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Fishing Wisconsin Wisconsin live release record fish category

Live release of a smallmouth bass

KJS Photo

Live release records

The Live Release Record Fish category accepts length-only record applications for the catch and live release of selected species in Wisconsin waters. It is designed to promote the conservation of fisheries resources and quality fishing by encouraging the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species. Among the most important outcomes will be to increase public awareness and commitment to protect our fisheries and their habitats.

Live release record fish list

Official live release application procedures

  1. The application form [PDF] for live release record certification must be completed either online or submitted to: Live Release Record Fish, Bureau of Fisheries Management, 101 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 within 30 days of catch. Incomplete or illegible applications will be rejected.
  2. Clear, color, side view photographs of the fish are required. Take several photos from different angles. One photo must clearly show the fish lying on its side with a ruler or other measuring device placed beside the fish with the length number clearly visible. Make sure that the measuring device is extended taut, in a straight line. If the measuring device is not taut, the record will not be considered. Get close enough so that the image fills the frame. Another photo must show the angler with the fish. All photographs will become the property of the DNR and will not be returned. DNR fisheries biologists will identify the species from the photographs submitted with the application. If the biologists are unable to make a conclusive identification from the photographs, the record claim will not be considered.
  3. Fish must be caught by legal angling methods and released in good condition in the water from which it was caught. (Catch and release tips: Measure the fish, take the photos and return the fish to the water. Keep the fish in the water as much as possible prior to the release. Gently place the fish back in the water. Do not hang the fish on a stringer. If necessary, revive the fish by holding it upright in the water and moving it back and forth, forcing water through its gills).
  4. Fish can be caught from any water of the state.
  5. Live release records will be recognized by length only. The record will be determined by total length measured to the nearest 1/4 inch (longest measurement from the snout or nose to the tip of the compressed tail). Girth around the widest part of the fish should also be measured. To be certified, new live release records must exceed the existing record by at least 1/4 inch.
measuring a fish

Correctly measuring the length of a fish

Eligible fish species and qualifying lengths (inches) for Live Release category
Species Length (in) Species Length (in)
Bass, Largemouth
23
Pumpkinseed
8
Bass, Rock
10
Salmon, Chinook
40
Bass, Smallmouth
22
Salmon, Coho
35
Bass, White
17
Sauger
18
Bluegill
10
Sturgeon, Lake
70
Burbot
30
Sturgeon, Shovelnsoe
24
Carp, Common
35
Sunfish, Green
8
Catfish, Channel
35
Trout, Brook
15
Catfish, Flathead
40
Trout, Brook (GL)
20
Crappie, Black
15
Trout, Brown
24
Crappie, White
15
Trout, Brown (GL)
34
Drum, FW
35
Trout, Lake
34
Muskellunge
52
Trout, Lake (GL)
34
Muskellunge, Tiger
45
Trout, Rainbow
24
Pike, Northern
40
Trout, Rainbow (GL)
36
Perch, Yellow
13
Walleye
30

For questions about record fish or comments about these pages send your message to: Bureau of Fisheries Management

Last revised: Wednesday June 21 2017