Difference between possession and daily bag limit


The possession limit is the maximum number of a species that you can control, transport, etc., at any time. It is twice the total daily bag limit.

The daily bag limit is the maximum number that you can keep in one day (i.e., 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM) of fishing. Fish not immediately released (i.e., prior to transport) are part of an angler’s daily bag limit. An angler may not possess in excess of the daily bag limit for the water while on the waters, banks or shores of that water.

The total daily bag limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may reduce to his/her possession in one day from all waters fished for that day. An angler may combine the catch of a particular species from multiple waters until the total daily bag limit is reached as long as the daily bag limit for each body of water is never exceeded.

For example, if the total daily bag limit for a species is 5, the most you could possess or control (i.e., in your freezer, cooler, vehicle, etc.) would be 10, no matter how many days you fished. Therefore, you could only bring home your possession limit of 10.

Once you reach your limit for a species, you must stop fishing for that species. This includes catch and release fishing.


  • On the Wisconsin/Michigan Boundary waters, only one daily bag limit can be possessed.
  • The possession limit for the Great Lakes and its tributaries having anadromous trout is twice the daily bag limit.
  • On inland waters, the possession limit for trout is 10, of which no more than five may be a combined total of brown and rainbow trout.
  • In the ceded territory, no person may exceed a total daily bag limit of 5 walleyes and no person may possess more than the possession limit of 10 walleyes. This enables anglers to fish multiple lakes with reduced bag limits. For example, if you fish a lake in the ceded territory with a bag limit of 3 walleye, you may then go on to a lake with a reduced bag limit and catch and harvest two more walleye. Thus, you would remain within the total daily bag limit of 5 walleye. The possession limit remains 10 walleye.
  • Also, in the ceded territory, no person may possess fish on any water in excess of the daily bag limit or under the length limit for that water while fishing. Basically, this allows anglers to transport fish across waters with reduced daily bag limits as long as they do not stop and fish.
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If you travel through Wisconsin with fish from another state, those fish are not considered part of your Wisconsin possession limit, even if you stop to fish in Wisconsin. However, you must be able to show the fish were from out of state with:

  • a valid fishing license from another state, and
  • labeled packages of fish with at least a 1″ x 1″ skin patch attached, number of fish, angler’s name, date and where the fish was caught.
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>