Everything You Need To Know About The WI Fishing License

wi fishing license

Wisconsin is a fishing enthusiast’s paradise, with a variety of fish species to choose from and beautiful locations for a relaxing angling experience. To enjoy recreational fishing, you will need a valid WI fishing licence. This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need about obtaining a WI fishing licence, including the types, requirements, and fees.

What is a WI fishing license?

A WI fishing permit is a permit that is issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. It allows an individual to fish in public waters of the state for different fish species. This license is mandatory for anyone who is 16 or older, a resident or a non-resident, and wants to fish from a boat in the waters of the state.

Types of WI fishing licenses

The Wisconsin DNR offers different types of fishing licenses based on the length of time, the species and the residence of the angler. Here are the most popular types of WI fishing permits:

Resident Fishing License

Residents of Wisconsin who wish to fish in state waters will need a resident fishing license. This license is valid from March 1 until the last day of the next year’s February. A resident fishing licence costs $20 for the initial license and $14 for each additional license purchased.

Non-Resident fishing license

Non-resident fishing licenses are for those who do not live in Wisconsin, but still want to fish the waters of Wisconsin. This license is valid for a year and costs $50.

Short-Term Fishing Licence

Residents and non-residents can both purchase a short-term fishing permit that is valid for a specific period of time. A 1-day fishing license costs $8. A 2-day license is $14. And a 4-day licence is $24.

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Fishing Stamps

Some anglers will also need special fishing stamps in addition to their fishing license. Anyone who wants to fish in the state’s inland rivers for trout, salmon, or sturgeon will need a $10 Trout Stamp, and anyone who wants a $20 Sturgeon Stamp.

The requirements for obtaining a WI fishing license

To get a WI fishing permit, you need to meet certain requirements. These are set by the DNR. Here are the basic requirements.


A WI fishing license can only be purchased by those 16 years old or older. Children under 16 do not require a fishing license if they are under the direct supervision and control of an adult who has a valid fishing licence.


You must provide proof of your Wisconsin residency in order to purchase a resident’s fishing license. Documents that are acceptable as proof of residence include a Wisconsin driver’s license, state identification card, or a utility bill.

Completion of Education Requirements

Anyone born after January 1, 1974 must complete a DNR approved hunter safety course that includes an educational component on fishing safety before they can get a fishing licence. If you’ve already completed a hunter-safety course, you just need to complete the fishing component before you can get a fishing permit.

How to Get a WI Fishing License

It is easy to obtain a WI fishing permit. Here are the different ways to obtain a fishing licence:

Online Shopping

Online purchasing of a WI fishing permit is the fastest and most convenient method to obtain a WI license. This method is available 24 hours a day and allows you to receive your fishing license immediately. You will need a valid email address, a credit card and other information to purchase a license online.

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You can also get a fishing permit in person at any licensing agent located throughout the state. These agents include sporting goods stores, county clerks’ offices, and DNR Service Centers. To purchase a fishing permit in person, you must present a valid photo ID and any other required documents.

By Phone

You can also call the Wisconsin DNR hotline at 1-888-936-7463 to obtain a fishing permit by phone. The service is offered seven days a weeks from 7 am until 10 pm. To receive your license via mail, you must provide the required information.

WI Fishing License Fees

The WI fishing license fees vary depending on the type, duration and residency. The following are the fees for 2021.

  • Resident Fishing license: $20 for first license, $14 for additional licenses
  • Non-Resident fishing license: $50 for the initial license and $20 for each additional license
  • Short-term fishing license: $8 for 1-day, $14 for 2-days, and $24 for 4-days
  • Trout Stamp: $10
  • Sturgeon Stamp: $20

The Benefits of Having a WI Fishing License

A valid WI fishing licence comes with many benefits, including

  • Access to Wisconsin’s Natural Resources for Fishing
  • Contribution towards the cost of conservation and management of the fish populations of the State.
  • Access to fishing areas such as State Parks, as well as participation in fishing contests and tournaments.
  • Avoiding a fine for fishing without a licence.


Anyone who wants to fish in Wisconsin’s public waters recreationally will need a WI fishing license. We have seen that obtaining a fishing license is easy and the fees are reasonable when you consider the benefits. Be sure to check that you comply with state fishing regulations, and that you possess the appropriate licenses and permits before you head out onto the water. Happy Fishing!

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