Contact: Theresa Stabo, DNR R3 Coordinator or 608-577-6332

MADISON, Wis. – Grab your gear and get fishing Jan. 16-17 during the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Winter Free Fishing Weekend. This event is a great time to discover the fun and excitement of winter fishing without a license or trout stamp.

Anglers can fish any water bodies in the state 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. Please review the trout regulations and 2020-2021 Hook and Line regulations for more information.

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. If you plan to keep your catch, be sure to consult the DNR’s Safe Eating Guidelines to stay informed of potential consumption advisories impacting some water bodies throughout the state.

Helpful Reminders

This year, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, there will be no scheduled events to coincide with Free Fishing Weekend.

“Free Fishing Weekend is a do-it-yourself adventure this winter,” said DNR R3 Coordinator Theresa Stabo. “Although this is not a time to share your shanty with people from outside your household, you and a family member or roommate can still venture out for a brisk walk and drop a line on that weekend. Stay six feet from the nearest angler or passerby, and keep a mask handy in case you need it. That mask will also keep your face warm.”

When considering safety on the ice, understand that no ice is 100% safe. Check with local bait shops for current ice conditions in the area you plan to 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

Want to purchase a license to keep finding your fishing adventure after experiencing Free Fishing Weekend? Buy yours today here.

Mark your calendar. The next Free Fishing Weekend is June 5-6, 2021.

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