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Fishing Seasons & Limits

Opening day for Wisconsin fishing is traditionally the first Saturday in May. Season dates often vary by species and waterbody. Check The Guide To Hook And Line Fishing Season Dates, 2024-2025, for specifics of where you plan to fish.


(Effective Date: April 1, 2024; Dates Inclusive)

Early Inland Trout (catch and release)
January 6 (5 a.m.) - May 3

General Inland Trout
May 4 (5 a.m.) - Oct. 15

General Inland Fishing
May 4 - March 2, 2025

Largemouth Bass Northern Zone Harvest
May 4 - March 2, 2025

Smallmouth Bass Northern Zone Harvest
June 15 - March 2, 2025

Large And Smallmouth Bass Southern Zone Harvest
May 4 - March 2, 2025

Large And Smallmouth Bass Catch And Release
At all other times of the year.

Musky Northern Zone Harvest
May 25 - Dec. 31

Musky Southern Zone Harvest
May 4 - Dec. 31

Northern Pike
May 4 - March 2, 2025

May 4 - March 2, 2025

Lake Sturgeon
Feb. 10 - Feb. 25 (spearing)
Sept. 7 - Sept. 30 (hook-and-line)

Free Fishing Weekends
Jan. 20-21, 2024
June 1-2, 2024

Not sure which zone you're fishing in? Have other questions? Refer to the Wisconsin Fishing Season Definitions for specifics.


Exceptions do exist. Not all Wisconsin waters follow the general dates for the hook and line or trout season. You must still consult the current regulations' particular county or boundary waters tables to determine if any special season dates exist for the specific waters you plan to fish with hook and line.


Species not listed have no open season. For species that are listed, It is illegal to fish for those species during the closed season - this includes catch-and-release fishing. It is also unlawful to take, transport, possess or sell any wild animals specified by the DNR's endangered or threatened species list within the state. Be sure to be familiar with the fish on this list.



The daily bag limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may reduce to his/her possession from a specified waterbody or a portion of a waterbody in one day.


The total daily bag limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may reduce to his/her possession in one day from all waters or portions of waters fished for that day.

An angler may combine the catch of a particular species from multiple lakes until the total daily bag limit is reached as long as the daily bag limit for each body of water is never exceeded. Be aware that while on the water you may not possess more than the daily limit for that body of water. For example, an angler catches a daily limit of walleye from a three-bag limit lake. The angler can not then go to another lake with a two-walleye limit while still possessing the three fish from the previous lake.

Total daily bag limits for Wisconsin fish species

SpeciesTotal daily bag limit
Catfish25 in total, of which only 1 may be flathead catfish from the Lake Winnebago system
Cisco (lake herring), whitefish, and hybrids
Inland waters
Outlying waters

10 in total
10 in total
Lake sturgeon1 per season
Largemouth and smallmouth bass5 in total
Northern pike
All waters north of U.S. Hwy 10
All waters south of U.S. Hwy 10

5 in total
2 in total
Panfish (bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, white and black crappie)25 in total
Rock, white, and yellow bass and bullheadsNo Limit
Ruffe, white perch, and gobies0 but one of each may be killed and possessed for immediate delivery to a DNR Service Center or regional office.
Shovelnose sturgeon3
Walleye, sauger, and hybrids5 in total