Free Fishing Weekend in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will hold the Free Fishing Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 15 and 16. Anglers will be able to fish waters that are in open season.

Officials say fishing licenses, trout and salmon stamps are not required this weekend, however residents should remember that all other fishing regulations apply. This includes limits on the number and size of fish that you can keep.

According to the WDNR, anglers cannot fish spring trout ponds during this event.

Everyone participating should be prepared and practice safety measures when going out on the ice or being out in the cold weather.

The WDNR suggests to follow cold safety tips:

  • Do not travel in areas that you are not familiar with. Do not travel at night, and slow down during reduced visibility.
  • Check the local weather forecast before heading out. (Remember the WDIO mobile app will keep you informed about changes in the weather.) Dress warmly in layers.
  • Do not go out alone. Take a cell phone and make sure someone knows your destination and plans for return.
  • Pay attention to trail markers, stay off roads and trails that are closed.

When heading out on frozen lakes, rivers and streams:

  • Check with local sport shops or guides for ice reports
  • Avoid inlets, outlets, narrows or other areas of moving water
  • Look for clear ice, which the DNR says is stronger than ice with snow on it or with bubbles in it.
  • Carry basic safety gear like ice claws or picks, a cell phone in a waterproof bag, life jacket and length of rope.

If you can, bring extra clothing to change in to if you get wet.

For additional information, visit the WDNR trout regulations and 2021-2022 Hook and Line regulations.