Skip to main content

Angler and aquatic education

Be a part of Wisconsin's conservation tradition by becoming an Angler Education Instructor.


The angler education program is looking for people who enjoy working with children, like to fish or would like to learn by helping to teach others.

Instructors provide opportunities to learn basic fishing skills, explore Wisconsin’s aquatic resources and develop a set of conservation ethics to help ensure that Wisconsin’s lakes and streams will remain bountiful for generations to come.

The program provides training workshops to clubs, schools, youth development organizations and service groups. Trained instructors have access to educational resources and loaner fishing equipment.

Instructor certification

Instructor certification

Angler Education Instructor in training

Who are instructors?

Instructors are people like you. Youth leaders, classroom teachers, fishing club members and civic leaders are all encouraged to attend a workshop as a team or form one at the workshop. Successful program models include after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes, family-school/camp adventures, scout merit badges and more.

While this program has traditionally focused on youth, keep in mind adults who may have missed the boat as kids.

Certification process

People get certified as Angler Education Instructors by attending a training workshop and completing a background check using DNR Form 4100-217 [PDF].

Here are more specifics on the certification process.

Training workshops

Training workshops

Practicing casting skills
Practicing casting skills

Angler education instructor certification workshop

Basic Angler Education instructor certification workshops focus on teaching spin casting and incorporating related topics in a K-12 curriculum, youth development program or adult education. Some workshops feature fly fishing or complementary aquatic resources education programs while others are linked to our adult Fishing for Dinner program.

Fishing club members, youth leaders, classroom teachers, community center staff and civic leaders are encouraged to attend as a team or form a team at the workshop. Successful models include after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes, school-family events and Boy Scout merit badge training.

Workshop fees

Unless otherwise noted, these workshops are free. However, this is a cost to provide them. For that reason, we call upon your better angels to please notify us as soon as your plans change so that we can offer your spot to someone on the waiting list. If you sign up, please show up.

Angler R3 Instructor Training & Certification Workshop Schedule

Workshops are currently being held in the virtual world, but your hands will be busy!

Fishing for Dinner & Angler Education Instructor Certification Workshop.
Brush up on your own basic fishing skills during hands-on activities so that you can teach them to others and take home a guide to implementing these programs. Instruction includes how to teach fish identification, knot tying, casting and more!
Platform Zoom
Dates December 7, 8, and 9, 2021
Time 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. each night. You must attend all three nights to complete the certification.

If you have trouble with any of these forms, contact Theresa Stabo.

Registration Deadline November 30, 2021, for all steps.
Audience Adults who want to teach others how to fish.
Class Size This class is limited to 20 people. Reserve your seat and register now!
Presenters and Partners We'll be joined by partners from around the state who will share information on Wisconsin's fishery and how to introduce newcomers.
Participants will receive:
  • Fishing for Dinner Training Manual
  • Junior Angler and Hook, Line, & Thinker program materials that can be adapted to classrooms and recreation programs
  • Plus, access to a boatload of resources and loaner gear
Contact: Theresa Stabo, (608) 577-6332.

Schedule a workshop

To schedule a workshop, please contact Theresa Stabo, R3 Coordinator, 608-577-6332. We need a minimum of 12 adult participants, to hold a workshop.

Loaner gear

Tackle Loaner Program

No fishing rod? No problem. We have fishing equipment you can borrow at several DNR offices and state parks and facilities. There is no charge to borrow the equipment -- just enjoy your day fishing in Wisconsin and return the equipment in the condition you received it (or better) so that the next person can enjoy it.

Check out the fishing equipment contacts page for information on who to contact to find out exactly what kind of gear is available near you. If you have general questions about the tackle loaner program contact Theresa Stabo, 608-577-6332.

Available gear

While special lures and fresh bait are not provided, we generally have the following basic equipment at most sites:

Family Fishing with loaner gear
Using Loaner Gear
  • many closed face fishing rods and reels.
  • a few open face rods and reels.
  • casting plugs.
  • bobbers.
  • hooks, lines and sinkers.

In addition to fishing equipment, some sites (but not all) have fish printing materials, knot-tying practice equipment, Backyard Bass (a casting game) and other educational resources like Fish Packs [PDF]. Fish Packs are stocked with games, stories and activities that help youngsters learn about Wisconsin fish. Check one out or download the link for ideas to create your own. Inquire when you contact or visit a loaner site to see exactly what they have to offer.

Keep in mind

Before you plan a fishing trip around loaner equipment, know that:

  • equipment is available on a first-come, first-served basis; and
  • you may borrow equipment for up to one week unless demand is low in your area. Ask the contact in your area if an extension is possible.

Follow the Golden Rule

Please return loaner equipment in the condition you would like it to be when you borrow it.

  • Make proper handling and care of equipment part of your angler or fishing education program.
  • If the equipment was damaged, return all the parts with a note explaining what happened.
  • Instructions to fix a tangled reel [PDF].

The most popular time for borrowing the equipment is also the busiest time for our field staff - spring and early summer. Please help them out by returning the equipment clean and in good working order. If something breaks -- which sometimes happens -- fix it if you can, or bring the problem to our staff's attention so the next group will have functional equipment. Your help with maintenance frees up our field staff for stocking fish and working on habitat projects.

Adopt a fishing tackle loaner site

Many tackle loaner sites would welcome help with equipment maintenance. This would be a great volunteer service project for scouts, students, fishing clubs or anyone who'd like to pitch in and ensure that our gear is in shape for beginner anglers. Materials will be provided for re-spooling and general clean-up. Loaner sites that want help are marked with a VM. Locate the site nearest you on the fishing equipment contacts page and call them to find out how you can help. Thank you!


Throughout the year, the Department of Natural Resources works with local parks departments, fishing clubs and organizations to host fishing clinics and other events. Thanks to all clinic hosts and sponsors!


Dates to remember

Don't forget about Free Fishing Weekend, always the first weekend in June and the third weekend in January - no license required. Mark your calendars now to plan your next Free Fishing Weekend outing for your organization or friends and family:

  • Free Fishing Weekend - Winter, Jan. 15 & 16, 2022
  • Free Fishing Weekend - Summer, June 4 & 5, 2022

¿Habla usted español?

Necesitamos pescadores que hablen español para patrocinar o ayudar en nuestras clínicas de pesca. Estos eventos enseñan a pescar a gente de todas edades.

Por favor déjenos saber que usted habla español si usted va ofrecer una clínica de pesca, o si va ayudar como voluntario, e incluiremos un aviso que “se habla español” en el anuncio de estos eventos en nuestro sitio web.

Koj puas paub hais lus hmoob?

Peb xav yuav neeg uas paub hais lub hmoob los qhuas qhia neeg txhua lub noob nyoog txog nuv ntses. Yog nej muaj lus xav qhuas qhias thiab txawj hais lub hmoob, thov nej qhia rau peb paub. Yog nej xav tuaj pab thiab paub lub hmoob, thov nej qhia rau peb thiab. Peb mam li tshaj tawm rau ntawm peb lub Web site kom txhua tus hnov tias muaj neeg uas paub hais lus hmoob tuaj qhia txog nuv ntses.

Travel Wisconsin lists special events and opportunities on their website:
Fishing [exit DNR].

Plan a fishing clinic

Anytime is a good time to start planning a fishing clinic. Download the Fishing Clinic Planner [PDF] to help get yourself organized. Return your completed form to the Angler Education Office at the DNR. Contact the Angler R3 Office if you would like a planning form mailed to you.

Participants 16 years or older likely will need fishing licenses to fish at most events, unless they occur on Free Fishing Weekend. Call contacts for complete information.

Borrow a rod, keep the memories

No fishing pole? No worries. Contact a Tackle Loaner site at one of several state parks and DNR regional offices to borrow one. Pack up the family or call your friends and head to the water.

Fishing Base Camp

Get ready to fish, safely

No matter if your fishing base camp is at home, at school or a combination, Badgers know that we all need to keep working together to stay healthy. We're all keeping our distance, staying at least one fishing pole-length from other anglers, and taking care to wash our hands, often. Here is information to get you started.

Base camp resources

Teachers, parents and leaders – look here!

Check out these classroom and camp resources where math, science, social studies, and writing meet the great outdoors, close to home in these engaging lesson plans. Many reinforce state academic standards and will get kids out in the backyard or to nearby waters, while sneakily keeping their academic skills up to snuff.

Junior Angler is designed for anglers in grades 4 - 8 and Hook, Line & Thinker is geared for grades 7 -12. Mix and match to suit your anglers' needs.

Messed up your reel? Here's how to fix it.

Into the Outdoors

Into the Outdoors [exit DNR] creates pathways to environmental awareness and outdoor lifestyles. Explore the underwater mysteries of fish and fishing right here! [exit DNR]