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Fisheries Management

Wisconsin's fishing seasonsYear-round fishing waters

The hook and line fishing is open all year in these waters for all fish species except muskellunge, lake sturgeon, trout, paddlefish and threatened or endangered fish, and as otherwise noted in the Special County Regulations for the waterbody where you plan to fish.

Special county regulations

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Special County Regulations for the county and waterbody you plan to fish. For many of these year-round fishing opportunities there are some specific rules on species, sizes, and bag limits.

Categories:

Lakes || Rivers & streams || Northern Highland Fisheries Research Area || Green Bay tributaries

Lakes:

Listed alphabetically by lake name:

  • Bass Lake - Portage County
  • Bean Lake - Jefferson County
  • Bean's Lake - Waushara County
  • Buffalo Lake - Marquette County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Campbell Lake - Waupaca County
  • Castle Rock Flowage - Adams County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Cincoe Lake - Waupaca County
  • Columbia Lake - Columbia County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Dunville Bottoms - Dunn County
  • Goose Lake - Jefferson County
  • Hahns Lake - Jefferson County
  • Kilburn Flowage - Juneau County
  • Kinney Lake - Waupaca County
  • Lake Koshkonong - Dane, Rock and Jefferson Counties (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Lazy Lake - Columbia County
  • Little Lake Butte des Morts - Winnebago County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Long Lake - Columbia County
  • Lost Lake - Dodge County
  • Maria, Lake - Green Lake County
  • Michigan, Lake - see Lake Michigan regulations for species open year-round.
  • Mud Lake at Koshkonong - Jefferson County
  • Mullet Lake - Fond du Lac County
  • Partridge Lake - Waupaca County
  • Partridge Crop Lake - Waupaca County
  • Petenwell Flowage - Adams County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Pleasant Lake - Portage County
  • Puckaway, Lake - Green Lake County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Red Cedar Lake - Jefferson County
  • Sheboygan Marsh including Sheboygan Lake and its tributaries upstream to the first road crossing - Sheboygan County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Sinnissippi Lake - Dodge County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Winnebago Waters - Lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Poygan, Winneconne - Calumet, Fond du Lac, Waushara and Winnebago Counties - (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Wisconsin, Lake - Columbia County (motor trolling is permitted)

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Rivers & streams:

Listed alphabetically with multiple counties.

Baraboo River - Sauk and Columbia Counties

Bark River - Jefferson County, from the dam at Hebron downstream

Beaver Dam River - Dodge County, downstream from the dam in the city of Beaver Dam

Busseyville (Koshkonong) Creek - Dane and Jefferson Counties , downstream from Co. Hwy B (motor trolling is permitted in Dane County)

Chippewa River (motor trolling is permitted):

  • Buffalo County, upstream from the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Bridge, including streams flowing into the Chippewa River from their mouths up to the first road or railroad bridge
  • Dunn County, including streams flowing into the Chippewa River from their mouths upstream to the first road or railroad bridge
  • Eau Claire County, downstream below Dells Pond Dam, and all tributaries of the river from their mouths upstream to the first road or railroad bridge
  • Pepin County, upstream of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy railroad bridge (including tributaries upstream to the first road or railroad bridge

Crawfish River:

  • Columbia County, including impoundments and sloughs
  • Dodge County
  • Jefferson County

Eau Claire River - Eau Claire County, from the Altoona Dam downstream

Eau Galle River:

  • Dunn County, downstream from Lake Eau Galle
  • Pepin County

Embarrass River:

  • Outagamie County
  • Shawano County, downstream from the Pella Dam
  • Waupaca County

Fond du Lac River - Fond du Lac County, within the Fond du Lac city limits.

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Fox River:

  • Brown County
    • upstream to the De Pere Dam is considered part of Lake Michigan - see the Lake Michigan regulations for species listed as open all year (motor trolling is permitted)
    • from the dam at DePere upstream is considered inland waters (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Columbia County, downstream from the west highway crossing of state highway 33 at Portage
  • Green Lake County
    • above the first dam upstream from Princeton (motor trolling is permitted)
    • below the first dam upstream from Princeton (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Kenosha County
  • Marquette County, downstream from Buffalo Lake (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Outagamie County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Racine County, downstream from the dam at Waterford (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Waushara County (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Winnebago County
    • downstream of the Neenah-Menasha Dam (motor trolling is permitted)
    • upstream of Lake Winnebago (motor trolling is permitted)

Grand River - Marquette County, from the Grand River wildlife area dam downstream to the Fox River

La Crosse River - La Crosse County, downstream from the Lake Neshonoc Dam

Lemonweir River:

  • Juneau County, including all impoundments and sloughs
  • Monroe County, including all impoundments and sloughs
  • Monroe County, East Fork Lemonweir River, upstream to the Hwy 173 bridge
  • Monroe County, South Fork Lemonweir River, upstream to the Tomah Dam

Little Wolf River - Waupaca County, downstream from the dam at Manawa.

Mill Creek - Portage County

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Pecatonica River:

  • Green County
  • Iowa County, East Branch, downstream from the bridge at STH 39, 1/2 mile, east of Hollandale
  • Lafayette County, entire East Branch and the West Branch from the US Hwy 151 bridge downstream, and from the junction of the East and West branches down-stream

Pine River - Waushara County, downstream from the dam at Poysippi.

Puckyan River - Green Lake County

Pumpkinseed Creek:

  • Waushara County
  • Winnebago County

Red Cedar River - Dunn County, from the Chippewa River to Lake Menomin

Rock River:

  • Dodge County, (designated shore fishing locations only within the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge)
  • Fond du Lac County
  • Jefferson County
  • Rock County

Rubicon River - Dodge County

Scuppernong River - Jefferson County, downstream from the dam at Palmyra

Shioc River - Outagamie County

Waterloo Creek - Jefferson County, downstream from the Malthouse Dam

Waupaca River - Waupaca County, downstream from the dam at Weyauwega.

White River - Racine County, downstream from the Burlington Dam

Wildcat (Creek) River - Dodge County

Willow Creek - Waushara County, downstream from the dam at Auroraville.

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Wisconsin River, including all sloughs, bayous, flowages and tributaries from their mouths upstream to the first highway bridge or railroad bridge; (motor trolling is permitted unless shown otherwise):

  • Adams County
  • Columbia County
  • Crawford County
  • Dane County
  • Grant County
  • Iowa County
  • Juneau County (motor trolling is permitted, except that portion of the Castle Rock Flowage north of the Co. Hwy. G bridge)
  • Lincoln County downstream from Kings Dam including all impoundments and sloughs (Kings Dam forms Lake Alice). Motor trolling is allowed from CTH A downstream EXCEPT on Lake Mohawksin
  • Marathon County
  • Portage County (including all impoundments and sloughs)
  • Richland County
  • Sauk County (including Lake Wisconsin, all impoundments and sloughs) (motor trolling is permitted)
  • Wood County (including all impoundments and sloughts) (motor trolling is permitted)

Wolf River:

  • Outagamie County
  • Shawano County, downstream from the Shawano Paper Mill dam
  • Waupaca County
  • Winnebago County

Yellow River:

  • Wood County, downstream from the Hwy 54 dam at Dexterville
  • Juneau County, including all impoundments and sloughs

Yellowstone River - LaFayette County, downstream from the Yellowstone Lake Dam

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Experimental waters of the Northern Highlands Fishery Research Area:

Escanaba, Mystery, Nebish, Pallette, and Spruce Lakes have been managed as experimental waters since 1946. Every fish taken is counted and measured as part of the longest continuous record of angler harvest in the world! A free daily fishing permit from the Escanaba Lake Research Station is required to fish on any of these five lakes. The research station is located three and one-half miles east of Trout Lake off of Highway M in Vilas County. A Wisconsin fishing license is also required.

The lakes are open to continuous year-round fishing for all species with exception(s) listed below by lake. These lakes are not open to fishing on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The research station is open from 4 a.m. to 8-10 p.m. during open water season and 6 a.m. to 6-8 p.m. during ice fishing season. Closing hours vary depending on available daylight. After fishing, anglers must return the permit and bring their catch to be examined by biologists for entry into the database. For more information, contact: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Northern Highland Fishery Research Area, 8770 Highway J, Woodruff, WI 54568, (715) 356-5211.

  • Escanaba Lake - The minimum length limit on walleye is 28" with a daily bag limit of 1.
  • Nebish Lake - There is no minimum length limit on smallmouth bass, but smallmouth bass 9" through 12" may not be kept.
  • Palette Lake - No open season for lake trout. The minimum length limit on smallmouth bass is 22" and the daily bag limit is 1.
  • Spruce Lake - Only artificial flies and lures may be used. Largemouth bass season is open all year with a 12" minimum length limit and a daily bag limit of 2.

Special open season for Green Bay tributaries:

The following stream sections are open year-round for all species except muskellunge, lake sturgeon, lake trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and yellow perch (however, tributaries to these stream sections are not open all year):

  • Duck Creek - Brown County, from the first dam above the Pamperin Park footbridge (Village of Howard) downstream to Green Bay
  • Suamico River - Brown County, from the CTH HS (Velp Avenue) bridge downstream to Green Bay
  • East River - Brown County, from the CTH XX (Hoffman Road) bridge downstream to the Fox River
  • Little Suamico River - Oconto County, from the CTH J bridge downstream to Green Bay
  • Pensaukee River - Oconto County, from the CTH J bridge downstream to Green Bay
  • Oconto River - Oconto County, from the Stiles dam downstream to Green Bay
  • Little River - Oconto County, from the Highway 141 bridge downstream to the Oconto River
  • Little River - Marinette County, from the Rader Road bridge downstream to Green Bay
  • Peshtigo River - Marinette County, from the Peshtigo dam downstream to Green Bay.

Note:there is no hook and line fishing allowed for any species on all other Green Bay and Fox River tributaries and ditches, including tributaries to the above streams, from their mouth up to the first dam or lake from March 2, 2009 - May 1, 2009.

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Last revised: Thursday October 18 2012