Rep. Tusler: Legislators seek big catch with lifetime fishing license

Madison – Today, State Representatives Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) and Don Vruwink (D-Milton), and Senators Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) announced a proposal that would create a lifetime fishing license for Wisconsin residents, just days before National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 28th.

“This is an opportunity for people of all ages to get outdoors and develop a lifetime hobby,” said Rep. Tusler. “This lifetime license option is great for avid fishermen or as a gift for a young family member.”

“For many young men and women, fishing is in their blood,” Vruwink said. “A lifetime license is a good investment because it will lock in today’s annual fee for 30 years and after that no new license will be required.”

The bill creates a resident lifetime fishing license at a cost of thirty times the fee of a resident annual fishing license, currently $19.25, making the lifetime license $577.50.  At least twenty-two other states have some form of a lifetime fishing license, including Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio. Other states’ licenses range in price from $171 to $1,976, making Wisconsin’s lifetime license fee on par with many other states.

“For many people, fishing is a lifetime passion,” said Sen. Testin. “This bill gives those who fish the opportunity to make a long-term commitment to their sport and to the future of fishing and conservation in Wisconsin.”

“I encourage people to take advantage of this unique opportunity and be ready to experience a lifetime of great fishing in Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers,” said Sen. Ringhand.

Resident fishing licenses consistently generate more than $13 million in revenue for the conservation fund, administered by the DNR, which is used for various fish and wildlife management projects.

The holder of a resident lifetime fishing license must still purchase a fishing stamp if the type of fishing in which he or she will be engaged requires such a stamp.

A similar bipartisan proposal passed the Assembly last session. The bill is currently circulating for co-sponsorship. The authors are hopeful the bill will become law by next spring.

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