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Fisheries Management

Fish farming in WisconsinPrivate fishing preserve

An individual may register a private fishing preserve under Section 29.738, Wisconsin Statutes. The single benefit provided by this registration is a state fishing license or stamps are not required to fish in the registered body of water.

A single person may register with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) a natural, navigable, self-contained body of water as a private fishing preserve if all of the following apply:

  • All of the use and occupancy rights in the land that is riparian to the body of water are owned or leased by the registrant.
  • The registrant and any owner of the riparian land do not provide access to the body of water to the public by means of an easement or other right-of-way by means of a business open to the public.
  • The registrant held a private fish hatchery license under Section 29.52 of the 1995 Wisconsin Statutes on December 31, 1997 that applied to the body of water being registered as a private fishing preserve.

"Self contained" means that the body of water is landlocked, but may have pipes or similar conduits to put in or withdraw water that are equipped with fish barriers.

Lakes association or corporations are not eligible to apply for a fishing preserve registration. A fishing preserve registration is valid for one year. No person may sell or trade fish that are caught in a private fishing preserve. No person may charge a fee for fishing in a private fishing preserve or a fee for an activity that includes the privilege of fishing in a private reserve.

To register a Private Fishing Preserve, contact the local fisheries biologist for the county where your project is located for application forms.

Last revised: Thursday April 02 2015