Winter was off to a fickle start, but the recent plunge in temperatures offers hope for a few ice fishing opportunities around the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Bundle up and get out there for Wisconsin’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend, January 16 – 17, 2016, ice or no ice. The weekend is open for shorefishing open water, too. Residents and nonresidents are welcome!
Fish anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp on Free Fishing Weekend. This includes all inland waters and Wisconsin’s side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. Other fishing rules apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish you can keep and any seasons when you must release certain fish species. So, pack up the family or call your friends and head to the water for fishing fun!
Need fishing gear?
No ice fishing gear? No problem. We have ice fishing tip-ups and jigging rods that you can borrow at many state parks and DNR offices. You will need to either use your own ice auger, claim an abandoned hole, or better yet — make friends with the anglers at the nearest ice fishing shantytown and ask them to drill you a hole or let you borrow their auger. Check out the list of loaner sites to find out where loaner sites are located. Call the contact person listed for the site near where you plan to fish to learn what specific equipment is available, and arrange to pick it up.
Many loaner sites are at state parks, forests, and recreation areas. You can borrow gear there to take friends and family fishing at those properties even if there is not a formal event planned. January is a great time to get your state park sticker, which you will need to enter these properties. Buy one at the gate!
Host a Free Fishing Weekend event
Just fill out and return this Winter Free Fishing Weekend Planning Form by January 8, 2016 and you’ll be good to go! Details are on the form. Remember to plan for adults who may have missed the fishing boat as kids! We’ll post your events as we learn of them.
Attend a Free Fishing Weekend event
Organizations are busy planning clinics and activities for a fun weekend. We’ll post them as we learn about them.
For additional ice fishing information, check out ice fishing in Wisconsin.