Fort McCoy News March 14, 2014

Catch, release season underway through April 27

Public Affairs Staff

People who want to cure their case of spring fishing fever can do so now during Wisconsin's early catch-and-release trout season, which opened March 1 and continues through April 27.

Fort McCoy Fisheries Biologist John Noble said the post has approximately 71.2 miles of coldwater streams and tributaries. To fish on post, the appropriate Fort McCoy permit, state of Wisconsin license and trout stamp are required.

Photo for fishing article
An angler releases a brown trout back into a a Fort McCoy stream.
Contributed photo

"Only artificial lures may be used during the early catch-and-release season for trout," Noble said. "Trout fishing in Fort McCoy lakes and ponds is closed until the regular fishing season opens on May 3."

Noble said 2013 licenses and permits are good through March 31. On April 1, people will be required to have a new 2014 Wisconsin fishing license, trout stamp and related Fort McCoy permit to fish on post.

Fort McCoy fishing permits are sold through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Automated License Issuance System (ALIS). Permits can be purchased at any authorized WDNR ALIS vendor.

A regular Fort McCoy annual fishing permit is $13. For children ages 16 and under, a youth fishing permit is $8. Also for $8 are the senior fishing, disabled fishing and four-day fishing permits. Resident and non-resident pricing are the same for each category.

More Fort McCoy fishing information can be obtained by contacting the Permit Sales office at 608-388-3337 or by checking out the Fort McCoy i-Sportsman website at

According to the WDNR, resident individual annual fishing licenses cost $20.

A resident first-time buyer license — for residents who have not purchased a license before or last purchased a license 10 or more years ago — costs $5. An inland water trout stamp costs $10.

Military veterans with a 70 percent disability or higher qualify for a $3 resident annual disabled veteran's fishing license.
Those veterans must provide proof from the Veterans Administration that service-related disability benefits are being received. Nonresident disabled veterans must purchase a regular nonresident license.

Wisconsin residents on military active-duty orders can receive a free annual resident armed forces fishing license. Proof of active service must be shown when applying for the license, which includes the inland trout and Great Lakes salmon stamps.

A nonresident individual (annual) fishing license costs $50, and a nonresident first-time buyer license is $25.75.

The daily bag limit and possession limit for trout during the early catch-and-release season is

zero, according to WDNR rules. All trout caught must be released immediately.

Anyone fishing for trout at Fort McCoy in March could encounter obstacles if winter conditions continue, Noble said.

"The trout fishing outlook is good, but we have lots of ice cover on the streams," Noble said. "The ice and snow situation may affect angler access and ability to fish Fort McCoy streams, especially if the cold weather continues deep into March."

Good places to consider include fishing along the lower stream sections on the La Crosse River and along Silver and Tarr Creeks, Noble said.

After the catch-and-release season ends April 27, the regular in-land fishing season in Wisconsin opens at 5 a.m. May 3 and goes through Sept. 30.

Prior to the regular fishing season, Noble said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will stock rainbow trout in the third week of April. "We are expecting to have about 15,000 trout with an average size of approximately 9 inches delivered to six Fort McCoy lakes," he said.

"In 2013, the FWS had run into some distribution troubles so we had fewer fish in the lakes for opening day. They did, however, stock some additional rainbow trout last fall. It will be interesting to see how fish survival was from

Noble added some fish population assessments may be completed on Fort McCoy waters prior to the regular fishing season. Also, Fort McCoy will participate in the WDNR Free Fishing Weekend June 7-8.

For more information about fishing in Wisconsin, the early catch-and-release season, fishing forecasts for neighboring counties and other fishing seasons in the state, visit