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Got license?
Give yourself the license to relax and catch some memories while you're at it.
Know the regulations to make your fishing more enjoyable.
Places to fish
Wisconsin offers a variety of fishing opportunities. Give them a try!
Get started
Get the basic information you need to get on the water and try your luck.
Contact information
For information, contact:
Theresa Stabo

Fishing Wisconsin angler & aquatic education

Be a part of Wisconsin’s conservation tradition by becoming an Angler Education Instructor.

Angler Education

First step: knot-tying!

The angler education program is looking for people who enjoy working with children, like to fish or would like to learn by helping to teach others.

Instructors provide opportunities to learn basic fishing skills, explore Wisconsin’s aquatic resources and develop a set of conservation ethics to help ensure that Wisconsin’s lakes and streams will remain bountiful for generations to come.

The program provides training workshops to clubs, schools, youth development organizations and service groups. Trained instructors have access to educational resources and loaner fishing equipment.

Instructor certification

Instructor certification

Angler Education

An Instructor-In-Training practices casting skills and resourcefulness with a fish target and pop-can rig along Milwaukee's lakefront.

Who are instructors?

Instructors are people like you. Youth leaders, classroom teachers, fishing club members and civic leaders are all encouraged to attend a workshop as a team or form one at the workshop. Successful program models include after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes, family-school/camp adventures, scout merit badges and more.

While this program has traditionally focused on youth, keep in mind adults who may have missed the boat as kids.

Certification process

People get certified as Angler Education Instructors by attending a training workshop and completing a background check [PDF].

Here are more specifics on the certification process.

Training workshops

Training workshops

Angler Education

Instructors-In-Training test non-lead sinkers at a Rhinelander workshop.

Please check back from time to time for updates to this schedule.

Basic angler education instructor certification workshop

Basic Angler Education instructor certification workshops focus on teaching spin casting and incorporating related topics in a K-12 curriculum, youth development program or adult education. Some workshops feature fly fishing or complementary aquatic resources education programs.

Fishing club members, youth leaders, classroom teachers and civic leaders are encouraged to attend a workshop as a team or form a team at a workshop. Successful models include after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes, school-family events and Boy Scout merit badge training.

Workshop fees

Angler Education workshops are free; sometimes we feed you lunch or dinner, too. However, we do have a $15 workshop commitment fee to ensure good attendance by registrants and allow us to plan accordingly. If your plans change, please notify us three days in advance to get a refund of your workshop commitment fee. Otherwise, it becomes a donation to the Angler Education Program. There are fees for Project WET and Project WILD and will be collected when those programs are offered in combination with Angler Education.

To schedule a volunteer or teacher training workshop in your community, please contact Theresa Stabo, Aquatic Resources Educator, 608-266-2272. We need a minimum of 8 to 12 adult participants, depending on location, to hold a workshop.

Workshop schedule

Check back often to learn about changes to the schedule, or sign up for GovDelivery for alerts to new opportunities. Look for the "envelope" icon at the bottom of this page.

Teachers’ conferences & professional conventions

Look for us at teachers’ conferences and other professional conventions. They are typically held in the spring and fall. Check back often to learn about changes to the workshop schedule or sign up for GovDelivery for alerts to new opportunities. Look for the "envelope" icon at the bottom of this page.

Loaner gear

Tackle Loaner Program

No fishing rod? No problem. We have fishing equipment you can borrow at several DNR offices and state parks and facilities. There is no charge to borrow the equipment -- just enjoy your day fishing in Wisconsin and return the equipment in the condition you received it (or better) so that the next person can enjoy it.

Check out the fishing equipment contacts page for information on who to contact to find out exactly what kind of gear is available near you. If you have general questions about the tackle loaner program contact Theresa Stabo, 608-266-2272.

Available gear

While special lures and fresh bait are not provided, we generally have the following basic equipment at most sites:

Family fishing

The DNR has equipment you can borrow to get children hooked on fishing.

  • many closed face fishing rods and reels;
  • a few open face rods and reels;
  • casting plugs;
  • bobbers; and
  • hooks, lines and sinkers

In addition to fishing equipment, some sites (but not all) have fish printing materials, knot-tying practice equipment, Backyard Bass (a casting game) and other educational resources like Fish Packs [PDF]. Fish Packs are stocked with games, stories and activities that help youngsters learn about Wisconsin fish. Check one out or download the link for ideas to create your own. Inquire when you contact or visit a loaner site to see exactly what they have to offer.

Keep in mind

Before you plan a fishing trip around loaner equipment, know that:

  • equipment is available on a first come, first served basis; and
  • you may borrow equipment for up to one week, unless demand is low in your area. Ask the contact in your area if an extension is possible.

Follow the Golden Rule

Please return loaner equipment in the condition you would like it to be when you borrow it.

  • Make proper handling and care of equipment part of your angler or fishing education program.
  • If the equipment was damaged, return all the parts with a note explaining what happened.
  • Instructions to fix a tangled reel [PDF].

The most popular time for borrowing the equipment is also the busiest time for our field staff - spring and early summer. Please help them out by returning the equipment clean and in good working order. If something breaks -- which sometimes happens -- fix it if you can, or bring the problem to our staff's attention so the next group will have functional equipment. Your help with maintenance frees up our field staff for stocking fish and working on habitat projects.

Adopt a fishing tackle loaner site

Many tackle loaner sites would welcome help with equipment maintenance. This would be a great volunteer service project for scouts, students, fishing clubs or anyone who'd like to pitch in and ensure that our gear is in shape for beginner anglers. Materials will be provided for re-spooling and general clean-up. Loaner sites that want help are marked with a VM. Locate the site nearest you on the fishing equipment contacts page and call them to find out how you can help. Thank you!


Fishing clinics

Throughout the year, the Department of Natural Resources works with local parks departments, fishing clubs and organizations to host fishing clinics and other events. Thanks to all clinic hosts and sponsors!

Attend a clinic

County: Vilas
Town: Eagle River
Place: Hi-Pines Campgrounds
2338 N Railroad St, Eagle River, WI 54521
Event: Basics of Fishing
Tips for Kids
Dates: Tuesday nights throughout the summer
June 16 - August 11, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Why show up: Certified angler education instructors will offer 1- to 2-hour clinics to help you enjoy northern Wisconsin's great fishing opportunities.
Audience: All ages, youngsters must be accompanied by an adult.
Registration None, drop-in
Sponsor: Headwaters Muskies Inc.
Contact: A. Jim Heffner, 715-477-2667

Plan a fishing clinic

Anytime is a good time to start planning a fishing clinic. Download the Fishing Clinic Planner [PDF] to help get yourself organized. Return your completed form to the Angler Education Office at the DNR. Contact the Angler Education Office if you would like a planning form mailed to you.

Participants 16 years or older likely will need fishing licenses to fish at most events, unless they occur on Free Fishing Weekend. Call contacts for complete information.

Dates to remember

Don't forget about Free Fishing Weekend, always the 1st weekend in June and the 3rd weekend in January - no license required. Here are the dates for 2015:

  • Free Fishing Weekend - Winter, January 17 & 18, 2015
  • Free Fishing Weekend - Summer, June 6 & 7, 2015

¿Habla usted español?


Necesitamos pescadores que hablen español para patrocinar o ayudar en nuestras clínicas de pesca. Estos eventos enseñan a pescar a gente de todas edades.

Por favor déjenos saber que usted habla español si usted va ofrecer una clínica de pesca, o si va ayudar como voluntario, e incluiremos un aviso que “se habla español” en el anuncio de estos eventos en nuestro sitio Web.

Koj puas paub hais lus hmoob?

Peb xav yuav neeg uas paub hais lub hmoob los qhuas qhia neeg txhua lub noob nyoog txog nuv ntses. Yog nej muaj lus xav qhuas qhias thiab txawj hais lub hmoob, thov nej qhia rau peb paub. Yog nej xav tuaj pab thiab paub lub hmoob, thov nej qhia rau peb thiab. Peb mam li tshaj tawm rau ntawm peb lub Web site kom txhua tus hnov tias muaj neeg uas paub hais lus hmoob tuaj qhia txog nuv ntses.

More fishing opportunities

The Department of Tourism lists special events and opportunities on their website:
The Great Outdoors - Fishing [exit DNR].

Borrow a rod, keep the memories

No fishing pole? No worries. Contact a Tackle Loaner site at one of several state parks and DNR regional offices to borrow one. Pack up the family or call your friends and head to the water.

Fishing in the Neighborhood

Fishing in the Neighborhood - FIN

School's out - that means it's time to go fishing. Youth looking for summer fun may find it close to home with the DNR's Fishing in the Neighborhood program.

Four college-age interns - or FIN'terns - have been placed at community centers in Green Bay and Milwaukee to teach fishing fundamentals and connect people with their local aquatic resources. This program strives to move fishing from an annual event to repeatable opportunities to wet a line under supervision. Programming formats vary among the sites from 2-week sessions to drop-in, like old-fashioned summer playground programs.

2015 FIN Sites

You'll find FIN'terns at the following partner organizations:

  • Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Green Bay, 920-391-3671
    FIN'tern: Charlie Ecker, attending UW-Stevens Point.
  • Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee, 414-344-5460
    FIN'tern: Brandice Kirchner, attending UW-Milwaukee.
  • Milwaukee County Parks System, Milwaukee, 414-257-6521
    FIN'terns: Chloe Friday, attending UW-Milwaukee and Kendalyn Thoma, attending Wisconsin Lutheran College.


Programs are typically free, although there may be fees for special field trips. FIN is supported by the Sport Fish Restoration fund, generated by the federal excise tax on fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.

Not just for Kids

Watch for notices of FIN-at-Large events that welcome the whole community to come out and fish together. Licenses are required for people over the age of 16.

2015 FIN'terns

Meet the FIN'terns!

FIN Program Interns might be fishing in your neighborhood

  • Free fishing instruction including safety, knot tying, proper equipment and techniques.
  • Fishing equipment is available, but bring your own rod and reel if you have one.
  • Bait provided.
  • No pre-registration required, however notice is appreciated if you are bringing a large group.

FIN-at-Large events

Fish with FIN'tern Charlie Eckers and friends in De Pere.
Place Voyager Park
Date Thursday, July 23, 2015
Time Drop in from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Description Learn basic angling skills.
Contact For more information, or groups larger than 20, call our partner organization, the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary at 920-391-3671.
Fish with FIN'terns Chloe Friday, Kendalyn Thoma and friends in the Milwaukee area.
Place Brown Deer Park
7835 N. Green Bay Drive
Date Friday July 10, 2015
Time Drop in from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Description Learn basic angling skills.
Place Veterans Memorial Park
1010 N Lincoln Memorial Dr. (On the Lakefront.)
Dates Mondays, July 13 & 20, 2015
Wednesdays, July 15 & 22, 2015
Fridays, July 17 & 24, 2015
Time Drop in from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Description Learn basic angling skills.
Place Holler Park Beer Garden
5151 S. 6th Street
Dates Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Friday, July 31, 2015
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Time Drop in from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Description Learn basic angling skills.
Place Greenfield Park Pavilion
2028 S. 124 Street
West Allis
Dates Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Time Drop in from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Description Learn basic angling skills. See flyer [PDF].
Contact For more information, or groups larger than 20, call our partner organization, the Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation & Culture at 414-257-7275.
Last revised: Monday July 13 2015