trees in lakes not only provide areas for fish to spawn, but also offer shelter to help some species protect their incubating brood. Large submerged trees can host entire fish communities!

Fish Hotel kits are available at no charge and include:

  • Fish Cards – Color photos of 19 Wisconsin fish

  • Fish Hotel Lesson Plans

  • Fish Hotel Poster

  • How to Help Fish & Wildlife Poster

  • Video links to short videos of real fish swimming through swimming though fallen trees

  • Video link of Fish Hotel (picture book) being read

  • Educator Resources:

  • Impervious Surfaces: How They Impact Fish, Wildlife and Waterfront Property Values

  • Water’s Edge

  • Field Journal

  • Wisconsin Wildcards – Fish**​

* Tailored to the Wisconsin standards for science for grades 3-5 (Standards SCILS1 and SCI.LS2), but have been used with a wide variety of audiences including camps and special education classrooms.

** Wisconsin Fish Wildcards are provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


How to Help Fish & Wildlife

Learn how shoreland zoning rules help keeps our lakes and streams healthy. This helps us have more fish, wildlife, and good swimming water. (06-2023)

Engbretson Fish Videos

Three short recorded live videos are available by Engbretson Underwater Photography.

Fish Hotels Recorded Presentation

Describes what fish hotels are, and the simple steps we can take to provide fish with what they need. Contains a diverse set of shoreline photos with the question “Could you survive as a fish here?” to prompt class discussions.

Shorelines Recorded Presentation

Learn how to identify healthy shorelines for fish and what you can do to help.

Impervious Surfaces Recorded Presentation

Explains how runoff from impervious (hard) surfaces lead to decreased fish populations in lakes and streams. For example, more nutrients from runoff result in less oxygen in the water; more sediments cover spawning beds of fish; and warmer water can eliminate cold water fish like trout, northern pike and walleye.

Books & Materials

Fish Hotel Book Reading

Listen to Fish Hotel as you view the story of Tessa and her cousin Hugo learning how fish benefit by leaving trees in water.

Fish Cards

Color photos of 19 Wisconsin fish contain in a PDF file for easy printing. Fish card game activity included in the Fish Hotel Kit Teaching Guide.

Magic Goggles Book

Go on an adventure with Maggie and her little brother Tate at their grandparents’ lake cabin. They discover two pairs of really weird, old goggles with leather straps in a dusty old trunk in the attic. Down at the lake with their goggles, the kids make magical discoveries. Learn why trees are important around lakes and in the water.

Magic Goggles Book Reading

Listen to The Magic Goggles as you view the story of Maggie and her little brother Tate as they explore the lake making new discoveries with their magic goggles.

Fish Sticks: Improving Lake Habitat

The Wisconsin DNR website, Fish Sticks: Improving Lake Habitat, explains how these projects improve lake habitat and how to get involved.

Lake Lucerne Fish Stick (Fish Hotel) Project

During the 2021 winter, over 40 fish sticks were created along the Lake Lucerne southern shorelines by Lake Lucerne Advancement Association. Read about the project and view photos of the fish stick building from start to finish.

Freshwater Fish Book Series

Bluegills, Iowa Darter and more species coming!