How many lines can you use for ice fishing in Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, and Iowa ?

Ice fishing is a popular activity in the US. People from all around the country gather at popular ice fishing spots and try their luck on the spot. Since a large number of people want to have the best catch, they use multiple fishing lines. This, at times, leads to a strain on the natural resources of the frozen water body. If the fish is caught in large quantities, their population will decrease and they can be extinct from the waters for good. So the government has set up rules on the number of fishing lines you can set up during a fishing expedition.

States have set up different guidelines for the maximum number of fishing lines that you can use at a time during a fishing expedition. In South Dakota, you can go ice fishing with a maximum of four lines. In Michigan, you can use up to three fishing lines. In Wisconsin, you can use up to three fishing lines. And in Iowa, you can use two fishing lines.

It is paramount to know the relevant ice fishing rules before you start fishing. If you set up more than the number of rods in ice fishing, you are likely to be penalized. In case you are planning to do ice fishing in these states, it is better that you know the rule beforehand. This article will guide you with the rules so that you can be forewarned. Read on to find the details on the matter.

How many ice fishing lines in South Dakota?

As per the Administrative Rules of the South Dakota Legislature, you can fish with not more than four fishing lines in South Dakota. Additionally, if you are ice fishing on South Dakota – Minnesota boundary, you can fish with not more than two fishing lines. You can find these rules in the Administrative Rules numbered 41:07:01:09.

You can use these rules to your advantage to catch the maximum number of fish for yourself. You can aim to cut ice holes at different locations to reach variable depths and explore multiple locations. You need not dig the holes all at the same place. Also, since the number of hooks per line is not mentioned in the rule, you can consider attaching multiple hooks to one single line.

How many lines ice fishing Michigan?


As per order FO-247.14, you can use up to three rods or three single lines while ice fishing. This rule is applicable to all public water fishing in Michigan. Additionally, the rule states that you can use not more than a total of six hooks. This order is labeled “Number of Fishing Rods on Michigan Waters.” This order specifies the number of lines/rods and the number of hooks allowed per angler.

The law allows you flexibility in terms of using a fishing rod or a fishing line in any combination. You can even use multiple hooks in the fishing lines. Thus you can attach more hooks to the line where you have a higher chance of getting fish.


How many lines can you use ice fishing in Wisconsin?


As per the website of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, you can fish with not more than three hooks/baits or lures. This translates to the fact that you can use either three rods with single hooks or a single rod with three hooks. Or you can use two rods with a single hook along with a line having a single hook and so on.

Wisconsin has a very clear law regarding the number of hooks you can use for ice fishing at a time. One of the most popular destinations in Wisconsin is Devil’s Lake. You can visit it for trout and pike. Before you select the number of lines, make your strategy. Test the waters to find the best location for yourself. Then cut the required number of holes in one go and add your lines I the water. Cutting the holes at one go will not disturb the fish again and again, increasing your chances of a good catch.

How many ice fishing lines in Iowa?


In Iowa, you can use up to two fishing lines with a maximum of two hooks in total. In other words, you can use a single fishing line with two hooks or two fishing lines each with one hook. You can use the lines in a single ice hole or in two different ice holes. You may use a third line if you have a valid permit for a third fishing line. Additionally, you cannot leave your rods or lines unattended – you have to keep them in your sight.

The rules are well defined for the anglers. You may use up to two hooks and an additional hook with a permit. This will allow you to easily ice fish for the best that Iowa has to offer. Any unattended line or rod will invite a warning followed by a penalty.

Tips for ice fishing keeping in mind the restrictions


Once you have got the idea of ice fishing in various states, you can consider the following tips for a better catch.

Select the fishing locations wisely

Before you decide on your ice fishing locations, check the relevant laws. If you want to go for maximum catch, select a location that allows more lines or rods. If you are going for recreational purposes, select the location nearest to you. In this case, the number of lines will not matter.

Use the rules to your advantage

If the number of hooks is not mentioned, use multiple hooks per fishing line or rod. If you are allowed multiple ice holes, test various locations before selecting your final locations.

Keep in mind the catch limit

Each state also has a catch limit. This essentially means that there is a maximum number of fish you can catch at a time. Check this limit and adhere to it.

Always be on the right side of the law

Do not do anything to violate the ice fishing rules. Respect the local laws and be respectful towards the state authorities. Any deviation can lead to heavy fines or legal action on you/ your ice fishing group.


We have given you the rules for the maximum number of lines ice fishing in Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, and Iowa. We hope you found this article useful and recommend you read our other articles on ice fishing to further your knowledge.

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