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For more information on trout regulations review, contact:
Joanna Griffin

Fishing WisconsinTrout regulation review

A beautiful brook trout

A striking brook trout is fooled by a fly.

The DNR launched a statewide effort in 2011 to review inland trout fishing regulations. Trout populations, trout streams and trout anglers have changed significantly since we last collected angler input on a statewide basis over 20 years ago.


Trout surveys

Trout surveys

The DNR held a series of public meetings in March 2011 to introduce the trout regulations review process, to update anglers on the current status of inland trout populations, and to get angler and stakeholder input on trout fisheries and management through the use of a survey. There were 201 surveys completed at the meetings. The survey was also available for the public to take online, where an additional 1,704 surveys were completed. There were 1,373 survey respondents from 69 Wisconsin counties and 291 respondents from out-of-state, including 118 from Illinois and 117 from Minnesota (not all respondents identified their county or state of residence).

The meeting and online survey served two main purposes: to introduce the trout regulations review process to the public and to test and revise questions that ultimately would be used in a randomized survey of current trout anglers in Wisconsin. This survey was available to anyone who wanted to take it. As such, the survey was not intended to be representative of trout anglers in general, but rather represent the views of only those who chose to take the survey. The survey included questions on the following topics:

  • Trout angling preferences
  • Trout stream characteristics
  • Trout stream access
  • Trout stream habitat
  • Trout angling regulations
  • Perceptions of changes in trout fisheries over time
  • Trout fishing seasons
  • Satisfaction with trout management programs such as access, stream habitat restoration, and beaver control

In 2011 the DNR also conducted a survey of lapsed inland trout anglers. Lapsed anglers were defined as those who had not purchased an inland trout stamp for the last three consecutive years (2009-2011) but had purchased the inland trout stamp during each of the five consecutive previous years (2004-2008). The survey was mailed to 800 randomly-selected lapsed trout anglers; useable surveys were returned from 498 lapsed trout anglers yielding a 68% response rate.

Public meeting and online survey on Wisconsin’s inland trout program [PDF]

Results of the 2011 Survey of Lapsed Wisconsin Inland Trout Anglers [PDF]

Trout Fishing in Wisconsin: angler behavior, program assessment and regulation and season preference [PDF]

Last revised: Tuesday July 12 2016