- Making fishing better
Fishing WisconsinFishing tournaments
The DNR has established limits on the size and number of tournaments on some lakes and rivers to minimize concerns such as crowding, the spread of invasive species, and indirect fish mortality. Additionally, an application fee is required to cover the increasing cost of implementing the tournament fishing program.
How does the DNR regulate fishing tournaments?
The DNR has specific regulatory authority over fishing tournaments in Wisconsin.
How to schedule or find a Wisconsin fishing tournament
- View a calendar with all scheduled Wisconsin tournaments to make sure your waterbody and dates are available, or to find a tournament you'd like to attend.
- Apply for a tournament permit.
Do I need a tournament permit?
You will need a tournament permit in cases where any of the following apply:
- The tournament involves 20 or more boats, or 100 or more participants;
- The tournament targets any trout species on waters classified as trout streams;
- The tournament is a catch-hold-release tournament with an off-site weigh-in;
- The total prize value is $10,000 or greater, or
- The tournament will have fewer than 20 boats but you want to allow participants to cull bass.
However, you do not need a permit if either of the following apply:
- The tournament is regional in nature and specific waters to be fished are not identified
- Tournament participants are not required to register or are identified in any manner prior to fishing in the tournament
If you don't need a permit
While you may not need a tournament fishing permit according to the above criteria, you may need to fill out a restocking permit. A restocking permit is needed for any catch-hold-release events which results in an individual angler exceeding any daily bag limits. Print out the application, fill in the necessary information and mail it to the local fisheries biologist for the county the tournament waterbody is located.
Fishing tournament questions?
You may find your answers on our list of frequently asked questions.
Aquatic invasives species and tournaments
Tournament anglers: Do your part to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Be familiar with the rules and follow the prevention measures
Tournament reports and publications
- Summary of fishing tournaments in Wisconsin for 2013
- Summary of fishing tournaments in Wisconsin for 2012
- Evaluation of the bass fishing tournament pilot program
- Contemplating competition: do fishing tournaments fit on Wisconsin's waters?
- Tournament angling in Wisconsin: estimating economic impacts for host communities
- Tournament-associated mortality and the effects of culling in Wisconsin black bass tournaments
For more information about fishing tournaments please contact the fish biologist for the county where you want to have your tournament.
If you have general questions about fishing tournaments, please contact Joseph Lechelt.
If you have specific questions about submitting a tournament permit application, please contact Lori Tate, Tournament Database Coordinator, 608-266-5250.