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Give yourself the license to relax and catch some memories while you're at it.
Know the regulations to make your fishing more enjoyable.
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Wisconsin offers a variety of fishing opportunities. Give them a try!
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Get the basic information you need to get on the water and try your luck.

Call up a friend and plan a Free Fishing Weekend adventure!

Contact information
Theresa Stabo
Aquatic resources educator

Fishing Wisconsin - Angler & aquatic education Free Fishing Weekend - June 4–5, 2016

Sweet Family

Learn alongside the kids on Free Fishing
Weekend, and be ready when they say,
"Take me fishing, please!"

Life's a fishing picnic! Especially on Wisconsin's Free Fishing Weekend, June 4 - 5, 2016. Residents and nonresidents are welcome!

Fish anywhere!

Fish anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp on Free Fishing Weekend. This includes all inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. Other fishing rules apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish you can keep and any seasons when you must release certain fish species. So pack up the family or call your friends and head to the water for fishing fun!

Need fishing gear?

No fishing gear? No problem. We have fishing poles that you can borrow at many state parks and DNR offices. Contact a Tackle Loaner site at one of several state parks and DNR regional offices to borrow one. Call the DNR staffer or partner listed for each site to find out what specific equipment is available and to arrange to pick it up.

State Parks and Recreation Areas are waiving entrance stickers for the whole weekend, so pick your day!

Host a Free Fishing Weekend event!

If you would like us to post your event on our Web site, just fill out and return this Free Fishing Weekend Planning Form [PDF] by May 25, 2016 and you'll be good to go! Details are on the form. Remember to plan for adults who may have missed the fishing boat as kids! We’ll post your events as we learn of them. Of course, you can just take your friends fishing without telling us, but we love to hear your stories about how you coaxed your pals out for a free weekend of fishing.

Attend a Free Fishing Weekend event!

Dozens of free fishing clinics are offered on Free Fishing Weekend by many fishing clubs, local parks departments, community centers and civic organizations. Learn the basics and fish using equipment provided at most of these events. We'll post Free Fishing Weekend clinics here as we learn about them. Please check back often for updates.

Saturday Events – June 4, 2016

Ashland County
Community: Ashland
Place: Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

Two miles west of Ashland on HWY 2
Date: June 4, 2016
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Target age: Ages 5 - 12
Description: Fishing tips & techniques:
  • Learn from experienced anglers and biologists
  • Bring a fishing pole if you have one
  • Loaner gear will be provided
  • Register the morining of the event
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Trout Unlimited
  • U.S. Coast Guarge
  • UW Stevens Point Aquaculture
  • Bayfield County Land & Water Conservation District
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Contact: Susan Nelson, [exit DNR], 715-685-9983.
Bayfield County
Community: Bayfield
Place: Les Voigt Hatchery

Just south of Bayfield on HYW 13
Date: June 4, 2016
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Target age: All welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult.
Description: Get Outdoors Day! Come learn fishing basics:
  • Knot-tying
  • Fish ID
  • Casting
  • Safety by the water
  • How to clean and cook the catch
  • ...and much more!
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Many local businesses
  • Contact: Darren Miller, 715-779-4021
    Buffalo County
    Community: Fountain City
    Place: Merrick State Park
    Meet at the nature center.
    Note: State Parks Open House - Park Sticker Waived!
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
    Target age: All ages
    Description: Learn to Fish
    • Drop-in program
    • Join Steve and Ranger Chris to learn fishing basics
    • Knot-tying exercises
    • Backyard Bass casting practice game
    • Cast a line into the Mississippi River to see if you can catch a fish
    • See Park Calendar for more details and directions.
    Sponsor: Wisconsin State Parks
    Contact: Christina Lake, Park Ranger, 608-687-4936
    Calumet County
    Community: Sherwood
    Place: High Cliff State Park - Butterfly Pond
    Note: State Parks Open House - Park Sticker Waived!
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 1 p.m – 3 p.m.
    Target age: Families
    Description: Family Fun Day!
  • Kids will learn fishing basics from Angler Education Instructor and Professional Angler Greg Karch.
  • Pre-registration is recommended.
  • See Park Calendar for more details and directions.
  • Sponsor: Wisconsin State Parks
    Registration Contact: Linda Guelig, Park Supervisor, 920-989-1106
    Chippewa County
    Community: Chippewa Falls
    Place: Marshall Park

    Bridgewater Avenue, by the swimming pool and skate board park

    One block west of the Leinie Lodge.
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: Noon – 4 p.m.
    Target age: Kids and kids at heart
    Description: Get Hooked - Learn to Fish!
    • Knot-tying
    • Casting
    • Fishing on the mill pond
    • Watch a fileting demo
    • Sample fresh-cooked fish
    • Prizes!
    • Chippewa Valley Family YMCA
    • Chippewa Rod & Gun Club
    • Wisconsin DNR Wardens
    Contact: YMCA , [exit DNR],715-723-2201.
    Fond du Lac County
    Community: Dundee
    Place: Kettle Moraine SF - Northern Unit
    Long Lake Recreation Area Fishing Pier
    - off Division Road north of County Road F, near Dundee
    Note: State Parks Open House - Park Sticker Waived!
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    Target age: All ages
    Description: Learn to Fish Rodeo Let the fishing fun begin! The rodeo includes:
    • Backyard Bass Casting
    • Fill the Tackle Box
    • Fishing Regulations Quiz
    • Avoiding Hazards
    • Knots Tie-up
    • What's that Fish?
    • Baiting your Hook
    • Bring your own gear
    • Fishing gear available for those who need it
    • See Park Calendar for more details and directions.
    After completing the rodeo, experienced anglers on the fishing pier will help hone your newly acquired skills. Special surprises and prizes await all who participate.
    Sponsor: Wisconsin State Parks
    Contact: Jackie Scharfenberg, Naturalist, 920-533-8322
    Jefferson County
    Community: Fort Atkinson
    Place: American Legion Post 166
    201 S. Water Street, East
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 5 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Target age: Kids and adults
    Description: American Legion Post 166 3rd Annual Fort Atkinson Fishing Derby
  • American Legion Post 166
  • TPR Outdoors
  • Contact: Brian Cebertowicz or Mary at TPF Outdoors, 920-397-2658
    Community: Jefferson
    Place: Jefferson County Fair Park, South Shelter
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Target age: Children and parents
    Description: Family Fun Day!
    Many Sponsors! Jefferson Kiwanis Club; Nestle Purina; Gold Wings - Green Bay Chapter; Jon's Sport Shop - Oshkosh; Gralton Conservation Club; Gollon's Bait & Fish Farm – Dodgeville; Great American Cookies – Appleton; Ace Hardware; Archie Monument & Stone, Inc.; Fidelity Land & Title; City of Jefferson Policeman's Association; Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy Association; Century 21 Integrity Group – Jefferson; Century 21 Realty Search – Fort Atkinson; Premier Bank; Fort Community Credit Union Havill – Jefferson; The Works Hair Salon; Brantmeier Law, LLC; County–City Credit Union – Jefferson; Bon Ton Bakery; River's Edge Market; Badger Bank; Town & Country Homes; Daily Jefferson County Union; Jefferson Area Business Center; Jean & Fran Wright; Towne Inn; City of Jefferson Park & Recreation Commission; American Weld Design; Jefferson Shell Station; Jim's Burger Corner; Wedl's Hamburger Stand; Thompson & Company, S.C.; WFAW, Luedtke Plumbing; Mike's Tackle; American Family Insurance/Sherry Lange; Jefferson Advertiser; Merrill's Motor Works; Schneider – Michael's Funeral Home; Sport & Spine Clinic; Adventure RV Sales and Service, LLC; Wal – Mart; Pepsi; Thrivent Financial for Lutherans – Oconomowoc; Stauffer – Klug Insurance Agency; Wayside Inn; Jefferson County Land & Water Conservation Department and our local DNR conservation wardens.
    Contact: Ben Brantmeier, 920-674-6220
    Community: Lake Mills
    Place: Lake Mills Mill Pond

    Lake Mills Fire Department on Veteran's Lane
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
    Target age: Children 12 and under
    Description: Lake Mills Optimist Club 17th Annual Junior Fisheree
    • Lake Mills Kwik Trip
    • Lake Mills Chapter 2
    Contact: Michael Mack, 920-988-2770
    La Crosse County
    Community: La Crosse
    Place: Pettibone Lagoon
    700 Pettibone Drive, North
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    Target age: Ages 3 - 16, but open to all age groups
    Description: Celebrate Wisconsin's Aquatic Resources!
    • Limited to the first 150 kids
    • Bait provided
    • Limited loaner gear available
    • Door prizes for every child - no child leaves empty-handed
    • Be sure to join the sponsors for a light picnic-style lunch after the event
    • Union Sportsmen's Alliance
    • Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO
    • La Crosse Parks and Recreation Department
    Contact: Bill Brockmiller, [exit DNR], President, Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO, 608-386-0753.
    Oneida County
    Community: Rhinelander
    Place: Hodag Park
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 9 a.m. – Noon
    Target Age: Kindergarten through 8th grade, & parents
    Description: Family Fun Day! Kids will learn fishing basics:
    • Knot-tying
    • Fish ID
    • Casting
    • Safety by the water
    • ...and much more!
    Sponsor: Oneida County 4-H
    Contact: Anne Williams, [exit DNR], 715-365-2750.
    Polk County
    Community: Osceola
    Place: Osceola Mill Pond
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 8:30 – Noon
    Target age: 15 and under
    Description: Help staff from the Osceola State Fish Hatchery stock the mill pond, then try to catch the fish.
    How cool is that?
    • Rainbow trout stocking at 8:30 a.m.
    • Fishing Clinic begins at 9 a.m.
    • Learn about bait and how to cast
    Sponsor: Osceola State Fish Hatchery
    Contact: Benjamin Heimbach, Fisheries Technician, 715-294-2525.
    Portage County
    Community: Stevens Point
    Place: Bukolt Park Shelter- by the river
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Check in prior to 8:30 a.m. start time
    Target age: Ages 4 to 13 and parents
    Description: The 8th Annual Cops-N-Bobbers Outing
    • Bait provided
    • Loaner gear available, bring your own if you have it
    • Lunch from 11 a.m. to Noon
    • Prizes for the biggest fish
    • T-shirts for registered children
      — indicate adult or youth sizes, S-M-L-XL-XXL
    • See Flyer [PDF]for other important details.
    • Portage County Law Enforcement Agencies:
    • Portage County Sheriff's Office
    • Stevens Point Police Department
    • Cops and Kids Foundation
    • Stevens Point Elks Lodge #641
    • Department of Natural Resources
    Registration Contacts: Deputy Koepsell or Officer Seth Pionke or call 715-346-1425.
    Sauk County
    Community: Sauk City
    Place: Lussier County Park Canoe Launch

    East on Schoepp's Road from Fish Lake.
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 6:30 a.m. – Noon
    Target age: Young families, first-time anglers
    Description: Family Fishing Day!
    • Se habla español!
    • Breakfast
    • Loaner fishing gear available
    • Bait
    • GraceWay Church of Sauk Prairie
    • McFarlane's True Value
    Contact: Bruce Henn , [exit DNR], 608-643-2967, Cell: 608-393-2295.
    Sheboygan County
    Community: Sheboygan
    Place: Kohler-Andre State Park
    Note: State Parks Open House - Park Sticker Waived!
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    Target age: Children ages 15 and younger; children must be accompanied by an adult.
    Description: Free Kids' Fishing Clinic
    • Fishing equipment available
    • Bring your own rod and reel if possible
    • Classes taught hourly beginning 10 a.m.
    • Light refreshments
    • Pre-registration encouraged, but walk-ins will be accepted
    • See Park Calendar for more details and directions.
    Sponsor: Wisconsin State Parks
    Registration Contact: Doris Kultgen, Visitor Services Associate, 920-451-4080.
    Community: Sheboygan Falls
    Place: River Park–North of CTH PP, west of Hwy 32, west of YMCA
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Target Age: All ages welcome, but geared towards children.

    No unaccompanied children, please.
    Description: Stocked pond with free bait and fishing poles available for use!
    • Fish cleaning and cooking demonstrations
    • Archery and BB gun ranges
    • Canoeing on the river
    • ... and more!
    • Sheboygan County Conservation Association
    • Camp Y-Koda
    Contact: Michael Clutter, Conservation Warden, 920-893-8538.
    Taylor County
    Community: Medford
    Place: High View Inn Boat Landing

    W7766 Perkinstown Ave.
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 9 a.m. – ?
    Target age: All ages, children must be able to hold a fishing pole.
    Description: Fishing basics for all ages!
    • Fishing techniques
    • Knot-tying
    • Casting
    • Bait selection
    • Boating safety
    • Fishing time
    • Instruction for youngsters
    • Lake Esadore Lake Association
    • Taylor County Sportsman's Club
    • High View Inn
    • Department of Natural Resources
    • Volunteers
    Contact: Bonnie Bauer, [exit DNR], 715-785-8002.
    Washington County
    Community: Hartford
    Place: Kettle Moraine SF - Pike Lake Unit
    Meet at the Beach Parking Area for tons of great activities!
    Note: State Parks Open House - Park Sticker Waived!
    Date: June 4,2016
    Time: 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Target age: enter
    Description: Outdoor Festival: Archery, Arts and Crafts, Astronomy, Birding, Children's program,Fishing , Geocache, and Hike. The overall event runs from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. rain or shine.
    • 7:30 a.m. bird hike - bring binoculars if you have them
    • Bring a t-shirt to do some t-shirt printing
    • Bring a GPS unit if you have one to do some geocaching
    • Fish with the Sportsman's Club on the fishing pier
    • Take a hike with the local Ice Age Trail group as it is also National Trails Day.
    • Meet Smokey Bear
    • Try archery with the wardens
    • Meet the rangers and the Naturalist
    • Northern Cross Science Foundation will share their solar telescopes in the parking lot!
    • See Park Calendar for more details and directions.
    Sponsor: Wisconsin State Parks
    Contact: Rob Wessberg, Forest Supervisor, 262-670-3400.
    Waukesha County
    Community: Oconomowoc
    Place: Veteran's Memorial Park — 205 N. Main Street (on Hwy 67).
    Date: June 4, 2016
    Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
    Target Age: Children ages 6–14 years with parents. Beginning adult anglers without children are also invited to come to learn how to fish.
    Description: Learn to fish at four educational stations:
    • Knot-tying
    • Baiting a hook
    • Casting and reeling
    • Pop-can fishing
    Followed by supervised fishing
    Sponsor: City of Oconomowoc
    Contact: Jennifer Froemming, [exit DNR], 262-569-2199.

    Sunday Events – June 5, 2016

    Kenosha County
    Community: Burlington
    Place: Richard Bong State Recreation Area
    Meet at Shelter #2
    Note: State Parks Open House - Park Sticker Waived!
    Date: June 5, 2016
    Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
    Target age: All ages
    Description: Drop in to fish with Walleye's Unlimited USA
    • Bring your own equipment or use theirs.
    • Learn angling tips as you fish.
    • See Park Calendar for more details and directions.
    Sponsor: Walleye's Unlimited USA
    Contact: Drew Starch, Property Supervisor, 262-878-5600.

    Check back again for more events. We'll post them as we learn about them!

    Pssst! We also have Winter Free Fishing Weekend. Next year it will be on January 21 - 22, 2017.

    Get a license

    New to fishing, but want to make it a habit after Free Fishing Weekend? Try our "First-time buyer" resident license for only $5. Discounts for non-residents too!

    Here is more information about purchasing a fishing license so you'll be ready to fish for the rest of the year!

    More fishing opportunities

    The Department of Tourism lists events at The Great Outdoors - Fishing, [exit DNR].

    Last revised: Monday May 16 2016