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Using fish as bait

Fishing Wisconsin

Fish other than minnows may be used as bait. Typically, bluegills and perch are used in this fashion. However, if there is a minimum length limit for the baitfish on that water, it still applies. For example, if there is an 8-inch minimum length limit on perch in the lake, the perch you are using for bait would have to be 8 inches or greater in length. Only fish caught in that water can be used as bait on that water, unless they are dead and have been preserved by a method that does not require refrigeration or freezing. Live games or rough fish cannot be moved away from water, with a few very limited exceptions.

Also, keep in mind that any fish that are caught and used as bait must be counted towards your daily bag limit. For example, you can only keep 25 panfish on most inland lakes, including any that were used as bait. Any fish that is not released immediately must be counted toward your daily bag limit, even if you later release it or lose it to a bigger fish.

For exceptions to the 25 panfish limit, please see the current hook and line regulations.

Any VHS rules and seasonal restrictions for the baitfish species also apply.