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Fishing WisconsinMotor trolling

In the state of Wisconsin, trolling is prohibited on all waters unless specifically authorized.

The prohibition stands regardless of the type of motor used. In fact, "sail" trolling is also prohibited. 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 or rowing.

Trolling is defined to include backward and forward directed trolling. Forward trolling and back trolling is allowed on waters where motor trolling is currently authorized.

Motor trolling waters in Wisconsin

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

Trolling is currently allowed on the following inland waters:

  • All waters of Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Dane, Douglas, Grant, Iowa, LaFayette, Polk, Racine, Richland, Rusk, Taylor, Washburn and Waukesha Counties;
  • the Wisconsin River including sloughs, bayous and flowages from County Highway A downstream (east of Tomahawk, WI in Lincoln County), excluding Lake Mohawksin, and excluding that portion of the Castle Rock Flowage north of the County Highway G bridge;
  • the Chippewa river including sloughs, bayous and flowages up to the flowing portion of all tributary streams from the Holcombe flowage, Chippewa county, downstream;
  • the Fox River from Buffalo Lake downstream to the DePere Dam, and

Additional waters

The following named lakes and rivers, their flowages and sloughs, also allow trolling.

  • Adams County - Mason; Wisconsin River (including Castle Rock and Pentwell Flowages)
  • Ashland County - Kakagon River and Slough
  • Brown County - Fox River
  • Buffalo County - Chippewa River
  • Calumet County - Lake Winnebago
  • Chippewa County - Chain; Long (T32N, R8W) including Herde Lake. On the Chippewa River (including Lake Wissota, Old Abe, Chippewa Falls, and Cornell flowages and tributaries of the river from their mouths upstream to the first dam or lake), motor trolling is permitted, but only up to the first road, bridge orrailroad bridge. On the Holcombe Flowage and tributaries, motor trolling is permitted up to the flowing portion of the tributary streams.
  • Clark County - Arbutus
  • Columbia County - Columbia; Wisconsin River (including Lake Wisconsin all impoundments and sloughs)
  • Crawford County - Wisconsin River
  • Dodge County - Beaver Dam; Fox; Sinnissippi
  • Door County - Clarks; Kangaroo
  • Dunn County - Menomin; Tainter. Chippewa River including streams flowing into the Chippewa River from their mouths up to the first road or railroad bridge, motor trolling is permitted.
  • Eau Claire County - Altoona; Eau Claire. Chippewa River (includes Dells Pond and tributaries upstream to the first dam or lake), motor trolling is permitted (including tributaries, but only up to the first road or railroad bridge).
  • Florence County - Halsey
  • Fond du Lac County - Lake Winnebago
  • Forest County - Butternut; Franklin; Lucerne; Metonga; Pickerel; Pine; Wabikon
  • Green Lake County - Big Green; Maria; Puckaway; Fox River
  • Jackson County - Arbutus
  • Jefferson County - Koshkonong; Rock Lake
  • Juneau County - Wisconsin River (including all impoundments and sloughs, except that portion of the Castle Rock Flowage north of the County Highway G bridge); Kilburn Flowage
  • Kenosha County - Elizabeth
  • La Crosse County - Neshonoc
  • Langlade County - Post (Lower); Post (Upper); Rolling Stone; Pickeral
  • Lincoln County - Spirit River Flowage; Wisconsin River from County Highway A downstream, excluding Lake Mohawksin
  • Marathon County - Big Eau Pleine Reservoir upstream to highway 153 bridge; Wisconsin River (including all impoundments and sloughs
  • Marinette County - High Falls Reservoir; Noquebay
  • Marquette County - Buffalo; Mason; Fox River (downstream from Buffalo Lake)
  • Oconto County - Christie; Machickanee (Stiles Pond); White Potato
  • Oneida County - Columbus; Rainbow Flowage; Sugar Camp; Thunder; Willow Flowage
  • Outagamie - Fox River
  • Pepin County - Chippewa River including tributaries up to the first road or railroad bridge
  • Portage County - Little Eau Pleine Flowage east of county highway "O"; Wisconsin River (including all impoundments and sloughs)
  • Price County - Pike; Round
  • Rock County - Koshkonong
  • St. Croix County - Cedar
  • Sauk County - Redstone; Wisconsin River (including Lake Wisconsin and all impoundments and sloughs)
  • Sawyer County - Big Lake Chetac; Grindstone; Lac Court Oreilles; Nelson; Round; Whitefish; Windigo
  • Shawano County - Shawano
  • Sheboygan County - Sheboygan Marsh (including Sheboygan Lake and its tributaries upstream to the first road crossing)
  • Walworth County - Beulah; Como; Delavan; Geneva; Whitewater
  • Washington County - Big Cedar; Pike
  • Waupaca County - Partridge; White
  • Waushara County - Poygan; Fox River
  • Winnebago County - Winnebago Pool Lakes (includes Butte des Morts, Poygan, Winnebago, Winneconne); Rush; Little Lake Butte des Morts; Fox River
  • Wood County - Wisconsin River (including all impoundments and sloughs)

Boundary and Great Lakes waters

Motor trolling is also allowed in the following boundary and Great Lakes waters adjoining Wisconsin:

  • Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters, except Vilas County boundary waters where motor trolling is prohibited,
  • Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters
  • Mississippi River
  • Tributaries to Lake Michigan in Racine County, only
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake Superior

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: Tuesday April 07 2015