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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 and aquatic education

Be a part of Wisconsin’s conservation tradition by becoming an Angler Education Instructor.

Angler Education

First step: knot-tying!

The angler education program is looking for people who enjoy working with children, like to fish or would like to learn by helping to teach others.

Instructors provide opportunities to learn basic fishing skills, explore Wisconsin’s aquatic resources and develop a set of conservation ethics to help ensure that Wisconsin’s lakes and streams will remain bountiful for generations to come.

The program provides training workshops to clubs, schools, youth development organizations and service groups. Trained instructors have access to educational resources and loaner fishing equipment.

Instructor certification

Instructor certification

Angler Education

An Instructor-In-Training practices casting skills and resourcefulness with a fish target and pop-can rig along Milwaukee's lakefront.

Who are instructors?

Instructors are people like you. Youth leaders, classroom teachers, fishing club members and civic leaders are all encouraged to attend a workshop as a team or form one at the workshop. Successful program models include after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes, family-school/camp adventures, scout merit badges and more.

While this program has traditionally focused on youth, keep in mind adults who may have missed the boat as kids.

Certification process

People get certified as Angler Education Instructors by attending a training workshop and completing a background check [PDF].

Here are more specifics on the certification process.

Training workshops

Training workshops

Angler Education

Instructors-In-Training test non-lead sinkers at a Rhinelander workshop.

Please check back from time to time for updates to this schedule.

Angler education instructor certification workshop

Basic Angler Education instructor certification workshops focus on teaching spin casting and incorporating related topics in a K-12 curriculum, youth development program or adult education. Some workshops feature fly fishing or complementary aquatic resources education programs while others are linked to our adult Fishing for Dinner program.

Fishing club members, youth leaders, classroom teachers, community center staff and civic leaders are encouraged to attend a workshop as a team or form a team at a workshop. Successful models include after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes, school-family events and Boy Scout merit badge training.

Workshop fees

Angler Education workshops are free; sometimes we feed you lunch or dinner, too. However, we do have a $15 workshop commitment deposit to ensure good attendance by registrants and allow us to plan accordingly. If your plans change, please notify us in advance to get a refund of your workshop commitment deposit. Otherwise, it becomes a donation to the Angler Education Program.

Workshop schedule

County LaCrosse
Community Onalaska
Place Midwest Fisheries Center, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Address:555 Lester Avenue, Onalaska, WI 54650
Dates and Times Dates and Times: Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Optional additional day for field experience: Thursday, August 22, 8:30 a.m. - Noon
Fishing for Dinner & Angler Education Instructor Certification Workshop.
Come learn tips and best practices on how to teach others to fish and prepare the catch for the table.
Most Wisconsinites live within 50 miles of fishable waters that offer many places to catch a healthy and delicious dinner, with a low food-miles score. Become certified to lead community learn-to-fish programs that target adults and families or weave them into the classroom. Brush up on your own basic fishing skills during hands-on activities so that you can teach them to others and take home a guide to implementing these programs. Bring clothing suitable for fishing and your fishing license for the second day. Gear will be available or bring your own.
Registration Deadline Download the registration form, [PDF], to Andrew Krismer by August 14, 2019 (see form for details).
Audience Adults who want to teach others how to fish.
Class Size This class is limited to 20 people. Reserve your seat and register now!
Participants will Receive:
  • Fishing for Dinner Training Manual
  • Junior Angler and Hook, Line, & Thinker program materials that can be adapted to classrooms and recreation programs.
  • Access to a boatload of resources and loaner gear
  • Instruction includes how to teach fish identification, knot tying, casting and more!
Sponsors: US Fish & Wildlife Service and the WI DNR
Thanks to Gretchen Newberry, Visitor Services Specialist, USFWS for inviting us to present at the Midwest Fisheries Center.
Contact: Theresa Stabo, (608) 577-6332 or
Andrew Krismer, (608) 333-2057.

Schedule a workshop

To schedule a volunteer or teacher training workshop in your community, please contact Theresa Stabo, R3 Coordinator, 608-577-6332. We need a minimum of 8 to 12 adult participants, depending on location, to hold a workshop.

Loaner gear

Tackle Loaner Program

No fishing rod? No problem. We have fishing equipment you can borrow at several DNR offices and state parks and facilities. There is no charge to borrow the equipment -- just enjoy your day fishing in Wisconsin and return the equipment in the condition you received it (or better) so that the next person can enjoy it.

Check out the fishing equipment contacts page for information on who to contact to find out exactly what kind of gear is available near you. If you have general questions about the tackle loaner program contact Theresa Stabo, 608-577-6332.

Available gear

While special lures and fresh bait are not provided, we generally have the following basic equipment at most sites:

Family fishing

The DNR has equipment you can borrow to get children hooked on fishing.

  • many closed face fishing rods and reels;
  • a few open face rods and reels;
  • casting plugs;
  • bobbers; and
  • hooks, lines and sinkers

In addition to fishing equipment, some sites (but not all) have fish printing materials, knot-tying practice equipment, Backyard Bass (a casting game) and other educational resources like Fish Packs [PDF]. Fish Packs are stocked with games, stories and activities that help youngsters learn about Wisconsin fish. Check one out or download the link for ideas to create your own. Inquire when you contact or visit a loaner site to see exactly what they have to offer.

Keep in mind

Before you plan a fishing trip around loaner equipment, know that:

  • equipment is available on a first come, first served basis; and
  • you may borrow equipment for up to one week, unless demand is low in your area. Ask the contact in your area if an extension is possible.

Follow the Golden Rule

Please return loaner equipment in the condition you would like it to be when you borrow it.

  • Make proper handling and care of equipment part of your angler or fishing education program.
  • If the equipment was damaged, return all the parts with a note explaining what happened.
  • Instructions to fix a tangled reel [PDF].

The most popular time for borrowing the equipment is also the busiest time for our field staff - spring and early summer. Please help them out by returning the equipment clean and in good working order. If something breaks -- which sometimes happens -- fix it if you can, or bring the problem to our staff's attention so the next group will have functional equipment. Your help with maintenance frees up our field staff for stocking fish and working on habitat projects.

Adopt a fishing tackle loaner site

Many tackle loaner sites would welcome help with equipment maintenance. This would be a great volunteer service project for scouts, students, fishing clubs or anyone who'd like to pitch in and ensure that our gear is in shape for beginner anglers. Materials will be provided for re-spooling and general clean-up. Loaner sites that want help are marked with a VM. Locate the site nearest you on the fishing equipment contacts page and call them to find out how you can help. Thank you!

Clinics

Fishing clinics

Throughout the year, the Department of Natural Resources works with local parks departments, fishing clubs and organizations to host fishing clinics and other events. Thanks to all clinic hosts and sponsors!

Dane County
Community: Madison
Description: Pontoon Fishing with the FiN'terns*
*Fishing in the Neighborhood Interns

Come aboard with the FiN'terns this summer and fish Lake Monona or Lake Mendota from the Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) pontoon boats. FiN'terns Maddy Reick, Zeke Vredenbregt and Isaiah Scheffler and will be on hand to help you out at these mini-sessions. We'll have two boats during each outing with room for six anglers per boat. In addition, we'll have family drop-in nights where you'll fish from shore, then go for a boat ride.

Time & Place: Boats leave the dock at Tenney Park [exit DNR] in Madison at 5 p.m. and return by 8 p.m. for the pontoon fishing outings. The FiN'terns and/or DNR staff will be at the dock to help you rig your fishing pole by 4:30.
Dates & Lakes: Fishing from pontoon boat:
  • Wednesday evening, July 17, 2019 – Lake Monona
  • And maybe more!

MSCR Family Drop-in Nights - Fishing from shore with a pontoon ride.
These boats will leave at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Monday evening, August 5, 2019 – Lake Monona
Registration Use registration form [PDF] for the pontoon fishing outings and register by email or fax with Andrew Krismer, (Fax:608-266-3696, Phone:608-333-2057). Indicate if you need a fishing pole or are bringing your own.
Check with MSCR [exit DNR] about the shore fishing and pontoon ride nights.
What to bring:
  • Water bottle
  • Snack or sandwich for yourself
  • Hat that won't blow off
  • Sunglass for the setting sun
What to expect::
  • Bait and gear if you need it
  • A few hours of fishing
  • The current water level of the Yahara River is at a point where access to Lake Monona could require all passengers to sit or kneel on the floor of the boat!
  • A chance to learn how to clean your catch to take home and cook.
Cost: Free!
Milwaukee County
Fishing with the FiN'terns*
*Fishing in the Neighborhood Interns
Community: Milwaukee, WI
Place: Lincoln Park Boat Landing at 4950 N Milwaukee River Parkway
Dates: Fridays - July 26 and August 9, 2019
Time: 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Description: Come catch the big one at Lincoln Park with guided fishing lessons for kids, adults, and families with our DNR Angler Educators. All equipment provided. Fishing licenses are required for ages 16 and up.
Contact: For more information contact Terry Evans, (414) 344-5460
Community: Milwaukee, WI
Place: Washington Park, Milwaukee at 1589 N 40th St
Dates: Every Wednesday from July 17 to August 21, 2019
Time: 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Description: Come catch the big one at Washington Park Lagoon with guided fishing lessons for kids, adults, and families with our DNR Angler Educators. All equipment provided. Fishing licenses are required for ages 16 and up.
Check out the flyer!
Contact: For more information contact Terry Evans, (414) 344-5460
Community: Milwaukee, WI
Place: Mitchell Park Lagoon, Milwaukee 524 S Layton Blvd
Dates: Fridays - August 2 and 16, 2019
Time: 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Description: Come catch the big one at Mitchell Park with guided fishing lessons for kids, adults, and families with our DNR Angler Educators. All equipment provided. Fishing licenses are required for ages 16 and up.
Check out the flyer!
Contact: For more information contact Terry Evans, (414) 344-5460
Community: Milwaukee, WI
Place: McGovern Park Lagoon, Milwaukee 5400 N 51st Blvd
Date: Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Time: 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Description: Come catch the big one at McGovern Park with guided fishing lessons for kids, adults, and families with our DNR Angler Educators. All equipment provided. Fishing licenses are required for ages 16 and up.
Check out the flyer!
Contact: For more information contact Terry Evans, (414) 344-5460
Vilas County
Community: Eagle River
Place: HI Pines Campgrounds

Need not be camping at HI Pines
Dates: Wednesdays, June 12 – August 7, 2019
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Target age: Kids, but bring an adult so they can learn, too!
Description: Kids' Fishing Tips

Two-hour sessions to learn fishing basics:
  • Knot-tying
  • Fish ID
  • Casting
  • Safety by the water
Sponsor: Headwaters Muskies, Inc.
DNR Certified Angler Education Instructors:
  • A.Jim Heffner
  • Carol Heffner
  • Diane Jensen
  • Elmer Jensen
  • Summer Hendrickson
  • Andy Hendrickson
  • Courtney Froemming
  • Frank Pratt
Contact: A. Jim Heffner, 715-477-2667 or 715-891-0293.

We'll post more clinics as we learn of them. Please check back.

Dates to remember

Don't forget about Free Fishing Weekend, always the 1st weekend in June and the 3rd weekend in January - no license required. Mark your calendars now to plan your next Free Fishing Weekend outing for your organization or friends and family:

  • Free Fishing Weekend - Winter, January 19 & 20, 2019
  • Free Fishing Weekend - Summer, June 1 & 2, 2019

¿Habla usted español?

Enseñan

Necesitamos pescadores que hablen español para patrocinar o ayudar en nuestras clínicas de pesca. Estos eventos enseñan a pescar a gente de todas edades.

Por favor déjenos saber que usted habla español si usted va ofrecer una clínica de pesca, o si va ayudar como voluntario, e incluiremos un aviso que “se habla español” en el anuncio de estos eventos en nuestro sitio Web.

Koj puas paub hais lus hmoob?

Peb xav yuav neeg uas paub hais lub hmoob los qhuas qhia neeg txhua lub noob nyoog txog nuv ntses. Yog nej muaj lus xav qhuas qhias thiab txawj hais lub hmoob, thov nej qhia rau peb paub. Yog nej xav tuaj pab thiab paub lub hmoob, thov nej qhia rau peb thiab. Peb mam li tshaj tawm rau ntawm peb lub Web site kom txhua tus hnov tias muaj neeg uas paub hais lus hmoob tuaj qhia txog nuv ntses.

The Department of Tourism lists special events and opportunities on their website:
The Great Outdoors - Fishing [exit DNR].

Plan a fishing clinic

Anytime is a good time to start planning a fishing clinic. Download the Fishing Clinic Planner [PDF] to help get yourself organized. Return your completed form to the Angler Education Office at the DNR. Contact the Angler R3 Office if you would like a planning form mailed to you.

Participants 16 years or older likely will need fishing licenses to fish at most events, unless they occur on Free Fishing Weekend. Call contacts for complete information.

Borrow a rod, keep the memories

No fishing pole? No worries. Contact a Tackle Loaner site at one of several state parks and DNR regional offices to borrow one. Pack up the family or call your friends and head to the water.

Fishing in the Neighborhood

Fishing in the Neighborhood - FiN

2019 FiN'terns

2019 FiN'tern training at Devil's Lake, L to R: Isaiah, MSCR; Emily, UEC; Maddy, MSCR; and Ailish, UEC with Theresa Stabo and Andrew Krismer of the DNR R3 Team.

The Fishing in the Neighborhood (FiN) program partners with local parks and community organizations to bring learn-to-fish opportunities to area residents and visitors from June through August.

Interns or FiN'terns, were placed at the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) in Milwaukee and with Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) in Madison to teach fishing fundamentals and connect people with their local aquatic resources. This program strives to move fishing from an annual event to repeatable opportunities to wet a line, under supervision. Programming formats vary among the sites from 2-week sessions to drop-in, like old-fashioned summer playground programs.

Go fishing with the FiN'terns!

Check out these special events and clinics led by the FiN'terns of Madison and Milwaukee.
New postings for Milwaukee!

Last revised: Thursday July 18 2019