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Got license?
Give yourself the license to relax and catch some memories while you're at it.
Regulations
Know the regulations to make your fishing more enjoyable.
Places to fish
Wisconsin offers a variety of fishing opportunities. Give them a try!
Get started
Get the basic information you need to get on the water and try your luck.
Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Theresa Stabo
R3 Coordinator
Recruitment, Retention, Reactivation
608-577-6332

Fishing Wisconsin - Angler & aquatic education Free Fishing Weekend - January 18–19, 2020

Dressed for success!

Join in - the fish'll be biting!

Host a Free Fishing Weekend event!

Take advantage of this free opportunity to introduce your friends and family to fishing.
All the waters of the state will be open to free fishing; however, all usual regulations will be in force.

Planning forms available now!

Download and complete the Free Fishing Weekend Planning Forms [PDF] to give us the details so that we can post your event on this site. If you have difficulties with this form, please contact Andrew Krismer for assistance, 608-333-2057.

Remember to plan for adults who may have missed the fishing boat as kids! We’ll post your events as we learn of them. Of course, you can just take your friends fishing without telling us, but we love to hear your stories about how you coaxed your pals out for a free weekend of fishing.

Attend a Free Fishing Weekend clinic!

Plans are afoot to introduce you to the art and science of hardwater fishing. Of course, you can just take your friends fishing without attending a clinic or telling us, but we love to hear your stories about how you coaxed your pals out for a free weekend of fishing.

Here's what we've heard from the early-bird organizers:

Washington County
Community: Hartford, WI
Location: Pike Lake, Kettle Moraine State Forest, 3544 Kettle Moraine Rd.
Meet here: Meet at the beach
Date: Saturday, January 18, 2020
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Description: Learn to Fish – Ice Fishing. Guided fishing with instructors. Fishing gear provided. Fish fry with hot chocolate and campfire at the end.
Target Audience: Ages 10 and over, or anyone new to ice fishing
Sponsors:
  • Urban Ecology Center
  • Pike Lake Sportsman Club
  • Wisconsin DNR
Note: State Park sticker required for entrance.
Contact: For more information contact Justin Blindert, 608-732-0371.

The last web update will be made on January 15.

Planning forms available now!

Download and complete the Free Fishing Weekend Planning Forms [PDF] to give us the details so that we can post your event on this site. If you have difficulties with this form, please contact Andrew Krismer for assistance, 608-333-2057.

Remember to plan for adults who may have missed the fishing boat as kids! We’ll post your events as we learn of them. Of course, you can just take your friends fishing without telling us, but we love to hear your stories about how you coaxed your pals out for a free weekend of fishing.

Fish almost anywhere!

Fish almost anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp on Free Fishing Weekend. Most waters of the state are included, except for spring trout ponds. Review information about the early trout season and the trout regulations for clarification. If you see a season date listed for a specific body of water, you'll be fine, although some waters may be catch and release only.
All other inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River are open for you to test your skills and try your luck. Remember, the all usual regulations and seasonal restrictions are in force.

Tread carefully

Please exercise caution before heading out on the ice. Be aware of the "honeycomb effect," which occurs after freeze-thaw-freeze conditions, that weakens ice. Stay safely on shore and cast into open water if ice conditions are questionable.

Dates to remember

Free Fishing Weekends are always held the third full weekend in January and the first full weekend in June. For 2020, mark January 18 & 19 and June 6 & 7 on your calendars and make plans to introduce your friends to fishing. Watch for planning forms about three months before the big date. If your outing is open to the public, give us the details and we'll post it on this site to help you get a good turn-out.

Need fishing gear?

No fishing gear? No problem. We have fishing poles that you can borrow at many state parks and DNR offices. Contact a Tackle Loaner site at one of several state parks and DNR regional offices to borrow one. Call the DNR staffer or partner listed for each site to find out what specific equipment is available and to arrange to pick it up.

Get a license

New to fishing, but want to make it a habit after Free Fishing Weekend? Try our "First-time buyer" resident license for only $5. Discounts for non-residents too!

Here is more information about purchasing a fishing license so you'll be ready to fish any time of the year!

More fishing opportunities

Other DNR-sponsored clinics are listed here and the Department of Tourism lists events at The Great Outdoors - Fishing,[exit DNR].

Last revised: Thursday December 05 2019