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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 $10 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

There are no workshops scheduled now. Please check back another day or sign up for GovDelivery for alerts to new opportunities. Look for the envelope icon at the bottom of this page.

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!

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

2018 FiN'terns

2018 FiN'tern training

Apply now to be a Fishing in the Neighborhood Intern this summer!

Check out summer FiN'tern position description and apply now.

How to apply:

Submit a resume, the internship application (Form 9100-855) and three references.
Application deadline is May 2, 2019, or as soon as positions are filled with qualified applicants.

If you have trouble downloading the application, please fill contact Andrew Krismer, DNR R3 Assistant, 608-333-2057. (Form 9100-855 is the preferred method, if possible.)


Here's what past FiN'terns have said about their experiences:

  • "I heard numerous parents comment on how they have a new family hobby and would have to ask Grandpa to get his gear out." — Izabelle, Urban Ecology Center.
  • "The best elements of this program are that it's free and it's rewarding to provide these opportunities to people who may not otherwise be introduced to fishing. " — Parker, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • "I enjoyed the knowledge I gained about fish management on the Great Lakes though the field work activities with DNR and USFWS. " — Erika Bay, Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • "Encountering people of different backgrounds and learning to build a community around fishing was a valuable part of the internship." — Jeff, Wehr Nature Center.
  • "One of the best parts were the people at DNR and Wehr Nature Center who were there to mentor us. My fellow FIN'tern was a great partner." — Justin, Wehr Nature Center.

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.

College-age interns or FiN'terns will be placed at community centers in Madison and Milwaukee 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.

Last revised: Tuesday May 07 2019