The perfect balance between unspoiled nature and city life

Free Fishing Weekend

Life’s a fishing picnic! Especially on Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend, June 2 – 3, 2018. Residents and nonresidents are welcome!

Fish anywhere!

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 fishing gear? No problem. We have fishing pole that you can borrow at many state parks and DNR offices. Contact a Tackle Loaner site at one of several state parks and DNR regional offices to borrow one. Call the DNR staffer or partner listed for each site to find out what specific equipment is available and to arrange to pick it up. New for this year: State Parks and Recreation Areas are waiving entrance stickers for the whole weekend, so pick your day.

Host a Free Fishing Weekend event!

Watch for planning forms about three months before Free Fishing Weekend. Give us the details and we’ll post your event on this site.

Remember to plan for adults who may have missed the fishing boat as kids! We’ll post your events as we learn of them. Of course, you can just take your friends fishing without telling us, but we love to hear your stories about how you coaxed your pals out for a free weekend of fishing.

A big thank you!

Thanks to our volunteers, partners, sponsors and DNR colleagues for making Free Fishing Weekend a fun outing for newcomers to ice fishing.

Did you miss Free Fishing Weekend?

Don’t wait for the next Free Fishing Weekend to roll around before hitting the water. There is still plenty of good fishing to be had, and if you’re new to the sport, you get off cheap with the “First-timer” resident license for only $5.00. You can’t see a first-run movie for that price!

Dates to remember

Free Fishing Weekends are always held the third full weekend in January and the first full weekend in June. This coming summer it will be June 2 – 3, 2018.

Need fishing gear?

No fishing gear? No problem. We have fishing poles that you can borrow at many state parks and DNR offices. Contact a Tackle Loaner site at one of several state parks and DNR regional offices to borrow one. Call the DNR staffer or partner listed for each site to find out what specific equipment is available and to arrange to pick it up.

Get a license

New to fishing, but want to make it a habit after Free Fishing Weekend? Try our “First-time buyer”resident license for only $5. Discounts for non-residents too!

Here is more information about purchasing a fishing license so you’ll be ready to fish any time of the year!

More fishing opportunities

The Department of Tourism lists events at The Great Outdoors – Fishing, [exit DNR].

Order free educational materials

Download order forms for educational materials about fishing [PDF] and aquatic invasive species[PDF]. Here are the order forms as Word Documents, if you prefer: fishing and aquatic invasive species.