Fishing regulations – Wisconsin DNR

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For information, contact:
Fisheries Management

ATTENTION ANGLERS! The 2020-2021 fishing regulations are pending legislative approval and will likely be available mid to late February. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

walleye on rocks

Fishing regulations are used as a tool to ensure good fishing exists into the future. The Department has used different types of fishing regulations 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.

Easy fishing! 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. Give it a try and fish on…Wisconsin.

Early Trout Season. – The early inland trout season on selected waters [PDF] runs from 5 a.m. on the
first Saturday in January (January 4, 2020) through the Friday preceding the first Saturday in May
(May 1, 2020).


  • Guide to Wisconsin hook & line fishing regulations, 2019-2020
  • Guide to Wisconsin trout fishing regulations, 2019-2020
  • Guide to Wisconsin spearing, netting, and bait harvest regulations, 2019-2020 [PDF]
  • Winnebago system sturgeon spearing regulations & information 2020 [PDF]
  • Guide to Wisconsin setline, set or bank pole regulations, 2019-2020 [PDF]
  • Clamming regulations
  • Total daily bag limit


People can fish year-round on some waters and for some species, but regulations set more limited open seasons for certain species and waters. Check our fishing seasons calendar as the seasons do not coincide with the calendar year.

A current fishing license for the 2019-2020 season is required on April 1st, 2019.

Last revised: Thursday January 23 2020


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