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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 and 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.

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.

Workshop Angler Education Instructor Certification
It will be fun and rewarding!
Town Spooner
Place DNR Service Center
810 W. Maple
(Across the street from the hatchery.)
Date Thursday, April 28, 2016
Time 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Registration Deadline Thursday, April 21, 2016.
Audience Adults - You must be at least 18 years old to attend.
Classroom teachers, camp counselors, and 4-H and Scout leaders are encouraged to attend.
Learn effective teaching techniques to help your kids' clinics go smoothly from retired DNR fisheries biologists Frank Pratt and Larry Damman, and others. Workshop participants will receive:
  • Junior Angler and Hook, Line, & Thinker program materials that can be adapted to a variety of programs.
  • Instruction on how to teach fish identification, knot tying and casting.
  • Ideas for hands-on projects.
  • Information on available teaching resources and loaner equipment.
  • The certification process includes passing a background check. Forms will be available at the workshop or you may complete one in advance: Mentor Background Check Authorization for Educational Outdoor Skills Activities, DNR Form 4100-217 [PDF] It's helpful to let Theresa Stabo know that you have submitted a background check form to the DNR's Bureau of Law Enforcement.That way we will know to look for it and won't have to ask you again.
Sponsor: Friends into Spooner Hatchery (FISH) [exit DNR].
Contact: Register with Larry Damman 715-468-7059.

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

We'll post clinics as we learn of them. Please check back.

Adult Fishing for Dinner Classes
A 5-session class is scheduled for novice adults who missed the fishing boat as kids.

Learn from experts how to hook 'em and cook 'em.

Location Madison
Date The Madison-area class begins Tuesday, April 19, 2016.
Registration Deadline Madison - April 13, 2016
Notes Find out more more!

One big day, 15 locations for kids to learn how to fish in Southeast Wisconsin!

Bring the kids to this 32-year tradition of passing along fishing skills. Fishing club members from around Southeast Wisconsin step up year after year to share their love of fishing with area youth. All you have to do is show up!

32nd Annual Kids' Fishing Clinics
Location Milwaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha counties
Places See list of parks below.
Date Saturday, April 9, 2016
Time Hourly from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Dress for the weather and get ready to attend your choice of clinics held in 15 parks. In most cases, clinics are held at park lagoons.
  • Free fishing instruction including safety, knot tying, proper equipment and techniques.
  • For children 15 years and younger; small children must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Taught by members of local fishing clubs.
  • Clinics will begin every hour starting at 9 a.m., with the last session starting at 2 p.m.
  • Fishing equipment is available, but bring your own rod and reel if you have one.
  • No pre-registration required.
  • For more information, or groups of 20+, contact Ben Heussner at 414-303-0109 or call the Hotline at 414-263-8494.
  • Printable Flyer, [PDF]
Milwaukee County Parks Address Sponsor
Brown Deer Park 7835 N. Green Bay Rd. Okauchee Fishing Club
Dineen Park 6901 W.Vienna St. Inner City Sportsmen's Club and
Wisconsin Fishing Club
Greenfield Park 2028 S. 124th St. Great Lakes Sport Fishermen and
Milwaukee Casting Club
Humboldt Park 3000 S. Howell Ave. Lunkers Unlimited
McCarty Park - wheelchair accessible 8214 W. Cleveland Southside Sportsmen's Club
McGovern Park - wheelchair accessible 5400 N. 51st St. Badger Fishermen's League
Mitchell Park 2206 W. Pierce St. Bay View Rod & Gun Club
Oak Creek Parkway Oak Creek Parkway & Mill Road, South Milwaukee Friends of the Oak Creek Millpond
Scout Lake - Wheelchair Accessible 5902 W. Loomis Rd. Walleyes Unlimited, USA
Sheridan Park 4800 S. Lake Dr. South Milwaukee 1400 Fishing & Hunting Club
Washington Park - Wheelchair Accessible 1859 N. 4oth St. EB Garner's Fishing Club
Racine County Parks Address Sponsor
Quarry Lake Park 3800 Northwestern Avenue Salmon Unlimited
Washington County Parks Address Sponsor
Regner Park 800 N. Main,
West Bend
Trout Unlimited Southeast Chapter and
West Bend Kiwanis Early Risers
Waukesha County Parks
Address Sponsors
No park entrance fee will be charged. Parking passes will be distributed at the event.
Menomonee Park/Lannon Quarry Townline Road, (1/2 mile north of Good Hope Rd, Menomonee Falls) Wisconsin House Outdoorsmen and
Wern Valley
Muskego Park S83 W20370 Janesville Road
Women's Hunting & Sporting Association

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 - Summer, June 4 & 5, 2016
  • Free Fishing Weekend - Winter, January 21 & 22, 2017

¿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

No matter the season, we're always planning for summer fishing fun and excitement. The Fishing in the Neighborhood (FIN) program partners with local parks and community organizations to bring learn-to-fish opportunities to area residents and visitors from June through August.

2015 FIN'terns

2015 FIN'tern training outing

FIN Program Interns might be fishing in your neighborhood this summer

Five 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.

2016 FIN Sites

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

  • Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Green Bay, 920-391-3671
    FIN'terns: Anne Linkenheld, attending UW-Green Bay and Nick Schultz, UW-Stevens Point graduate.
  • Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee, 414-344-5460
    FIN'tern: Austin Hart, attending UW-Madison.
  • Milwaukee County Parks System, Milwaukee, 414-257-6521
    FIN'terns: Arian Albert, attending University of Minnesota and Nick Andersen, attending UW-Whitewater.

FIN'terns may be available to work with your group to teach fishing fundamentals and connect people to aquatic resources in the area. Programming formats will vary among the sites from 2-week sessions to drop-in sessions, like old-fashioned summer playground programs.

What to expect

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

Not just for Kids

Watch for notices of FIN events that welcome the whole community to come out and fish together, including adults who may have missed the boat as kids. Instruction and gear will be provided at these events. Licenses are required for people over the age of 16.


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

Take a look at what past FIN'terns have said about their experiences:

  • "Working with a group of seniors was very rewarding. It brings a special feeling to provide opportunities for people who enjoy fishing, but rarely get the chance" — Brandice, Urban Ecology Center.
  • "The internship was a great opportunity to network with people and build professional skills, all the while introducing people to a fun and healthy hobby" — Charlie, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • "We had many learning experiences this summer and we sure learned a lot in the field with our park supervisor and DNR field staff" — Chloe, Milwaukee County Parks.
  • "The best part was the opportunity to fish with Milwaukee's youth across a variety of parks" — Kendalyn, Milwaukee County Parks.

Last revised: Friday April 08 2016