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New fishing regulations for St. Croix and Fox-Illinois rivers effective March 1

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers of the new fishing regulations that went into effect March 1, on the St. Croix and Fox-Illinois rivers in northwestern Wisconsin and Waukesha County, respectively. 

These new regulations change bag and length limits for popular gamefish and establish a new fish refuge on the St. Croix River and another on the Fox-Illinois River.

The regulations on the St. Croix River now include: 

Channel catfish: No minimum length limit; daily bag limit of five channel catfish and only one over 24 inches may be kept per day.

Flathead catfish: No minimum length limit; daily bag limit of two flathead catfish and only one over 24 inches may be kept per day.

Northern pike: No minimum length limit; daily bag limit of three northern pike and only one over 30 inches may be kept per day.

Panfish: Daily bag limit of 15 of each panfish species (bluegill/sunfish combined, crappie and yellow perch).

Walleye and sauger: Daily bag limit of four walleye or sauger in total, with a 15-inch minimum length limit for walleye and no minimum length for sauger. Only one walleye or sauger over 20 inches may be kept per day.

White and yellow bass (combined): No minimum length limit; daily bag limit of 10 white and yellow bass in total.

Additionally, these regulations create two new fish refuges to help protect spawning fish. One is on the St. Croix River, spanning from the State Highway 8 bridge upstream to the St. Croix Falls Dam, effective from March 1 through June 15, and the other is on the Fox-Illinois River, from Madison Street in Waukesha upstream to the Barstow Dam, and effective from March 1 through May 1, 2024. Fishing is not allowed in these two refuges during these periods.

Anglers can find a complete list of the 2024-2025 fishing regulation changes on the DNR’s fishing regulations webpage. All license requirements apply.

Grab Your 2024 Fishing License And Cast A Line

Current 2023-2024 fishing licenses expire on March 31, 2024. Make sure you renew your license for the upcoming fishing season. Annual fishing licenses start at just $20 for residents and $55 for non-residents and are a great way to enjoy a favorite Wisconsin pastime. Find yours online through your Go Wild account, at a registered sales location or at a DNR Service Center to cast a line this year.

Help Prevent The Spread Of Aquatic Invasive Species

Every angler plays an important role in protecting Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers. Everyone should follow these prevention steps to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in our state’s waters:

• Inspect your boat, trailer and equipment.

• Remove any attached aquatic plants or animals before launching, after loading and before transporting any boat.

• Drain all water from boats, motors and all equipment.

• Never move live fish away from a waterbody.

• Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

• Buy all minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer. 

Additionally, only use leftover minnows when fishing with them on the same body of water.

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