Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hosting a free fishing weekend January 15-16


MADISON, Wisconsin. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hosting a Free Fishing Weekend Jan. 15-16 to share the fun and excitement of winter fishing. No fishing license or stamp for trout and salmon is required.

Anglers can fish in state waters where there is an open season. All other fishing regulations apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish you can keep and the seasons you must release certain species of fish.

As a reminder, anglers cannot fish spring trout ponds during the winter free fishing weekend. Please see the 2021-2022 Trout and Hook and Line Regulations for more information.

If you plan on saving your catch, be sure to review MNR’s Guidelines for Safe Feeding to stay on top of potential consumption advisories impacting certain water bodies statewide.

“The Free Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to try angling, without the step and extra expense of getting a fishing license,” said Theresa Stabo, MNR Fisheries Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation Coordinator. “Fishing is much more than fishing. Get out and enjoy nature, hang out with friends and family and if you’re lucky bring home some fish for your next home fried fish. ”

Find the Free Fishing Weekend events on the DNR Events webpage.

Get ready to fish

If you are new to ice fishing, check out the article “Ice Fishing Basics” in the latest issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine for tips on what you’ll need to get started.

Visit the MNR Fishing Equipment Loan web page to find an ice fishing equipment loan site near you. Sites with ice fishing equipment will have an “IF” next to their name. Basic equipment is available; however, the sites do not lend ice augers. Hours and available equipment vary, so contact the site in advance and plan ahead to pick up the equipment.

Safety reminders for winter fishing

Remember that no ice cream is 100% safe. Check with local bait shops for current ice conditions in the area where you plan to ice fish. Stay safe on shore if the ice conditions are questionable and the open water is within casting distance, give it a try. Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.

Finally, dress for winter comfort and don’t forget your safety equipment:

  • Warm and water resistant layers
  • Sturdy waterproof boots with spiked lianas for traction
  • Additional hat and gloves
  • Rescue rope
  • Ice claws

More fishing pleasure

Continue your fishing adventure after Free Fishing Weekend by purchasing a fishing license.

The next free fishing weekend will take place on June 4 and 5, 2022.


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