Alert! This chapter may be affected by an emergency rule:
NR 20.08(1) (1)Use goldfish as bait or possess goldfish in any form or manner on any water of the state.
NR 20.08(2) (2)Use alewife as bait or possess alewife in any form or manner on any water of the state except Lake Michigan, Lake Michigan tributaries, Green Bay, major Green Bay tributaries, and all other tributary streams, rivers and ditches to Green Bay upstream to the first dam or lake.
NR 20.08(3) (3)Release any unused bait into any waters of the state unless issued a permit pursuant to s. 29.736, Stats.
NR 20.08(4) (4)Use as bait, possess or release any minnows or other fish on the waters or shores of waters that have been chemically treated for trout management when posted by department signs.
NR 20.08(5) (5)Take, gather, collect, possess or attempt to take, gather or collect larvae or nymphs of aquatic insects from any trout stream for use or sale as bait except that a licensed angler may take larvae or nymphs from trout streams by hand during the open trout season for immediate use as bait only in the trout stream from which the larvae or nymphs were taken.
NR 20.08(6) (6)Possess for use as bait, or use as bait any live fish or live fish eggs if obtained outside of, or brought into, the state of Wisconsin, except for the following:
NR 20.08(6)(a) (a) Live fish or live fish eggs imported in compliance with the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection's import and health requirements in ch. ATCP 10.
NR 20.08 Note Note: Section ATCP 10.62 (1) prohibits the importation into Wisconsin of live fish or live fish eggs for use as bait without a written import permit from the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection.
NR 20.08(6)(b) (b) Live fish or live fish eggs obtained in Minnesota or Iowa and used as bait in or on waters of the Mississippi River lying between the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroad tracks on the Iowa or Minnesota side of the river, and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad tracks lying on the Wisconsin 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 when the waters are approximately equal to the normal pool elevation as created by the U.S. army corps of engineers 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).
NR 20.08(7) (7)Possess for use as bait, or use as bait any dead fish, dead fish egg or any part of any dead fish or dead fish egg unless at least one of the following applies:
NR 20.08(7)(a) (a) It is being possessed or used on Lake Michigan, Green Bay or any waters connected to these waters upstream to the first dam or other obstruction impassable to fish.
NR 20.08(7)(b) (b) It is being possessed or used on the same water body from which it was obtained, or on any water connected to that water body that is not separated by a dam or other obstruction impassable to fish.
NR 20.08(7)(c) (c) It has been preserved in a manner that does not require either refrigeration or freezing.
NR 20.08(7)(d) (d) It is a minnow that is a “live fish" as defined in s. NR 20.03 (19g) and was obtained and possessed lawfully from waters of the state or it was imported in compliance with sub. (6) (a) or (b).
NR 20.08 History History: Cr. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; CR 01-012: am. (2), Register November 2001 No. 551, eff. 4-1-02; emerg. cr. (6) and (7), eff. 11-2-07; CR 07-074: cr. (6) and (7) Register May 2008 No. 629, eff. 6-1-08; CR 10-053: am. (6) (b) Register December 2010 No. 660, eff. 1-1-11; CR 19-091: am. (7) (a), (b) Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20.
NR 20.09 NR 20.09Spearing restrictions. No person may do any of the following:
NR 20.09(1) (1)Possess or control any bow, spear, or similar device while on any water or on the banks or shores of any water that might be used for the purpose of fishing except as specifically authorized in s. NR 20.15 (1m) or 20.20 or ch. NR 21, 22, or 23.
NR 20.09(2) (2)Use, possess, or control any bow, spear, or similar device from sunset to sunrise while on the waters or on the banks or shores of any waters except as authorized in s. NR 20.20, and that a bow and arrow or crossbow may be possessed and used for spearing rough fish, bullheads and catfish from sunset to sunrise during the open season for spearing rough fish.
NR 20.09(3) (3)Spear any game fish except that:
NR 20.09(3)(a) (a) White bass, yellow bass, rock bass, panfish and bullheads may be speared while skin diving or scuba diving during the open season for rough fish spearing on waters specified in s. NR 20.20, provided that the season for white bass, yellow bass, rock bass, panfish and bullheads is also open on the same water. Daily bag limits and size restrictions specified in s. NR 20.20 for white bass, yellow bass, rock bass, panfish and bullheads also apply.
NR 20.09(3)(b) (b) Flathead and channel catfish may be taken with a bow and arrow or crossbow during the open season for taking catfish with a bow and arrow or crossbow on waters specified in s. NR 20.20.
NR 20.09(3)(c) (c) Bullheads may be taken with a bow and arrow or crossbow during the open season for taking bullheads with a bow and arrow or crossbow on waters specified in s. NR 20.20.
NR 20.09 History History: Cr. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; am. (2), Register, February, 2000, No. 530, eff. 4-1-00; CR 01-012: am. (3), Register November 2001 No. 551, eff. 4-1-02; CR 02-073: am. (2), Register January 2003 No. 565, eff. 2-1-03; CR 04-024: am. (3) Register December 2004 No. 588, eff. 1-1-05; CR 09-051: am. (2) Register June 2010 No. 654, eff. 7-1-10; CR 13-001: am. (1), (2) Register August 2013 No. 692, eff. 9-1-13; CR 13-019: am. (1), (2) Register December 2013 No. 696, eff. 4-1-14; CR 19-009: am. (2), renum. (3) to (3) (intro.) and am., cr. (3) (b), (c) Register February 2020 No. 770, eff. 3-1-20.
NR 20.10 NR 20.10Special lake sturgeon spearing restrictions. No person may do any of the following:
NR 20.10(1) (1)Fish for sturgeon on Lake Winnebago system waters by any means other than spearing with a spear thrown by hand from inside a fishing shelter placed on the ice during the open season specified in s. NR 20.20 (73) (e).
NR 20.10(2) (2)Fish with or possess a fishing pole, hook and line or other similar devices that might be used for the purpose of catching fish within any fishing shelter containing an ice hole larger than 12 inches in diameter or square during the open season for spearing lake sturgeon on waters specified in s. NR 20.20 (73) (e).
NR 20.10(3) (3)Cover holes cut in the ice which are used or maintained for sturgeon spearing pursuant to s. NR 20.11 (2) with a fishing shelter except during the period from 48 hours before and continuing through the open season for lake sturgeon spearing.
NR 20.10(4) (4)Use or possess any artificial light while sturgeon spearing in order to illuminate any waters open to sturgeon spearing during the period beginning 48 hours before and continuing through the open season for lake sturgeon spearing.
NR 20.10(5) (5)Cut, use or maintain holes in the ice larger than 48 square feet for sturgeon spearing pursuant to s. NR 20.11 (2).
NR 20.10(6) (6)Fish for sturgeon during the open season by the method of spearing or possess or control a spear or similar device within a fishing shelter on Lake Winnebago system waters from 12 a.m. until 7 a.m. on opening day, and from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. on opening day and subsequent days.
NR 20.10(7) (7)   Fish for lake sturgeon with a spear having a spearhead width greater than 18 inches measured between the outside edges of the tines or with tines arranged in any formation other than a single straight line or both, or possess such a spear during the open season for lake sturgeon.
NR 20.10(8) (8)   Possess, maintain or control a spear in a sturgeon fishing shelter unless in possession of a valid sturgeon spearing license and unused carcass tag for the waterbody on which that shelter is located.
NR 20.10 History History: Cr. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; CR 01-012: am. (4) to (6), (10) and (11), Register November 2001 No. 551, eff. 4-1-02; CR 01-013: cr. (3m) and (3s), Register November 2001 No. 551, eff. 12-1-01; CR 02-014: am. (10), cr. (10m), Register September 2002 No. 561, eff. 10-1-02; CR 03-014: cr. (1m) and (1r) Register November 2003 No. 575, eff. 4-1-04; CR 05-073: am. (1r) and (8) Register January 2006 No. 601, eff. 3-1-06; CR 13-019: am. (10), (10m) Register December 2013 No. 696, eff. 1-1-14; CR 15-014: am. (8), (9) Register December 2015 No. 720, eff. 1-1-16; EmR1613: emerg. am. (4), cr. (4m), am. (5) to (7), cr. (7m), am. (8), (10), (11), cr. (12), eff. 3-12-16; EmR1712: emerg. cr. (7m), eff. 6-17-17; CR 17-061: r. and recr. Register February 2018 No. 746, eff. 3-1-18; CR 17-051: am. (3), am. (3s) [recreated as (5) by CR 17-061], Register March 2018 No. 747 eff. 4-1-18; CR 19-016: cr. (7) Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20; CR 19-016: cr. (7) Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20; CR 19-091: am. (4), (6), cr. (7) Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20; (7), as cr. by CR 19-091, renum. to (8) under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1. Register March 2020 No. 771.
NR 20.105 NR 20.105Sturgeon spearing licenses.
NR 20.105(1)(1)Upriver lakes license application procedures. Persons applying to spear sturgeon on the upriver lakes shall apply for an upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license as follows:
NR 20.105(1)(a) (a) Application deadlines . All upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license applications shall be received by the date established by the department to be considered for selection. The annual application deadline date may be no earlier than July 1.
NR 20.105 Note Note: The department conducts extensive publicity on the application deadlines beginning several months prior to any deadline. Application deadline dates are published in news releases, license outlet handouts, and pertinent regulation pamphlets. Applications may be obtained from any department license vendor. Applications and information may be obtained from the Bureau of Customer Service and Licensing address is 101 South Webster, Box 7924, Madison, WI 53707.
NR 20.105(1)(b) (b) Group applications . If a maximum of 4 persons wish to spear sturgeon on the upriver lakes together, each shall first apply for an individual upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license and then complete a group application form. The group application shall be treated as one application for purposes of random selection under the cumulative preference system and consideration for a license. The group's preference standing shall be that of the member with the lowest number of preference points. If the group is selected to receive upriver lakes sturgeon spearing licenses, all members of the group will lose all accumulated preference points.
NR 20.105(1)(c) (c) Prohibition of purchase of Lake Winnebago spearing license. No person who applies for an upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license may purchase a Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing license in the same year, except unsuccessful applicants for an upriver lakes license may purchase a Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing license after October 1.
NR 20.105(1)(d) (d) Applications for upriver lakes. No person may apply for an upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license unless they will become 12 years of age before or on the last day of the upcoming sturgeon spearing season.
NR 20.105(2) (2) Licensee selection procedures.
NR 20.105(2)(a) (a) If the number of applications for licenses for the upriver lakes sturgeon spearing season exceeds the available quota of licenses, successful applicants shall be randomly selected in accordance with the preference system established under s. 29.192 (4), Stats. No person may purchase an upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license unless they are a successful applicant who has received authorization to purchase from the department.
NR 20.105 Note Note: Section 29.192, Stats., Regulation of takings of certain wild animals. (4) If the department decides to limit the number of hunters or trappers taking Canada geese, sharp-tailed grouse, fishers, otters, bobcats or sturgeon by issuing permits and if the number of persons seeking the permits exceeds the number of available permits, the department shall issue the permits according to a cumulative preference system established by the department. The department shall give a preference point to each applicant for each previous season for which the applicant applied but was not issued a permit. The system shall establish preference categories for these applicants, with higher priority given to those categories with more points than those with fewer points. Applicants who fail to apply at least once during any 3 consecutive years shall lose all previously accumulated preference points. If the number of applicants within a preference category or a subcategory exceeds the number of permits available in the category or subcategory, the department shall select at random within the category or subcategory the applicants to be issued the permits.
NR 20.105(2)(b) (b) Upon selection, all successful applicants lose all accumulated preference points regardless of the length of the sturgeon spearing season or whether or not the successful applicant purchases a license. Unsuccessful applicants who subsequently purchase a Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing license shall retain all accumulated preference points.
NR 20.105(3) (3) Notification and carcass tag issuance.
NR 20.105(3)(a) (a) The department shall issue a notice of approval to those qualified applicants selected to receive an upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license. A person who receives a notice of approval and who pays the fee in the manner required by the department shall be issued an upriver lakes spearing license.
NR 20.105(3)(b) (b) Each successful applicant for an upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license shall be issued a carcass tag by the department upon issuance of the license.
NR 20.105(3)(c) (c) If the number of applications for licenses for an upriver lakes sturgeon spearing season is less than the available quota of licenses, the department may make available the remaining upriver lakes sturgeon spearing licenses to any person who has not purchased either a Lake Winnebago or upriver lakes sturgeon spearing license on a first-come, first-served basis. The issuance of a tag under this paragraph will result in loss of preference points accumulated under the cumulative preference system.
NR 20.105 Note Note: No person may purchase more than one sturgeon spearing license for the same spearing season according to s. 29.024 (2) (c), Stats.
NR 20.105 History History: CR 05-073: cr. Register January 2006 No. 601, eff. 3-1-06; CR 13-001: am. (1) (d) Register August 2013 No. 692, eff. 9-1-13; CR 17-061: r. (4), (5) Register February 2018 No. 746, eff. 3-1-18.
NR 20.11 NR 20.11Ice fishing and fishing shelter restrictions.
NR 20.11(1)(1)No person may construct, place, use, maintain or occupy a fishing shelter on the ice of any waters of this state unless:
NR 20.11(1)(a) (a) The name and residential address or department of natural resources customer identification number in the English language of the person owning or using the fishing shelter is legibly painted or otherwise affixed on the outside of the fishing shelter with block lettering a minimum of one inch square and in contrasting colors. Fishing shelters that are occupied or otherwise in use are exempt from this requirement.
NR 20.11(1)(b) (b) The door can be readily opened from the outside while the shelter is occupied.
NR 20.11(1)(c) (c) The person is actively using the fishing shelter and it is removed from the ice daily and when not in use on the Fox river downstream from the DePere dam, Brown county.
NR 20.11(1)(d) (d) The fishing shelter is removed from the ice daily and when not in use after the first Sunday following March 1, on inland waters south of highway 64.
NR 20.11(1)(e) (e) The fishing shelter is removed from the ice daily and when not in use after the first Sunday following March 12, on inland waters north of highway 64 and all other outlying waters.
NR 20.11(2) (2)No person may cut, use or maintain a hole larger than 12 inches in diameter or square for the taking of fish in any manner through the ice except for spearing fish in Lake Superior, sturgeon spearing, taking fish with dip nets, taking minnows with minnow traps or skin or scuba diving.
NR 20.11(3) (3)The department or its agents may direct that fishing shelters be removed from the ice by a date earlier than specified in subs. (1) (d) or (e) if it has reason to believe that the ice has become unsafe for travel.
NR 20.11 History History: Cr. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; CR 01-012: am. (1) (a), Register November 2001 No. 551, eff. 4-1-02; CR 02-073: am. (1) (a), Register January 2003 No. 565, eff. 2-1-03; CR 04-024: am. (1) (e) Register December 2004 No. 588, eff. 1-1-05; CR 06-011: am. (1) (d) and (e) Register September 2006 No. 609, eff. 4-1-07; CR 19-091: am. (1) (a) Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20.
NR 20.12 NR 20.12Setline and set or bank pole restrictions.
NR 20.12(1)(1)General Restrictions. No person may use, set, lift, attend or possess any set or bank pole or setline on any water except the lower Wisconsin river, unless:
NR 20.12(1)(a) (a) Its use is specifically authorized by a set or bank pole license issued under s. 29.531 (1), Stats., or a setline license issued under s. 29.533 (1), Stats. No person may use, set, lift, attend or possess set or bank pole or setline licensed to another person.
NR 20.12(1)(b) (b) Its use in that water is specifically authorized in s. NR 20.20.
NR 20.12(1)(c) (c) A white flag at least 10 inches square bearing the number of the license authorizing its use in black figures at least 3 inches high and attached to the top of a flag staff that extends at least 3 feet above the surface of the water or bank is placed and maintained at one end of the setline or within 2 feet of the set or bank pole with a cord attached from the flag staff to the set or bank pole. The flag staff may not exceed 2 1/2 inches in diameter and shall be marked with 2 inch to 6 inch wide alternating horizontal black and white bands. When a buoy is used to hold the setline's flag staff, the buoy shall be cylindrical in shape, 15 inches or less in diameter and marked with 2 inch to 6 inch wide alternating horizontal black and white bands. No person may place a setline flag, flag staff or pole in the main channel of any navigable waterway.
NR 20.12(1)(d) (d) A metal tag stamped with the number of the license authorizing its use is securely attached directly to the flag staff or pole of each setline or set or bank pole.
NR 20.12(1m) (1m) Lower Wisconsin river restrictions. No person may use, set, lift, attend or possess any set or bank pole or setline on the lower Wisconsin river unless:
NR 20.12(1m)(a) (a) Its use is specifically authorized by a set or bank pole license issued under s. 29.531 (1), Stats., or a setline license issued under s. 29.533 (1), Stats. No person may use, set, lift, attend or possess a set or bank pole or setline licensed to another person.
NR 20.12(1m)(b) (b) Its use in that water is specifically authorized in s. NR 20.20.
NR 20.12(1m)(c) (c) A white setline flag at least 10 inches square bearing the number of the license authorizing its use in figures at least 3 inches high and attached to a flag staff that extends at least 3 feet above the surface of the water or bank is placed and maintained at one end of the setline. The flag staff may not exceed 2 1/2 inches in diameter and shall be marked with 2 inch to 6 inch wide alternating horizontal black and white bands. When a buoy is used to hold the setline's flag staff, the buoy shall be cylindrical in shape, 15 inches or less in diameter and marked with 2 inch to 6 inch wide alternating horizontal black and white bands. No person may place a setline flag, flag staff or pole in the main channel of any navigable waterway.
NR 20.12(1m)(d) (d) A metal tag stamped with the number of the license authorizing its use is securely attached directly to each set or bank pole and to the flag staff of each setline.
NR 20.12(2) (2) Gear, fishing methods and bait. No person may do any of the following:
NR 20.12(2)(a) (a) Use, set, lift, attend or possess more than 5 set or bank poles.
NR 20.12(2)(b) (b) Use, set, lift, attend, or possess more than one setline while on the waters of this state except as provided in ss. NR 21.11 (4) (d) and 22.12 (1).
NR 20.12(2)(c) (c) Use, set, lift or attend a set or bank pole equipped with more than one line, which may not have more than 2 hooks.
NR 20.12(2)(d) (d) Use, set, lift or attend a setline with more than 25 hooks.
NR 20.12(2)(e) (e) Use, set, lift, attend or possess any set or bank pole or setline between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise.
NR 20.12(2)(f) (f) Use or set a set or bank pole or setline unless it is lifted and the catch removed at least once each day following the day it was set unless a longer period is authorized by the department or its agents.
NR 20.12(2)(g) (g) Use, set, lift or attend a set or bank pole or setline while in possession of hook and line fishing equipment.
NR 20.12(2)(h) (h) Use, set, lift or attend a set or bank pole or setline that is equipped with any hooks that have a gap between the juncture of the barb with the shank measured across to the opposite shank smaller than 3/4 inch except that on the Mississippi river there is no hook size restriction.
NR 20.12(2)(i) (i) Use whole or live fish as bait on set or bank poles or setlines on Lakes Butte des Morts, Little Butte des Morts, Winnebago and Winneconne, Winnebago county, Lake Poygan, Waushara and Winnebago counties and the Black river, Jackson, LaCrosse and Trempealeau counties.
NR 20.12(2)(j) (j) Use live crawfish or whole or live fish less than 5 inches in length as bait on set or bank poles or setlines.
NR 20.12(2)(k) (k) Place, use, set, or fail to remove from state lands or waters of the state any setline, set or bank pole, or part thereof, prior to or following the close of the open season authorizing the use of setlines, set or bank poles in s. NR 20.20.
NR 20.12(3) (3) Restrictions on harvest.
NR 20.12(3)(a)(a) No person may take, retain, kill or possess any fish or other animal taken on a set or bank pole or setline other than catfish, rough fish or turtles.
NR 20.12 Note Note: All game fish taken on any set or bank pole or setline shall be immediately returned to the water except catfish taken in compliance with this section.
NR 20.12(3)(b) (b) The size, bag and possession limits for catfish and rough fish established in s. NR 20.20 shall apply to all persons who fish with set or bank poles or setlines.
NR 20.12(4) (4) Sale of fish. No person may sell any fish taken on a set or bank pole or setline except the following:
NR 20.12(4)(a) (a) Rough fish.
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Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.