Fishing in Wisconsin is a beloved pastime, offering anglers a chance to enjoy the state’s abundant lakes and rivers. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, obtaining a fishing license is a crucial step before casting your line. This comprehensive guide will provide detailed information on the costs, types, and purchasing methods for fishing licenses in Wisconsin, ensuring you are well-prepared for your next fishing adventure.

How Much is a Fishing License in Wisconsin
How Much is a Fishing License in Wisconsin

Fishing licenses in Wisconsin are mandatory for anyone aged 16 and older who wishes to fish in the state’s waters. The fees collected from these licenses support conservation efforts, habitat restoration, and public access to fishing opportunities. Understanding the different types of licenses available and their costs can help you choose the best option for your needs.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Wisconsin

Resident Licenses

  1. Annual License: $20
  2. First-Time Buyer License: $5
  3. One-Day License: $8
  4. Junior License (16 & 17 years old): $7
  5. Senior Citizen License (65+ years old): $7
  6. Spousal License: $31
  7. Two-Day Great Lakes License (Includes Salmon/Trout Stamp): $14
  8. Two-Day Inland Lake Trout License (Includes Trout Stamp): $14
  9. Sturgeon License: $20

Non-Resident Licenses

  1. Annual License: $55
  2. Annual Family License: $70
  3. Annual First-Time License: $28.75
  4. One-Day License: $15
  5. Four-Day License: $29
  6. Fifteen-Day License: $33
  7. Fifteen-Day Family License: $45
  8. Two-Day Great Lakes License (Includes Salmon/Trout Stamp): $14
  9. Sturgeon License: $50–$65

Special Licenses

  1. Disabled Resident Veterans: $3
  2. Armed Forces Fishing & Small Game (WI resident, active duty on furlough or leave): Free

Purchasing Methods

Fishing licenses in Wisconsin can be purchased through several convenient methods:

  1. Online: Visit the GoWild website to purchase and print your license.
  2. In-Person: Licenses are available at over 1,000 DNR license agents, including sporting goods stores and bait shops.
  3. Phone: Call the DNR customer service for assistance.

Additional Information

Stamps and Privileges

If you plan to fish for premium species like trout and salmon, you will need an additional stamp. The cost for an Inland Trout or Great Lakes stamp is $10.

Regulations and Rules

Wisconsin has specific fishing regulations to protect its fish populations. Some key rules include:

  • A maximum of three hooks, baits, or lures per angler.
  • It is illegal to move live fish away from the water, except for minnows purchased from a bait dealer.
  • Unused bait must not be released into Wisconsin’s waters.
  • Daily bag limits for each fish species must be adhered to.

For a complete list of regulations, consult the 2024-2025 Wisconsin fishing regulation pamphlet.


Understanding the costs and types of fishing licenses in Wisconsin is essential for a successful and legal fishing experience. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, there are various options to suit your needs. By purchasing a fishing license, you contribute to the conservation and sustainability of Wisconsin’s rich fishing heritage.

Do I need a fishing license if I’m assisting a child or a disabled person who is fishing?

If you are actively assisting a child under 16 or a disabled person who is fishing, you do not need a fishing license, as long as you are not fishing yourself.

Can I fish in Wisconsin if I’m not a resident?

Yes, non-residents can fish in Wisconsin by purchasing the appropriate non-resident fishing license.

What happens if I fish without a valid Wisconsin fishing license?

Fishing without a valid license in Wisconsin can result in fines starting at $100, with the exact amount varying by county.

Do I need a fishing license to fish on private property in Wisconsin?

Yes, a fishing license is required for all anglers aged 16 and older, regardless of whether they are fishing on public or private property.

Can I purchase a Wisconsin fishing license for someone else?

Yes, you can purchase a fishing license as a gift for someone else. However, you will need to provide their personal information, such as name, address, and date of birth, during the purchase process.

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