Testin among group to propose lifetime fishing license

By Patrick Lynn

State Senator Patrick Testin has joined others in the legislature to propose a new lifetime fishing license for Wisconsin residents.

Testin (R-Stevens Point), along with State Representatives Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) and Don Vruwink (D-Milton), and Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) jointly announced the proposal this week, and just before National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 28.

“For many young men and women, fishing is in their blood,” Vruwink said. “A lifetime license is a good investment because it will lock in today’s annual fee for 30 years and after that, no new license will be required.”

The bill creates a resident lifetime fishing license at a cost of 30 times the fee of a resident annual fishing license, currently $19.25, making the lifetime license $577.50. At least 22 other states have some form of a lifetime fishing license, including Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio. Other states’ licenses range in price from $171 to $1,976, making Wisconsin’s lifetime license fee on par with many other states.

“For many people, fishing is a lifetime passion,” Testin said. “This bill gives those who fish the opportunity to make a long-term commitment to their sport and to the future of fishing and conservation in Wisconsin.”

Resident fishing licenses consistently generate more than $13 million in revenue for the conservation fund, administered by the DNR, which is used for various fish and wildlife management projects.

The holder of a resident lifetime fishing license must still purchase a fishing stamp if the type of fishing in which he or she will be engaged requires such a stamp.

A similar bipartisan proposal passed the Assembly last session.

The bill is currently circulating for co-sponsorship. The authors are hopeful the bill will become law by next spring.