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Wisconsin offers a variety of fishing opportunities. Give them a try!
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Bluegills on Brittingham Bay in Madison

Bluegills on Brittingham Bay in Madison.

Contact information
Theresa Stabo
Aquatic resources educator
608-266-2272

Fishing Wisconsin - Angler & aquatic education Free Fishing Weekend - January 17-18, 2015

Bundle up and get out there for Wisconsin's Winter Free Fishing Weekend, January 17 - 18, 2015. Residents and nonresidents are welcome!

Ice Fishing Girls just want to have fun! Call up a friend and plan an adventure!

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!

Host a Free Fishing Weekend event!

Just fill out and return this Winter Free Fishing Weekend Planning Form [PDF] by January 9, 2015 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 on the DNR website as we learn of them.

Attend a Free Fishing Weekend Event

Several organizations have scheduled fishing events this weekend. Here are the ones we know about, so far – check back often for updates. Contact event hosts for cancellations if conditions are questionable. Park entrance stickers are required at state parks, forests, and recreation areas.


Fond du Lac County
Town: Campbellsport
Place: Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit
1034 N1765 County Road G, Campbellsport 53010
Event: Ice Fishing Tips & Tricks
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 10 a.m. to Noon
Directions: Mauthe Lake Recreation Area
Off of County Road GGG, South of County Road SS near New Prospect
Audience: Anyone over the age of 6 years old. Youngsters must be accompanied by an adult.
Registration
Required::
Deadline: January 15
Please call the Ice Age Visitor Center at 920-533-8322.
Sponsor: Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit
Contact: Jackie Scharfenberg, 920-533-8322

Iowa County
Town: Dodgeville
Place: Governor Dodge State Park - Twin Valley Beach
4175 HWY 23 North, Dodgeville, 53533
Event: Learn to Ice Fish
Date: Sunday, January 18, 2015
Time: Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Audience: Kids 6 - 15 years old. Youngsters must be accompanied by an adult.
Description:
  • Meet at Twin Valley Beach
  • Dress for the weather - no shanty or shelter
  • Start off at Noon with an ice safety talk
  • Learn the basics of ice fishing gear, then try to catch a fish of your own!
  • Limited amounts of equipment avaiable; bring your own if you have it
  • The first 20 children, 12 and under, who pre-register and attend will receive a free ice fishing kit
  • Drawing for additional door prizes
  • Vehicle admission sticker required
  • A huge thank you to all our sponsors who donated the fishing kits, door prizes and other supplies that made this event possible
Registration
Required:
Deadline: January 15
Please call 608-935-2315.
Sponsors:
  • Gollon's Fish Farm
  • Wilson Law Group
  • Farm & Fleet
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Mark's Auto
  • New Horizons
  • Potterton-Rule
  • Dodgeville Chronicle
  • Quality Bakery
  • Corner Drug
  • Culver's
  • Kate's Bait
  • WI DNR - Governor Dodge State Park
Contact: David Brennum, 608-935-2315

Kenosha County
Town: Kansasville
Place: Richard Bong State Recreation Area
26313 Burlington Road, Kansasville 53139
Event: Ice Fishing Basics
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Audience: Families - all children must be accompanied by an adult.
¡Español hablado!
Todos los niños deben estar acompañados por un adulto.
Description:
  • Learn the basics of safe ice fishing, then try to catch a fish of your own!
  • Equipment provided
  • Program is weather dependent
Sponsor: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Contact: Blaine Ziarek, 262-878-5611 or Jennifer Lois, 262-878-5609.

Oneida County
Town: Minocqua
Place: Shishebogama Lake
Event: Ice Fishing Fun Day
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Directions: Off of Hwy 70, about 6 miles west of Hwy 70/51 intersection
Register at water's edge by Donahoe's Back Bay Inn.
The lake borders Oneida and Vilas counties.
Audience: Everyone!
Description:
  • Come out and try your skills at ice fishing
  • Gear and bait provided
  • Instruction for novices
  • Shore lunch - fish cleaning and cooking demo in the afternoon
  • Chili feed from about Noon – 3:00 p.m. at Donahoe's Back Bay Inn
  • Bon fire
  • Learn about the great work the lake association is doing with the Ojibwe Tribe, DNR, and other partners to sustain area fisheries
  • More details in the flyer [PDF]
Registration: Much appreciated! Please see contacts listed below.
Sponsors:
  • Shishebogama/Gunlock Lakes Association
  • Donahoe's Back Bay Inn
  • Department of Natural Resources
Contacts: Pat Hayes, President, Shishebogama/Gunlock Lakes Association, 715-358-3281 or
Doug & Sue Holle, 715-356-3622

Town: Rhinelander
Place: Julia Lake
Event: Ice Fishing Fun Day
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Directions: South on Hwy 17, left on Boyce Drive, 3/4 mile to Timber Drive, left on Timber Drive, then 1/4 mile to public landing.
Park at the public access and walk on a short distance to fish.
Audience: Youth and their families
Description:
  • Come out and try your skills at ice fishing
  • Gear and bait provided
  • Dress for the weather
Sponsor: Keep it in the Northwoods 4-H Club
Contact: John Kubisiak, 715-362-2758.

St. Croix County
Town: Hudson
Place: Willow River State Park
1034 County Highway A, Hudson 54016
Event: Kids' Fishing Derby
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sponsors:
  • St Croix County Sportsman's Alliance
  • Friends of Willow River State Park
  • Hudson Rod, Gun & Archery Club
Contact: Buck Malick, 715-386-7010

Sauk County
Town: Baraboo
Place: Devil's Lake State Park
North Shore — just outside the Rock Elm Shelter.
Event: Friends and Family Ice Fishing
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Directions: Highway DL. See park maps for details.
Audience: Everyone!
Description:
  • Learn ice fishing basics from Devil's Lake volunteers and staff
  • All equipment and bait are provided
  • Bundle up as there will be no shanties...
  • however, a fire on the shore will warm your hands and heart
Sponsor: Friends of Devil's Lake State Park
Contact: Sue Johansen, 608-356-8301, Ext.140.

Vilas County
Town: Minocqua
Place: Shishebogama Lake
Event: Ice Fishing Fun Day
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Directions: Off of Hwy 70, about 6 miles west of Hwy 70/51 intersection
Register at water's edge by Donahoe's Back Bay Inn.
The lake borders Oneida and Vilas counties.
Audience: Everyone!
Description:
  • Come out and try your skills at ice fishing
  • Gear and bait provided
  • Instruction for novices
  • Shore lunch - fish cleaning and cooking demo in the afternoon
  • Chili feed from about Noon - 3:00 p.m. at Donahoe's Back Bay Inn
  • Bon fire
  • Learn about the great work the lake association is doing with the Ojibwe Tribe, DNR and other partners to sustain area fisheries
  • More details in the flyer [PDF]
Registration: Much appreciated! Please see contacts listed below.
Sponsors:
  • Shishebogama/Gunlock Lakes Association
  • Donahoe's Back Bay Inn
  • Department of Natural Resources
Contacts: Pat Hayes, President, Shishebogama/Gunlock Lakes Association, 715-358-3281 or
Doug & Sue Holle, 715-356-3622.

Washburn County
Town: Spooner
Place: Governor Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery
951 West Maple, Spooner, 54801
Fishing on the Yellow River Flowage
Event: Introduction to Ice Fishing for Youth
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 9 a.m. to Noon
Directions: Highway 70, west of town.
Audience: Ages 5 - 15, must be accompanied by an adult.
Description: Classroom instruction on fish i.d. and basic gear needs, then head out to practice new skills on the flowage.
Sponsor: F.I.S.H. — Friends into Spooner Hatchery
Contact: Amos Melton, 715-645-2526.

Waukesha County
Town: Eagle
Place: Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit
Ottawa Lake Campground
Hwy ZZ, Eagle, 53119
Event: Ice Fishing Basics
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Time: 8 a.m. to Noon
Audience: All ages - all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Description:
  • Learn basics ice fishing techniques while fishing for bluegills and northern pike
  • Gear including jig poles, tip-ups, tackle and bait provided
Sponsor: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Contact: Benjamin Heussner, 414-303-0109.

More fishing opportunities

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

Need fishing gear?

No ice fishing gear? No problem. We have ice fishing tip-ups and jigging rods you can borrow at many state parks and DNR offices. You will need to either use your own ice auger, claim an abandoned hole, or better yet — make friends with the anglers next to you and get them to drill you a hole or let you borrow their auger.

» Loaner fishing equipment contacts

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

Flag up!

For additional ice fishing information, check out ice fishing in Wisconsin.

Last revised: Thursday January 15 2015