This Weekend, Enjoy Free Fishing

Share the fun and excitement of winter fishing during Free Fishing Weekend Jan. 21-22. Photo by: istock/Dcwcreations

The Wisconsin DNR is hosting Free Fishing Weekend Jan. 21-22 to share the fun and excitement of winter fishing. No fishing license or trout and salmon stamps are required.

“Free Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to give angling a try, without the added step and expense of getting a fishing license,” says Theresa Stabo, DNR Angler Outreach Program Specialist. “Fishing is about so much more than the catch. Get out there and enjoy nature, spend time with friends and family, and if you’re lucky, bring home some fish for your next at-home fish fry.”

Find Free Fishing Weekend events: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/events

Anglers can fish state waters where there is an open season. All other fishing regulations apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish you can keep and any seasons when you must release certain fish species. As a reminder, anglers cannot fish spring trout ponds during the Winter Free Fishing Weekend.

If you plan to keep your catch, be sure to review the DNR’s Safe Eating Guidelines: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/consumption

Prepare To Fish

Visit the DNR’s Fishing Equipment For Loan webpage to find a tackle loaner site with ice fishing equipment near you. Locations with ice fishing equipment will have an “IF” next to their name. Basic gear is available; however, sites do not lend out ice augers. Hours and available equipment vary, so contact the site in advance and plan ahead to pick up the gear.

Winter Fishing Safety Reminders

Remember, no ice is 100 percent safe. Check with local bait shops for current ice conditions in the area you plan to ice fish. Stay safely on shore if ice conditions are questionable and if open water is within casting distance, give that a try. Always tell someone where you are going and when you’ll return.

Lastly, dress for winter comfort, and don’t forget your safety gear:

  • Warm layers that are water-resistant
  • Sturdy waterproof boots with spike-style creepers for traction
  • Extra hat and gloves
  • Rescue throw rope
  • Ice claws