Lake Superior’s Lake Trout Season Opens

Dec. 1 marks the opening of Lake Superior’s lake trout season, which will run until Sept. 30, 2023 or until the harvest cap is met.

Anyone looking to harvest lake trout must purchase a Great Lakes trout and salmon stamp in addition to their fishing license. Both the stamp and fishing license can be purchased online through the GoWild system or at any license location. All regulations apply.

Lake trout are managed in Lake Superior using a quota system with different allocations for different user groups. The Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior are divided into two management units. WI-1 encompasses all waters from Superior to Bark Point (known as the Western Arm), and WI-2 includes waters from Bark Point to the Michigan border (known as the Apostle Islands region).

Each of these management units has its own harvest quota based on their respective lake trout populations, and recreational harvest is monitored through sport fishing surveys. The Western Arm has a bag limit of three lake trout, and the Apostle Islands region has a bag limit of two lake trout. Both areas employ a 15-inch minimum size limit and only one fish over 25 inches. The Apostle Islands region experiences more fishing pressure and therefore has a trigger in place to close the season prior to Sept. 30, 2023 if 75% of the 12,670 recreational lake trout quota has been reached.

This 2023 season will be the last season under the current lake trout quota for the Apostle Islands region. Using data from 2020-2022, a new quota for the 2024 season is currently being developed and will go through the rule making process next fall.

Recent surveys of Lake Superior fisheries can be found on the DNR’s website. Learn more about fishing for lake trout on Lake Superior.