A bill introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature by Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, would designate one weekend in July as a free fishing weekend for veterans.

Assembly Bill 694 would require the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to designate the fourth full weekend in July as a free fishing weekend for veterans. During this special event weekend, the DNR would waive requirements for veterans to have a fishing license and pay fees to fish in Wisconsin.

Milroy is co-writing the bill with Rep. Ken Skowronski, R-Franklin, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs.

“Our veterans are immensely deserving of an opportunity where they can get out on Wisconsin’s beautiful waters and enjoy a summer weekend of fishing without the barriers of obtaining a fishing license or having to pay fees,” Milroy said.

Milroy was approached by the Western Lake Superior Trolling Association, an organization that takes dozens of veterans on a weekend fishing expedition on Lake Superior, he said. The focus of this weekend is to give a fishing opportunity to veterans who would not otherwise have that opportunity.

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“The reason we pick the fourth weekend of July is all based on the weather,” said James Vanlandschoot of the WLSTA. “We tend to have more stable weather patterns the end of July.”

During the WLSTA veteran fishing weekend, the fishing is often done in either Wisconsin or Minnesota waters of Lake Superior depending on that weekend’s weather and fish distribution. It requires veterans who participate in the trip to have fishing licenses in both states.

The organization is also working with the Minnesota Legislature to address the barrier, Milroy said.

Efforts in Minnesota have stalled, but Vanlandschoot said they are working to make connections there.

The fishing weekend is a small way to show appreciation, Vanlandschoot said.

“With growing interest in Vets on the Lake, this legislation is very important in allowing us to take more veterans fishing on Lake Superior,” Vanlandschoot said. “It’s very important to give veterans a weekend of their own. Their dedication and sacrifice protect our freedom to pursue our passions and hobbies.”