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Fishing WisconsinMotor trolling

On July 1, 2015, the regulations on motor trolling in Wisconsin will be changing.  Prior to that date, please consult the current hook and line regulations for the interim regulations. 

Trolling defined

According to NR 20.03(40) of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, "troll" or "trolling" means fishing by trailing any lure, bait or similar device that may be used to attract or catch fish from a boat propelled by a means other than drifting, pedaling, paddling, or rowing.  Casting and immediate retrieval of a bait, lure or similar device while the motor is running (or “position fishing”) is not considered trolling.

Motor trolling in Wisconsin

On July 1, 2015, trolling will be allowed on all inland waters with 1 hook, bait or lure per angler (and 2 hooks, baits or lures maximum per boat), unless more hooks, baits or lures are specifically authorized.

In addition, trolling is allowed with up to 3 hooks, baits or lures per angler on the following waters:

Inland Waters - 3 hooks, baits or lures per angler

  • All waters of the following counties:  Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Forest, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Monroe, Oconto, Outagamie, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, Racine, Richland, Rock, Rusk, Sauk, Shawano, St. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washburn, Waukesha, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood;
  • Door County – Clarks Lake and Kangaroo Lake;
  • Florence County – Halsey Lake;
  • Fond du Lac County – Fond du Lac River and Lake Winnebago;
  • Jackson County – Lake Arbutus;
  • Lincoln County - Spirit River Flowage, Wisconsin River from County Highway A downstream, including sloughs, bayous and flowages except Lake Mohawksin;
  • Marathon County - Big Eau Pleine Flowage upstream to the highway 153 bridge, Lake Dubay and its tributaries west of Interstate Highway 39, and the Wisconsin River (including all other sloughs, bayous and flowages and their tributaries upstream to the first highway bridge);
  • Marquette County – Buffalo Lake, Mason Lake, and the Fox River (downstream from Buffalo Lake);
  • Oneida County – Columbus Lake, Rainbow Flowage, Sugar Camp Lake, Thunder Lake, and Willow Flowage;
  • Sawyer County – Chetac Lake, Grindstone Lake, Lac Court Oreilles, Nelson Lake, Round Lake, Whitefish Lake, and Windigo Lake;
  • Sheboygan County - Sheboygan Marsh (including Sheboygan Lake and its tributaries upstream to the first road crossing);
  • Washington County - Big Cedar Lake and Pike Lake;
  • Waushara County – Lake Poygan and the Fox River;
  • All other inland waters not listed above:  Trolling is allowed with 1 hook, bait or lure per angler (and 2 hooks, baits or lures maximum per boat).

Boundary Waters - 3 hooks, baits or lures per angler

  • Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters, except Vilas County boundary waters, where motor trolling allowed with only 1 line per angler;
  • All Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters;
  • Mississippi River

Great Lakes (Outlying Waters) - 3 hooks, baits or lures per angler

  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake Superior

Please consult the current hook and line regulations for the complete list of regulations that apply to these waters.

Frequently asked questions

For additional information on Wisconsin fishing, (e.g., maps, fish consumption advisories), please see our list of frequently asked questions.

Last revised: Thursday May 21 2015