Wisconsin is one of those unique places in the world and the United States where one can target an exceptional diversity of fish. From Muskellunge to Sunfish, sturgeon, bullheads, and crappie to smallmouth and largemouth bass; you name it, it can probably be caught in Wisconsin.

One thing that you have to pay attention to, though, is the law, so that you are aware of its limitations. As is the case with any other state, here you’ll find that some species can be caught only in certain time spans. The many fishing seasons dates per species and year are available on the official Wisconsin DNR website. To make it even easier for anglers to find out whether they risk getting fined or breaking the law in any way, the website has even made available a searchable guide to Wisconsin hook and line fishing regulations.

Both in Wisconsin and several other states in the U.S., it is illegal to target a species during the closed season. While some anglers might argue that this shouldn’t apply for catch and release, it actually does, so you best avoid certain fishing areas if you know that there’s a species you might accidentally catch. If the regulations do not specify a certain species with regard to whether it has an open season or not, it is illegal to fish for that species.

Some of the common types of fish you might want to catch while you are visiting Wisconsin are listed below and are accompanied by their respective seasons:

  • General inland trout - May to October
  • General inland fishing - May to March of the following year
  • Largemouth bass northern zone - May to March of the next year
  • Smallmouth bass northern zone - June to March of the following year
  • Musky - May to November
  • Northern pike - May to March of the next year
  • Walleye - May to March of the following year
  • Lake sturgeon - all throughout the month of September of every year

The prices of licenses vary mainly depending on whether you are a resident or a nonresident of the state of Wisconsin. For example, an annual fishing license for a nonresident can be as pricey as fifty dollars or more. At the time this article was written, a nonresident angler would have had to pay twenty-eight dollars for a fishing license lasting for fifteen days. By contrast, any resident would have had to pay just twenty dollars for a fishing license valid for a whole year.

There are also certain rules that pertain to children. For example, all kids under the age of 16 do not have to pay for a fishing license. However, they do have bag limits and are expected to abide by the same rules as adults, which is to say that their fishing bags shouldn’t exceed the limits pertaining to length and seasonal limits.

Something else that we have to note is that should you, for example, go fishing with your son or daughter, and he or she were to need your assistance in reeling the fish, you, as the adult, would absolutely need a license. It is not mandatory for an adult to accompany the child, in general. Nonetheless, if the youth feels the need to take a break from angling, you need to make sure that the equipment is stored properly and none of it ends up dumped in the water.

Last, but not least, the same Wisconsin DNR website can help you find out a lot of info about the species you can catch and eat in the state of Wisconsin. Women beyond their childbearing years and men can consume as much crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, bullhead, bluegill, and inland trout as they please. On the other hand, women of childbearing years, nursing mothers, as well as children under the age of 15 may eat the same species only once a week.


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