Open water anglers, like the one pictured above, will flock to the local dam, as well as area lakes and rivers for the 2020 inland fishing season that opens at 12 a.m. on Saturday, May 2.

Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order recognizes outdoor activity as essential. As such, the 2020–2021 Game Fish season will proceed as planned opening on Saturday, May 2. All regulations and license requirements apply.

The DNR reminds anglers to fish close to home and practice social distancing whether fishing from a boat, dock, or shoreline. It is recommended that only anglers living in the same household should fish within six feet of one another.

Fishing licenses are available online through the DNR’s Go Wild system or at limited essential businesses throughout Wisconsin. Please visit our fishing license web page for more information and find open vendors within your community. At this time, our service centers remain closed.

Regular fishing rules and regulations apply for all DNR properties. DNR boat launches within open state parks are open. However, all state parks have updated hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be closed on Wednesdays. Anglers who want to fish within a state park on Wednesdays may still do so that day.

All restrooms, water fountains, buildings and facilities are also closed at all state parks. Northern forests, flowages and the Lower Wisconsin Riverway system are exempt from these changes and remain open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

A list of launches and shorefishing access points is available on the DNR website to help anglers find fishing locations closer to home. Anglers are encouraged to have a backup plan in the event there is crowding or unsafe conditions where you plan to fish.

DNR boat launches are open at open state properties. Please check with local municipalities regarding boat launch closures and consult the 2020–2021 Hook and Line Fishing Regulations for the waterbody you plan to fish. Add hand sanitizer to your tackle box and pack a trash bag.

“This year anglers will find themselves experiencing a non-traditional fishing opener. Instead of traveling to their favorite spot, they will create a new tradition of fishing closer to home and finding new local spots to catch a fish or two,” said Justine Hasz, Bureau Director of Fisheries Management. “Fisheries staff have maintained hatchery operations and have been stocking fish out across the state for anglers to go test their skills.”

Keeping Wisconsin anglers safe remains the department's top priority. Wear a lifejacket at all times when fishing from a boat, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and use boat lights after sunset. If you need to register your boat, you can still do so online or via mail: Register Your Boat.

You can also help minimize the spread of invasive species by removing plants and animals from your boat before and after launching, draining all water from compartments, and never move live fish from any waterbody. Learn more on our aquatic invasives prevention web page.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these waters together. For specific information regarding COVID-19, we encourage the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information is available on the CDC website.

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