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Fishing tournament permit application and registration process

Please remember: Tournament applications should be submitted at least 30 days in advance of your event. Tournament registrations should be submitted 72 hours before the start of the event.

You can now apply for your fishing tournaments and submit registrations electronically:

  1. View a calendar with all scheduled Wisconsin tournaments and
  2. Use the screening tool to determine if you need a permit application or a registration, and then complete and submit the appropriate form.

How do I apply for a permit or register a tournament?

Electronic and paper options are available for applying for a fishing tournament permit or submitting a small tournament registration. Online options are preferred - they can make the review and management or your applications and registrations simpler:

  1. Submit an online application or registration
    • Create your user account at the Wisconsin Web Access Management System.
    • Next, log in to the Fisheries Management Information System. You can store your contact information, DNR customer ID number, and tournament permit and registration history and create new permit applications and registrations. 
    • For permit applications, you can now pay your fee electronically! Be sure to have your checking account and bank routing numbers on hand before you apply.
    • Follow the instructions provided in the online form or
  2. Print a blank tournament application or a Fishing Tournament self-registration form and complete it by hand (see instructions below if you are having difficulty accessing the form.)
    • For fishing tournament permit applications: Fill out all fields, including either your DNR customer ID or your date of birth, before mailing (see the license requirements for an explanation of why a DNR customer ID is needed). Hard copies of tournament applications should be mailed along with the application fee (payable to "Wisconsin DNR") to Fishing Tournament Applications - FH/4, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.
    • For tournament registrations: Fill out all required fields including organizer contact information and information about your event (number of participants and boats, target species, waterbodies, and the date or dates of your event or series of events). Mail the completed form to Fishing Tournament Applications - FH/4, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 so that it arrives at least 72 hours prior to the start of the event.

What if I'm organizing a series of smaller tournaments (like a weekly bass league)?

In the tournament registration system and form, you can:

  • submit a single registration for an entire series.
  • list out the dates individually or describe their recurrence (e.g., weekly on Tuesdays from June 1 through August 31). Each individual event in the series should meet the criteria to not require a permit - they should have < 20 boats, <100 participants, and <$10,000 prize value, be regional/statewide in nature without specific waters to be fished or be seasonal or continuous for more than 4 days where participants can fish at any time.
  • submit your registration for the current year and the next calendar year. If you repeat the same type of tournament in future years and have submitted electronically, you can use the ‘copy’ feature to create new registrations.

How do I pay my application fee?

Pay the Application Fee Online with ePay.

You will need the 5-digit tournament ID number for your event. This number is located in the top right corner of your printed application. Enter the letter 'T' followed by the tournament ID number (example T12345) in Invoice No. field on the ePay webpage, then follow the instructions.

Missing a past fishing tournament results report?

You cannot submit a new tournament application until you have completed and returned the results report from your previously held tournament(s).

If you are trying to apply online but receive an error message informing you that you are missing a report, you need to print the report, complete it, and

  • please mail it to the address listed above or
  • send a scanned copy to Meghan Stirling or fax a copy with a cover sheet to 608-266-2244.

In the report, be sure to include the number of people and boats who participated, the total prize value awarded for fishing, tournament dates with fishing start and stop times, and a catching summary of fish registered, kept, and released by species.

Tournament types and application fee structure

Type of tournament Prize Value Tournament Fee
Immediate release Any $25
Great Lakes salmon or trout Any $25
Rough fish Any $25
Any < $1001 $25
"Catch-hold-release" or "catch and kill" $1001-$10,000 $50
"Catch-hold-release" or "catch and kill" > $10,001 $200
50% of participants < 18 years old or disabled Any Free
Statewide/Regional tournaments without specific waters to be fished Any Free, but do need to register
Continuous tournaments that continue for more than 4 days or are seasonal Any Free, but do need to register

When should I submit an application or a registration for a fishing tournament?

We must receive your completed application at least 30 days before the start date of your tournament. As of June 2014, the "open period" process has been changed to a simpler first-come-first-served process. Applicants may apply to start on Jan. 1 of the preceding year for traditional tournaments and April 1 of the prior year for non-traditional (everybody else) tournaments.

Tournament registrations must be received 72 hours prior to the start of the event.

Traditional tournaments

A traditional tournament is one that was issued permits 4 out of 5 years from 2004 to 2008 for the same water and time period. A traditional tournament shall continue to be conducted at least 4 out of 5 years for the same water or waters and time period to remain a traditional tournament.

What happens next?

  • For fishing tournament permit applications
    • once the application is received, the fisheries biologist will review it.
    • if approved, the biologist will mail you a signed permit with conditions for the tournament and a blank results form.
    • the results form must be filled out and returned to the address above within 30 days after the tournament is held.
  • For tournament registrations
    • as soon as your registration is submitted online or the mailed-in registration is received, your tournament is successfully registered. No further action is needed.

Contact information

If you have general questions about fishing tournaments, please get in touch with Meghan Stirling.