New Fishing Regulations Effective April 1, 2020

The sun sets on a beautiful day of fishing at Echo Lake, 1997.

New Fishing Regulations Effective April 1, 2020

MADISON, Wis. - A suite of updated statewide, regional and local Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fishing regulations will go into effect on April 1, 2020, to provide good fishing opportunities for the public and help fulfill management goals.

Statewide and Regional Fishing Regulation Changes

* A continuous catch-and-release season for bass at all times of the year outside the harvest season will apply statewide, except where refuges or closed areas are in effect. This season will apply to inland, outlying and boundary waters, and no bass may be harvested during the catch-and-release bass season. Waters with a current continuous bass harvest season will not see any changes.

* The daily bag limit for cisco and whitefish will change from 25 pounds and one fish to 10 fish in total. This change will improve consistency in harvest limits among anglers and reduce pressure on inland cisco and whitefish populations.

* The closing date of the muskellunge fishing season will be Dec. 31 on open water in the Northern Zone north of US Highway 10, including Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters and outlying waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay north of Waldo Boulevard in Manitowoc. Open water is considered to include any conditions that do not allow ice to be used as a platform for fishing.

* On the Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters, the musky season will open on June 1 and the minimum length limit for musky will be 50 inches.

* For lake sturgeon fishing on Lake Superior, the minimum length limit will be 60 inches and only one sturgeon may be harvested per year.

* On the Lake Winnebago System, the daily bag limit for walleye and sauger will decrease to three in total, with only one being a sauger. No size limit will apply. The Winnebago System includes Lakes Buttes des Morts, Winneconne, Poygan, Winnebago and all their tributaries from their mouths upstream to the first dam. This includes the Fox River from Lake Winnebago upstream to the dam above Princeton and all its tributaries from their mouths upstream to the first dam and the Wolf River from its mouth upstream to the dam in the city of Shawano and all its tributaries from their mouths upstream to the first dam including Cincoe lake, Partridge Crop lake and Partridge lake in Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago counties.

* In water bodies of Shawano and Waupaca counties, excluding the Winnebago system and in Lake Koshkonong, the Rock River, the Crawfish River and their tributaries, the daily bag limit will also be three walleye, but with a minimum length limit of 18 inches.

* For the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage and connected water bodies, including Trude Lake, the Bear River, the Flambeau River upstream of the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage at Murray’s Landing, the Little Turtle River, and the Manitowish River upstream of the Flambeau River to the Rest Lake Dam, including Benson, Sturgeon and Vance lakes, the regulation for walleye will be a minimum length limit of 12 inches with only one fish over 15 inches allowed for harvest, and a daily bag limit of three.

Mississippi River Fishing Regulation Changes Effective April 1

* In Pools 3 through 8 of the Mississippi River, the daily bag limit for walleye and sauger will be four in total, with a 15-inch minimum length limit for walleye and none for sauger, and only one walleye or sauger over 20 inches allowed for harvest. In Pools 9 through 12, the daily bag limit for walleye and sauger will be six, with a 15-inch minimum length limit for walleye and none for sauger, a protected slot limit of 20 to 27 inches for walleye and only one walleye over 27 inches allowed for harvest.

* For panfish in Pools 3 through 9, the daily bag limit for white and yellow bass will be reduced to 10 of each with no size limit, while the daily bag limit for sunfish, crappies and yellow perch will be reduced to 15 of each with no size limit.

* The daily bag limit for shovelnose sturgeon in Pools 3 through 9 has been reduced to three, with no size limit.

* The regulation for northern pike in Pools 3 through 9 will be a daily bag limit of three with only one over 30 inches.

* For channel and flathead catfish in Pools 3 through 9, the daily bag limit will be 10 combined with only one catfish over 30 inches.

Local Fishing Regulation Changes

* The refuge for the Mink River downstream to the river’s mouth at Rowley Bay in Door County will change to March 1 to June 15. Between these dates, the fishing season will be closed in the refuge.

* Fishing in the Fox River refuge below the DePere Dam in Brown County will be prohibited from March 1 to May 31.

Additionally, a variety of regulations have changed on local waters and will be described in the 2020-21 Hook and Line Fishing Regulations and Trout Fishing Regulations.

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