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For more information on the panfish project, contact:
Jon Hansen
608-266-6883

Fishing WisconsinPlanning for panfish

Do you have a passion for panfish? Read on ...

A pile of panfish

A pile of panfish is a welcome sight to many Wisconsin anglers.

Panfish are the most common fish caught by anglers in Wisconsin.  In a 2006-07 statewide survey, Wisconsin anglers reported catching 88 million fish, of which 57.7 million were panfish (bluegill, yellow perch, crappies). Public concern regarding panfish appears to be increasing and, in recent years, the Conservation Congress (a long-standing DNR advisory organization) has proposed reducing the 25 panfish bag limit on select lakes. Analysis of many years’ worth of fisheries surveys is starting to tell us about the status of panfish in the state, and we would like to share the results.

Conservation Congress concerns, in combination with data analyses and modeling efforts, lead us to believe we should take the next step and develop a panfish management plan. A series of public meetings have been held to better connect with Wisconsin panfish anglers. Angler feedback will help guide us in the direction and prioritization of panfish management goals. 

Rule proposal and survey

Panfish rule proposal

A bluegill in the hand

Panfish rule proposal

Over the past three years, fisheries biologists have solicited public input on all aspects of panfish management. They found that although anglers are not interested in sweeping changes to statewide panfish regulations, they are interested in addressing specific lakes with overharvest issues. With this in mind, the department is proposing regulation options to increase panfish size on 110 select lakes where harvest appears to be a problem.

Comments on the rule proposal?

Send your comments to:
Jon Hansen
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 7921
101 S. Webster Street
Madison, WI 53707-7921
608-266-6883

Public meetings

Public meetings

There are no public meetings scheduled at this time.

Initial public input

Panfish survey 2013

Passion for Panfish

Interested anglers who attended panfish public meetings, fishing expos, sport shows and Conservation Congress meetings, in February and March 2013 had the opportunity to complete a panfish survey. The results of the panfish survey were analyzed and are found below:

Panfish survey results [PDF]

Input will help guide the development of a statewide plan for managing panfish populations. We hope to provide our anglers with a variety of panfishing opportunities.


Panfish press

Experimental analysis of a reduced daily bluegill limit in Minnesota [PDF]

A panfish reality check [PDF] - a reality check on the misconceptions of panfish management and biology

Sharing a passion for panfish. Natural Resources magazine, June 2013

Last revised: Thursday November 06 2014