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Give yourself the license to relax and catch some memories while you're at it.
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

Fishing Wisconsin - Angler & aquatic education Free Fishing Weekend - January 19–20 2019

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 the trout regulations; wherever you see a season date listed for a specific body of water, you'd 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, all usual regulations and seasonal restrictions are in force. 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.

Attend a Free Fishing Weekend clinic!

Plans have been made at the following locations to introduce you to the art and science of hardwater fishing. Please contact event hosts or watch this page for last minute cancellations if winter falls apart on us. The last web update will be made on January 17. 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.

Chippewa County
Community: Chippewa Falls, WI
Place: Ojibwa Golf & Bowl on Glen Loch Lake/Reservoir
Meet Here: Meet and park in the parking lot on the left side of Ojibwa Bowl.
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Description: An afternoon of fishing instruction and fun!
  • Participants take home a fishing pole and jig (while supplies last)
  • Bait provided
  • No registration required. Just come with your smile
  • Learn ice fishing skills including how to set up equipment and clean the catch
  • See flyer [PDF]
Target Audience: All Ages Welcome!
  • Chippewa Valley Family YMCA
  • Chippewa Rod & Gun Club Inc.
  • Fish Chippewa! Access for All!
  • Ojibwa Golf & Bowl
  • Lumberjack Tools
  • Mason Companies, Inc.
  • Nordson
Contact: For more information contact Ron Bakken, 715-723-7834.
Dane County
Community: Marshall, WI
Place: Fireman’s Park, 309 Park Street
Location: Located in the central part of the village off West Park Drive.
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Description: Marshall Lion’s Annual Ice Fisheree Festival!
Heated shelter to accommodate a fun filled 2-day event that includes:
  • Ice fishing
  • Outhouse races
  • Flag football
  • Candlelit skating
  • DJ
  • Food, drink and more!
Target Audience: All ages are welcome!
  • Fox Bar & Grill
  • The Barrel Inn
  • Auburn Ridge
  • Badger Pub
  • Chatty's Pit Shop
  • Rusty's Pizza and Grill
Contact: For more information contact Shelly Allness, 608-630-4830.
Dodge County
Place: Lake Emily, near Randolf
Meet Here: Boat landing on Lake Dr.
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Description: Cub Scout ice fishing day!
  • Learn all the essentials of ice fishing.
  • Get the kids out on the ice to give ice fishing a try.
Target Audience: Kindergarten to Adult
Sponsor: Cub Scout Pack 3714 - Waupun
Contact: For more information contact Jessica Schultz, 920-763-5272
Fond du Lac County
Community: Campbellsport, WI
Place: Mauthe Lake State Recreation Area
Location: Located off County Road GGG and South County Road SS near New Prospect
Note: Wisconsin State Park sticker required for entrance — perfect time to buy one!
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Description: Come learn to Ice Fish!
  • Learn the tricks of winter fishing with experienced ice anglers
  • Event begins with a presentation on safety tips and appropriate gear and tackle at the picnic shelter
  • Lure fish out on Lake Mauthe
  • Equipment, tackle, and bait will be provided
  • Register by January 17th by calling 920-533-8322
Target Audience: Anyone over the age of 6
Sponsors: Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit
Contact: For more information contact Jackie Scharfenberg, 920-533-8322.
Kenosha County
Community: Kansasville, WI
Place: Richard Bong State Recreation Area — Vern Wolf Lake
Important Update: Canceled due to uncertain ice conditions!
Sauk County
Community: Baraboo, WI
Place: Devil's Lake State Park
Important Update: Canceled due to uncertain ice conditions!
Waukesha County
Community: Dousman, WI
Place: Ottawa Lake State Forest Campground
S59 W36630 County Road ZZ
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Description: Learn ice fishing techniques including:
  • Jigging for panfish
  • Tip-up fishing
  • Ice Safety
  • Live bait presentations
  • Fish identification
Target Audience: All ages welcome
  • WDNR Fisheries Management
  • WDNR Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit
Contact: For more information contact Benjamin Heussner, 414-303-0109
Community: Watertown, WI
Place: Lower Genesse Lake – Boat launch and parking area
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Description: Introduction to ice fishing for novices, experienced kids and families.
Target Audience: All Ages Welcome!
  • American Legion Post 189
  • Frabil
  • Watertown Elk's Lodge
  • Glenn's Market and Catering
  • Dick Smith's Bait Shop
Contact: For more information contact Anthony Dittmann, 920-253-7511.
Winnebago County
Community: Neenah, WI
Place: Lake Winnebago – West Shore Paynes Pt.
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Description: Family, Friends and Ice Fishing
Target Audience: All Ages Welcome!
Sponsor: Paynes Point Hook & Spear Fishing Club
Contact: For more information contact Stacy Frakes, 920-851-3765.

Check back again for more events. We'll post them as we learn about them!

Dates to remember

Free Fishing Weekends are always held the third full weekend in January and the first full weekend in June.

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

The Department of Tourism lists events at The Great Outdoors - Fishing, [exit DNR].

Last revised: Thursday January 17 2019