Wisconsin Fishing License Cost

Wisconsin Fishing License Cost

During my annual trip to the north-central part of the country, I get excited when it’s time to head across Lake Michigan from Traverse City and into Wisconsin to fish the state’s vast array of freshwater lakes and reservoirs.

I need to purchase an annual Wisconsin Fishing license almost every year, so I wanted to share info on the Wisconsin fishing license cost in this post.

A fishing license in Wisconsin costs $20 annually for residents and $50 annually for non-residents.

That said, many factors can affect the prices of Wisconsin fishing licenses, such as target species, veteran status, age, and length of a fishing trip.

I will break down the costs for each type of fishing license in Wisconsin.

How Much Is a Wisconsin Fishing License?

Below, I broke down the different categories of Wisconsin fishing license costs for residents and non-residents. Refer to the charts below for the associated costs of the license you are seeking.

Wisconsin Resident Fishing License Cost

First Time Annual$5
Junior (16 & 17-year-olds)$7
Senior Citizen (65 years and up)$7
Married Couples (2 Licenses)$31
Inland Trout Stamp$10
Great Lakes Salmon & Trout Stamp$10
2-Day Great Lakes Fishing (Include Salmon & Trout Stamp)$14
2-Day Inland Lake Trout Fishing (Includes Inland Trout Stamp)$14

Nonresident Wisconsin Fishing License Cost

Family Annual (Includes 16 & 17-Year-Olds)$65
First-time Annual Buyer$25.75
15-Day Family$40
Military (In-person Purchase Only)$20
Out-of-State Student (In-person Purchase Only)$20
Inland Trout Stamp$10
Great Lakes Salmon & Trout Stamp$10
2-Day Great Lakes Fishing (Includes Stamp)$14

Wisconsin Resident Sturgeon Fishing License Cost

Sturgeon Spearing Lake Winnebago$20
Upriver Lakes Sturgeon Spearing$20
Sturgeon Hook & Line Inland$20
Sturgeon Hook & Line Wisconsin & Michigan$20
Upriver Lakes Sturgeon Spearing Application$3

Additional Resident Fishing License in Wisconsin

Active MilitaryFree

Non-resident Sturgeon Fishing License in Wisconsin

Sturgeon Spearing Lake Winnebago$65
Upriver Lakes Sturgeon Spearing$65
Sturgeon Hook & Line Inland$50
Sturgeon Hook & Line Wisconsin and Michigan$50
Military Inland Sturgeon Hook & Line$20
Military Wisconsin and Michigan Sturgeon Hook & Line$20
Upriver Lakes Sturgeon Spearing Application$3

Who Needs a Wisconsin Fishing License?

Both residents and nonresidents of Wisconsin who are 16 years or older must purchase a Wisconsin fishing license before they can lawfully fish Wisconsin waters.

There are some exceptions to this rule, as listed below.

Wisconsin Fishing License Exceptions

  • Wisconsin’s residents with disabilities may be eligible for a reduced-cost Wisconsin fishing license.
  • Both residents and nonresidents who are 15 years old or younger do not need a Wisconsin fishing license.
  • U.S. Armed Forces members with valid Wisconsin driver’s licenses are exempt from needing to purchase a Wisconsin fishing license.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Wisconsin

  1. General Resident Fishing License
  2. Resident Sturgeon Fishing License
  3. Additional Resident Fishing License
  4. Nonresident Fishing License
  5. Nonresident Sturgeon Fishing

It is important to note that Wisconsin anglers will need a “Great Lake Salmon Trout Stamp” when fishing for either Salmon or Trout within one of the great lakes. 

This “Great Lake Salmon Trout Stamp” is in addition to the general fishing license.

Where to Buy Your Fishing License for Wisconsin

Wisconsin offers three easy and convenient ways to purchase a Wisconsin fishing license, either onlineat independent sales locations, or DNR service centers

Click here to purchase a Wisconsin fishing license online through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Wisconsin Fishing Laws and Regulations

Purchasing a Wisconsin fishing license helps protect the water and environment for future generations. In addition to obtaining a fishing license, anglers should always follow local fishing laws and catch limits.

Fishing laws and regulations in Wisconsin also help protect Wisconsin’s fish population, which is why they are so crucial while fishing Wisconsin waters.

Click here to read the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources official guide on Wisconsin fishing regulations.

Common Sport Fish in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a variety of sport fish that anglers can target in the state’s inland lakes, reservoirs, rivers, ponds, and of course, Lake Michigan.

Below are all the sport fish that I have caught in Wisconsin.

  • Walleye
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted)
  • Trout (Rainbow, Brown, Brook, and Lake)
  • Lake Sturgeon
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Panfish (Bluegill and Perch)

Popular Wisconsin Fishing Spots

Wisconsin offers some of the best freshwater fishing opportunities in the entire U.S. From big water on Lake Michigan to small and hidden lakes, Wisconsin has something for every angler.

Here is a short list of some of Wisconsin’s most popular fishing spots: 

  • Green Bay
  • Lake Winnebago
  • Wisconsin River
  • Eau Claire Chain of Lakes
  • Fox River
  • Lake Wisconsin
  • Turtle-Flambeau Flowage

Questions Related to Wisconsin Fishing Licenses

Ice Fishing in Wisconsin

While traveling just about every year to Wisconsin, I receive questions about fishing in Wisconsin and ask some questions myself to locals with whom I cross paths.

Below are some of the most common questions related to fishing in Wisconsin and fishing licenses in the badger state.

Does Wisconsin have good fishing?

Yes, Wisconsin has some of the best freshwater fishing opportunities in the U.S.

Various species can be targeted throughout the badger state, and anglers are sure to catch plenty of fish when out on Wisconsin waters.

Do senior citizens need a fishing license in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin residents and nonresidents age 65 and over must purchase a Wisconsin fishing license before they can fish Wisconsin waters.

Senior citizens who are Wisconsin residents (age 65 and up) can purchase a discounted annual fishing license for $7.

Do you need a fishing license for catch and release in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin laws require all fishermen over 16 to have a valid Wisconsin fishing license before they can lawfully fish Wisconsin waters. This includes catch-and-release fishing.

How many rods can you fish with in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin’s laws allow anglers to use up to three rods and lines when fishing Wisconsin waters.

However, it comes down to how many hooks are allowed, which is 3 total, whether on a lure or rig. If you have 1 rod with two hooks, you are only allowed one additional hook on your second rod, legally limiting you to 2 rods.

What is the best month to fish in Wisconsin?

The best month to fish Wisconsin waters depends on your target species, among other factors such as barometric pressure, weather, tide, etc.

Generally, April-October is a great time to be out on Wisconsin waters, while peak fishing activity typically occurs during the summer months (June-August).

Wisconsin Fishing Resources

Wisconsin Flag

With so many bodies of water to explore, it can be overwhelming when planning a fishing trip in Wisconsin. To make things easier, check out some resources below.

Captain Tyler Brady

Captain Tyler Brady

Hi, I'm Captain Tyler Brady, founder of A Fellow Fisherman. Thank you for reading this post and visiting my site. I strive to provide the best information when it comes to fishing, whether it is myself or A Fellow Fisherman that is part of my team. Now stop reading and GO fishing!

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