Wisconsin DNR: New Fishing Tournament Registration Requirement Takes Effect April 1st

Posted on 3-14-2024

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced this week that fishing tournaments that are statewide or regional in nature, seasonal without specific fishing dates, or that have fewer than 20 boats or 100 participants will be required to register with the DNR starting April 1st.

Registration of these tournaments will be free of charge.

The DNR regulates fishing tournaments or organized competitive fishing events where money or prizes are awarded to protect fish populations from overharvest and to avoid crowding or conflicts among waterbody users. Larger tournaments and some specialized tournaments are monitored and regulated through a paid permit system, but there is little information on unpermitted tournaments.

This registration requirement will help the DNR gather data on the number and types of tournaments held on Wisconsin’s waterbodies.

Tournament organizers will be able to submit their registrations using simple online or paper forms that ask for organizer contact information and event information, including waterbodies to be fished, dates, target species and expected number of boats or participants. Only one registration is required per calendar year for tournaments that recur as part of a series.

Registrations are required to be submitted 72 hours before the start of a tournament. Once submitted, registrations are complete, and no approvals are required.

A screening tool that asks questions about the planned tournament will help organizers determine whether they need a registration or permit. Processes and regulations for tournaments that require permits are unchanged.

Anyone interested in hosting a fishing tournament in Wisconsin can visit the DNR’s Fishing Tournaments webpage for information about tournament requirements, registration deadlines and permit and registration forms.