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Making the most of Free Fishing Weekend, Jan. 20-21

Published by Central Office January 16, 2018

Contact(s): Pamela Toshner, DNR, 715-635-4073; Scott Toshner, DNR, 715-372-8539

Tips for ice fishing fun with the whole family

MADISON -- Free Fishing Weekend, Jan. 20-21, gives newcomers of all ages a chance to try ice fishing without a license, and a Department of Natural Resources fish-loving couple passes on their tips for making that first trip fun for the whole family, particularly kids.

Pamela and Scott Toshner, a DNR lake and watershed protection specialist and a DNR fisheries biologist, respectively, are avid ice anglers and parents of twin girls. They started getting the girls involved in fishing when they were about 3 years old. The first couple of years were short trips and by 5 years old, the girls were already fairly seasoned ice anglers.

Pamela Toshner and Scott Toshner started taking their daughters fishing when they were toddlers. - Photo credit: DNR
Pamela Toshner and Scott Toshner started taking their daughters fishing when they were toddlers.Photo credit: DNR

Here are the Toshners' tips for ice fishing fun with the whole family.

Getting ready for adventure

They caught on early! Scott Toshner helps daughter Corina handle a nice northern pike.  - Photo credit: DNR
They caught one! Scott Toshner helps daughter Corina handle a nice northern pike. Photo credit: DNR

When they catch a fish...

The girls were seasoned anglers by 5 years old and catching some nice fish on their own. - Photo credit: DNR
The girls were seasoned anglers by 5 years old and catching some nice fish on their own. Photo credit: DNR

More Free Fishing Weekend tips

Wisconsin residents and visitors can fish almost anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp on Free Fishing Weekend, January 20-21, 2018. Most waters of the state are included, except for spring trout ponds. All other inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River are open; all other regulations and seasonal restrictions are in force.

DNR has ice fishing equipment available for loan at 22 of our 56 tackle loaner sites. And 16 sites have fly fishing gear in case you want to take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend to give the early catch and release trout season a try. Free ice fishing clinics are a great way to get introduced to ice fishing, so check out DNR's listing of events by searching the DNR website for "Free Fishing Weekend."

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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