Creating a free fishing weekend for veterans is the goal behind legislation introduced by state Reps. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, and Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond.

Assembly Bill 891 designates a weekend in July as a special event weekend for veterans in which the state Department of Natural Resources would waive the requirement to have a fishing license and pay the applicable fees to fish in Wisconsin waters.

The bill was introduced at the request of the Western Lake Superior Trolling Association. The association holds an annual Vets on the Lake fishing excursion on Lake Superior with veterans from Wisconsin and Minnesota. The goal of the bill is to extend this weekend of free fishing to any veteran wishing to fish in the waters of Wisconsin.

Milroy said he believes the measure would honor the service of veterans by eliminating barriers to fishing for the weekend and opening up Wisconsin’s waters as a destination for veterans.

“It’s important that all veterans have the opportunity to get out on Wisconsin’s lakes and enjoy a day of fishing the way so many have been able to at the Western Lake Superior Trolling Association’s Vets on the Lake event,” said Milroy. “We are hoping this bill will be a catalyst for other groups to put on similar events.”

Jim VanLandschoot, WLSTA president, said he supports the work being done to make a free fishing weekend possible for all veterans.

“The WLSTA would like to thank Representative Nick Milroy in helping with this bill,” VanLandschoot said. “This July will be the WLSTA's third annual Vets on the Lake fishing and picnic event. We are hoping other groups follow our lead and make honoring our veterans a statewide event.”

It’s an event that is growing.

“This July we plan on taking up to 75 veterans fishing on Lake Superior,” said Tim Kotter, event chairman. “When this bill passes, the possibilities are unlimited as to how big our event could become.”