Out of State Fishing License in Wisconsin

Out-of-State Fishing License in Wisconsin: Cost & Info

In the picturesque landscapes of Wisconsin, fishing is more than a hobby; it’s a way of life. For non-residents, the allure of Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers is equally captivating. Understanding the legal requirements for an Out-of-State Fishing License in Wisconsin is essential for enjoying this pastime responsibly. This article provides a comprehensive guide to obtaining a non-resident fishing license, ensuring that every angler’s experience in Wisconsin is both legal and enjoyable.

Out of State Fishing License in Wisconsin
Out of State Fishing License in Wisconsin

Understanding The Need For An Out-Of-State Fishing License

Legal Requirements

In the state of Wisconsin, the law is clear and unequivocal: all non-residents must obtain a proper fishing license. This isn’t merely a bureaucratic formality. Wisconsin’s rich aquatic ecosystems are home to a diverse array of fish species, many of which are subject to specific regulations to ensure their survival and sustainability.

The requirement for an Out-of-State Fishing License serves multiple purposes. It helps the state track the number of anglers and the types of fish they are catching. This data is vital for managing fish populations and setting future regulations. Moreover, the revenue generated from these licenses directly funds conservation efforts, habitat restoration, and educational programs.


The benefits of obtaining a proper fishing license extend beyond legal compliance. By purchasing a license, non-residents are actively participating in the stewardship of Wisconsin’s natural resources. The funds contribute to projects that maintain healthy fish populations and pristine water bodies.

Furthermore, a license ensures that anglers are aware of and adhere to the state’s fishing regulations, such as catch limits and size restrictions. This knowledge promotes ethical fishing practices and helps preserve the fishing tradition for future generations.

Case Study: A Non-Resident Fisher In Wisconsin

John, a passionate angler from Illinois, had heard tales of Wisconsin’s legendary fishing spots. Eager to try his luck, he planned a week-long fishing trip. But John knew that a successful trip required more than just the right bait and tackle; he needed to understand the legal requirements.

Before embarking on his journey, John researched the Out-of-State Fishing License options and selected the one that suited his needs. The process was straightforward, and he appreciated knowing that his license fee was supporting local conservation efforts.

Upon arriving in Wisconsin, John enjoyed a hassle-free fishing experience. He caught several impressive fish, all within the legal limits, and even made friends with local anglers who shared their favorite spots.

John’s story is not unique; it’s a testament to the seamless experience that awaits non-resident anglers in Wisconsin. By understanding the legal requirements and obtaining an Out-of-State Fishing License, he not only enjoyed his fishing adventure but also contributed to the very resources that made it possible.

Types Of Non-Resident Fishing Licenses In Wisconsin

Non-Resident Fishing

The Non-Resident Fishing License is the gateway for out-of-state anglers to explore Wisconsin’s abundant lakes and rivers. This general license is designed to accommodate various needs and preferences:

  • Annual License: Ideal for frequent visitors, this license covers a full year of fishing.
  • Short-Term License: Available in daily or multi-day options, perfect for a weekend getaway or a brief fishing expedition.
  • Family License: Tailored for family vacations, this option covers all family members under one license.

The flexibility in duration ensures that non-residents can choose a license that aligns with their plans, making the fishing experience in Wisconsin accessible and enjoyable.

Non-Resident Sturgeon Fishing

Sturgeon, a prehistoric fish species, holds a special place in Wisconsin’s aquatic ecosystem. The Non-Resident Sturgeon Fishing License is a specialized license that reflects the state’s commitment to the careful management of this unique species.

Sturgeon fishing requires adherence to specific regulations, including season dates, size limits, and tagging requirements. This license ensures that non-residents are aware of these regulations and are contributing to the responsible management of the sturgeon population.

Non-Resident Hunting And Fishing Combination

For outdoor enthusiasts who want to experience both hunting and fishing in Wisconsin, the Non-Resident Hunting And Fishing Combination License is the perfect choice. This combination license offers:

  • Flexibility: Engage in both hunting and fishing without the need for separate licenses.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: A combined license often costs less than purchasing individual hunting and fishing licenses.
  • Convenience: One license, one application process, and one payment streamline the experience.

This combination license is a testament to Wisconsin’s rich outdoor heritage, providing non-residents with the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the state’s natural beauty.

Data And Statistics

The popularity of fishing in Wisconsin among out-of-state visitors is more than anecdotal; it’s supported by data. In 2022, over 100,000 non-resident fishing licenses were issued, reflecting a vibrant community of anglers drawn to Wisconsin’s waters.

These numbers are not just statistics; they represent a shared passion for fishing and a collective commitment to conservation. Each license contributes to the funding of projects that ensure the sustainability of fish populations and the enhancement of fishing habitats.

The diversity in non-resident fishing licenses in Wisconsin is a reflection of the state’s inclusive approach to outdoor recreation. Whether it’s a general fishing license, a specialized sturgeon license, or a combination of hunting and fishing, Wisconsin offers options that cater to different needs and interests. These licenses are more than mere permissions; they are invitations to be part of Wisconsin’s rich fishing tradition and to contribute to its ongoing preservation.

How To Apply For A Non-Resident Fishing License

Step-By-Step Guide

Applying for a non-resident fishing license in Wisconsin is a streamlined process designed to be user-friendly. Here’s a detailed guide:

  1. Visit Go Wild’s website: The official online portal for all Wisconsin DNR licenses, Go Wild’s website is the starting point for your fishing adventure. It’s accessible, secure, and provides all the information you need.
  2. Select the appropriate license type: With various non-resident options available, it’s essential to choose the one that fits your plans. Whether it’s a general fishing license, a sturgeon-specific license, or a combination license, the website provides clear descriptions to guide your selection.
  3. Complete the application: This step involves providing personal information, such as name, address, and date of birth, along with details about the type of fishing you plan to do. Payment can be made via credit card or other secure online payment methods.
  4. Print or download the license: Once the application is approved, you can print the license or download a digital copy to your mobile device. It’s ready for immediate use, and there’s no waiting period.

Practical Tips And Advice

  • Apply early: While the online process is quick, it’s wise to apply at least a few days before your planned fishing date to avoid any last-minute issues.
  • Keep a digital copy of the license on your mobile device: Having a digital copy ensures that you always have the license with you, even if you misplace the printed version.
  • Review the regulations: Familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations for the area you plan to fish. Regulations may vary by location and species.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

  • Not selecting the correct license type: Carefully review the options to ensure you choose the right license for your needs. Selecting the wrong type may lead to legal issues or limit your fishing opportunities.
  • Ignoring special regulations: Some non-residents, such as students attending Wisconsin schools or active military personnel stationed in the state, may qualify for special provisions. Check with a DNR Service Center if you think you might be eligible.
  • Waiting until the last minute: While the online process is efficient, technical issues or other unforeseen problems can arise. Give yourself ample time to complete the application.

The process of applying for a Non-Resident Fishing License in Wisconsin is designed with the user in mind. It’s straightforward, transparent, and provides all the necessary tools to ensure a successful application. By following the step-by-step guide, considering the practical tips, and avoiding common mistakes, non-residents can look forward to an enjoyable and lawful fishing experience in Wisconsin’s beautiful waters. The license is more than a piece of paper; it’s your ticket to explore, enjoy, and be part of Wisconsin’s vibrant fishing community.

Special Regulations And Considerations

ATF Regulations

For non-immigrant visitors planning to bring firearms for hunting or other lawful purposes, understanding and complying with ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) regulations is crucial. Here’s what you need to know:

  • ATF Form 6 NIA (5330.3D): This form is required for temporary importation of firearms and ammunition by non-immigrant aliens. It includes details about the firearm, the purpose of the visit, and personal information.
  • Approval Process: The ATF must approve the form, a process that can take 8-12 weeks. It’s essential to plan ahead and submit the form well in advance of your trip.
  • Compliance with State Laws: In addition to federal ATF regulations, you must also comply with Wisconsin’s state laws regarding firearms. This may include additional permits or background checks.

Non-Resident Students And Armed Forces

Wisconsin recognizes the unique circumstances of certain non-residents, such as students and military personnel, and offers special licenses to accommodate their needs:

  • Non-Resident Students: If you are attending a Wisconsin school and wish to fish, you may qualify for a resident fishing license. Proof of enrollment and a valid student ID are typically required.
  • Active Military Personnel: Active members of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in Wisconsin may also qualify for resident fishing licenses. Proper military identification and documentation of your stationing in Wisconsin are necessary.

These special provisions reflect Wisconsin’s commitment to inclusivity and recognition of those who are temporarily residing in the state for education or service to the country.

Best Practices

  • Plan ahead for ATF approval: If you intend to bring firearms, start the ATF process early, as it can take 8-12 weeks for approval.
  • Consult with a DNR Service Center for personalized assistance: If you have specific questions or unique circumstances, DNR Service Centers are available to provide guidance. They can assist with understanding regulations, selecting the appropriate license, and ensuring that you comply with all legal requirements.
  • Stay Informed: Regulations and laws can change. Stay up to date by regularly checking the Wisconsin DNR website or subscribing to updates.

Navigating the special regulations and considerations for non-resident fishing in Wisconsin may seem complex, but with proper planning and understanding, it’s manageable. Whether it’s complying with ATF regulations or taking advantage of special licenses for students and military personnel, Wisconsin provides the resources and support to ensure a lawful and enjoyable experience. These regulations are not barriers; they are safeguards that protect both individuals and the community, reflecting Wisconsin’s responsible approach to outdoor recreation.

Additional Resources And Support

Navigating the process of obtaining an Out-of-State Fishing License in Wisconsin is made easier with a wealth of resources and support available. From online tutorials to visual guides, the state ensures that non-residents have the tools they need to successfully apply for and understand their fishing license.

Go Wild Tutorials

Wisconsin’s Go Wild system is the central hub for all fishing and hunting licenses. Recognizing that some users may be new to the system, Go Wild offers online tutorials designed to guide applicants through the process. These tutorials cover:

  • How to Create an Account: A step-by-step guide for setting up your Go Wild account.
  • How to Select the Right License: Detailed instructions on choosing the appropriate license type for your needs.
  • How to Complete the Application: A walkthrough of the application process, including payment options.
  • How to Print or Download Your License: Guidance on accessing your license once approved.

These tutorials are user-friendly and available on the Go Wild website, providing a valuable resource for those unfamiliar with the system.

Contact Information

Should you have questions or encounter issues during the application process, assistance is readily available. Call 1-888-936-7463 for assistance from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Customer service representatives are trained to assist with all aspects of the licensing process, including:

  • Understanding License Types: Clarifying the different non-resident license options.
  • Application Assistance: Helping with the online application process.
  • Regulation Inquiries: Providing information on specific fishing regulations and requirements.

This helpline ensures that non-residents have direct access to expert assistance, making the process as smooth as possible.


For those who prefer visual guides, infographics are available to provide a clear understanding of the process. These visual aids include:

  • Flowcharts: Outlining the step-by-step process of applying for a license.
  • Diagrams: Illustrating the different license types and their applicability.
  • Maps: Showcasing fishing locations and relevant regulations.

Infographics are an engaging way to present complex information, making them an excellent resource for visual learners or those new to fishing in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s commitment to supporting non-resident anglers extends beyond the licensing process. With Go Wild tutorials, a dedicated helpline, and informative infographics, the state provides a comprehensive support system that ensures non-residents have the resources they need. These tools are not mere conveniences; they are reflections of Wisconsin’s dedication to fostering an inclusive and accessible fishing community. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to fishing in Wisconsin, these resources are designed to guide, inform, and enhance your experience.


The Out-of-State Fishing License in Wisconsin is more than a legal requirement; it’s a commitment to responsible fishing and conservation. By understanding the types, application process, and special considerations, non-residents can fully enjoy the fishing experience in Wisconsin. Apply for your license today and join the community of responsible anglers in the Badger State.

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