Some wild rice waters are date-regulated, so harvesters can only gather rice when the waters are open. Throughout the harvest season, the DNR cooperates with GLIFWC to establish opening dates for the subset of date-regulated wild rice waters. Notices of openings and closings are posted to GLIFWC’s website and along lakeshores at public access points 24 hours before opening a date-regulated waterbody for harvest. DNR email updates are also available.
Proper harvesting technique is crucial to conserving wild rice in Wisconsin. DNR officials stress the importance of waiting to harvest until rice falls with relatively little force. If most rice appears to be milky or still growing inside the hull, wait a few days before trying again. Premature harvest and knocking stalks with too much force can stunt rice kernel growth and damage maturing rice stems. This can have long-term effects on the sustainability of rice beds, which depend on mature falling grains to regenerate.
It is essential to be aware of land ownership before entering wild rice water. Privately owned wild rice beds are not subject to state harvesting regulations, but harvesters must seek landowner permission before entering. Wild rice waters within tribal reservation boundaries are typically limited to tribal members for harvest. Contact tribal authorities for more information.
Learn more about wild rice harvesting on the DNR Wild Rice Harvesting webpage.