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Senator Moulton Column: Fishing weekend

Fishing season is almost here and I, like many of the residents of west-central Wisconsin, am looking forward to a summer spent enjoying the beautiful outdoors that our great state has to offer. When not serving in Madison as your State Senator, I am usually at my business, Mouldy’s Archery and Tackle in Chippewa Falls. Being involved in the fishing business enables me to keep a pulse on what is happening in Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers when it comes to catching fish. Since not everyone thinks about fishing as much as I do, here is some information about fishing in Wisconsin that you might be interested in learning.

Wisconsin’s fishing season begins on Saturday, May 2nd and we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Governor’s Fishing Opener on the Chippewa Flowage in Hayward.

The Governor’s Fishing Opener is an annual event that signals the official start to Wisconsin’s fishing season. The Opener has been held every year since 1965 and is traditionally held in one of the twenty-two northwestern counties that make up Indian Head Country. Current and former state and local elected officials, Department of Natural Resources officials, and media from all over the Midwest are paired with local fishing guides for a fun day of catch-and-release fishing.

Wisconsin has some of the greatest fishing in the world with more than 800 miles of shoreline along the Great Lakes and 200 miles along the Mississippi River. We have 15,074 lakes, 13,500 miles of rivers, and 956 miles of trout streams. More than 160 varieties of fish have been caught in these waters, including walleye, bass, salmon, trout, and sturgeon. Did you know that the largest fish ever caught with a hook and line in Wisconsin weighed more than 170 pounds? It was a Lake Sturgeon caught more than 35 years ago in Burnett County. Maybe this will be the year for a new record!

Not only is fishing an exciting outdoor activity, but Wisconsinites spend more than $4 billion annually on hunting and fishing, which creates more than $6.2 billion in positive economic growth for our state. The taxes collected on hunting and fishing licenses and equipment has provided more than $526 million in aid to the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFRP) since 1939. The WSFRP protects fish and other wildlife populations throughout Wisconsin. As an avid fisherman, I am thankful that Wisconsin has such dedicated sportsmen and women who continue to improve the natural resources of our state.

Anyone who decides to fish this season should remember that a fishing license is required throughout Wisconsin for anyone 16 or older.  One-day, two-day, or annual passes can be purchased and discounts are provided for youth, seniors, current and former military, disabled, and married couples. This year, licenses can be purchased online by visiting Wisconsin’s DNR web page at As always, licenses can also be purchased at a variety of sporting goods stores as well.

Another great activity in Wisconsin just began this week with the opening of Wisconsin’s first spring turkey season. If you did not receive a turkey tag in the lottery, you may want to check the DNR website for leftover tags.

If you have questions or comments about any state-related issues or if you need help with a state agency, you can contact me at or (888) 437-9436.