We recommend obtaining a Type 1 Fish Farm license with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) for your pond. While you are not required to register a recreational pond as a fish farm, many pond owners find that it saves them money and inconvenience.
The WI DNR requires you to obtain a separate permit to chemically treat weeds or algae, stock fish, install structures, plant aquatic plants, add aeration systems, and perform other routine pond maintenance and management activities. You are exempt from these permits if you have a Type 1 Fish Farm license. A Type 1 license allows you (or us) to add environmentally safe approved products, when necessary, and stock fish. It also allows you and your guests to fish without a fishing license and fish outside the DNR rules and regulations for bag limits, size limits, and open seasons.
Register Your Pond
First, the WI DNR needs to verify your pond is not a natural waterbody or built in a wetland before you can receive a Type 1 license. Ponds surrounded by wetlands or have continuous discharge do not qualify for a Type 1 license.
- Natural Body of Water Status (required): Applicants for new fish farm registrations must attach the Proof of Status Letter from the DNR when registering their waterbody(s) or facility as a DATCP fish farm. To obtain this review and determination letter, fill out a Natural Waterbody Review Application (Form 3600-227A) along with a Google Earth screenshot showing the roads and your pond site via email to the Natural Waterbody Permit Coordinator or mail to:
DNR Natural Waterbody Permit Coordinator
WI DNR, Bureau of Fisheries Management
101 S. Webster Street
Madison, WI 53707
The DNR will notify you with a letter of your status. Please note: this process may take several weeks.
- Livestock Premises Registration (required): Premises registration is required to apply for a Type 1 Fish Farm License.You may register online at or by completing the Livestock Premises Registration Application (Form AH-LP-100). When complete, mail the form to:
Livestock Premises Registration (c/o WLIC)
4726 E. Towne Blvd., Suite 210
Madison, WI 53704
You will be issued a code specific to your location. WLIC sends a confirmation letter with a premises ID card to registrants. Please keep this card for future reference and renewal purposes.
- Fish Farm Registration Application (required): After you have the DNR letter stating that your pond is NOT a Natural Waterbody and received your Livestock Premises Registration code, you can apply for a Type 1 Fish Farm License. Fish Farm Registration Application packets can be obtained by calling the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) at 608-224-4887 or online here.
You can register your pond under your name(s), a trust, or a business. If you register under names, we suggest adding spouses so that if something happens to one person, the other can still renew. Every time a property is sold, a new application is needed unless the property is in a trust, then the License will transfer with the Trust.
If you are applying under individual names, complete the Social Security Number Request Form. Mail this form to:
Division of Agricultural Resource Management
P.O. Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Mail the DNR letter, application, and payment to:
Division of Animal Health
P.O. Box Lockbox 93598
Milwaukee WI 53293-0598
When you have received your Fish Farm Registration certificate and card, please send a copy to ABI. We must have this document on file before we do any pond management or fish stocking in your pond.
You may email a copy to ABI here or send by mail to:
Aquatic Biologists, Inc.
N4828 US Hwy 45 S
Fond du Lac, WI 54937
The entire process will take several weeks to complete, so we suggest applying as soon as possible so you have the license when you need it. Each year in March the license expires, so it is important to keep it up to date. You will receive a letter from WDATCP as a reminder to renew.
If you are not eligible for a Type 1 Fish Farm License and need pond/lake management services, we can apply for a DNR Aquatic Plant Management Permit for you so your pond/lake may be treated. Please note: ABI requires either a Type 1 Fish Farm license or DNR-APM Permit before we do any pond management services.