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Fishing Regulations

Fishing Wisconsin

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 a trophy fish, and
  • make access to fishing as fair as possible.


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




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Fishing Regulations Toolbox

The Fisheries Management program has developed a regulations toolbox [PDF] of standardized regulation options for different fish species. The Toolbox helps maintain regulation consistency while providing diverse fishing opportunities and flexibility in managing fish populations.

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 Aug. 31. For more detailed information, see the latest regulation fact sheet  [Download PDF].

Online Fishing Regulations

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


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.