DNR: Fishing Easements 101

"As an angler, you might be familiar with the term 'fishing easement.' However, you may not know exactly what that involves."

DNR: Fishing Easements 101

News Release

As an angler, you might be familiar with the term “fishing easement.” However, you may not know exactly what that involves.

A fishing easement is privately owned land (usually along a streambank) where members of the public are granted access to the land so they can hike, fish or just enjoy the natural scenic beauty.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) purchases these easements directly from landowners. In return for payment, the landowner allows public fishing and DNR management activities along the stream on their property. The easement area is generally 66 feet of land from the stream bank on either side of the stream. Once the easement is created, it remains even if the land is sold or deeded to another.

Anglers can use the easement to get to certain streams and rivers. They just need to make sure to stay within the easement itself.

Easements also allow the DNR to conduct management activities such as streambank restoration projects. Find more information on particular easement projects here.

How Do I Find A Fishing Easement?

Once the easements are purchased, their specific locations can be found in the DNR’s Public Access Lands Mapping Application or the Trout Viewer.

Proper Etiquette When Fishing An Easement

There are some unwritten rules to follow when fishing an easement:

  • Know where the easement starts and ends.
  • Make sure to stay on the easement (not on the landowner’s property).
    • TIP: Stay on the shoreline or wade into the stream to fish.
  • Pack in, pack out. Take home whatever you bring with you.

Now that you know a little more about easements, get out and find an adventure fishing an easement near you.

Last Update: Aug 12, 2021 8:30 am CDT

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