Ask an Official: DNR Warden discusses ice fishing regulations
This week’s featured question is asked of Southern Lincoln County DNR Conservation Warden Curt Butler
The question reads:
“I am new to ice fishing this year and am curious about regulations on bag limits, shanties and so on. Are bag limits the same year round? Are there any changes for ice fishing season? How about any rules or restrictions on shanties or shelters or use of stoves and heaters on the ice? I couldn’t find any updated or recent information specific to ice fishing out there so if there is a link or resource I could use, that would be great. Thank you warden.”
Answer as given by Warden Butler
Are bag limits the same year round?
“Bag limits are not the same year round. The season for a specific fish species may be open or closed depending on the time of year. For example, during the spring season when most fish species are spawning, the season may be closed to protect that reproducing fish population.
Are there any changes for ice fishing season?
“There are no specific rule changes for fishing techniques through the ice with one exception; during ice fishing, anglers do not need to remain within 100 yards of their lines. They must still immediately respond to any line upon indication of a bite.
How about any rules or restrictions on shanties or shelters or use of stoves and heaters on the ice?
“Ice shanties / shelters come in many different shapes, sizes, and designs. The shelter owner’s name and address (in English) must be legibly painted or otherwise affixed on the outside of the fishing shelter with block lettering a minimum of one inch square and in contrasting colors. The doors of enclosed fishing shelters must be readily opened from the outside while occupied; they may be locked only while not occupied and not in use.
“After the date for removing shelters from the ice, you may continue to use a portable shelter, but you must remove it daily when it is not occupied or in use. Shelters north of Highway 64 (majority of Lincoln County) must be removed by the first Sunday following March 12, and shelters south of Highway 64 by the first Sunday following March 1. There are no specific rules for what method you may use to heat your shelter, however, follow the saying “pack it in, pack it out”. If you use propane, all canisters must be removed; and if you use clean wood, all wood and byproducts, such as ash, must be removed. Failure to do so is considered littering.”
I couldn’t find any updated or recent information specific to ice fishing out there so if there is a link or resource I could use, that would be great.
“Whenever you head out to go fishing it is important to review the most current Wisconsin fishing regulation pamphlet. Seasons, size limits, bag limits, and methods may change from one body of water to the next. A good place to start is on page 62 of the fishing regulation pamphlet. It displays the Wisconsin general inland water regulations. Once you have chosen a specific body of water to fish, go to the middle of the regulation pamphlet and reference the county you are in (Lincoln County, page 40).
“There you will find any special regulations specific to bodies of water that have regulations different from the general regulations. You can find current fishing regulations at most WDNR license venders, sportsmen’s clubs, and bait shops. You can also find the electronic version online at “https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/regulations/FishRegs1718 Web.pdf”or type “Guide to Wisconsin hook and line fishing regulations” into the search bar of the WDNR home page, and a link will be displayed.”
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