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Fishing seasons

Opening day for Wisconsin fishing is traditionally the first Saturday in May. Season dates often vary by species and waterbody. Check The Guide To Hook And Line Fishing Season Dates, 2021-2022 for specifics where you plan to fish.

2021-2022 Fishing Season Dates

(Effective Date: April 1, 2021; Dates Inclusive)

Early Inland Trout (catch and release)
Jan. 2 (5 a.m.) to April 30

General Inland Trout
May 1 (5 a.m.) to Oct. 15

General Inland Fishing
May 1 to March 6, 2022

Largemouth Bass Northern Zone Harvest
May 1 to March 6, 2022

Smallmouth Bass Northern Zone Harvest
June 19 to March 6, 2022

Large And Smallmouth Bass Southern Zone Harvest
May 1 to March 6, 2022

Large And Smallmouth Bass Catch And Release
At all other times of the year.

Musky Northern Zone Harvest
May 29 to Dec. 31

Musky Southern Zone Harvest
May 1 to Dec. 31

Northern Pike
May 1 to March 6, 2022

May 1 to March 6, 2022

Lake Sturgeon
Sept. 4 to Sept. 30 (hook-and-line)

Free Fishing Weekends
June 5-6, 2021 
Jan. 15-16, 2022

Not sure which zone you're fishing? Have other questions? Refer to the Wisconsin Fishing Season Definitions for specifics.

Fish species list

Dig deeper into the specific seasons for each species.

While these tables may be helpful in planning fishing trips, always be sure to refer to the fishing regulations for specifics. Please note that temporary or emergency rules may be enacted which could change the fishing season dates for a species or waterbody. If that happens, please look for signs posted at boat landings.


Exceptions do exist. Not all Wisconsin waters follow the general dates for the hook and line or trout season. You must still consult the special county or boundary waters tables in the current regulations to determine if any special season dates exist for the particular waters you plan to fish with hook and line.

Species Not Listed

Species not listed have no open season. For species that are listed, It is illegal to fish for those species during the closed season - this includes catch and release fishing. It is also illegal to take, transport, possess or sell within the state any wild animals specified by the DNR's endangered or threatened species list. Be sure to be familiar with the fish on this list.