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Discounted fishing licenses the ticket for holiday fun

Wisconsin's $5 first-time buyer resident fishing license or a one-day fishing license may be just the ticket for fun for family, friends and visitors gathered for the long July 4th holiday, state fisheries official say.

"These new licenses are a great, inexpensive way to get your family, friends and visitors out on the water to have fun and give fishing a try," says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin's fisheries director. "You can buy and print off the licenses at home through our online licensing center at or go to one of more than 1,300 bait shops and other license agents near you. Let the fun begin."

New this year, anglers who have never purchased a fishing license -- or who haven't purchased a fishing license in 10 years -- can get a discounted "first time buyers" license.

Lawmakers created the discounted license earlier this year and both residents and non-residents can take advantage of this opportunity.

Residents' discounted license is $5 and non-residents' is $25.75 for the annual licenses, according to Diane Brookbank, who leads customer service and licensing for DNR. A regular resident annual license is $20; a nonresident license is $50.

If a person is eligible for the first time buyer's license, that license will be the first listing on his or her computer screen, and it's also what the license agent will see when an eligible buyer comes in seeking a license, Brookbanks says.

For those family members and friends who have fished more recently but not yet bought a license for 2012, a one-day fishing license can be a good option. The one-day fishing license costs $8 for residents and $10 for nonresidents. The purchase price of that one-day license can be credited toward purchase of an annual license.

People can buy fishing licenses in three convenient ways:

Over the Internet the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website,, at any authorized license agent, or by calling telephone sales at 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). To find the nearest agent, call the DNR call center at 1-888-936-7463. (1-888-WDNR-INFo)

Wisconsin residents and nonresidents 16 years old or older need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state. Residents born before Jan. 1, 1927, do not need a license and resident members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty are entitled to obtain a free fishing license when on furlough or leave.