The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting a Free Fishing Weekend Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 15-16, to share the fun and excitement of winter fishing.

For this weekend only, no fishing license or trout and salmon stamps are required.

Anglers can fish state waters where there is an open season. All other fishing regulations apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish that can be kept and any seasons when certain fish species must be released.

As a reminder, anglers cannot fish spring trout ponds during the Winter Free Fishing Weekend. Anglers should review the trout regulations and 2021-’22 Hook and Line regulations for more information.

Those who plan to keep their catch should be sure to review the DNR’s Safe Eating Guidelines to stay informed of potential consumption advisories impacting some waterbodies throughout the state.

“Free Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to give angling a try, without the added step and expense of getting a fishing license,” said Theresa Stabo, DNR fishing recruitment, retention and reactivation coordinator. “Fishing is about so much more than the catch. Get out there and enjoy nature, spend time with friends and family and if you’re lucky, bring home some fish for your next at-home fish fry.”

More Free Fishing Weekend events can be found on the DNR events webpage.

To find a tackle loaner site with ice fishing equipment nearby, visit the DNR’s Fishing Equipment For Loan web page. Locations with ice fishing equipment will have an “IF” next to their name. Basic gear is available; however, sites do not lend out ice augers. Hours and available equipment vary, so those looking to borrow equipment should contact the site in advance and plan ahead to pick up the gear.

The next Free Fishing Weekend will take place June 4-5.

Safety reminders

People venturing out on the ice this weekend are reminded that no ice is 100% safe. Local bait shops can provide current ice conditions in the area.

People should stay safely on shore if ice conditions are questionable, and DNR officials said it is a good idea to always tell someone where you are going and when you’ll return.

With the North Woods’ cold temperatures, those heading out on the ice should dress for winter comfort, and don’t forget safety gear. The best way to dress for cold temperatures is to layer up with warm layers that are water-resistant and wear sturdy, waterproof boots with spike-style creepers for traction.

It’s also a good idea to take along an extra hat and gloves, a rescue throw rope and ice claws.