Catch and release bass, extended musky season rules set to take effect April 1

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

Among the 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 extended to 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.

On the Lake Winnebago System, the daily bag limit for walleye and sauger will decrease from five 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.

A number of additional rule changes impacting waters in other areas of the state are also set to effect April 1. 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. To look up the regulations where you plan to fish, visit the DNR website

Scroll to Top