Ice Fishing

Liam Blackcoon, 4, fishes with his dad Will Blackcoon of Eau Claire on the ice of Half Moon Lake Jan. 4 in Eau Claire’s Carson Park.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hosting Free Fishing Weekend Jan. 16-17.

Wisconsin’s winter Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to discover the fun of ice fishing. Take advantage of this free opportunity to introduce family and friends to the sport.

During Free Fishing Weekend, residents and visitors can fish almost anywhere without a license or a trout stamp.

No fishing license, Great Lakes salmon and trout stamp or inland trout stamp are needed to fish most Wisconsin waters. This includes inland waters and Wisconsin’s side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River and other boundary waters; however, spring trout ponds are not open during Free Fishing Weekend.

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. If you do plan to keep your catch, be sure to consult the DNR’s Safe Eating Guidelines to stay informed of potential consumption advisories impacting certain water bodies throughout the state.

This year, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, there will be no scheduled events to coincide with Free Fishing Weekend. But that doesn’t mean you and your family or roommates can’t still venture out for brisk, fresh air and drop a line. While you’re out, the DNR recommends maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from those who do not live in your household. Have a mask handy in case you need it; it will also keep your face warm.