MADISON – State Representatives Nick Milroy (D-South Range) and Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) have introduced legislation that would create a free fishing weekend for veterans. Assembly Bill 891 designates a weekend in July as a special event weekend in which the Department of Natural Resources must waive, for veterans, the requirement to have a fishing license and pay the applicable fees in order to fish in Wisconsin waters.
This bill was introduced at the request of the Western Lake Superior Trolling Association (WLSTA) which puts on an annual Vets on the Lake fishing excursion on Lake Superior with veterans from Wisconsin and Minnesota. The goal of the bill is to extend this weekend of free fishing to any veteran wishing to fish in the waters of Wisconsin.
Milroy believes this bill would honor the service of veterans by eliminating barriers to fishing for the weekend and opening up Wisconsin’s waters as a destination for veterans. “It’s important that all veterans have the opportunity to get out on Wisconsin’s lakes and enjoy a day of fishing the way so many have been able to at the Western Lake Superior Trolling Association’s Vets on the Lake event,” said Milroy. “We are hoping this bill will be a catalyst for other groups to put on similar events.”
WLSTA president, Jim VanLandschoot, expressed his support for the work being done to make a free fishing weekend possible for all veterans. “The WLSTA would like to thank Representative Nick Milroy in helping with this bill,” VanLandschoot said. “This July will be the WLSTA's 3rd annual Vets on the Lake fishing and picnic event. We are hoping other groups follow our lead and make honoring our veterans a statewide event.”
“With interest in our event growing each year, this July we plan on taking up to 75 veterans fishing on Lake Superior,” said WLSTA event chair, Tim Kotter. “When this bill passes, the possibilities are unlimited as to how big our event could become.”
VanLandschoot explained the importance of recognizing the sacrifice of veterans. “These men and women protect our freedom to pursue our hobbies so the least we can do is thank them by giving them a free fishing weekend,” VanLandschoot said.