The 2022 Fort McCoy fishing season opens May 7, concurrent with the Wisconsin general inland fishing season opener.
Fishing on installation lakes and flowages is allowed May 7 through March 5, 2023, said Fisheries Biologist John Noble with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch. The general inland trout season on post and in Wisconsin is from May 7 to Oct. 15.
Fort McCoy has 10 installation lakes and impoundments and approximately 71.2 miles of Coldwater streams and tributaries, Noble said. The majority of the streams are class I trout waters maintaining naturally reproducing brook and brown trout. The impoundments on Fort McCoy cold-water streams provide a variety of uses for recreation, military training, and habitat for fish and wildlife.
Anglers must have the appropriate Wisconsin licenses to fish on post, as well. This includes a general Wisconsin fishing license, a trout stamp if fishing for trout, and the Fort McCoy fishing permit.
The cost of a Fort McCoy annual fishing permit is $13 for people age 16 and older. Permits for youth under 16, seniors, and disabled anglers and four-day fishing permits are $8. Again, all are available for purchase through the iSportsman website, https://ftmccoy.isportsman.net.
“All permits for hunting, fishing, and firewood cutting at Fort McCoy must be purchased through iSportsman and an iSportsman account is required to purchase any of these permits,” Noble said. “Anglers are also asked to please remember to display a card or sheet of paper with your iSportsman account number on the dashboard of your vehicle.”
Anglers have plenty of options for fishing too, Noble said. North Flowage and Lost Lake on Fort McCoy’s North Post are open year-round for panfish, such as bluegill, and are available for the Wisconsin bass catch-and-release season all throughout the year at times outside the regular fishing season.
For trout fishing, with the exception of Silver Creek, there is a bag limit of five trout with no size restrictions. “There is a special regulation for trout caught at Silver Creek from the western installation boundary to the bridge at the West Silver wetland (bag limit is three trout, no minimum length, artificial lures only),” Noble said.
The Fort McCoy fishing map, also available on the Fort McCoy iSportsman website, is highlighted in orange along Silver Creek to distinguish the special regulation area.
There also will be a Free Fishing Weekend on June 4-5 in Wisconsin and at Fort McCoy. No licenses or permits are needed, but all bag limits and other rules apply. Fort McCoy rules and regulations can be found online using the Fort McCoy iSportsman web site, https://ftmccoy.isportsman.net, and selecting the “Regulations” tab from the menu. Rules and regulations and maps are also available at the Hunter Information Point (HIP) located along State Highway 21 at the intersection of South J Street and State Highway 21 and will be open year round.
“The Free Fishing Weekend is an excellent time for people to come out and see all the fantastic fishing areas we have here,” Noble said. Anglers are required to call the iSportsman Game Line at 866-277-1597 or visit the iSportsman website for updated fishing area closures before going out.
People interested in renting fishing equipment at Fort McCoy can do so through Recreational Equipment Checkout with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at Pine View Campground. Available equipment includes fishing poles, kayaks, canoes, and boats. Varying rates apply.
To find out more, visit https://mccoy.armymwr.com/us/mccoy/programs/recreational-equipment-checkout-outdoor-recreation or call the Pine View Campground office at 608-388-3517/2619.
Other additional items for anglers to remember as the fishing season begins include:
Fish consumption advisories: Information on fish consumption advisories can be found at https://widnr.widen.net/s/mjmvtwrp2j/choose-wisely-2021-april-15.
• Access to Fort McCoy waters: If a lake is listed as open on the game line, 866-277-1597, but is within a closed training area and military training is not taking place at the lake, anglers can use the marginal area around the lake (i.e., mowed area or 50 feet from shore if the lake perimeter is not mowed) if it will not conflict with military training, as well as access the lake by the main access roads.
• An angler is not allowed to walk or drive through a closed training area to access streams. Parking of vehicles to access those streams should occur at main road/stream crossings. Silver Creek has a designated parking area along the main road in Training Area B-2. Anglers should refer to the fishing map in appendix E, available on the iSportsman website. Anglers are responsible for knowing if the lakes are closed due to training, and this can be checked on the iSportsman Game Line posting.
• Activity Information Card: All anglers within a vehicle are required to display a Fort McCoy Activity Information Card. The card must show the iSportsman permit number for each permit holder associated with the vehicle for that given day’s activity. The card must be placed on the vehicle dashboard and be easily readable through the windshield from the outside of the vehicle. The card should not be obstructed by any other papers, materials, or items on the dash or windshield. Hand-printed information must be legible and large enough to easily read thought the windshield.
• No motorized transportation/equipment (defined as any motorized cart, carrier, or wheeled machine aiding a permit holder to maneuver more easily) may be utilized while fishing on Fort McCoy. These include all-terrain vehicles, utility-terrain vehicles, side-by-sides, golf carts, lawn tractors, motorized carriers, and related vehicles.
To see the latest Wisconsin fishing regulations, go to https://widnr.widen.net/s/79rzpq9lqf/seasondates2223. And for more about Fort McCoy fishing rules, review the fishing regulation at https://ftmccoy.isportsman.net. All fishing, hunting and related Fort McCoy regulations were updated as of September 2021.
Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin. The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.” Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.
(The Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch contributed to this article.)