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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

The Health Benefits of Fishing

By the GWAAR Legal Services Team

Submitted by Bethany Schneider, ADRC Elder Benefit Specialist



Opening day for fishing in Wisconsin is traditionally the first Saturday in May – it was May 4th for 2024. However, season dates can vary depending on what kind of fish you are fishing for and in which body of water you are fishing. You can refer to The Guide To Hook And Line Fishing Season Dates, 2024-2025, for specifics of where you plan to fish and what you plan to fish for.


There are many physical and mental health benefits of fishing, not just for older adults, but for everyone. Below are just a few examples of the many benefits of fishing:


  • Fishing helps reduce stress. Fishing can be very relaxing and help people connect with nature. It is shown to be an excellent stress-reliever.

  • Fishing helps increase socialization and reduce isolation and loneliness. There are many social connections to be made by fishing, from meeting others at the nearby fishing hole, to connecting with folks at the local bait shop. Fishing gives folks an opportunity to share and connect with others.

  • Fishing helps improve balance, coordination, and lowers the risk of falling. Fishing and the act of casting the pole, reeling in the fish, and other related activities are excellent ways to improve balance and coordination. Regular fishing has been shown to be an excellent way to help prevent falls in older adults. Fishing also helps maintain hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity through activities like tying the line to the hook, baiting the hook, and reeling in the fish.

  • Fishing is great, low-impact exercise. Whether you walk to find your favorite fishing hole, row your boat in the lake, or just cast your pole, you’re getting a great, low-impact, full-body workout.

  • Fishing is shown to help improve mental stimulation and cognition. Enjoying a hobby is a great way to keep your mind sharp and active. Fishing, in particular, is wonderful for building patience and concentration.


You don’t even need to have a boat to fish. There are countless shore fishing spots in Wisconsin that provide great fishing opportunities. There are also many accessible fishing spots for individuals with disabilities. These accessible fishing piers are designed to accommodate wheelchairs, are wider to offer enough room for turning around, and have lower railings and fishing rod holders. For more information about accessible fishing in Wisconsin, visit: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/OpenOutdoors/AccessFish And for a map of these sites, visit: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/sites/default/files/topic/Fishing/AnglerEd_AccessibleShoreFishingSites.pdf


Finally, a reminder that a license is required to fish in Wisconsin except for children under 16 years of age and those born before 1927. Everyone else must purchase a fishing license. An annual fishing license is $20, but for adults over 65, there is a discounted license available for $7. You can purchase fishing licenses at certain retailers, DNR service stations, or at gowild.wi.gov. For more information about fishing licenses, visit:

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