"Seine haul" means a single setting, retrieval and emptying of a seine, including placement of the net, driving fish in the direction of the net, drawing or lifting the net, or both, to entrap fish by retrieving one or both ends of the net, bagging the fish in the net, sorting and removal of the game fish in the net and removal of all fish from the net.
NR 21.02 Note
Note: A single seine haul may take more than one day to complete from the time the net is set until all fish have been removed from the net.
"Sport fishing" or "angling" means any fishing, including the methods commonly known as hook and line fishing or angling, which is conducted without a commercial fishing license and with other than commercial fishing gear, but does not include the taking of turtles.
"Stretch measure" means the extension measure of net mesh size whenever the size of mesh of a net is specified and is the distance between the extreme angles of any single mesh with the mesh fully stretched.
"Supervisor" means any department employee assigned or designated to oversee fishing activities conducted under this chapter.
"Turtle" means a reptile having horny, toothless jaws and a body enclosed in a bony or leathery shell into which the head, limbs and tail may be partially or fully withdrawn, and includes parts of turtles and turtle eggs.
"Upper pool 7" means that part of the Mississippi River bounded on the north by the U.S. army corps of engineers lock and dam 6 dike; on the east by the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe main railroad tracks; on the south by an imaginary line at a compass bearing of 651/2 degrees from river mile marker 709.5 to the north end of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe main railroad track bridge that crosses the Black River; and on the west by the state line boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
"Upper pool 8" means that part of the Mississippi River bounded on the north by the U.S. army corps of engineers lock and dam 7 dike, on the east by the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe main railroad tracks, on the south by state highway 16, and on the west by the state line boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
"Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters" for sport fishing purposes, means all waters of the Mississippi River, Lake St. Croix, the St. Croix River from the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad bridge at Prescott, as far in a northerly direction as the St. Croix River forms and acts as boundary waters between the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the St. Louis River from the north-south Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary line downstream to the Lake Superior beach line in the Superior entry including St. Louis Bay, Superior Bay, Little Pokegama Bay, Pokegama Bay upstream to highway 105, Kimballs Bay, Howard Bay, Allouez Bay and all other Bays connected to the St. Louis River. For the purpose of taking turtles and commercial fishing, "Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters" means all waters from the Burlington Northern and Sante Fe railroad tracks on the east side of the Mississippi River and from the east bank of the St. Croix River in Wisconsin, extending west to the state line between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
NR 21.02 History
Cr. Register, February, 1979, No. 278
, eff. 3-1-79; am. (2) Register, April, 1983, No. 328
, eff. 5-1-83; r. and recr. (9), Register, February, 1991, No. 422
, eff. 3-1-91; am. (2), Register, December, 1993, No. 456
, eff. 1-1-94; cr. (4m), (6m) and (15m), am. (10), Register, February, 1997, No. 494
, eff. 3-1-97; am. (2), (4m), (9) and (16) and cr. (4g), (4p), (5e), (5m), (5t), (6g), (7m), (7r), (11f), (11m), (15p) and (15v), Register, October, 1998, No. 514
, eff. 11-1-98; am. (16), Register, May, 1999, No. 521
, eff. 6-1-99; CR 04-024
: am. (4m) and (10) Register December 2004 No. 588
, eff. 1-1-05; CR 10-053
: r. and recr. Register December 2010 No. 660
, eff. 1-1-11; renumbering of (15) and (16) and correction in (30) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1.
, Stats., Register December 2010 No. 660
Reciprocity, sport fishing or spearing and dip netting.
All residents of Wisconsin and Minnesota holding a resident fishing license from their respective states or residents other than Wisconsin and Minnesota holding an angling or sport fishing license issued by either state, may fish in any of the waters of the Mississippi river lying between the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad tracks on the Wisconsin side of the river and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroad tracks on the Minnesota side of the river, including all sloughs and backwaters, bays and newly-extended water areas connected with the main channel of the Mississippi river by a channel which is navigable at periods when the water is approximately equal to normal pool elevation as created by the U.S. department of the army, and in the waters of Lake St. Croix, and the St. Croix river and the St. Louis river as defined in s. NR 21.02 (39)
. This reciprocity applies only to sport fishing, spearing, dip netting, and the taking of minnows and crayfish for such fishing.
Sport fishing; seasons and limits.
All regulations applicable to sport fishing are as follows unless expressly provided elsewhere in this chapter or the law. (23.11, 29.041)
- See PDF for table
No person may have in possession or under control more than the daily bag limit of fish or turtles while on the ice, waters, bank or shore of the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters.
A person may not possess or have under control more than 2 times the daily bag limit of fish, or more than the possession limit of turtles when not on the waters or ice during the open season for each species.
NR 21.04 History
Cr. Register, February, 1979, No. 278
, eff. 3-1-79; am. (7) (a) and cr. (7) (b), Register, December, 1987, No. 384
, eff. 1-1-88; am. (1) (a), renum. (1) (b) to be (1) (c), cr. (1) (b), Register, November, 1988, No. 395
, eff. 12-1-88; emerg. am. (2), (3) and (11), eff. 4-25-89; am. (1) (c), (2) to (4) and (11), renum, (13) to (15) to be (14) to (16), cr. (13), Register, December, 1989, No. 408
, eff. 1-1-90; am. (7) and (11) (a), Register, February, 1991, No. 421
, eff. 3-1-91; am. (2) (d), (3) (c), (7) (b), (8) (a), (11) (a) and (13), Register, December, 1993, No. 456
, eff. 1-1-94; am. (11), Register, December, 1996, No. 492
, eff. 4-1-97; r. and recr. (15), Register, October, 1998, No. 514
, eff. 10-1-98; r. (2) (b), am. (2) (c), Register, January, 1999, No. 517
, eff. 4-1-99; am. (1), Register, December, 1999, No. 528
, eff. 4-1-00; CR 01-012
: am. (2) (a) and (3) (a), Register November 2001 No. 551
, eff. 4-1-02; correction in (13) was made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register November 2001 No. 551
; CR 04-024
: am. (16) Register December 2004 No. 588
, eff. 1-1-05; CR 06-011
: am. (2) (a) and (d) and (3) (a) Register September 2006 No. 609
, eff. 4-1-07; CR 07-014
: am. (11) (b) Register January 2008 No. 625
, eff. 4-1-08; CR 08-012
: am. (7) (a) Register August 2008 No. 632
, eff. 1-1-09; CR 10-025
: am. (7) (a) Register October 2010 No. 658
, eff. 11-1-10.
Fish, other than rough fish during the open season, taken by hook and line, spear or bow and arrow shall not be sold, purchased, bartered, offered for sale, or under control or in possession for the purpose of sale or barter. (23.11, 29.503, 29.539)
Rough fish taken by other than commercial gear may be bought and sold during the open season. A wholesale fish dealer's license is required if such fish are sold to any person other than the final consumer. (23.11, 29.503, 29.539)
NR 21.05 History
Cr. Register, February, 1979, No. 278
, eff. 3-1-79.
Sport fishing restrictions. NR 21.06(1)
Except as otherwise expressly provided, only the following methods or manners of fishing shall be lawful. Any person: (29.041)
May fish for fish with no more than 3 hooks, baits or lures.
May use landing nets and a gaff only for the purpose of landing a fish that is legally hooked. However, landing nets may be used to remove winterkilled fish in those areas and at those times designated by the department by posting, and to net fish as authorized with the use of dip nets under this chapter or ch. NR 20
May take, catch, kill or fish for fish by means of trolling from a motor-driven boat, sailboat or other boats.
Except in Lake Superior, its bays and tributaries, may take rough fish by means of spear, bow and arrow or dip nets and landing nets not to exceed 24 inches in diameter or square only from sunrise to sunset from the Saturday nearest April 21 to March 1, except that the use of dip nets and landing nets not to exceed 24 inches in diameter or square for the taking of rough fish in the St. Croix river downstream to the St. Croix Falls dam is permitted from the Saturday nearest May 15 to June 30 each year, and bow and arrow may be possessed and used for spearing rough fish from sunset to sunrise during the open season for spearing rough fish.
May only fish with a line or lines while they are attended.
Any fish taken and retained in possession that is not released freely into the water immediately after capture shall be considered part of the angler's daily bag limit.
Possession of illegal equipment. No spear, spring gaff or bow and arrow shall be possessed in a fish house (shanty). No person shall have in possession on the water or immediate banks of the water any spear, bow and arrow or similar device except during the open season.
No person may fish by snagging, foul hooking or attempting to hook fish other than in the mouth. Possessing, retaining or failing to immediately release fish hooked other than in the mouth is prohibited.
NR 21.06 History
Cr. Register, February, 1979, No. 278
, eff. 3-1-79; am. (1) (a), Register, December, 1985, No. 360
, eff. 1-1-86; am. (1) (d), Register, November, 1994, No. 467
, eff. 1-1-95; am. (2), Register, May, 1996, No. 485
, eff. 6-1-96; CR 01-012
: cr. (4), Register November 2001 No. 551
, eff. 4-1-02; CR 08-010
: am. (1) (b) and (d) Register November 2008 No. 635
, eff. 4-1-09; CR 09-051
: am. (1) (d) Register June 2010 No. 654
, eff. 7-1-10.
Fishing near dams.
Notwithstanding ss. NR 21.11
, which remain in effect, no person may fish within 200 feet of any fishway, lock or dam by any means other than hook and line.
NR 21.065 History
History: CR 01-012
: cr. Register November 2001 No. 551
, eff. 4-1-02.
Ice fishing shelters.
Buildings, vehicles, tents, fish shanties or similar enclosures may be used on the ice for fishing purposes on the Mississippi river, Lake St. Croix, the St. Croix river and St. Louis river as defined in s. NR 21.02 (39)
from the time the ice forms; provided, however, that all such enclosures or shelters shall be removed from the ice on or before March 1 of each year. The door of any such enclosure or shelter must be equipped with a latch which will permit the door to be readily opened from the outside at all times while the enclosure or shelter is occupied. The name and residential address of the person owning such shelter or enclosure must be painted or permanently affixed in the English language on the outside of the structure with lettering a minimum of one inch square. Residents of Wisconsin or Minnesota angling from a fish house shall comply with the law of their respective states relative to licensing and identification of fish houses. Residents of states other than Wisconsin and Minnesota who hold a nonresident fishing license from either state must comply with the law of the issuing state relative to the licensing and identification of fish houses.
Minnow nets and traps.
Except as provided in ss. NR 20.20
and 21.06 (1) (d)
, no person may take fish other than smelt with nets or traps in the St. Louis river. No person may take minnows or shiners from the St. Louis river. Only those minnow seines, minnow dip nets, cast nets, minnow traps or crayfish scoops described as follows and operated in the manner specified may be used for the taking of minnows:
NR 21.08 History
Cr. Register, February, 1979, No. 278
, eff. 3-1-79; emerg. am. (intro.), eff. 4-25-89; am. (intro.), Register, December, 1989, No. 408
, eff. 1-1-90; am. (intro.), Register, December, 1993, No. 456
, eff. 1-1-94; CR 04-024
: am. (intro.) Register December 2004 No. 588
, eff. 1-1-04; correction in (intro.) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register December 2004 No. 588
Carp as bait.
Live carp taken and possessed for the purpose of bait shall only be transported live by boat or other floating conveyance while in possession on Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters.
Boundary water, commercial fishing restriction.
For the purpose of fishing under a commercial fishing license or the taking of turtles, in the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters, licensed commercial fishers and agents of the licensees are restricted to the state boundaries of the state they are licensed under. No person may operate any commercial fishing gear or turtle traps beyond the state line boundaries of the state in which the license was issued.
NR 21.10 History
Cr. Register, February, 1979, No. 278
, eff. 3-1-79; r. and recr., Register, October, 1998, No. 514
, eff. 10-1-98; CR 10-053
: am. Register December 2010 No. 660
, eff. 1-1-11.
Commercial fishing restrictions. NR 21.11(1)
No person may conduct commercial fishing operations unless he or she has first obtained the appropriate license or licenses required under ss. 29.523
, Stats. A commercial fisher shall carry each license with him or her at all times while engaged in any part of commercial fishing and shall exhibit the license to the department or its wardens on demand. Each commercial fishing licensee must be a resident of the Wisconsin. Commercial fish helpers and crew members are not required to hold a license but a commercial fisher using helpers or crew members who do not hold a Wisconsin commercial fishing license shall submit to the department a list of all unlicensed helpers' or crew members' names and addresses along with the fisher's application for a license or before the helper or crew member begins to assist the licensee. Commercial fishers whose commercial fishing approvals or privileges have been suspended or revoked may not act as a helper or crew member for another licensee during the period of suspension or revocation.
NR 21.11 Note
Note: Names and addresses of fish helpers and crew members may be submitted with the fisher's application for a license to the Department of Natural Resources, Mississippi River License application — CS/1, P.O. Box 7924, Madison, WI 53707-7924 or may be submitted along with a licensee's monthly catch report.
All game fish that are not commercial fish and all fish that are listed in ch. NR 27
as endangered or threatened species that are taken with any net or setline shall be immediately returned to the water with as little injury as possible as soon as they appear in the operation. Seines may not be bagged in a manner that causes either game fish that are not commercial fish or fish that are listed in ch. NR 27
as endangered or threatened species to die while bagged in the net. The presence of dead game fish that are not commercial fish or dead fish that are listed in ch. NR 27
as endangered or threatened species in a seine bag shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this paragraph.
Each person required to hold a commercial fishing license shall be present at all times when any of his or her nets or setlines are set, placed, tended or operated. The licensee does not need to be present when fish are removed from a bagged seine or crib while the licensee transports commercial fish on the water or ice or is tending to the loading of commercial fish at a boat landing.
Measurement of mesh size is by stretch measure. Such measurements apply to net meshes when in use and no allowance will be made for the shrinkage due to any cause. (29.041, 29.516, 29.522)
No person may mark or tag a net or setline with his or her license number or metal tag if the net or setline is already marked or tagged by another licensed commercial fisher, except that up to two commercial fishers may each place one of their net tags on the same net and may lift or operate this net when it is agreed to by both commercial fishers. Only one net flag with one number may be displayed on a net at any time and only the commercial fisher whose flag is attached to the net may set, place, tend, operate or lift the net.
No person may set, place, tend or operate any net or setline that is marked or tagged with the license number or metal tag of another person, except for crew members acting under the direction of the licensee while the licensee is present.
There are no bag limits for any commercial species other than are expressly provided in this chapter. (29.041)
Improperly placed or tagged commercial fishing gear is a public nuisance and will be seized and held by the department subject to order of the court.
No licensed commercial fisher or any member of his or her crew or any person with the commercial fisher or crew may possess any game fish that are not commercial fish while operating commercial gear on the ice or in the open waters of the state or when traveling to or from the operation of the gear.
No person may possess or control commercial fishing gear not authorized for use in the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters by this chapter while on the ice or the open waters of the state or while engaged in a fishing operation involving those waters.
All fishers required to be licensed under the provisions of ss. 29.523
, Stats., shall complete and submit monthly reports on forms available from the department. All reports shall be submitted to the department by the 10th of the month following each month the commercial fisher is required to be licensed. Each monthly report shall be signed by the commercial fisher. Each commercial fisher shall report all fish sold or kept whether these fish were legally or illegally taken or obtained, the buyers name, address and phone number, and all other information requested on the report form.
Commercial fish taken by commercial gear pursuant to this chapter may be sold only by the licensed commercial fisher whose gear was used to take the fish. A commercial fisher may not sell fish taken under the authority of another fisher's license, unless he or she sells the other fisher's fish under the authority of a wholesale fish dealers license.
No person may remove roe from a commercial fish while on the water, ice, bank or shore. Commercial fish shall remain intact until the fish reaches the final processing facility or place of business of the commercial fisher.
The department or its agents may require any operator of any commercial fishing gear to cease the fishing operations when the department finds these operations are destructive to game fish or they will endanger any other species of wild animal. (29.041)
The department by its agents, employees or wardens may in the absence of the licensee, at any time, raise any commercial fishing gear with as little damage as may be for inspection. (23.11, 29.516)
The use or operation of all commercial gear except those authorized in this chapter is prohibited in the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters with the exception of such nets as may be authorized by the department. The specifications for the nets operated under contract with the department must be agreed upon between the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
(2) Gill nets; seasons, closed areas, gill net restrictions.
In the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters, no person may conduct commercial fishing operations with the use of gill nets, drive netting, deadset gill nets or drive set gill nets except in the manner prescribed as follows:
Gill nets may be used year round on the Mississippi river, except for the areas listed in pars. (b)
. No person may engage in drive netting of fish from the closed areas listed in par. (b)
No person may set or use gill nets in the following areas:
Within 900 feet below any U.S. corps of engineers lock or dam on the Mississippi river.
Trempealeau lakes known as Second, Third and Round lakes lying in Trempealeau county.
In the Mississippi river within 300 feet of the mouth of any stream tributary to the Mississippi river.
In lower pool 8, Bluff Slough from 7th Street downstream to where Bluff Slough enters Running Slough.
No person may set or use the types of gill nets listed in this paragraph in the following areas, during the periods indicated:
Open water gill net sets are prohibited in Lake St. Croix from the highway 64 bridge at Houlton, downstream to its confluence with the Mississippi river at all times.
Dead set gill nets and drive set gill nets may not be used in pool 4, between river mile 780 and 797 from March 1 through May 31.
Dead set gill nets may not be used in all of lower pool 7 at any time.
Only gill nets with a mesh of 7 inches stretch measure or larger may be used.
Gill nets may not be used as a drift net and may not be used as or in place of a seine.
At each end of every gill net set in open water there shall be a buoy on each end of the gang. The buoys shall have a staff extending at least 3 feet above the surface of the water. Upon the upper end of the staff there shall be a flag at least 10 inches square. Upon the bowl of the buoys there shall be maintained in plain figures the license number of the licensee. On gill nets set through the ice there shall be maintained on each end of the gang a board or similar material which shall bear the license number authorizing the use of the net.
Each gill net set in open water shall be lifted and emptied of all fish at least once each day following the day set. Each gill net set under the ice shall be lifted and emptied of fish at least once every 2 days following the day set.
Gill nets may not be set, drawn, lifted or operated in any manner between one-half hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise without prior permission of the department.
NR 21.11 Note
Note: Contact a local department conservation warden or fish manager to request prior permission.
Gill nets may not be set in a manner that will shut-off more than one-half the width of any channel, bay or slough.
A gill net may not be set within 1,000 feet of any other commercial fisher's gill net or frame net.