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Free Fishing Weekend

Free Fishing Weekend Jan. 21-22, 2023

On Free Fishing Weekend, you can drill a hole and drop a line without a fishing license, trout stamp or salmon stamp. What a great opportunity for family and friends to give it a try!

Regulations Reminder

Please be aware that while you can fish without a license, all fishing regulations remain in effect, including seasons, bag limits and length limits.

  • Review the 2022-2023 fishing regulations before you start out.
  • Early season catch and release trout streams are included this weekend, but you do have to release the fish!
    Note: The early season does not apply to the following bodies of water, which are off-limits:
    • Spring ponds, ponds and lakes
    • Lake Michigan tributaries and major Green Bay tributaries
    • All other Green Bay tributary streams, rivers and ditches upstream to the first dam or lake or streams flowing into Lake Superior and their tributaries upstream to the first impassable barrier
    • See page 2 of the trout regulations for details.

Plan a Clinic

Angler Education instructors, state park staff and organizations are invited to host fishing clinics around the state. Register your event with us by Jan. 17, 2023 using this form, and we'll help you get the word out. Please include safety protocols related to COVID-19 in your plans. We want you, your volunteers and participants all to be safe in every respect. Thank you!

Need materials like fishing regulations and fish wildcards? Submit a request.

Attend a Clinic

Watch our events calendar for clinic locations. We'll add them as we learn of them.

No Tackle? No Problem!

Wisconsin has more than 50 tackle loaner sites and many of them have ice fishing gear that you can borrow. Office hours vary by site, so contact the loaner site and plan ahead to pick up the gear. 

Know Before You Go

  • Locate launches and shore fishing access points near you. The piers at launches may be gone for the winter, but these areas still provide good access to get out on the ice.
  • What you leave on the ice typically ends up in the water come spring, so pack out what you've packed in.
  • Minimize the spread of aquatic invasive species by taking your bait home with you or handing it over to another angler; never move live fish away from any waterbody.
  • If you plan to keep your catch, be sure to consult the DNR's Safe Eating Guidelines to learn about potential consumption advisories.

Tried Fishing and Loved It? Get Your License Now.

New to fishing or haven’t bought a fishing license in 10 years? Want to make it a healthy habit? Try our First-time buyer - Welcome back resident license for only $5. Buy yours today. Wisconsin is home to 84,000 miles of rivers and streams, roughly 15,000 lakes and so much more. No matter how you like to explore, there's something in Wisconsin for everyone.

Mark Your Calendar

Free Fishing Weekends are always held the third full weekend in January and the first full weekend in June. Watch for clinic announcements in the months ahead. 

Upcoming dates: Jan. 21-22, 2023 and June 3-4, 2023.