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Fishing Regulations

Attention anglers: Effective July 23, 2021, the daily bag limit for lake trout will increase to 5 (in aggregate with other trout and salmon) for Lake Michigan, Green Bay and their tributaries, excluding the Mid Lake Reef Complex.  Lake trout fishing will be open year-round on most waters. Check the trout fishing regulations for more details.

Fishing regulations are used as a tool to ensure good fishing exists in the future. Fishing regulations are used to:

  • control angler impacts on fish populations;
  • maintain numbers and sizes of fish in a lake or stream;
  • provide different types of fishing experiences, such as fishing for dinner or for a trophy fish; and
  • make access to fishing as fair as possible.

Seasons

In Wisconsin, there's always something to fish somewhere, 365 days a year. There are limited open seasons for certain species and waters. Before you head out, check the season dates for your favorite species and favorite waters. 

Regulations

Catfish Bow, Crossbow And Hand Fishing Regulations

Catfish and bullheads can be taken by bow, crossbow or by hand. The bow/crossbow season coincides with the rough fish spearing season in most cases. The hand fishing season runs from June 1 to August 31. For more detailed information, see the latest regulation fact sheet [PDF].

Online Fishing Regulations

We've made it easier to figure out what fishing regulations are on your favorite lake! Our searchable Guide to Wisconsin hook and line fishing regulations (exit DNR) lets you search by inland lakes, by lake name or county and includes an interactive map.

T.R.O.U.T

The Trout Regulations & Opportunities User Tool (TROUT) was designed to help trout anglers find places to fish. The TROUT application includes trout fishing regulations, classified trout waters, public land and DNR fishing easements.