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					                                2006 Wisconsin
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                               Fishing Report                                                                                                                            PUB-FH-506 2006



                                                                   Let’s go fishing!
                                                                   This report can help guide you to the fishing experience
                                                                   you’re after.
                                                                   Visit these Web pages for more ideas:
                                                                   www.fishingwisconsin.org
                                                                   Lake maps: dnr.wi.gov/org/water/fhp/lakes/lakemap/
                                                                   Wisconsin Lakes Book: dnr.wi.gov/org/water/fhp/lakes/list/#lakebook
                                                                   Stocking data: www.dnr.wi.gov/org/water/fhp/fish/pages/stocking.shtml
                                                                   Public fishing areas, stream easements:
                                                                   dnr.wi.gov/org/land/facilities/dnr_lands_mapping.html.
                                                                                                                                                               Need to borrow tackle?
                                                                                                                                                                  Rods and reels, hooks and other
                                                   Need a fishing license?                                                                                     fishing gear, including for fly fishing,
                                                                                                                                                               are available from some state parks and
                                                   Here’s three quick and convenient ways:
                                                                                                                                                               DNR offices. Find a list of loaner sites
                                                   • Call toll free at 1-877-945-4236
                                                                                                                                                               at www.fishingwisconsin.org then look
                                                   • Go online to www.wildlifelicense.com
                                                                                                                                                               under “Kids, Parents, Educators.”
                                                   • Visit any license agent location or
                                                     DNR service center




                                                                                                    2006 Fishing Forecasts*
                                                                                                    Northern Region ................. page 7
                                                                                                    Northeast Region ................ page 9
                                                                                                    South Central Region ......... page 11
                                                                                                    Southeast Region .............. page 13
                                                                                                    West Central Region .......... page 14
                                    Kevin Naze
                                                                                                     ....................... * Forecasts as of Dec. 15, 2005




 Fabulous fisheries projects
Growing the next world record                    yearling muskellunge have been stocked
                                                 out. Anglers are now reporting catching
   Musky hunters are enjoying a sport fish-      large fish, and electrofishing and fyke nets
ery with true trophy potential in Green Bay      surveys have revealed other important in-
and some tributaries due to a DNR program        formation, including that fish stocked as
to reintroduce Great Lakes muskellunge.          yearlings are about 15 times more effective
These fish were extirpated in the bay dur-       in surviving and returning as spawners than
ing the mid-1900s by over-fishing, pollu-        fish stocked as fingerlings. The surveys also
tion, habitat degradation, and interactions      found that Green Bay muskellunge mature
with exotic species. Passage and enforce-        up to two years later than muskellunge in
ment of the Clean Water Act starting in the      some inland Wisconsin lakes but grow faster
early 1970s, followed by targeted clean up       than muskellunge sampled in eight lakes in
efforts in Green Bay, greatly improved wa-                                                        Volunteers from more than a dozen groups helped DNR trout habitat crews restore habitat on
                                                 Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The          Gilbert Creek in Dunn County in 2003, 2004, and 2005.
ter quality and allowed DNR, with support        muskellunge also achieve a more plump
from local fishing clubs, to start a muskel-     body size at a given length compared to
lunge reintroduction effort in 1989. Fertil-
ized muskellunge eggs from Michigan were
                                                 most muskellunge sampled elsewhere               with Dave Carlson” all gave a hand, and in             Web site helps ID fish
                                                 throughout their range.                          many cases, money.
hatched and raised at the Wild Rose State           While our stocking efforts have been suc-        During the day, DNR’s two-man trout                    A laptop may soon be standard tackle box
Fish Hatchery and stocked out at sites in-       cessful in providing a sport fishery with true   habitat crew – John Sours and Nate Ander-              gear, thanks to a new online fish identifica-
cluding the Fox, Menominee, and Peshtigo         trophy potential, we have no evidence that       son — would use heavy equipment to slope               tion site with 4,000 close ups of 162 spe-
rivers, Little Sturgeon and Sturgeon bays,       muskellunge are successfully reproducing.        the banks and fortify them with rocks.                 cies of fish found in Wisconsin and 12 other
Little Lake Butte des Mortes, Green Bay          We are now trying to broaden the genetic         They’d also place habitat structures in the            invasive species possibly on their way. It
and the Winnebago system. From 1989              diversity of the fish stocked, developing        stream to help narrow, and deepen the chan-            also describes fish habits and habitats, and
through 2005, 121,330 fingerling and 2,921       plans with counterpart agencies in other         nel and establish overhanging cover.                   provides tricks for telling them apart. The
                                                 states to import eggs from other Great Lakes        On weekends or during Tuesday work                  site is the brainchild of John Lyons, a long-
                                                 populations. We hope to focus future sur-        nights, volunteers would help build the habi-          time DNR fisheries research scientist, and
                                                 vey efforts on examining factors that deter-     tat structures, help put them in, and do the           a spin off from his much larger endeavor to
                                                 mine spawning success.                           sodding, seeding and mulching. In all, vol-            update the seminal reference book, the
                                                 –Kevin Kapuscinski, fisheries biologist,         unteers poured more than 3,400 hours into              Fishes of Wisconsin. The site is aimed at
                                                 Green Bay                                        the project, and contributed tens of thou-             helping professional resource managers
                                                                                                  sands of dollars, some of it through grants.           better identify fish affected by their deci-
                                                 It takes a village…to raise fish                 Trout stamp funds paid for $75,000 of the              sion-making, and sharing with citizens
                                                                                                  project. “We couldn’t do a quarter of what             Wisconsin’s diverse and fascinating array
                                                   Scores of volunteer groups came together
                                                                                                  we did on Gilbert Creek without the help of            of fish. Funding is largely from federal Sport
                                                 in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to help DNR im-
                                                                                                  all the groups,” says Bob Hujik, fisheries             Fish Restoration and State Wildlife Grant
                                                 prove trout habitat along two miles of Gil-
                                                                                                  supervisor based in Eau Claire. “Histori-              programs, and the University of Wisconsin-
                                                 bert Creek in Dunn County. Dunn County
                                                                                                  cally, there used to be a few work days, but           Madison Center for Limnology and UW-
                                                 Fish and Game, the Ojibleau, Kiap-TU-wish
                                                                                                  not like on Gilbert Creek. Ten to 15 differ-           Sea Grant helped create the site. Find it at
                                                 and Twin Cities Trout Unlimited chapters,
                                                                                                  ent organizations would be helping out on              www.fishingwisconsin.org, then select “fish
                                                 Isaak Walton League, Pheasants Forever,
                                                                                                  a weekend, and 25-40 guys would come                   species.”
                                                 Wisconsin Prairie Enthusiasts, Menomonie
The next world record musky may well come        Public Schools, UW-Stout and UW-Eau              every Tuesday night to help with sodding,
out of Green Bay, thanks to a DNR program        Claire, Elmwood Rod and Gun Club, Rush           seeding and mulching. The work they did
to reintroduce the Great Lakes strain muskel-    River/Eau Galle Sportsman Club, City of          is unbelievable.”                                                  For more projects,
lunge. Kevin Kowalski caught this 45-inch fish   Menomonie, Boy Scouts, Friends of Trout –Lisa Gaumnitz, public affairs manager,                                       see pages 4-6
in Green Bay. Photo by Jon Regal.                Unlimited, and “Northwoods Adventures Madison
    Dear Wisconsin Angler,                                                                                                                                          Wisconsin’s
                                                                                                                                                                   Reel numbers
                                                Welcome to Wisconsin – home of the best                         These advances are very important.
                                             and most diverse fishing in the country. We                     While Wisconsin’s geologic and glacial
                                             offer more waters than dedicated anglers                        good fortune blessed the state with tremen-                          162
                                             could fish in several lifetimes…an incred-                      dous natural fisheries, the great fishing you                     fish species
                                             ible array of fish to catch…and some rare                       enjoy today doesn’t happen by accident.
                                             ones just to appreciate.                                        It takes Wisconsin’s nationally renowned                          15,000
                                                Fishing is a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s                      management program and the educational                                lakes
                                             culture and economy. Forty-eight percent of                     efforts and vigilance of our conservation
                                             adults statewide fish, 60 percent in the                        wardens. It also takes the commitment of                          42,000
                                             Northwoods. We rank second in the coun-                         DNR staff in other programs and their part-                       river miles
                                             try in the number of days nonresidents spend                    ners to protect and restore the water qual-
                                             fishing here, and if we had Florida’s weather                   ity and habitat your fish depend on. Most                      1.4 million
                                             and year-round open water, we’d probably                        importantly, it takes you.                                     licensed anglers
                                             be number one, too.                                                The fishing licenses and stamps you
                                                This 2006 Fishing Report can only hint                       buy, your vocal and financial support of                       22 million
                                             at the great fishing opportunities awaiting                     our program, and your time and labor are                      annual fishing days
                                             you in Wisconsin. But we hope the forecasts                     critical to conserving and enhancing Wis-
                                             provided by many of our biologists help you                     consin fish populations and fishing oppor-                            2nd
                                             understand how your favorite fishing spot                       tunities for now and in the future.                       ranked fishing destination
                                             is faring, based on the fish surveys and man-                      So sit back, read up, and then hit the wa-
                                             agement actions we’re taking to make your                       ter to enjoy great fishing and the memo-                       69 million
                                             fishing better.                                                 ries of a lifetime.                                            fish caught a year
                                                 We hope this report also provides use-                             Sincerely,
                                             ful information about how we spend your                                                                                        31 million
  Fisheries Director Mike Staggs shows that fishing license dollars, and efforts to                                                                                          fish kept a year
  even when the Packers are bad, the fishing strengthen our fisheries management pro-
  is good in Wisconsin.                      gram and your fishing.                                                Mike Staggs, Fisheries Director                         $2.3 billion
                                                                                                                                                                           economic activity


Your investment in good fishing                                                                                                                                            $90 million
                                                                                                                                                                          in state tax revenues
   This information is excerpted from                        Maintained a network of fish biologists         populations are not overharvested and re-                         26,000
“Wisconsin’s Fish & Wildlife Annual Re-                      and technicians across the state.               main healthy.                                                         jobs
port 2004-2005.”                                                We maintain 264 fisheries management         Monitored Great Lakes fish popula-
   DNR’s Fisheries Management and Habi-                      positions throughout the state. Ninety-three    tions and harvests.
tat Protection program and its fisheries re-                 percent are field positions in local offices        Fisheries staff working in Lake Michi-
search section in 2004-2005 had a combined
total of 334 positions and budget of $31.5
                                                             or hatcheries where staff work directly with
                                                             area anglers, groups and communities to
                                                                                                             gan and Lake Superior operate three large
                                                                                                             research vessels, set harvest quotas and
                                                                                                                                                              A cast of
                                                             improve fishing opportunities.
million. Of that total, 264 positions and
$24.2 million represent traditional fisheries
management staff and researchers funded
                                                             Improved trout stream habitat.
                                                                Using dedicated funds from inland trout
                                                                                                             regulations, set and evaluate stocking quo-
                                                                                                             tas, and cooperate with other states and
                                                                                                             provinces. Sales of the Great Lakes Salmon
                                                                                                                                                              thousands...
by the Fish and Wildlife Account. The re-                    stamp revenues supplemented by regular          and Trout stamp provide funds for fish              While the fishing licenses and stamps
maining 70 positions – aquatic habitat pro-                  operating funds, in 2004-2005 fisheries         stocking, which is needed to maintain            anglers buy pay for traditional fish manage-
tection, lake management and wetland staff                   staff, often working with partner groups,       salmon and trout fisheries.                      ment staff and activities, other funding
– are provided through general tax funds,                    improved nearly 30 miles of trout habitat,      Protected critical habitat and provided          sources and the DNR staff they pay for also
federal funding from the U.S. Environmen-                    bringing to more than 675 the stream miles      fishing access.                                  play important roles in assuring healthy
tal Protection Agency, water regulation per-                 improved since the program began in 1979.          Over the years, we’ve acquired almost         lakes, rivers and fisheries.
mits and other fees and federal grants.                      Each year the $1.1 million raised by the sale   120,000 acres of fishery lands and stream           Here’s a sampling of the work nonlicense
How does the Fisheries program                               of trout stamps and patron licenses is spent    easements. In 2005-2005, we worked with          funded staff accomplished in 2005 to help
                                                             to restore and improve 25 to 30 miles of        DNR lands staff to acquire 1,102 acres at        make your fishing better:
use your money?
                                                                                                                                                              • Met with thousands of lake and riverfront
                                          $ (in millions) degraded trout streams annually.                   $2,914,981 for state public fishery areas.
                                                             Raised and stocked 10,850,000 fish and          Seven new shore fishing facilities were com-       property owners to advise them how to
Evaluate fish populations
                                                                                                             pleted in 2005 and add to the more than 100        design, build and locate their shoreline
   and conduct research ..................... 8.2 20 million fry.
                                                                We operated 12 state fish hatcheries and     other sites built with federal Sport Fish Res-     projects to avoid or minimize damaging
Rear and stock fish .............................. 5.3                                                                                                          critical fish habitat.
                                                             rearing stations, three egg collection weirs,   toration funding and support from local
Protect and improve habitat ............... 3.6                                                                                                               • Removed, or were slated to remove, 11
                                                             and 10 to 15 fish production ponds. In 2004-    communities and fishing clubs.
Inform and educate the public ............ 0.4                                                                                                                  old, obsolete dams and restored rivers to
                                                             2005, we produced up to 5.95 million trout      Sampled fish populations for poten-
Develop rules and regulations ............. 0.5 and salmon fingerlings and yearlings, 6.2                                                                       a free flowing condition that benefits fish
                                                                                                             tially harmful contaminants.
Pay program operations costs ............. 6.2 million musky, walleye, bass, pike and stur-                     We have documented that the vast ma-            populations and anglers.
Total ............................................... $ 24.2 geon fingerlings, and 20.1 million fry for      jority of waters in Wisconsin have large         • Celebrated the 15th anniversary of a lake
                                                             stocking in about 15 percent of state waters.   populations of fish that are very healthy to       grant program by giving out the 1,528th
How is fisheries work funded?                                                                                                                                   grant and passing the $30 million mark in
                                                             Accommodated sport fish harvest and             eat on a regular basis. Each year we pub-
                                              $ (in       %                                                  lish a fish health advisory for sport caught       helping communities with projects rang-
                                                             court-mandated tribal fishing rights.
Funding Source                             millions)                                                         fish which identifies those waters or spe-         ing from water quality monitoring, to ac-
                                                                In the 30 northern counties the Chippewa
Fish and Wildlife Fund                                                                                       cies and sizes of fish for which anglers           quiring property and conservation
                                                             ceded to the U.S. government in 1854, we
   License Fees                               15.9        51 implemented federally-required monitoring       should avoid or limit their fish consump-          easements, to implementing lake restora-
Sturgeon license                                0.2      <1 of walleye and musky fish populations, and       tion. In 2004-2005, we sampled fish from           tion plans.
Salmon Stamp                                    1.3        4 state and tribal harvest in the ceded           86 locations in 62 waters.                       • Participated in drafting a comprehensive
Trout Stamp                                     1.1        4 territory’s 860 walleye and 665 musky lakes.                                                       national action plan to restore and protect
                                                                                                             Trained volunteer instructors and                  the Great Lakes over the longterm. The
Sport Fish Restoration                          4.7       15 Comprehensive monitoring ensures that fish      sponsored clinics.
Misc. grants and donations                      1.0        3                                                                                                    draft strategy provides, for the first time,
                                                                                                                Today’s children are tomorrow’s anglers         a single set of national priorities and strat-
Subtotal -                                                                                                   and stewards of our aquatic resources. In
Fish and Wildlife Account                     24.2        77                                                                                                    egies that Great Lakes officials hope can
                                                                                                             2004-2005, we provided workshops that              also be used to secure additional, stable
Rest of the                                                                                                  trained 156 people who introduced more
   Conservation Fund                            1.6        5                                                                                                    federal funding.
                                                                                                             than 7,000 children and 300 adults to fish-      • Funded and administered 43 grants to help
General taxes (GPR)                             5.7       18                                                 ing and aquatic resources. Fisheries staff
Total                                         31.5 100                                                                                                          local governments and lake associations
                                                                                                             also sponsored kids fishing clinics and edu-       prevent zebra mussels, Eurasian water-mil-
                                                                                                             cation classes. Our cooperative summer in-
What did the Fisheries program                                                                               tern program with the Milwaukee Urban
                                                                                                                                                                foil and other invasive aquatic species from
accomplish in 2004–2005?                                                                                                                                        spreading to Wisconsin waters, or to help
                                                                                                             Ecology Center took 244 urban kids on              control already established populations.
Conducted scientifically-based fisheries                                                                     multiple fishing trips in Milwaukee.             • Updated permits for 225 wastewater dis-
management work.                                                                                             Provided information on fish, aquatic              chargers to assure their permits incorpo-
   We monitored fish populations and an-                                                                     resources, fishing opportunities.                  rated new scientific, technological, and
gler and commercial harvest, set and evalu-                                                                     We did this by maintaining comprehen-           regulatory advances to provide better pro-
ated harvest regulations and stocking                                                                        sive Web pages on the DNR Web site at              tection for lakes, rivers and groundwater
quotas, planned and implemented habitat                                                                      www.fishingwisconsin.org, which has links          since the permits were last updated five
restoration and improvement projects, and                                                                    to recent news releases, staff directories,        years earlier.
reviewed stocking, fish farm and water regu-                                                                 searchable fish stocking, fish population and    • Staffed a state task force that has recom-
lation permits. We also conducted educa-                                                                     creel survey databases, places to go fishing,      mended ways that may minimize manure
tional and cooperative activities with the                                                                   lands and access directories, the latest fish-     runoff to better protect Wisconsin’s water
public, and sampled fish populations and In 2004-2005, DNR surveyed fish populations                         ing information, and DNR publications and          resources, and worked to update adminis-
habitat quality in 2004-2005 on 822 stream and habitat on 822 stream sites and 474 lakes.                    reports. We also published regulation sum-         trative rules governing larger livestock
sites and 474 lakes.                         Here, fisheries biologist Bradd Sims measures                   maries, informational brochures, maps and          facilities to help avoid manure spills and
                                                      a channel catfish during hoop net surveys from         educational materials and a spring fishing         runoff that can cause fish kills and pollute
                                                      the Pecatonica River.                                  forecast newspaper.                                lakes, rivers and drinking water.

2               Fish Wisconsin! www.fishingwisconsin.org
Major fisheries initiatives to improve your fishing
   Wisconsin’s 132-year-old fish manage-          tributaries to improve brook trout popula-        perch numbers in Green Bay continue to
ment program took steps in 2005, and plans        tions. Habitat improvement, stocking, regu-       rebuild. We saw the largest hatch on record
more in coming years, to strengthen fish          lation changes, and watershed land use            in 2003 and though these fish have not sur-
populations and provide you with better fish-     planning are already underway. (See page          vived as well as previous year classes, adult
ing opportunities. Short summaries of a few       4) DNR and the Red Cliff and Bad River            numbers continue to increase. Also a UW-
key advances are provided below; for more         Chippewa Tribes also completed negotia-           Madison study of cormorant diets com-
information go to www.fishingwisconsin.org        tions on a new 10-year state-tribal fishing       pleted this spring shows that while
and look for “2006 Fishing Report.”               agreement. The state and tribes have              cormorants do eat yellow perch, they are
                                                  avoided litigation on Lake Superior fisher-       also feeding heavily on gizzard shad, white
Renovation of Wisconsin’s                         ies over the years by developing agreements       suckers, and exotic round gobies.
flagship hatchery gets underway                   that control commercial and sport fishing
   Paid for entirely with federal Sport Fish      for lake trout in Lake Superior. Management       Actions to continue outstanding
Restoration grants, Fox River Natural Re-         efforts have been a major success as lake         fishing on Lake Michigan
source Damage Assessment funds from pa-           trout populations have increased dramati-            A strong 2005 chinook salmon harvest by
per mills, Salmon Stamp and your fishing          cally – to the point that they are totally self   our Wisconsin anglers continued a fourth
and hunting license fees, construction work       sustaining in the Apostle Islands area.           consecutive year of record-breaking fishing.
should begin in fall 2006 on major renova-                                                          Hoping to continue the good fishing, and
tions to the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery.       Initiatives underway to improve                   concerned by signs indicating chinook may
This deteriorating, turn-of-the-century fa-       trout fishing in southwestern                     be outstripping their forage base, Wiscon-       As part of a new musky broodstock manage-
cility produces trout, salmon, walleye,           Wisconsin streams                                 sin and other states surrounding Lake Michi-     ment plan aimed at increasing survival of
muskellunge, northern pike and lake stur-                                                           gan have agreed to reduce chinook stocking       stocked musky, DNR hatchery system staff will
                                                     DNR is cooperating with Trout Unlim-                                                            be changing the timing of egg collections,
geon for statewide stocking. The renova-          ited and neighboring states to undertake a        by 25 percent starting in 2006. Wisconsin
                                                                                                                                                     number of fish spawned, egg handling proto-
tions will enable the hatchery to meet all        regional trout habitat restoration project for    will reduce its stocking by 21 percent, or by
                                                                                                                                                     cols and characteristics of broodstock lakes.
current environmental regulations and ex-         the driftless areas of Wisconsin, Minnesota,      about 300,000 fish, as its share of the total    Photo by Heath Benike.
pand production. Without this renovation,         Iowa and Illinois. The project, called TU         reduction. Michigan will decrease its stock-
stocking of these species would have to be        DARE (Driftless Area Restoration Effort),         ing 30 percent, Illinois 17 percent and Indi-
significantly reduced.                            has received significant initial funding from     ana 12 percent. This should ensure that the      Building a more focused
                                                  the National Fish Habitat Initiative and the      salmon and trout we stock have ample for-
Stocking improvements seek to                                                                       age and will survive and help continue the       management program for the
                                                  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to support staff
boost survival of stocked muskies                 work among agencies and local govern-             outstanding fishing.                             future
   Using the latest genetics science, we have     ments to restore habitat. The project should                                                          The habitat protection and lake partner-
developed an updated muskellunge                  benefit the existing DNR trout stamp funded
                                                                                                 Broadening monitoring for better                    ship functions that were previously in our
broodstock management plan to improve the         trout habitat improvement program by pro- decision-making                                          integrated Bureau of Fisheries Management
longterm survival of stocked fish, and hence,     viding additional funding and technical as-       Fisheries crews started monitoring fish-         and Habitat Protection are being moved to
the efficiency of the hatchery system. We         sistance.                                      eries populations on a broader, more uni-           the Watershed Management bureau. Our
used input from UW-Steven Point geneti-                                                          form basis to collect baseline data on the          fisheries program will continue into the 21st
cist Dr. Brian Sloss and from a technical         Milestone reached in rebuilding                health of fisheries and other aquatic com-          century as the Bureau of Fisheries Manage-
committee of fisheries biologists, research-      yellow perch fishing in Green Bay munities in lakes, rivers and streams. Pre-                      ment with fisheries biologists, technicians,
ers and anglers to develop the plan. One             The Natural Resources Board approved viously, DNR’s monitoring program                          hatchery and operations staff focusing on
result will be changes starting this spring in    a modest increase in the daily sport fishing focused mainly on high quality or poor qual-          producing healthy fish populations and great
the timing of egg collections, the number         bag limit from 10 to 15, effective May 20, ity waters, or those where a fish manager               fishing. We’ll still be part of DNR’s Water
of fish spawned, egg handling protocols and       2006, and in the commercial quota from wanted to answer a specific question to help                Division to maintain the integrated manage-
characteristics of broodstock lakes. Newly        20,000 to 60,000 pounds per year. DNR make a management decision. For instance,                    ment, but as a separate program. The change
initiated studies will examine genetic dif-       dropped sport bag and harvest limits in 200l by sampling lakes during the same time of             means more consistent and efficient deliv-
ferences among past and present                   after a 90 percent decrease in yellow perch year, when water’s at the same temperature             ery and operation of core fisheries manage-
broodstocks.                                      between 1988 and 2000 because of poor and using the same gear and sampling pro-                    ment services such as stocking, regulation
                                                  natural reproduction. The limits have of- cedures statewide, DNR will be better able               development and habitat improvement
Efforts underway to improve lake                  fered protections to that 1998 year-class that to compare results across waters. We’ve also        projects.
and brook trout populations                       have enabled those fish to reproduce and identified classes of important waters which              –Mike Staggs, fisheries director, Madison
   DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser-        help start rebuilding the fish population and will all be sampled periodically to build a
vice recently completed a brook trout res-        fishery. Fall surveys showed that yellow comprehensive data set for each water.
toration plan for Lake Superior and




Hatcheries working to provide                                                                       Hatchery system produces 31
shore fishing opportunities                                                                         million fish for stocking
   Since spring 2000, the Kettle Moraine          gan. Their crews have raised and sent                While DNR studies have shown that             ucts.” The accompanying chart shows fish
Springs and Lakewood State Fish Hatcher-          243,000 Arlee Rainbow trout through their         about 90 percent of Wisconsin waters have        produced in the 2005 fiscal year at 12 fish
ies, in Adell and Lakewood, respectively,         doors for stocking in harbors in Kenosha,         naturally reproducing populations of game        hatcheries and rearing stations, three egg
have been working hard to provide                 Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc,                  fish, about 15 percent are stocked to help       collection weirs, fish production ponds, and
nearshore fishing for anglers in Lake Michi-      Algoma and Sister Bay, with another               provide fishing opportunities. The fish          through a cooperative program with local
                                                  66,000 slated to go out this spring. DNR is       stocked are an amazing array of species,         conservation clubs. For more information:
                                                  evaluating this strain to see if the stocked      sizes and strains to meet Wisconsin’s stock-     http://www.dnr.wi.gov/org/water/fhp/fish/
                                                  fish will stay in the nearshore areas to chal-    ing needs and preserve genetic stocks. We        pages/stocking.shtml
                                                  lenge anglers who do not have big boat ac-        have more than 90 different stocking “prod-
                                                  cess to the big water.
                                                     By the time they’re stocked, these fish        Fiscal year 2005 fish stocking summary
                                                  have quite a few miles on them. They get
                                                  their start as eggs collected and fertilized at   Fish stocked from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005
                                                  the Ennis National Fish Hatchery in Mon-           Species               All Ages       Small          Large      Yearling    Adult      Fry
                                                  tana before being transferred to Kettle Mo-                               Total       Fingerling     Fingerling
                                                  raine Springs, where they’re hatched and fed
                                                  for three months before being transferred          Brook Trout           226,302       78,498         83,300       63,522      982
                                                  to Lakewood. There, the rainbows grow              Brown Trout           2,300,867     713,529        676,354      787,239    1,845    121,900
                                                  from about 2.5 inches to 7.5 inches in the
                                                  next year and are clipped for future identi-       Chinook Salmon        1,720,656    1,555,656       165,000
                                                  fication by creel clerks before being trans-       Coho Salmon           576,286                      234,746      341,540
                                                  ported and stocked out by DNR special
                                                  operations crews.                                  Lake Sturgeon          23,605        4,497         17,260        1,848
                                                     The work seems to be paying off. An an-         Lake Trout            159,044                      97,601       61,443
                                                  gler fishing from a pier landed a 33-inch,
                                                  16.5-pound Arlee that won the steelhead            Largemouth Bass       168,225       168,225
                                                  category in the 2005 Port Washington               Muskellunge           1,343,109                    95,631        678               1,246,800
                                                  Derby. There have been reports of other fish
                                                  being caught throughout the 2005 summer            Northern Pike         3,397,607     139,783          95                            3,257,729
                                                  in the 12-pound range. Creel surveys have          Rainbow Trout         757,346       27,144         61,400       666,939    1,863
                                                  suggested that fully two-thirds of the Arlees
                                                  are being caught by anglers fishing from           Sauger                  350                          350
William Thien of Milwaukee landed this 12-
pound Arlee rainbow while fishing off the         shore or small boats. We use your Great            Smallmouth Bass        13,940                      13,940
McKinley Pier in Milwaukee. The fin clip in       Lakes Trout and Salmon Stamp fees to stock
                                                  and provide you with these new fishing op-         Splake                133,227                      76,062       57,165
the fish indicated it had been stocked by DNR
in 2001 as part of an experimental program        portunities.                                       Walleye              20,201,340    4,601,588       52,352                          15,547,400
to increase shore fishing opportunities in Lake   –Jesse Landwehr, Lakewood State Trout
Michigan. Photo by Jim Smith.                     Hatchery assistant hatchery foreman                Total Fish Stocked   31,021,904    7,288,920      1,574,091    1,980,374   4,690   20,173,829


                                                                                                                                                     2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report                 3
 Fabulous fisheries projects                                                                       sand started in 1996, and the results have
                                                                                                   been dramatic! After one year, for example,
                                                                                                                                                      dramatic increase in yellow perch density
                                                                                                                                                      in Pine Lake, providing an abundance of
                                                                                                   an area of Four Mile Creek, Bayfield               prey for walleye. A self-sustaining panfish
Fly fishing gear now on loan                      and grasses and earthern dams built on pri-
                                                                                                   County, had over 500 salmonid redds or             fishery now exists, and some large bluegill
                                                  vate lands. Most of the restoration work in-
   New fly rods are now available for loan                                                         spawning beds in an area that had once been        and yellow perch are showing up in the
                                                  volved reducing the height of the dikes,
to help kids and other novice anglers get a                                                        covered with sand. Seventeen tributaries           catch. Other waters where we’re implement-
                                                  making spillways in river banks, mowing
taste of fly fishing in Wisconsin. Theresa                                                         covering 11.7 river miles have been im-            ing this strategy are Island Lake, Spider
                                                  brush, or installing culverts.
Stabo, DNR aquatic resources educator,                                                             proved to date. This habitat work has the          Lake, and Long Lake in Iron County, and
                                                     Kamke and other biologists worked with
acquired 105 fly fishing rods at deep dis-                                                         potential to increase natural reproduction         Lake Galilee in Ashland County.
                                                  groups such as Shadows on the Wolf, Wall-
count from Park Falls-based St. Croix Rod                                                          and ultimately increase salmonid numbers.          –Jeff Roth, fisheries biologist, Mercer
                                                  eyes for Tomorrow, Otter Street Fishing          –Bill Blust, fisheries technician, Superior
and provided the equipment to 12 of DNR’s         Club and Sturgeon for Tomorrow to help
42 tackle loaner sites statewide. DNR has         identify where and what kind of work
                                                                                                                                                      Aeration alleviates winterkill
offered loaner rods and reels, hooks and          needed to be done, help guide them through
                                                                                                   Fishery management plans                              Good fishing should be available on more
other fishing equipment for many years, but       DNR permitting processes often necessary         chart course for the future                        than 30 winterkill-prone lakes in northern
the cost to buy and maintain fly-fishing gear     for such work, and conduct fish surveys that                                                        Wisconsin through cooperative efforts by
had been prohibitive until St. Croix Rod                                                              Nearly 450 anglers, lakeshore residents,
                                                  can help gauge how the projects are work-        business owners, fishing guides, and visi-         the Department of Natural Resources, the
provided their generous discount. To find         ing. Projects on private lands have been                                                            U.S. Forest Service, and local lake groups
DNR tackle loaner sites, including where                                                           tors collaborated with fishery managers in
                                                  funded and the work done primarily by or-        the Upper Chippewa Basin on their pilot            to install and operate aeration systems dur-
fly fishing gear is available, go to              ganizations while DNR has focused its lim-                                                          ing winter.
www.fishingwisconsin.org and look under                                                            project to create lake management plans to
                                                  ited state fish and wildlife dollars on          define the desired future condition of the            “Winterkill”—the death of fish due to low
“Kids, Parents, Educators” or call (608)          restoration work on marsh lands the agency                                                          oxygen levels during ice-covered periods—
266-2272.                                                                                          fishery in 32 lakes and reservoirs through-
                                                  has acquired.                                    out the basin. Local lake associations have        is a problem on hundreds of lakes in north-
                                                  –Lisa Gaumnitz, public affairs manager,                                                             ern Wisconsin, many of which are small and
Spearing history comes alive                                                                       sponsored 16 Fishery Management Vision-
                                                                                                                                                      remote with little public interest. But when
                                                  Madison                                          ing Sessions since 2004 to cover roughly
   DNR, the Oshkosh Public Museum, Stur-                                                           10 percent of the 311 waters with public           winterkill occurs on lakes with public ac-
geon for Tomorrow and other partners are          Shore anglers gain facilities                    access and management potential. DNR               cess or private development, DNR can work
launching a project to document the unique                                                         staff facilitated these highly interactive ses-    to address the problem. Some of the more
Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon spear fish-          Finding a good place to fish can be diffi-
                                                                                                   sions in which stakeholders were asked to          popular northern waters where winter aera-
ing season. They're collecting stories,        cult if you don’t own waterfront property
                                                                                                   prioritize fish species of interest and iden-      tion systems now directly help maintain a
records, copies of old photos and donations    or have a boat. We’re working to change
                                                                                                   tify for those species the relative importance     fishery include Chequamegon Waters Flow-
of old gear to be used ultimately in produc-   that. Seven new shore fishing facilities were
                                                                                                   of numbers versus size, and catch versus           age, Mondeaux Flowage, Rib Lake and
tion of a book on the fishery's history. The   completed in 2005 to bring to nearly 100
                                                                                                   harvest. Goals and objectives, sometimes           Kathryn Lake in Taylor County; Blockhouse
2006 season marks the 75th consecutive         the number built across Wisconsin over the
                                                                                                   called performance measures, were drafted          Lake, Sailor Lake, Riley Lake, and Wilson
spearing season. Learn more at                 past 20 years, including three in northeast-
                                                                                                   for five or six species from the consensus         Flowage in Price County. Often, DNR and
w w w. w i n n e b a g o s t u rg e o n . o rg ern Wisconsin. These new accessible shore
                                                                                                   of participants in consultation with DNR’s         the Forest Service buy and install these aera-
or contact Lisa Sharkey, DNR, at               fishing facilities, listed below, were funded
                                                                                                   fisheries biologists, who served as techni-        tion systems and then work with lake asso-
winnebagosturgeon@dnr.state.wi.us              in part with federal Sport Fish Restoration
                                                                                                   cal advisors to the groups on what was pos-        ciations to have them take over operating
or (920) 303-5444.                             funds, and many were done in cooperation
                                                                                                   sible. Participants understood and agreed          and paying to run them.
                                               with local units of government and other
                                                                                                   that the fish managers would select the most       –Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries
                                               partners.                                                                                              biologist, Park Falls
                                               · Chippewa County – Shore fishing walk-             appropriate course of action once the goals
                                                 ways on Lake Hallie in the Village of Lake        and objectives were identified and adjusted
                                                 Hallie.                                           to incorporate statewide angler preferences
                                                                                                   and the lake’s capability to produce the fish-     Preserving unique trout
                                               · Shawano County - Shore fishing trail
                                                 along the Wolf River, in Shawano’s Stur-          ery stakeholders want. The fishery manage-         species, expanding fishing
                                                 geon Park.                                        ment plans are intentionally considered               Efforts to provide additional angling op-
                                               · Washburn County – Five shore fishing              long-term strategic plans because they set         portunities and preserve unique strains of
                                                 stations on the Yellow River in Spooner,          no deadline or schedule for implementation.        Wisconsin lake trout took a big step forward
                                                 below the dam at the Governor Thomp-              Each year will bring its own fiscal con-           in 2005. Black Oak strain trout were stocked
                                                 son Fish Hatchery property.                       straints and work priorities, and local fish       in October 2005 into the surrounding lakes
                                               · Washington County – Fishing pier on               managers cannot commit DNR or partner              of Lake Lucerne in Forest County (6,600
                                                 Hasmer Lake, Town of Jackson.                     resources to a specific operational sched-         fingerlings), Long Lake in Vilas County
                                               · Waupaca County – Shore fishing trail              ule for funding and action. Fishery manage-        (5,600 fingerlings), and Big Carr Lake in
                                                 along the Wolf River, near Fremont at the         ment plans were completed for Butternut            Oneida County, (1,550 fingerlings.) The
                                                 Highway 10 bridge and County Trunk H;             Lake and Nelson Lake, with plans expected          Trout Lake strain, which had been stocked
                                                 a shore fishing trail along the Wolf River        to be done by July 1, 2006, for the Miller         into Clear Lake in Oneida County in 2003,
                                                 in the Mukwa State Wildlife Area.                 Dam Flowage, Phillips Chain of Lakes,              was also stocked into its home where very
                                               · Winnebago County – Shore fishing decks            Solberg Lake, Lac Sault Dore and Grassy            limited natural reproduction has been oc-
                                                 connected by accessible trail on Fishing          Lake, Island Chain of Lakes, and the four          curring and periodic stocking is needed to
                                                 Lake in the Winnebago Community Park              lower Flambeau River flowages. The tenta-          maintain the population.
                                                 in Oshkosh.                                       tive schedule for management planning ses-            A few of the recently stocked lake trout
                                                                                                   sions in 2006 includes Potato Lake in Rusk         may be caught by ice anglers this winter but
                                                  In addition, fishing piers have been reno-
                                                                                                   County, the Pike Lake Chain and four flow-         more will be caught by anglers as the fish
                                               vated or repaired at Mauthe and Long lakes
                                                                                                   ages on the North Fork Flambeau River in           reach sexual maturity at 6 to 8 years and 16
Mabel Bloechl of Oshkosh speared this 91- in the Kettle Moraine State Forest North-                Price County, and four lakes within the
pound lake sturgeon on opening day of the 1964 ern Unit and at the Chippewa River at Bru-                                                             to 18 inches long. The lakes with 30 inch
                                                                                                   Flambeau River State Forest in Sawyer              size limits will for the most part be catch-
Lake Winnebago season. Copies of old photos net Island State Park.
                                                  –Cheryl Goodman, fisheries and habitat
                                                                                                   County. Watch local newspapers for the time        and-release fisheries with an occasional lake
like this one are among the items sought for a
project to record the history of the people who   budget analyst, Madison                          and location for each session.                     trout over 30 inches kept as a trophy. Be-
have enjoyed the unique winter spear fishery                                                       – Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls   cause of the slow growth rates of lake trout,
over the past decades. Photo by Dean Tvedt.       Tributaries breathe new life                                                                        it’s important to remember these are long-
                                                                                                   Project improves panfishing                        term projects and we need to be patient
                                                     Four Mile Creek in Bayfield County is
Habitat partnership fuels                         among the Lake Superior tributaries to re-          We’ve placed a priority on improving fish       waiting for these fisheries to mature. Con-
fantastic walleye fishing                                                                          populations for popular species on many            sult the Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regula-
                                                  cently undergo a major transition that will                                                         tions for lake specific restrictions.
                                                  benefit Lake Superior basin fishing for de-      lakes in Ashland and Iron counties over the
   A decade of concentrated efforts by state                                                       past eight years, including on Pine Lake.          –Wes Jahns, fisheries technician, Woodruff
fish biologists and conservation groups to        cades to come. Fishery crews have been re-
                                                  moving tag alder trees, beaver dams and          Our management actions are paying off with
improve walleye habitat on the Lake                                                                increased panfish angling opportunities and,
Winnebago River system is paying off in           woody debris from headwater reaches to
                                                  allow years of accumulated sand to pass          we hope down the road, improved walleye
shore lunches. 2005 surveys again revealed                                                         size structure. In the late 1990s, the wall-
lots of big walleyes — females averaging          through, returning historic spawning
                                                  grounds to the rocky/gravelly character they     eye-dominated fish community had a severe
22.4 inches and 4.6 pounds, and males 16.3                                                         shortage of prey and was slow-growing.
inches and 1.6 pounds — and the fourth            exhibited more than a century ago.
                                                     Because nearly all trout and salmon in        Panfish numbers were extremely low com-
largest year-class since standardized surveys                                                      pared to similar waters. To turn this around,
started in 1986. Survey results in 2004 re-       Wisconsin’s nearshore waters of Lake Su-
                                                  perior and tributaries are produced naturally,   we transferred a total of 78,971 adult yel-
vealed similarly robust fish and year-classes.                                                     low perch and 17,543 adult bluegill into
“If there is even average survival of these       maintaining and improving habitat in these
                                                  natural fish hatcheries is essential. We dis-    Pine Lake over a 5-year period to increase
young walleye, they will provide good fish-                                                        the forage base. The fish came from waters
ing out to 2012 and beyond,” says Kendall         covered that natural reproduction was poor
                                                  in many of the upper reaches which had           with overabundant small panfish, the result
Kamke, senior fisheries biologist.                                                                 of partial winterkills that reduced predator
   He has no doubt that 2006’s wealth of          been severely impacted by sand traced back
                                                  to logging in the late 1800s. Streams            fish species. We also installed 97 log fish
walleye traces directly to projects DNR and                                                        cribs, 28 whole tree shelters and 43 shore-
sports clubs have been working on since the       “cleaned” of debris and dammed to expe-
                                                  dite the passage of logs downstream to the       line tree drops to enhance hiding cover and
early 1990s to restore spawning marshes.                                                           spawning habitat. A comprehensive 2005
Drought and an aging walleye population           lake for shipment suffered severe erosion
                                                  and received excessive amounts of sand.          survey found higher-density, self-sustaining
at the time led to poor natural reproduction                                                       forage fish populations and improved
and record low walleye populations. That          Trees such as speckled alder and aspen filled                                                        Wes Jahns, DNR technician, holds an adult
                                                  in, trapping the sand and attracting beavers     catches of panfish. Daily fyke net capture
triggered the efforts to restore marshes along                                                                                                        lake trout during egg taking and tagging op-
                                                  and associated problems with their dams.         rates for bluegill increased from less than        erations as part of DNR's effort to preserve
the Upper Fox and Wolf that weren’t receiv-                                                        two fish per net in the mid-1990s to more
ing flowing water when winter snows               Brook trout were severly impacted by this                                                           unique strains of Wisconsin lake trout and
                                                  degraded habitat. Projects to remove the         than 20 in 2005. Recent data also reveal a         provide additional angling opportunities.
melted due to factors like overgrown trees

4             Fish Wisconsin! www.fishingwisconsin.org
 Fabulous fisheries projects                                                                        Passageway eases fish movement on Rock River
                                                                                                       A fish passage structure installed at the Jefferson Dam in Jefferson in November
Dredging up good memories                        ing will no longer be interrupted by fluctu-       2005 will allow game and non-game fish to reach upstream and downstream waters
                                                 ating water levels and that sport fish popu-       for the first time in decades. The passage will provide uninterrupted river access for
   Trout anglers will benefit from a summer      lations will benefit from stable water levels
2005 project to dredge Woodboro Springs.                                                            40 miles, improving the movement, reproduction and recruitment of fish species
                                                 beginning in 2006. We also believe that            such as sauger and walleye. The series of horizontally elongated steps filled with
DNR dredge operator Jeff Reissmann re-           Excel’s agreement to operate the dam to
moved decades of silt and debris to restore                                                         rock provide a gentle slope that reduces water velocity so fish are able to swim
                                                 allow more natural flows in the Red Cedar          upstream. Pools and eddies are also included to provide resting spots for fish as they
valuable trout habitat. Since 1961, fisheries    River wll significantly improve aquatic
crews based in Antigo have used a retired,                                                          travel upstream. Water flowing over the dam and down the ladder stimulates fish to
                                                 habitat for many endangered and threatened         continue to pass up and over each step.
retrofitted military amphibious military ve-     fish and wildlife species located in Lower
hicle to remove the debris and silt of hun-                                                            Funding for the fish passage came primarily through federal grants from the Natural
                                                 Chippewa River State Natural Area as well          Resource Conservation Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the
dreds of years from 50 spring ponds,             as recreation for local tubers, canoeists, pad-
restoring 164 acres of native brook trout                                                           National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
                                                 dlers and owners of small motor boats. That        DNR’s Environmental Damage Compensation account, and funds from fishing li-
habitat in eight counties, including more        dam owners made these improvements
than 30 in Langlade County. Spring ponds,                                                           censes also were used.
                                                 while preserving the capacity ratings of the          DNR fisheries biologists are researching how fish move through the new fish pas-
usually at the headwaters of trout streams,      hydroplants is good for the environment and
provide important cold water flow to these                                                          sage and within the Rock River system as a whole, and ask that any anglers catching
                                                 good news for local energy users.                  fish with a fluorescent pink tag to report it to the address on the tag or (920) 387-
streams and spawning and rearing areas for       –Heath Benike, fisheries biologist, Barron
trout, as well as refuge during warm or cold                                                        7876. Anglers are asked to not remove tags from fish they release.
weather conditions. However, many spring                                                            –Laura Stremick-Thompson, fisheries biologist, Horicon
                                                 Mississippi River projects to
ponds have filled in over the course of geo-
logic time and in response to land uses.         boost fish, waterfowl habitat
Dredging can be done on ponds meeting               The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S.
certain criteria, and after receiving the        Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Wiscon-
proper DNR permits and environmental re-         sin, Iowa and Minnesota DNRs in 2005
view, to prolong the life and productivity of    completed major work on three separate
these ponds. The ponds are dredged down          multi-million dollar habitat restoration
to sand, gravel or rock, banks are undercut      projects on the Mississippi River. Locks and
to provide habitat; existing fallen trees are    dams built on the Upper Mississippi 70
used for in-water habitat; and spawning sites    years ago to regulate water levels for barge
are flushed of fine sediments to provide for     traffic have changed the river’s mosaic of
good egg incubation. Inland trout stamp rev-     habitats, fish and wildlife populations, in-
enues pay for most of the work, comple-          cluding eroding away barrier islands that
mented by donations from Trout Unlimited         had previously sheltered backwater habitats
chapters. In our opinion, these are the best     critical for fish during the winter, and for
trout habitat restoration/enhancement            waterfowl and other wildlife at other times
projects we could possibly do for the return     of the year. All three projects involve re-
on the investment of $20,000 to $30,000 for      building islands, with two in Pool 5, down-
each project. Wisconsin studies have shown       stream from Alma, Wis., and the third on
that dredged spring ponds won’t fill in for      Mud Lake on the Iowa side near Dubuque.
centuries, possibly even several millennia.         Also in 2005, the partners conducted a
Only days after dredging, the ponds become       drawdown in Pool 5 aimed at promoting           sturgeon. After spawning, the adult sturgeon     Bait and Fish Farm, Dodgeville, and such
very clear and many take on an emerald           aquatic plant growth by lowering water lev-     are released and the fertilized eggs are taken   stockings will occur annually for the next
green color. Trout begin using the new home      els 1.5 feet during the growing season.         to the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery, where      four years. Surveys will be conducted to
immediately.                                     These projects required a tremendous            they’re hatched and the young sturgeon           monitor multiple year class strength, stock-
–Dave Seibel, fisheries biologist, Antigo,       amount of effort, teamwork, coordination        raised to fingerling stage. By fall, the fin-    ing success and natural reproduction of
Mike Vogelsang, fisheries supervisor,            and resources and their cumulative benefits     gerlings are tagged and distributed in the       smallmouth bass in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Woodruff, Pete Segerson, fisheries               are the first steps toward restoring these sec- Wisconsin River system from the Brokaw           –Bradd Sims, fisheries biologist, Dodgeville
technician, Antigo                               tions of the Mississippi River to their former  Flowage downstream to the Stevens Point
                                                 glory. The hope is that the combination of      Flowage. Tag returns have indicated that at      Reports reveal Upper
Growin’ ‘em big                                  the drawdown and island-building will lead      least some of the young sturgeon have            Mississippi riches, challenges
   An integrated project to boost panfish and    to excellent year around fishing within a       moved downstream through several dams
                                                 handful of years, along with more abundant      and now make the Petenwell Flowage their            Three reports now available to the public
walleye size on four lakes—Black Dan, Is-                                                                                                         document the diversity and status of the fish
land, Winter, and Moose in Sawyer                and diverse wildlife for hunters and wild-      home. Juvenile lake sturgeon are now be-
                                                 life watchers beginning in fall 2005.           ing caught by anglers on the flowage. An-        and aquatic plant communities, and the wa-
County—is showing results. The project                                                                                                            ter quality challenges and improvements,
involves stocking extended-growth (6- to 8-      –Jeff Janvrin, Mississippi River habitat        glers are reminded that the sturgeon fishing
                                                 specialist, La Crosse                           season is closed on the Wisconsin River          along a 840-mile stretch of North America’s
inch) walleye fingerlings in the fall in three                                                                                                    largest river. The reports feature monitoring
of the lakes as an extra predator for panfish                                                    above the Wisconsin Dells Dam. Hopefully
                                                 Culvert project a success                       the day will come when lake sturgeon are         data on the Upper Mississippi River col-
control. Small panfish are removed by                                                                                                             lected from the early 1990s through 2002
spring fyke netting from two lakes and then         Good things are happening on McCann again cruising throughout the Wisconsin                   by DNR’s Onalaska-based Longterm Re-
stocked into Moose Lake, where natural           Creek. DNR worked with private landown- River to the point where the population can              source Monitoring Field Station staff and
panfish recruitment is poor. Predators are       ers and Trout Unlimited to replace and lower support an open fishing season.                     partnering agencies from the federal govern-
protected by special regulations including                                                       –Scot Ironside, fisheries biologist,
                                                 three culverts which were raising water tem-                                                     ment and other states. The reports provide
a 14-18 inch protected length range for wall-                                                    Friendship
                                                 peratures and proving barriers to fish move-                                                     DNR fish managers and other resource man-
eye on Lake Winter, and a 28-inch minimum        ment. The work is expected to benefit brook                                                      agers information to help make them deci-
length limit on Black Dan and Island lakes.      trout in particular. They are the most sensi-
                                                                                                 Efforts launched to jumpstart
                                                                                                                                                  sions about managing fisheries and other
The program has been in place four years         tive trout species, and higher water tempera- Pecatonica River smallie fishery                   natural resources. The field stations also fin-
and we’ve achieved our objective for im-         tures can impact them at all life stages and       A five-year plan to restore the smallmouth    ished a second year of collecting data as part
proving panfish populations so that 25 per-      particularly during spawning. Unrelated to bass fishery on Otter Creek got started in            of a multi-state and agency effort aimed at
cent of bluegills exceed 6 inches on three       that project, a 2005 survey done at multiple May 2005 with the stocking of fish paid for         assessing the river’s condition and working
of the lakes. Our spring 2005 population es-     sites on the McCann provided a compari- with funds from a court settlement involv-               with the EPA to issue a “report card” on its
timate for walleye in Lake Winter found low      son of trout status from 1996. It found that ing two manure spills into the creek. Part of       health. To find the three reports, go online
densities but an average length of 22 inches.    the density of trout decreased from 1996 to a settlement between Reichling Homestead             to www.umesc.usgs.gov/ltrmp.html, click on
This project will continue for two more          2005 but the average weights of fish and Farms, Darlington, and the state Department             “report listing” and look for 2005 reports
years with financial support from the Win-       size structure for larger fish have improved. of Justice, for violating Wisconsin’s water        with “multiyear” in their titles.
ter Lakes Alliance and the Moose Lake Im-        Trout 8 inches and larger comprised 17 per- pollution control laws provides $12,628 in           –Terry Dukerschein, fisheries supervisor,
provement Association.                           cent of fish caught, up from 8 percent in the Fish Restoration Costs to DNR. DNR is              Onalaska
–Frank Pratt, senior fisheries biologist,        1996 survey.                                    using the money to re-establish a small-
Hayward                                          –Joe Kurz, fisheries biologist, Chippewa        mouth bass population in Otter Creek. The        Stocking a wild success
                                                 Falls                                           creek was one of the best smallmouth fish-
Dam operation changes a boon                                                                     eries in southwestern Wisconsin until mul-
                                                                                                                                                     Preliminary results from 2005 fish sur-
                                                 Petenwell Flowage starting to                                                                    veys show that initiatives to stock wild strain
to fish, anglers                                                                                 tiple fish kills between 1988 and 2001           brown trout into the Eau Galle and Willow
   Once every 50 years, DNR biologists           feel like home for sturgeon                     reduced smallmouth bass abundance, and           rivers are working. Progeny from wild strain
have the opportunity to comment on fed-             In 2005 we continued efforts to re-estab- two manure spills from the Reichling farm           brown trout were introduced into the rivers
eral re-licensing of hydroelectric dams.         lish a self-sustaining population of lake stur- into the creek in 2004 exterminated the re-      in 2003. Brown trout densities, once under
Negotiations with Excel Energy regarding         geon throughout the Wisconsin River, a maining smallmouth bass and killed fish in                300 per mile, now are reaching modest den-
the Tainter Lake Dam in Dunn County pro-         longterm project given that females mature the Pecatonica River. The recovery plan cen-          sities (1,500 to 2,500 per mile) with a sur-
duced changes that will benefit fish, anglers    at 20 to 25 years and then spawn only once ters on fish stocking and monitoring over             prising number of heavy 15- to 20-inch fish
and other recreational users as well as local    every three to five years. The last remain- the next five years. Last May, DNR fisher-           present. In addition, changes in dam opera-
energy users. During fall 2005, the utility      ing sizable population of Wisconsin River ies personnel transferred 49 adult males, 24           tion at the Spring Valley Dam negotiated
replaced flashboards with a more effective       Lake Sturgeon lives in Lake Wisconsin and adult females and 82 yearlings from the                with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have
rubber bladder dam to avoid the flashboards      makes an upstream spawning run in the Galena River in Lafayette County to Otter                  resulted in improved temperatures for trout
washing out during large floods, causing the     spring and concentrates below the Wiscon- Creek, and more adult fish may be trans-               survival. In-stream habitat improvement to
lake level to drop 5 feet before the             sin Dells Dam, where we annually ferred in 2007 and 2009 to establish an im-                     restore channelized sections of the Eau
flashboards could be replaced. This often        electrofish for spawning sturgeon. We give mediate adult population and facilitate               Galle River in the Village of Spring Valley
happened during peak spawning periods for        the females a hormone injection to induce natural reproduction. In addition, 2,667 fin-          is nearly complete.
panfish and bass. We’re optimistic that fish-    spawning and hold them in a tank with male gerlings were stocked in 2005 from Gollon             –Marty Engel, fisheries biologist, Baldwin


                                                                                                                                                  2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report                5
 Fabulous fisheries projects                                                                         Dam removals, habitat projects rejuvenate Milwaukee River
River gets TLC                                    the Rock River. We hope the healthy fish
                                                                                                        A focus on restoring, enhancing and         lion flood control project. Another 300
                                                  community developing in the rehabilitated
   Starting this spring, fish crews, working      Oconomowoc River will control carp by              protecting habitat is producing diverse,       feet of stream on Pigeon Creek, another
with eight partner groups, will restore one-      preying on these smaller carp and compet-          much improved fishing in the Milwaukee         valuable Milwaukee River tributary in
quarter mile of stream channel along the East     ing with them for food. Additional stock-          River Basin where 16 percent of the            Thiensville, is proposed to be taken out
Branch of the Pecatonica River south of           ing of game fish and panfish is planned in         state’s population lives on 1 percent of       of an underground tunnel and opened-
Barneveld in Iowa County. The project calls       the coming years.                                  its land. The removal of 10 obsolete dams      up to sunlight, fish and fishing, and
for removing trees from the stream corridor       –Susan Beyler, senior fisheries biologist,         from the Milwaukee River and its tribu-        there’s a possibility a dam on the creek
and about 37,000 yards of soil in the valley      Waukesha                                           taries since 1987, combined with other         may be removed to allow fish spawning
bottom that has accumulated from years of                                                            private and public habitat and water qual-     access from the Milwaukee River and
uphill erosion. The stream bank will be           Babbling brook, trout return                       ity efforts, have transformed these areas      Lake Michigan. In cooperation with
sloped so it can reconnect with its floodplain.                                                      from shallow, silt-laden ponds with few        Mequon, we restored 60 acres of wet-
   Other project goals include creating suit-        The 15-foot wide, seven-foot high               fish into popular fishing destinations with    land on a former muck farm and 2,000
able conditions for a balanced cool water         Genesee Roller Mill Dam and a 480-foot             diverse, abundant fish. For example, a         feet of stream channel along Trinity
fish community, improving habitat for rare        earthen embankment were removed in early           1996-2001 study documented an increase         Creek, a tributary of the Milwaukee
species such as the Blanchard’s cricket frog      2005 from the Genesee Creek in Waukesha            from seven to 37 the total number of fish      River in Ozaukee County. The new
and Blanding’s turtle, establishing grassland     County. DNR fisheries staff had been inter-        species captured in the stretch formerly       stream channel, wetlands and ponds aim
bird habitat by removing trees and convert-       ested in buying this dam for many years and        impounded by the North Avenue Dam,             to provide northern pike spawning habi-
ing agricultural field to wet prairie, and        stayed in contact with the owner, an ardent        including lake sturgeon and walleye, the       tat. In rural portions of the basin, our
improving water quality by allowing the           trout angler and conservationist. When he          subjects of ongoing restoration projects.      management actions, combined with im-
stream to spill over its banks more often.        decided to sell his Waukesha County land           Recently completed and planned future          proved farming practices, have improved
Funding will be provided through a State          holdings, including the dam, DNR was able          work will further benefit the fisheries.       water quality and stream habitat so much
Wildlife Action grant and a State River           to buy and remove the dam, restore in-             DNR worked with local units of govern-         that the number of classified trout stream
Management grant. Project partners include        stream habitat for naturally reproducing           ment and the Milwaukee Metropolitan            miles in the basin may climb from 25 to
The Nature Conservancy, Military Ridge            brook and brown trout, and restore native          Sewerage District to remove more than          as much as 50 miles!
Prairie Heritage Area, U.S. Fish & Wildlife       wetland and streamside habitat. Habitat for        two miles of concrete-lined stream chan-       –Will Wawrzyn, fisheries biologist,
Service, The Prairie Enthusiasts, University      trout-preying northern pike is gone, as is the     nel from the Lincoln Creek tributary in        Milwaukee
of Wisconsin-Platteville, UW-Madison              shallow, silt-laden flowage. In its place is a     Milwaukee County as part of a $100 mil-
Center for Limnology, Wisconsin Waterfowl         rapidly flowing, babbling brook, its banks
Association and UW Extension.                     lined by natural field stone. Lots of wild
–Greg Matthews, public affairs manager,           brown trout took up immediate residence.
Fitchburg                                         Now, DNR fisheries and watershed manage-
                                                  ment staff will be watching the new finny
Trout heaven on the Tomorrow                      residents to see if they reproduce, expand
                                                  their numbers, and, perhaps, see if the wild
   Anglers on the Tomorrow River will no-         brook trout that are still hanging-on further
tice a lot in the way of habitat improvement      upstream decide to return to their former
and before long, considerably more trout,         digs. Carroll College, Trout Unlimited, and
after completion of two projects in 2005.         the Wisconsin Wetlands Association worked
North of Nelsonville, habitat crews installed     with DNR to remove the dam and to raise
nearly 850 feet of overhead structures and        the money for removal and restoration costs.
strategically placed boulder retards and full     –Randy Schumacher, fisheries supervisor,
logs on the river on the Richard Hemp Fish-       Waukesha
ery Area. They also cleaned and restored
flow in eight spring entrances. Recent sur-       Fostering fishing fun
veys on an earlier habitat improvement
project in this part of the river indicated          In 2005, more than 6,000 kids in south-
about 400 brook trout and 1,200 brown trout       eastern Wisconsin learned basic fishing
per mile. We hope for similar numbers in          skills and gained insight into aquatic ecol-
this new reach once it stabilizes. A second       ogy through more than 50 clinics and events       Improving water quality and the removal of 10 old, obsolete dams from the Milwaukee
reach below Amherst had 2,200 feet of habi-       using Urban Fishing Program rods, equip-          River or its tributaries have fostered the renaissance of this once polluted urban river as
tat constructed, including the creation of 10     ment, and personnel. The program is part          an angling hotspot.
wing walls using in-stream materials, instal-     of DNR’s statewide Angler Education Pro-
lation of 16 lunker structures and eight          gram to provide training and materials to
skyhook covers, placement of 180 boulder          volunteers who offer fishing clinics to the
                                                  public, particularly youth groups and orga-
                                                                                                   bass, a fish intolerant of poor water quality,   Fish C.S.I. on the move
retards, and digging two sediment traps.                                                           have substantially increased, researchers
This project decreased the average stream         nizations. The Urban Fishing Program,                                                                DNR’s fish health program investigates
                                                                                                   believe, due to improvements in the habitat
width from 63 feet to 43 feet and more than       based in Milwaukee, works to provide and                                                          the causes of fish kills and monitors the
                                                                                                   quality of Lake Michigan tributary streams,
doubled the average depth. We recently            improve angling opportunities for urban                                                           health of fish at state fish hatcheries and
                                                                                                   especially in the lower reaches. Dam remov-
stocked 30,000 fingerling brown trout from        youth, the elderly, and people with limited                                                       spawning weirs. The program’s laboratory
                                                                                                   als, in some cases, and the remnants of
wild stock into the lower Tomorrow River          access to recreational fishing. In addition                                                       move in November 2005 consolidates work
                                                                                                   heavy smallie stocking in the late 1980s
and will track them via fin clips. The new        to clinics and events, the Urban Fishing Pro-                                                     sites and allows for more responsive and
                                                                                                   have played a role as well. Our study of Lake
habitat created in 2005 and a section com-        gram teams up with municipalities to offer                                                        timely results. The fish health laboratory is
                                                                                                   Michigan harbors found that the Kenosha
pleted at the Waupaca County line in 2003         urban fishing lagoons and provide loaner                                                          now at the Science Operations Center,
                                                                                                   harbor contained a wide variety of panfish,
should give the stocked and resident fish         equipment and instruction. The 50 urban                                                           which also houses DNR’s research scien-
                                                                                                   dominated by rock bass followed by blue-
plenty of hiding places and hopefully en-         fishing lagoons are stocked, accessible to                                                        tists, wildlife health biologists, air manage-
                                                                                                   gill and largemouth bass. Rock bass and
hance the population for the future.              the public and open year-round for fishing,                                                       ment staff, and library. Previously program
                                                                                                   largemouth bass were found in a wide range
–Tom Meronek, fisheries biologist, Wausau         with a special season from mid-March to                                                           staff worked out of two separate labs and
                                                                                                   of sizes, which suggests healthy popula-
                                                  the end of April that’s open only to anglers                                                      shared space with the wildlife health pro-
                                                                                                   tions, and only a few smallmouth bass were
Oconomowoc River transformed                      ages 15 and under and those possessing a                                                          gram. In the new facility, fish and wildlife
                                                                                                   captured. Racine harbor had significant
                                                  resident disabled angler fishing license.                                                         health have separate labs and share a large
   In fall 2004, fish in the Oconomowoc                                                            numbers of smallmouth; although few were
                                                  Rods, reels, and other related equipment are                                                      multi-purpose lab for conducting necrop-
River between the City of Oconomowoc,                                                              over 14 inches (legal size), nearly 65 per-
                                                  available on a first-come, first-serve basis                                                      sies, making X-rays and analyzing tissues.
and North Shore Drive in the Town of                                                               cent were over 10 inches. The Milwaukee
                                                  at several loaner sites in the area. Casting                                                      Having all these facilities in one place saves
Ixonia, Jefferson County, were poisoned to                                                         River and harbor are the most heavily
                                                  games, complete with plastic fish targets and                                                     time and makes it easier to coordinate fish
eliminate the carp-dominated population                                                            fished nearshore areas for smallmouth bass,
                                                  casting plugs, offer kids dry-land casting                                                        health field and lab operations.
existing in that 7-mile stretch of river. Since                                                    and we documented a wide distribution of
                                                  practice before they hit the water. To request                                                    –Susan Marcquenski, fish health specialist,
then, thousands of native game fish, panfish                                                       smallies throughout. The majority of fish        Madison
                                                  equipment or assistance in setting up a          are 8 to 12 inches while larger fish are al-
and forage fish have been stocked to estab-       clinic, contact Mark Baldock at (414) 333-
lish a quality fishery. Walleyes, largemouth                                                       ways a possibility, and there is a small per-
                                                  1183. In 2006, we’ll be launching new Web        centage of harvest on these fish. More and
                                                                                                                                                    Got habitat? Bass Lake does
and smallmouth bass, northern pike, blue-         pages to provide the locations of Urban
gills, rockbass, perch, and many non-game                                                          more anglers are heading to the water with          During 2005, the Bass Lake Association
                                                  Fishing Lagoons, contact information, fish-      a catch and release attitude, which will pro-    built submerged fish cribs that were installed
fish such as suckers, minnows, darters and        ing facts, and updated events. It will also
shiners were stocked, some from state                                                              mote a fishery for larger smallmouth bass        with our help. Small pine trees were also
                                                  list our program’s goals and initiatives, suc-   in the future. Although the Port Washing-        dropped into the lake with the aid of DNR
hatcheries, others from upstream lakes and        cess stories and photos from fishing clin-
other parts of the Oconomowoc River. Still                                                         ton harbor produced a limited number of          to help provide more fish habitat. DNR re-
                                                  ics. Look for F.U.N. – Fishing Urban             smallmouth bass in our survey, anglers are       ceived necessary permits in 2005 for the
others were salvaged from the river before        Neighborhoods coming soon on DNR’s
it was treated. The result, so far, is a highly                                                    still successfully targeting them, primarily     placement of a walleye spawning reef along
                                                  Web site. - Mark Baldock, Urban Fishing          in summer. The Sheboygan River and har-          the shore of National Forest Land in Bass
diverse fish population that is no longer         Program coordinator, Milwaukee
dominated by carp and already boasts                                                               bor had the greatest density of smallmouth       Lake. The U.S. Forest Service has approved
                                                                                                   bass, and bass from age 1 through 8 were         the project. We believe the reef will be built
“keeper-sized” bass, northerns and panfish.       Bass, pike making a comeback                                                                      over the ice in 2006. The funding sources
DNR biologists are seeing the return of plant                                                      represented in the sample, with 2- and 3-
                                                  in Lake Michigan harbors                         year-olds the most dominant year-classes.        for the reef project are DNR, the U.S. Fish
beds once uprooted by the carp but needed
to hold sediment in place and provide habi-          A two-year study ending in 2005 docu-         In addition, northern pike also occurred in      and Wildlife Service, and the Bass Lake
tat and food for minnows and young fish.          ments good shorefishing opportunities for        significant numbers to provide good              Association.
Some small carp have already returned to          smallmouth bass in Lake Michigan harbors,        nearshore fishing opportunities. - Pradeep       –Justine Hasz, senior fisheries biologist,
the river from upstream lakes, but an elec-       indicating the progress made in improving        Hirethota, Lake Michigan fisheries biolo-        Peshtigo
trical fish barrier keeps larger carp from        water quality and the impact of catch-and-       gist; Jeff Zinuticz, Lake Michigan fisheries
migrating into the Oconomowoc River from          release practice. Populations of smallmouth      technician, Milwaukee

6             Fish Wisconsin! www.fishingwisconsin.org
 2006 Regional Forecasts                                                                                                                                                                                                      For more detailed forecasts, go to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        www.fishingwisconsin.org

 Northern Region                                                                                                                                                                                                                           In reel terms
Langlade County                                     at less than 20 inches. They should provide                                                                                                                                          Every profession has its jargon. Here’s a
                                                                                                                                             consin, and the Red Cliff Tribe. New regu-                                               string of the most common terms fish bi-
    Trout habitat restoration and enhancement       excellent ice fishing in coming years. We
                                                                                                                                             lations for bass and northern pike that are                                              ologists use in these forecasts.
projects completed last summer included the         also netted some 45+ inch muskellunge. As
                                                                                                                                             consistent with the new management plan
Antigo crew’s dredging of Woodboro                  with most flowages, panfish densities are low                                                                                                                                     Year-class: Fish hatched in a particular year.
                                                                                                                                             goals have been proposed for public consid-
Springs in Oneida County (see story page            but the size quality is high.                                                                                                                                                     Young-of-the-Year (YOY): Generally, fish
                                                                                                                                             eration at the 2006 Spring Hearing of the
5) and stream habitat work on a section of             Fall electrofishing surveys on six lakes and                                                                                                                                   that hatch in the spring and summer and
                                                                                                                                             Conservation Congress.
Spring Brook near Antigo. We anticipate tre-        impoundments where we are evaluating                                                                                                                                              survive through fall, when DNR typically
                                                                                                                                                Public input sessions were held for Lac
mendous positive response by the trout popu-        walleye stocking success and natural wall-                                                                                                                                        does “young-of-the-year” surveys to assess
                                                                                                                                             Courte Oreilles, Grindstone Lake, the
lations to these projects, which reflect your       eye reproduction revealed good natural re-                                                                                                                                        their survival.
                                                                                                                                             Chippewa Flowage, and Round Lake in the
trout stamp dollars at work, as well as the         production of walleye in the Spirit River
                                                                                                                                             summer of 2005. Goals and objectives were                                                Recruitment: Fish surviving to reach catch-
cooperation and generous support of the             Flowage. We didn’t find any walleye repro-
                                                                                                                                             developed. Management plan strategies are                                                able age and enter the adult population.
Antigo and Northwoods Trout Unlimited               duction in Tug Lake from 2005, but we found
                                                                                                                                             currently being formulated for these waters.                                             Size structure: Generally, the proportion of
chapters.                                           several 1.5 year-old walleye. No natural
                                                                                                                                             In 2006, this process will be used to begin                                              fish occurring at different sizes. When bi-
    McGee Lake will be treated next October         walleye reproduction was found in
                                                                                                                                             developing management plans for “The                                                     ologists say they are taking a management
to eliminate the unwanted largemouth bass,          Halfmoon, Pesabic, Seven Island, and Somo
                                                                                                                                             Quiet Lakes,” Moose Lake, Spider Lake, and                                               action to try to improve size structure,
which were illegally introduced into the lake.      lakes last year.
                                                                                                                                             the Tiger Cat Flowage.                                                                   they’re often talking about trying to increase
Before treatment, we will capture as many              Stream habitat improvement work last
                                                                                                                                                Walleye: Populations are stable or increas-                                           the number of bigger fish.
brook trout as possible, spawn them and rear        summer on a section of the Prairie River up-
                                                                                                                                             ing in most waters. Best bets are Teal Lake,
the young for restocking the lake after treat-      stream from Prairie Forks Drive involved
                                                                                                                                             the Chippewa Flowage, Grindstone Lake,
ment to repopulate the lake through natural         channel shaping a one-third mile stretch and
                                                                                                                                             and even Round Lake. The 14 to18 inch slot                                               of bluegills over the past few years. This sur-
reproduction. Anglers are encouraged to har-        placing boulders in the stream for fish habi-
                                                                                                                                             limit at Grindstone has contributed to an ex-                                            prising but welcome development may be
vest all bass up to their daily limit, five. Most   tat. The Wisconsin Valley Chapter of Trout
                                                                                                                                             cellent size structure in that population. Wall-                                         the result of more stable water levels and
of the bass are 7 to 12 inches, but go up to        Unlimited and the Friends of the Prairie
                                                                                                                                             eye populations are in trouble on some lakes,                                            plant growth in recent years.
19 inches.                                          River group assist with these habitat projects
                                                                                                                                             such as Nelson and Smith, due to decreased                                                  Muskellunge: Really big muskellunge are
    A Wolf River trout study finishing this         through funds to purchase boulders and ex-
                                                                                                                                             reproduction, lack of small fingerling sur-                                              and always have been rare, though “sub-tro-
summer will provide some very good infor-           cavator hours, and also by lining up access
                                                                                                                                             vival, and competition/predation from large-                                             phy” fish in the 40 to 50 inch range are in-
mation to help us better manage the Wolf            easements with private landowners.
                                                                                                                                             mouth bass and perhaps crappie. The                                                      creasing in many county waters. The best
River system for trout. Last spring we tagged          Last summer, trout numbers in the Prairie
                                                                                                                                             rehabilitation program in Sand Lake appears                                              bets for trophy muskellunge in Sawyer
1,800 brown trout 7- to 10-inches (15 per-          River climbed 26 percent in one survey and
                                                                                                                                             to be on track for complete recovery in 2007-                                            County are the Chippewa Flowage, Lac
cent of the 11,500 stocked). We continue to         9 percent in another. A third survey station
                                                                                                                                             2008.                                                                                    Courte Oreilles, Grindstone, Round, and a
encourage anglers to report all tagged fish         showed a 13 percent decline. These three sta-
                                                                                                                                                Bass: Bass fishing and populations have                                               handful of smaller, sleeper lakes. Good ac-
caught to the Antigo DNR Service Center             tions averaged 2,100 trout per mile, which
                                                                                                                                             never been better in most waters, at least not                                           tion lakes where trophy size is less likely
(715) 623-4190). We are also summarizing            is 9 percent above the 2004 estimates but
                                                                                                                                             since walleye became established in most                                                 due to higher numbers include Lost Land and
the telemetry information from radio trans-         still 35 percent below the long-term aver-
                                                                                                                                             area lakes in the late 1950s. Sawyer County                                              Teal, Winter, Moose, Sand, Spider, and Big
mitters implanted in 23 brown trout in 2004.        age. 2005 was the second year in a row of
                                                                                                                                             is split by the early/late season line. Because                                          Sissabagama. Pure action lakes with abun-
The Wolf River Chapter of Trout Unlimited           increased trout numbers in the Prairie River,
                                                                                                                                             bass populations have increased in both                                                  dant but small fish include the Tiger Cat
contributed money toward the airplane time          a trend also seen in other area trout streams.
                                                                                                                                             zones, we believe size limits and voluntary                                              chain and Mud/Callahan lakes (great places
it took to do the telemetry…thank you! An-          Size structure of trout in the Prairie River
                                                                                                                                             release (not the later opener) have been re-                                             to take a kid fishing). Habitat protection and
glers who catch any fish that has a wire an-        remains good, with brook trout over 15
                                                                                                                                             sponsible for the changes. Currently there                                               management of harvest are the most effec-
tenna sticking out of the belly are asked to        inches and browns over 21 inches captured
                                                                                                                                             are almost too many great bass waters in                                                 tive tools available for managing muskel-
return it to the address on the side of the ra-     in our surveys.
                                                                                                                                             Sawyer County to list, but some of the best                                              lunge. The importance of stocking,
dio tag so we can reuse it. Thank you!              –Dave Seibel, fisheries biologist, Antigo
                                                                                                                                             for smallmouth are Round, Grindstone, Lac                                                regardless of strain, appears to be waning
    In 2005, we completed lake surveys on
                                                    Sawyer County                                                                            Courte Oreilles, Chippewa Flowage (east                                                  except in waters where predation from in-
Enterprise, Mary, Moccasin, and Otter lakes.                                                                                                 basin), and all forks and branches of the
                                                       Our pilot project for lake management                                                                                                                                          creasing numbers of northern pike and/or
Enterprise remains a top destination for wall-                                                                                               Flambeau and Chippewa rivers. For large-
                                                    planning continued in 2005. Public input sets                                                                                                                                     largemouth bass may limit the survival of
eye and muskellunge, and also has some nice                                                                                                  mouth bass - Spider chain, Tiger Cat chain,
                                                    management goals and objectives, allowing                                                                                                                                         young muskies.
smallmouth bass. Mary is good for large-                                                                                                     Mud/Callahan; Chippewa Flowage (west
                                                    the manager to prescribe strategies to achieve                                                                                                                                       Trout: Stocked brown trout have grown
mouth bass and panfish. Moccasin is a good                                                                                                   basin); Smith and Nelson lakes, Totogatic
                                                    those outputs. So far, Nelson Lake has a com-                                                                                                                                     fast to sizes up to 24 inches in Big Round
largemouth bass and muskellunge fishery.                                                                                                     Flowage, and Lake Hayward.
                                                    pleted plan which is already in the imple-                                                                                                                                        Lake, but low interest toward brown trout at
There were only about 75 walleye in Moc-                                                                                                        Panfish: Good fishing for bluegills greater
                                                    mentation stage. The key item is a major                                                                                                                                          the summer 2005 public visioning session
casin Lake, but if you are lucky enough to                                                                                                   than 8 inches and crappies greater than10
                                                    initiative to rehabilitate the walleye popula-                                                                                                                                    will spell an end to active brown trout man-
catch one, chances are it is a fish over 20                                                                                                  inches will be found mostly in waters with
                                                    tion via stocking of extended-growth (6- to                                                                                                                                       agement there. Lakes like Perch, Camp
inches. Otter has good walleye, largemouth                                                                                                   restrictive bag limits like Nelson, Chetac,
                                                    8-inch) fingerlings. About 12,000 large fin-                                                                                                                                      Smith, and Ashegon remain good put-grow-
bass, and perch populations.                                                                                                                 Sissabagama, Sand, Moose, and Christner.
                                                    gerlings were stocked in 2005 as part of a                                                                                                                                        take trout fisheries. The smaller lakes are
    In fall seven lakes were electrofished to                                                                                                The Chippewa Flowage (mostly west basin,
                                                    joint effort between DNR, the Nelson Lake                                                                                                                                         now stocked more cost-effectively with en-
evaluate walleye stocking success and natu-                                                                                                  but some east) has become a major producer
                                                    Association, Walleyes for Northwest Wis-                                                                                                                                          tirely wild strain spring fingerlings (stocked
ral walleye reproduction. In 2005, natural
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      a year before they are big enough to catch).
reproduction of walleye in Enterprise Lake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ashegon Lake is one of the most diverse two-
was good while Otter Lake had a low level
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      story fisheries around, with good fishing for
of naturally reproduced walleye and just one
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, five
naturally reproduced walleye was found in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      different species of trout, and an occasional
Upper Post Lake. No natural walleye repro-                                                              BAYFIELD
                                                                                DOUGLAS                                                                                                                                               big panfish as well. It also hosts cisco and is
duction was found in Moccasin, Rolling
                                                                             NORTHERN                                                                                                                                                 reputed to have a few, very large muskel-
Stone, Summit, and White lakes last year.                                                                                      IRON
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lunge. A study of the genetic background of
    Last year, brook trout surveys on a sec-                                                                        ASHLAND                    VILAS                                                                                  wild brook trout in the Namekagon River
tion of the East Branch of the Eau Claire
                                                                     BURNETT
                                                                                 WASHBURN                 SAWYER                                                                                                                      drainage is in its first of four years. The
River were up 5 percent over the long-term                                                                                                                              FLORENCE
                                                                                                                                               ONEIDA                                                                                 stream stocking program for the Couderay
average from 1986-2005. Population esti-                                                                                   PRICE
                                                                                                                                                                   FOREST                                                             River, Weirgor Creek, and Namekagon River
mates showed there were almost 3,200 brook                                                                 RUSK
                                                                     POLK        BARRON                                                                                                                                               below Hayward has been shifted over to 100
trout 4-inch and larger per mile in this sec-                                                                                            LINCOLN
                                                                                                                                                         LANGLADE                  MARINETTE                                          percent wild strain (Timber Coulee) spring
tion of stream, down about 100 fish per mile                                                                            TAYLOR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      fingerling brown trout. This strain outper-
from 2004. We see fluctuations in trout num-
bers from year to year likely in response to             ST. CROIX     DUNN            CHIPPEWA                                                                                NORTHEAST                                              formed domesticated hatchery strains by a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      wide margin in these study waters. Wild
environmental conditions (drought, warmer                 WEST CENTRAL                                                            MARATHON
                                                                                                                                                                      MENOMINEE
                                                                                                                                                                                  OCONTO
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      brook trout are definitely on the increase in
than average summer temperatures, colder                   PIERCE                     EAU CLAIRE               CLARK                                                   SHAWANO                                       DOOR             the upper Namekagon following the Shultz
than average winter temperatures, etc.).                                PEPIN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   KEWAUNEE




                                                                                                                                        PORTAGE                                                                                       Springs restoration project in 2003-2004.
    Last spring we completed trout surveys
                                                                                        TREMPEALEAU




                                                                            BUFFALO                                           WOOD                             WAUPACA
                                                                                                                                                                             OUTAGAMIE BROWN                                          The Phipps reach shows signs of now sup-
on Garski, Krause, McGee, Rabe, Saul, and                                                                 JACKSON                                                                                                                     porting some of its best wild trophy brown
Shadick springs. With the exception of
                                                                                                                                                                                                           C
                                                                                                                                                                                                         WO
                                                                                                                                                                                          CALUMET




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      trout since 1983, despite some summer-kill
                                                                                                                                                                                                          O




                                                                                                                                                         WAUSHARA
McGee, all of these spring ponds held nice
                                                                                                                                                                                                      NIT




                                                                                                                                   ADAMS                                   WINNEBAGO
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      in the hot summer of 2005.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    MA




                                                                                                      LA
numbers and sizes of trout.                                                                                    MONROE
                                                                                                                                                               E




                                                                                                      CROSSE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Northern Pike: Nelson Lake remains a
                                                                                                                                                             TT
                                                                                                                                                           UE




–Dave Seibel, fisheries biologist, Antigo                                                                                  JUNEAU                                  GREEN FOND DU LAC
                                                                                                                                                         RQ




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      good bet for large northern pike. Their role
                                                                                                                                                       MA




                                                                                                                                                                   LAKE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   N
                                                                                                                                                                                                           GA




                                                                                                        VERNON
Lincoln County                                                                                                                                                                                                                        in this ecosystem as the ecological equiva-
                                                                                                                                                                                                         OY
                                                                                                                                                                                                     EB




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lent of muskellunge (very rare in Nelson
                                                                                                                                                                                                    SH




  A 2005 fish survey on the Spirit River                                                               CRAWFORD
                                                                                                                                                                                                         OZAUKEE




Flowage revealed a good walleye population,                                                                            RICHLAND
                                                                                                                                      SAUK       COLUMBIA          DODGE                 WASHING-
                                                                                                                                                                                         TON
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lake) was strongly endorsed by the 41 par-
an abundant northern pike population, and a                                                                                                                                                                                           ticipants in our 2004 fishery visioning ses-
low density but high-size quality muskel-                                                                                 SOUTH CENTRAL                                                 SOUTHEAST                                     sion. Consistent with the resulting plan, a
                                                                                                                                                              JEFFERSON
lunge population. We estimated the walleye                                                                  GRANT
                                                                                                                               IOWA             DANE
                                                                                                                                                                                       WAUKESHA MILWAUKEE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      32-inch minimum length limit for Nelson
population at 2.9 adult fish per acre, aver-                                                                                                                                                                                          Lake pike will appear as a question at the
                                                                                                                                                                                                    RACINE
age for northern Wisconsin’s naturally re-                                                                                  LAFAYETTE        GREEN        ROCK                  WALWORTH                                              2006 spring rules hearing. Two other good
                                                                                                                                                                                                    KENOSHA
producing walleye lakes. Northern pike were                                                                                                                                                                                           bets for northern pike in Sawyer County in-
numerous, but most were on the small side                                                                                                                                                                                             clude Grindstone Lake (very large fish, but


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report               7
Northern Region                                   fishery in Cranberry Lake, anglers are asked
                                                  to voluntarily limit their daily harvest to no
                                                                                                   ment Visioning Session tentatively sched- those fish, 53 or 22 percent were larger than
                                                                                                   uled in 2006. (See story page 4).               40 inches – more than double the average
continued                                         more than five black crappies over 10 inches     –Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls for a typical northern Wisconsin muskel-
                                                  long and no more than five bluegills over 8                                                      lunge lake. In addition, five females in ex-
not as abundant as the lake’s muskellunge)        inches long. Because good fishing for            Washburn County                                 cess of 45 inches were collected. Also, for
and Lac Courte Oreilles (many mid-size fish       panfish depends on the right amount of pre-         The bass size limit was removed on Long, the first time, 40-inch male muskellunge
that far out-number the lake’s muskellunge).      dation from gamefish, we also ask anglers        Big and Middle McKenzie and Nancy lakes were present in the population.
Recent research indicates that northern pike      to practice restraint and limit walleye har-     last May in efforts to maintain the size qual-
do not always out-compete muskies in our          vest to three or fewer fish per day.             ity of largemouth bass and allow the forage Apple River Watershed
waters. In many lakes and most rivers, we                                                          base to recover. Largemouth bass popula-           Fisheries staff surveyed about 50 sites on
have documented strong unstocked muskel-          Manitowish River                                 tions had exploded after size limits went into  the entire Apple River watershed and all
lunge populations coexisting with estab-             Last May the Mercer and Park Falls fish-      effect in 1989, with angler catch rates, once tributary streams from the headwaters at
lished northern pike. We now feel that if         eries teams collected and fertilized 47,000      considered good at 0.25 bass per hour, typi- Staples Lake downstream to the Polk County
spawning and nursery habitat is intact, the       eggs from three female and three male stur-      cally exceeding one bass per hour. Unfor- line. Smallmouth and largemouth bass and
two esocids can coexist.                          geon captured below the Turtle-Flambeau          tunately, the forage base isn’t keeping pace northern pike were present in low numbers
–Frank Pratt, fisheries biologist, Hayward        Dam. The effort marked the third success in      with the higher bass numbers, reflected in in the Apple River downstream of Amery to
                                                  artificially spawning sturgeon since annual      slower growth rates. Largemouth are tak- the St. Croix/Polk County line as well as
                                                  attempts began in 1992. DNR provided             ing two years longer to reach the statewide Wappogassett and Balsam branches up-
                                                  22,000 fertilized eggs to the Lac du Flam-       14-inch minimum size limit and growth stream to the Kennedy Dam. Only large-
                                                  beau Tribal Hatchery under a cooperative         rates after they reach legal size are declin- mouth bass and northern pike were collected
                                                  fish rearing agreement. The remaining eggs       ing too. The forage mismatch also may be upstream of Amery in the Apple River and
                                                  were incubated and raised at the Wild Rose       impacting natural recruitment and stocking Fox Creek. Future plans may consist of re-
                                                  Hatchery and 18,300 sturgeon fingerlings         success in some northwestern walleye fish- introducing smallmouth bass upstream of
                                                  were stocked into the Manitowish River in        eries. It’s still too early to assess how the Amery. Burns, Omer and Peabody creeks
                                                  July, August, and September, 2005. Two suc-      liberalized regulations are working, and if had low density trout populations, and they
                                                  cessful propagation efforts from the mid-        walleye populations will rebound. However, are marginally fishable because of excessive
                                                  1990s have added two year classes into the       Long Lake had a fall walleye fingerling tag alder and reed canary growth. Trout res-
                                                  Manitowish River sturgeon population be-         count 10 times larger than any in the past toration efforts are planned for Bull Brook,
                                                  tween the Turtle-Flambeau and Rest Lake          twelve years. The other three lakes have Behning and Friday creeks.
                                                  dams. Beginning in 2000, annual gillnet          shown no increase. It may take some time.          In winter 2005, DNR in cooperation with
                                                  samples included immature sturgeon, some         Bass anglers are indoctrinated to catch and     the Polk County Sportsman Club, Osceola
                                                  of which exceeded 40 inches in 2005. There       release. Liberal regulations have little ef- Rod and Gun Club and the Polk County
                                                  is still no evidence of natural reproduction     fect if people don’t take advantage of them, Parks Department, installed an aeration sys-
                                                  in the Manitowish River, but we remain op-       so anglers are encouraged to catch their limit tem in Lotus Lake near Dresser. Largemouth
                                                  timistic about the prospects for successful      on these lakes.                                 bass, northern pike and bluegill have been
                                                  restoration of a self-sustaining sturgeon        –Larry Damman, fisheries biologist,             stocked over the past two years in an effort
                                                  population. Discussions are underway to          Spooner                                         to restore the fishery. It will likely take sev-
                                                  modify seasonal operation of the Rest Lake                                                       eral years before anglers can expect large
                                                  Dam to provide more favorable flows for          Barron County                                   numbers of fish for angling purposes. In
Becky and Beth Sommerfeldt found February         spawning habitat.                                Red Cedar Lake                                  summer 2005, DNR in cooperation with the
fishing to their liking, catching this 29-inch    Pike Chain of Lakes                                 About 3,800 adult walleye are present in Pipe Lakes Management District, installed
pike on Butternut Lake in Price County in            Four fisheries teams from northern Wis-       Red Cedar Lake, similar to 2001, but lower 40 half-log structures in Pipe Lake to pro-
2005. Photo by Skip Sommerfeldt.                  consin combined efforts several times dur-       than in the 1980s when the population was vide cover as well as increase spawning suc-
                                                  ing 2005 to assess the fish community and        estimated at nearly 7,600 adult walleye. Red cess for smallmouth bass and other fish
Price County                                      estimate the density of walleye and muskel-      Cedar Lake also had a low density but qual- species. In fall 2005, fisheries staff replaced
Butternut Lake                                    lunge populations in Pike, Round, Amik, and      ity-sized bass fishery. The southern portion the aeration system at Twin Lakes near
   Public input sessions were held in 2005        Turner lakes. The fish community was simi-       of Red Cedar Lake contains more shallow Mikana in Barron County with a newer sys-
for lakes in Price, Rusk Sawyer and Taylor        lar in all four of the chain’s lakes. Samples    water habitat that is better suited for large- tem expected to double the air flow and
counties as part of a pilot project by Upper      collected from 1994 to 2005 included 23          mouth bass and panfish. The northern and hopefully prevent future fish winterkills.
Chippewa River Basin fish managers to start       species in Amik, 24 in Pike, 23 in Round,        central portion of the lake contains mostly        About 2,400 feet of stream habitat resto-
creating lake management plans to define          and 19 in Turner. Game fish included wall-       rocky shorelines with larger woody debris, ration work was conducted on Turtle Creek
the desired future condition of the fishery       eyes, northern pike, smallmouth bass,            better habitat for smallmouth bass. North- in southwestern Barron County. In addition,
in those lakes. (See story page 4) The But-       muskellunge, and largemouth bass. Black          ern pike were common on all three lakes with a small unauthorized rock structure that pre-
ternut Lake Fishery Management Plan was           crappies, bluegills, and pumpkinseeds were       an average size structure. Yellow perch abun- vented upstream fish passage and impounded
completed in July 2005, and it contains goal      the most common panfish. No exotic fish          dance appears to be down, but a desirable several large springs was removed from
statements, management strategies to              species are known to occur in the Pike Chain     bluegill and black crappie population was Osceola Creek in western Polk County.
achieve them, and objective standards to          of Lakes. However, two fish species with         present on the entire chain.                    – Heath Benike, fisheries biologist, Barron
gauge progress. Stakeholders wanted to            elevated protective status have been found       Granite Lake                                    Bayfield County
maintain a moderately high density and sus-       in recent surveys. The greater redhorse is          Granite Lake has a moderate density wall- Lake Nebagamon
tainable harvest of walleye while improv-         classified as “threatened” and lake sturgeon     eye population but the size structure consists
ing walleye size distribution. Participants       are listed as a “species of special concern.”                                                       A spring 2005 netting survey found wall-
                                                                                                   of mostly smaller fish in the 12 to16 inch eye averaged 16 inches, but walleye density
clearly preferred a balance between muskel-          Anglers can expect to find a low to mod-      size range. Largemouth bass were found in appears to have declined from past surveys.
lunge numbers and size, desiring neither a        erate walleye density in the Pike Lake Chain.    low numbers but the fish were in excellent Extensive stocking of walleye fry, small fin-
strictly “action” fishery with high catch         Round had the highest walleye density at 4.9     condition. Modest numbers of bluegill, black gerling and large fingerling as well as spawn-
rates, nor a strictly “trophy” fishery with a     adults/acre, followed by Pike at 2.9/acre,       crappie and yellow perch were found with a ing reef construction and an attempt to
substantial proportion of the population          Turner at 1.7/acre, and Amik at 0.9/acre.        slightly above average size structure.
longer than 50 inches. They expressed a           Walleye density is considered to be low at                                                       reestablish a riverine spawning population
strong desire to create and maintain good         less than one adult/acre and moderate to high    Polk County                                      of walleye in Minnesuing Creek have been
fishing for panfish, particularly black crap-     at 4 to 8 adults/acre. Turner had the highest    Balsam Lake                                      conducted in the recent past in an attempt to
pies, yellow perch, and bluegill. These de-       proportion of preferred-sized walleyes 20           Largemouth bass are the dominant              bolster walleye densities. Reports from an-
sires will be incorporated in future stocking     inches and longer. Walleye in the Pike Lake      gamefish, with about 25,000 larger than 8        glers and the creel clerk indicated a good
and regulation proposals.                         Chain grew slower than other walleye popu-       inches roaming the lake. Bass regulations        number of walleye in the 10- to 13-inch
                                                  lations in northern Wisconsin, with male         were liberalized in 2002 on Balsam Lake          range being caught in 2005. These walleye
Cranberry Lake
                                                  walleye growing to 15 inches in seven years      because bass growth rates declined and the       may provide an increase to walleye densi-
   2005 electrofishing and netting surveys
confirmed reports that Cranberry Lake pro-        and females reaching the same length in six      overall condition of bass was poorer when
vides good fishing opportunities for panfish,     years. Radio telemetry and recapture of          compared to past surveys. The regulation is
walleye, and largemouth bass. Predator/prey       marked fish indicated that walleye move          designed to reduce the number of smaller
interactions in Cranberry Lake appear to be       among the four lakes of the Pike Chain, es-      bass in the lake and allow the larger bass
in balance, maintaining bluegill and black        pecially during their spawning period. A         that remain to grow faster and fatter because
crappie populations in low to moderate abun-      creel survey is currently underway to esti-      of less competition for the forage base. The
dance and allowing a substantial proportion       mate angling pressure and harvest on the         walleye population continues to decline –
of individuals to grow large. A sample of 181     Pike Chain during the open water and ice         only 1,650 adult walleye were present, about
black crappies 5 inches and longer were net-      covered periods in 2005 and 2006.                half the number in 2002. We don’t know
ted in August 2005. Of those, 72 percent             Because the density of muskellunge in the     why the walleye population is still declin-
reached or exceeded the “preferred” length        Pike Chain is unknown in April 2005 we be-       ing. We have been aggressively stocking
of 10 inches and 46 percent were longer than      gan a survey to estimate adult musky den-        walleye in the lake over the past decade with
12 inches. A sample of 61 bluegills 3 inches      sity in Pike, Round, and Turner lakes.           limited success. It appears predation from
and longer had a similar size distribution        Examining the ratio of recaptured fish in a      other fish may be limiting walleye recruit-
with 85 percent growing to “quality” size (6      spring 2006 survey will allow us to estimate     ment. In 2004 and 2006 larger size walleye
inches) and 38 percent reaching the “pre-         density. Of the 50 muskellunge marked in         fingerling (averaging around 7 inches in
ferred” length of 8 inches. This favorable        2005 that were 20 inches or longer (stock        length) will be stocked in an effort to in-
growth is largely attributable to predation,      size), 29 percent reached memorable size (38     crease recruitment of stocked walleye. More
particularly from walleyes, which prevents        inches) in Pike Lake. The size distribution      restrictive walleye regulations may also be
crappie and bluegill populations from be-         of the adult musky population was similar        pursued in the future to protect the declin-
coming overabundant and stunted. As the           in Round Lake, where 33 percent of 51 stock      ing walleye population.
word spreads about good fishing in Cran-          sized fish reached memorable length. The         Bone Lake
berry Lake, casual observations of increased      DNR currently classifies and manages the Pike       Based on the results of our 2005 spring
fishing pressure have raised concerns about       Chain as an “action” fishery for muskellunge.    survey, the musky fishery in Bone Lake ap-
overharvest. Overexploitation can quickly            Management of fishery resources in the        pears to be lower than historic levels, but
shift the size structure of panfish populations   Pike Lake Chain may be subject to changes,       quality fish are present in desirable numbers.   Leah Hujik, 4, caught this 13-inch crappie on
downward, decreasing the proportion of de-        depending on the feedback received on an-        More specifically, 247 muskellunge greater       Little Crooked Lake in Vilas County in 2005.
sirable-size fish. To protect the high-quality    gler preferences in the Fisheries Manage-        than 30 inches were captured in 2005. Of         Photo by Bob Hujik.


8             Fish Wisconsin! www.fishingwisconsin.org
ties in the near future. Spring electrofishing   bag limit in place starting May 2006. An-         Oneida County                                 chinook salmon, brown trout, splake, and
for smallmouth bass found a good size struc-     glers are encouraged to report any lake trout     Mildred, Thompson, Two Sisters, Clear,        lake trout but may also catch walleye and
ture with a 14.1-inch average and 50 per-        they may catch to the Woodruff DNR office.     Carrol and Madeline lakes showed good            northern pike. Conservative regulations have
cent being over 14 inches. Northern pike         Seining or dip-netting of smelt is not allowed numbers of bass. Mildred, Carrol and Clear       created a trophy smallmouth bass fishery and
from the 2005 spring netting survey aver-        on this lake.                                  Lakes had the highest densities while            the opportunity for catching large walleyes
aged 21.1 inches with the largest caught be-     Sparkling Lake                                 Madeline and Thompson had more large             in Chequamegon Bay in May and June. Stud-
ing 40.9 inches.                                    Since 2002, we have annually stocked        bass. Two Sisters and Clear both had mod-        ies in Chequamegon Bay indicated that wall-
South Fork of the White River                    3,000 6- to 8-inch walleye fingerlings into    erate-density walleye populations with very      eye and northern pike were consuming newly
   An intensive trout habitat project was        this lake in an effort rebuild the fishery.    good size structure. Thompson showed lower       stocked brown trout and splake, spurring
started in fall 2005 and will continue in sum-   Spring surveys to estimate survival of these   numbers but good size of adult walleyes, and     DNR to start stocking them offshore in hopes
mer 2006 to improve trout habitat in the         stocked fish has found better than 30 per-     there was a year-class of fish in the 10 to 12   of boosting their survival rate. Past studies
South Fork of the White River, which has         cent survival in the last three years, com-    inch range just entering the fishery.            also have indicated that there was a poor re-
been identified as a major source of recruit-    pared to almost no return after prior             Thompson, Madeline and Carrol had             turn on stocked chinook salmon in Lake
ment for the White River as a whole.             stockings of smaller fingerlings. In spring    strong populations of northern pike along        Superior. In 2005, DNR and the Saxon Har-
                                                 2005 we captured many fish from the 2002       with respectable numbers of muskellunge.         bor and Apostle Islands fishing clubs coop-
Douglas County                                                                                                                                   erated to hold chinooks in net pens, built and
                                                 stocking that were mature and attempting to    Clear Lake has had a 50-inch minimum
Whitefish Lake                                   spawn. Hopefully, if we see continued suc-     length limit on its low-density muskellunge      maintained by the fishing clubs, for a period
   Walleye, smallmouth and largemouth bass       cess we will again have a naturally sustained  population since 2003. The largest fish          of time in local marinas before stocking. We
population estimates were conducted in the       walleye fishery in this lake. This work is parthandled last spring was a 46.5 inch female       hope the salmon will imprint and return to
spring of 2005. Densities of 1.05 adult wall-    of a larger 10-year UW-Madison project to      and over half the fish in our nets were 40       those areas to create angling oppor-
eye per acre were similar to surveys con-        evaluate the responses of exotic species such  inches or larger. A musky survey on Lake         tunities.Many of Lake Superior’s tributary
ducted in 1988 and 1991, and are typical of      as rainbow smelt and rusty crayfish to bio-    Tomahawk found very good size structure,         rivers have excellent steelhead populations
low productivity lakes in this area. The size    logical control and manual removals.           including two 35-pound females. Lake             in spring. Trolling near the mouths of the
structure of walleye remained good with 55                                                      Tomahawk also had the best size and num-         tributaries also provides an opportunity to
percent being over 15 inches in length.          Trout Lake
                                                                                                bers of bowfin (also known as dogfish) I’ve      catch trout and salmon. The most important
Smallmouth and largemouth bass densities            Trout Lake contains a genetically unique
                                                                                                ever seen.                                       work being done to sustain and improve
were low; however, both had good size struc-     population of lake trout maintained prima-
                                                                                                   A panfish survey on Pelican Lake turned       stream spawning trout and salmon popula-
tures with 54 percent of smallmouth greater      rily by stocking. Much work has been done
                                                                                                up great size and numbers of bluegill, along     tions involves projects in the headwater ar-
than 14 inches and 55 percent of largemouth      in recent years evaluating the status of this
                                                                                                with good numbers of crappie and several         eas of many of Lake Superior’s tributaries.
greater than 15 inches.                          population but many questions remain. As
                                                                                                year-classes of perch just beginning to reach    (See story page 4).
–Scott Toshner, fisheries biologist, Brule       part of this work we have marked hundreds
                                                                                                catchable size. A fall survey of Oscar Jenny        Trolling around the Apostle Islands in
                                                 of adult lake trout with colored plastic tags
                                                                                                Lake found abundant bluegill, along with ex-     summer can produce nice catches of lake
Iron County                                      to monitor their growth and estimate the size
                                                                                                                                                 trout with the average fish measuring over
   Management efforts since the mid-1990s        of the population. Anglers who catch lake      cellent largemouth bass size and numbers
                                                                                                and a few large northern pike.                   22 inches. More restrictive regulations on
to improve walleye population size structure     trout can help fish management staff by re-
                                                                                                   Last summer’s Woodboro Springs dredg-         recreational and commercial fishing, ref-
and to increase panfish angling opportuni-       porting the number of trout caught and if they
                                                                                                ing project was a success. (See story page 5)    uges, and sea lamprey control have allowed
ties are paying off on Pine Lake. (See story     contained a tag or not. If anglers obtain the
                                                                                                   After two years of budget cuts resulting in   lake trout to increase dramatically since the
page 4) A self-sustaining panfish fishery now    tag number and provide an address, we will
                                                                                                almost no trout stocking in Oneida County,       1960s. Natural reproduction continues to
exists; and some large bluegill and yellow       provide the known history of that particular
                                                                                                trout quotas are back online. Look for brown     support the population among the Apostle
perch are showing up in the catch. Other         lake trout.
                                                 –Steve Gilbert, fisheries biologist, Woodruff trout in Dorothy and Squash Lakes; rainbows
                                                                                                                                                 Islands: 88 percent of the lake trout caught
waters where a similar strategy is being                                                                                                         were wild fish.
implemented are Island, Spider and Long                                                         are planned for Perch, Hawk, Long and Little
lakes in Iron County, and Lake Galilee in
                                                 Florence and Forest counties                   Bass lakes. Brook trout will go into Mercer         As water temperatures cool in the fall,
                                                    We completed comprehensive fishery sur- Springs and Brown, Gudegast, Noisy, Scott,           trolling off the mouths of the tributaries can
Ashland County.                                                                                                                                  produce good catches of brown trout,
   The Gile Flowage is the only known in-        veys on Sealion and Cosgrove lakes in 2005. Starks and Thunder creeks.
                                                 Sealion Lake had a fair bass population, –John Kubisiak, senior fisheries biologist,            chinook and coho salmon. Fall is still a good
land lake in Wisconsin to be infested with                                                                                                       time for smallmouth bass and walleye in
the exotic Spiny Water Flea, which may have      some very nice sized. There is an abundance Rhinelander
                                                 of woody cover to fish. Bluegills and crap-                                                     Chequamegon Bay. Regardless of the sea-
been transported to the Gile by anglers fish-
ing in Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior.         pies were the most common panfish, both Lake Superior                                           son, anglers are encouraged to check with
                                                 with an average size structure. Walleyes were     Spring is one of the best times of year to    the local sport shops for the latest weather
Spiny water fleas are native to northern Eu-
rope and prey on other smaller species of        estimated at less than one adult per acre, but visit Chequamegon Bay. Shortly after ice-        and fishing conditions.
zooplankton, potentially shifting native         the majority exceeded 20 inches. We found out, anglers start trolling for coho and              –Michael Seider, fisheries biologist, Bayfield
zooplankton populations and possibly im-         good numbers of largemouth bass in
pacting survival and recruitment of juvenile     Cosgrove Lake, mostly shorter than 14
                                                 inches. Bluegills were the most common
fishes. Overall impacts on the fish commu-
nity cannot be predicted at this time. Based
upon events in Fish Lake, Minnestoa, there
                                                 panfish, having an average size below 7
                                                 inches. Adult walleyes were estimated at
                                                                                                    Northeast Region
is evidence that sufficient predation by adult   only one per acre, but like Sealion, most were
                                                 over 20 inches long.                           Door County
panfish can eliminate spiny water fleas, so
in 2005 we transferred 34,289 bluegill and          A late spring netting survey of the Spread Lake Michigan and Green Bay,
pumpkinseed to the Gile from other waters        Eagle Chain in Florence County found a including tributary streams
overcrowded with panfish in an effort to in-     moderate panfish population, mostly blue-         For the fourth summer in a row, chinook
crease panfish density and eradicate the ex-     gills with some crappies and rock bass. Most fishing on Lake Michigan was nothing short
otic invaders. Future stockings are planned.     were on the small side. The chain has a di- of phenomenal. However, all that glitters is
Anglers are advised to strictly adhere to        verse fishery of panfish, largemouth and not golden and there are early warning signs
guidelines posted at all the boat landings to    smallmouth bass, northern pike, and walleyes, that this fishery might not be sustainable,
prevent further infestation of the Spiny Wa-     along with a developing musky fishery.         among them decreasing length and weight
ter Flea into other inland waters.                  Anglers should again be able to access the at age and a noticeable decline in their rela-
–Jeff Roth, fisheries biologist, Mercer          Brule River Flowage (the “Backwaters”) in tive plumpness. Concurrent with those
                                                 Florence County starting with the open-wa- warning signs is evidence of a decline in
Vilas County                                     ter season as water levels have returned to the alewife population, the Lake Michigan
Kentuck Lake                                     normal after a reservoir-drawdown. The forage base that supports the chinook fish-
   As of November 1, 2005, the walleye           flowage has a diverse warmwater fishery, ery. The growing imbalance likely results
regulation on this lake changed from a 28-       with walleyes and muskies being the most from increasing naturalized chinook repro-
inch minimum and a bag limit of one to no        popular for anglers.                           duction in Lake Michigan tributaries and
minimum size but only one fish kept may             Butternut and Franklin lakes in Florence emigration of chinook from Lake Huron.
be 14 inches or larger. The final bag limit      County should provide some excellent fish- Because there is no control over the natural
will depend on tribal declarations. This re-     ing for northern pike in 2006 when they go reproduction of chinook, the only way to
laxing of the regulation was due to an in-       to the standard five bag, no minimum size reduce the demand on the forage base and              Chinook fishing was phenomenal for the
crease in the adult walleye population from      regulations. Studies of the lakes showed the to increase the odds of continued good Chi-        fourth summer in a row. 11-year-old Christo-
a low of 574 fish in 1999 to 9,549 in 2005.      prior trophy regulation didn’t produce nook fishing is to decrease stocking. To that            pher Ettner reeled in an 18-pound chinook
This high density walleye fishery may be         greater numbers of larger pike as expected, end, the four states with management au-            salmon last summer near Sturgeon Bay on the
                                                 but overall numbers are up. A smaller pike thority on Lake Michigan have agreed to              Green Bay side. Photo by Michael Ettner.
having negative effects on the historically
good bass/panfish fishery of Kentuck Lake        population should also help walleye num- stock 25 percent fewer chinook starting in
so DNR will be pursuing a more restrictive       bers improve.                                  spring 2006. Wisconsin’s “share” will re-
bass regulation (18-inch minimum and one            DNR stream surveys in 2005 found good sult in 21 percent fewer chinook stocked by            at Bues Point in Moonlight Bay on the Lake
fish bag limit) starting in May 2007. Until      numbers of trout in Johnson and Woods Wisconsin hatcheries.                                     Michigan side, and the boat launch at Old
this regulation takes effect we are asking an-   creeks in Florence County. Sections of the        Other recent changes in the Lake Michi-       Stone Quarry at the mouth of Sturgeon Bay
glers to practice catch and release for bass     Pine and Popple wild rivers continue to pro- gan fishery due to budget reductions include       is being expanded, with completion expected
on this lake.                                    duce good brook trout populations, with an elimination of brook trout stocking and a            mid-summer 2006.
                                                 occasional trophy brown.                       decrease in brown trout fingerlings. Addi-          The low lake and bay level also affect ac-
Long Lake                                           An intensive beaver removal effort in tionally, DNR has reduced the projected                cess of trout and salmon into Door County’s
   Illegal rainbow smelt introductions in the    tributaries of the Pine and Popple rivers has quota of steelhead for stocking into Lake         tributary streams. Whitefish Bay and Heins
early 1990s harmed this fish community;          greatly improved conditions for trout in that Michigan because of reduced flows at the          creeks are stocked annually with steelhead.
once a thriving natural walleye fishery, we      watershed. Streams are again running colder Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery.                    Runs of adult steelhead and other trout and
must now stock it to provide a meager fish-      and trout can again seek spawning sites and       Lake Michigan and Green Bay water lev-        salmon into these and other Door County
ing opportunity. In the fall of 2005, 5,600      refuge from the warm waters of summer. els are predicted to remain well below aver-             tributary streams in spring and fall depend
yearling lake trout were stocked in an effort    That was especially important during the age into the first half of 2006, so anglers            heavily on runoff from snow-melt and rain.
to establish a population and provide a cold     drought and warm water conditions of this planning to fish the lakeshore are advised to         If our streams have adequate flow they can
water predator on the abundant smelt forage      past summer.                                   check with local municipalities before go-       provide some exciting opportunities.
base. To protect the lake trout this lake will   –Bob Young, fisheries biologist, Woodruff      ing to a particular launch and use caution.         Smallmouth bass populations along the
have a 30-inch minimum length and one fish                                                      On a positive note, there’s a new boat launch    Door County shoreline remain strong and
                                                                                                on Little Sturgeon Bay, an improved ramp         should provide exciting fishing in 2006. The

                                                                                                                                                 2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report                9
Northeast Region                                   Judging by the lack of small females tagged
                                                   in spring 2005, the 2001 females were not
                                                                                                     lation an important part of this
                                                                                                     fishery. A small number of
continued                                          quite mature then, but it should be a differ-     musky have historically been
strong 1995 year class of smallmouth will          ent story this spring as they had another sum-    stocked by local musky clubs.
continue to provide abundant fish in excess        mer to grow and should be up on the marshes       These fish have been showing
of 18 inches. Trophy-sized fish above 20           in good numbers. Now the female spawn-            up in surveys and anglers’ in-
inches from the 1995 and older year-classes        ing stock is made up of mostly medium sized       cidental catches. Musky an-
are not uncommon.                                  females 21 to 25 inches. These are 7- to 10-      glers have expressed interest in
   Walleye populations in and around Stur-         year-old fish from the mid- to late- 1990s        this addition to the fishery and
geon Bay / Little Sturgeon Bay received im-        year-classes. About a quarter of the females      we have added them to the an-
portant supplemental stocking in 2003 and          spawning in 2005 were less than 21 inches,        nual stocking quotas in very
2004 as nearly 425,000 walleye fingerlings         while 15 percent were 25 inches or larger.        low densities to be managed as
were divided between the two bays. This               Index trawling in August 2005 again            a trophy fishery.
walleye stocking effort should help estab-         showed a good food base, perhaps too good            The coldwater trout fishery,
lish two good year classes of walleye, which       as anglers complained about slowed action         made up of lake trout and
should be available to anglers for several         when mid-summer arrived.                          Seeforellen brown trout, is sus-
years to come.                                        Of most interest to walleye anglers is an-     tained by stocking. Both spe-
   Great Lakes musky have been stocked for         other big year-class of walleye, the fourth       cies provide excellent action in
                                                                                                                                         Delany Allen and Kevin Kapuscinski display a channel cat-
four consecutive years in the Sturgeon Bay         largest on record. Three of the five largest      open water or through the ice. fish caught from the Fox River. Photo by Jody Kapuscinski.
area now as part of a DNR effort to re-es-         hatches have occurred consecutively since         The lake trout population con-
tablish reproducing populations of this na-        2003, putting us up to our rod tips in younger    tinues to thrive while the
tive species in Green Bay. (See story page         walleye, meaning fishing should be good to        Seeforellen are in their infancy
1) Bragging-size muskies have already been         great for at least the next 10 years!             as a great addition to this unique coldwater Marinette County
                                                      Anglers looking to take home a tasty meal      fishery. Densities are low, but fish up to 10      Preliminary results from a comprehensive
reported caught in Green Bay in recent years.
Fishing for northern pike should continue to       from this excellent walleye population in         pounds have been reported. The lake also lake survey on High Falls Reservoir in spring
provide good action for both open water and        2006 can expect good numbers of medium-           contains a healthy inland cisco population. 2005 sampled walleye, largemouth bass,
                                                   sized walleye in the rivers in April for the      Lake Puckaway                                   smallmouth bass and northern pike in good
ice anglers.
–Paul Peeters, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay   annual spawning run, along with an increase           The 32-inch minimum size limit and bag numbers and good size ranges. The muskel-
                                                   in small females and a fair number of the         of one for northern pike continues to pro- lunge population also looks very healthy, with
Manitowoc County                                   large old females.                                vide a high density northern pike fishery. the largest fish surveyed at 51.5 inches and
Lake Michigan and tributary streams                   Bass: Largemouth and smallmouth bass           Catch rates can be extremely high with many several other large muskies collected. There
   Following the spring melt, anglers can          continue to be relatively abundant through-       fish in the upper-20 to low-30-inch range, also appears to be a healthy fishery for blue-
hook steelhead, brown trout or northern pike       out the system as well. Based on lengths and      although more legal fish have been showing gill and black crappie, with good numbers and
in many Lake Michigan tributaries. Fishing         weights collected by DNR and tournament           up in surveys and reported in anglers’ size structure. The yellow perch population
in harbors and off piers can be very produc-       sponsors in 2005, largemouth ranged from          catches. Walleye populations remain healthy appears small in its size structure.
tive with anglers harvesting a variety of spe-     14 to 21 inches, and smallmouth 14 to 20          and should continue to provide excellent           During 2005, we continued cooperative
cies. Anglers looking for a different fishing      inches. The majority of the largemouths seen      action. Fall surveys did show large numbers effort with the Peshtigo River Sportsman’s
experience may want to try dip-netting suck-       at the tournaments were 14 to 16 inches, but      of gizzard shad, which no doubt will play a Society to stock 500,000 walleye fry into
ers or smelt as they migrate upstream.             they’re not skinny. Despite the smaller size      role in fishing success for these species. High Falls Reservoir. Water levels should
   Summer should again see anglers catch-          structure, with a little effort and, as always,   Largemouth bass and panfish appear to be return to normal by the 2006 open water sea-
ing good numbers of Lake Michigan trout            patience, bass anglers should be able to keep     at lower densities but exhibit excellent son on that reservoir and Johnson Falls Res-
and salmon. There should be a good num-            busy with some “bucket mouth” action. An-         growth rates and size structure. Improve- ervoir after drawdowns for dam repairs. No
ber of older chinook salmon still in the lake.     glers are reminded to maneuver gently             ments to habitat again are the key to helping major impacts to the fisheries are expected.
For those anglers willing to travel further off-   around all vegetation on the system, as it is     out these species.                                 Preliminary results from a comprehensive
shore, steelhead angling can be exciting with      valuable habitat.                                                                                 survey on Hilbert Lake indicate a low-den-
                                                                                                     Little Green Lake                               sity, high-quality walleye population consis-
favorable wind and water temperatures. If             Smallmouths are more common in the up-
                                                                                                        This productive body of water has always tent with that of a stocked population. The
conditions don’t permit fishing on Lake            per rivers near faster current and rock or
                                                                                                     been noted for its healthy panfish popula- majority were of legal size or larger with no
Michigan, try fishing for smallmouth bass          gravel areas. Don’t overlook the Little Wolf
                                                                                                     tions. Improvements in water quality and sign of natural reproduction. The largemouth
in the larger rivers. Populations are very good    and Embarrass rivers, and smallies have also
                                                                                                     aquatic plant management have helped them bass population appears to have good num-
and fishing can be productive.                     really taken off on Lake Winnebago in the
                                                                                                     thrive. Walleye populations remain healthy bers and size structure. We also noted good
   With the onset of fall, salmon spawning         last few years as well.
                                                                                                     and are supported by DNR and local club numbers of northern pike and smallmouth
migrations begin and if stream flows are              Northern pike and… Musky? The sys-
                                                                                                     stocking efforts. The musky fishery, also bass. Panfish were numerous and of a good
good, fishing should be excellent in the           tem continues to have good numbers of pike
                                                                                                     maintained by stocking, provides for one of size, particularly bluegill and black crappies.
Manitowoc, East and West Twin and                  in it. While not known as “musky water,”
                                                                                                     southern Wisconsin’s best musky lakes and          During the summer and fall of 2005,
Kewaunee rivers. For a little more solitude,       there is a small but self-sustaining popula-
                                                                                                     continues to produce 40-plus inchers.           baseline lake surveys were carried out on
try fishing smaller streams such as Stony,         tion of true musky in the Winnebago sys-
                                                   tem, particularly in the upper lakes.             Fox River System                                Johnson Falls Flowage, Reservoir Pond,
Silver or Fischer creeks.                                                                               This large productive river system is home White Rapids Flowage, Caldron Falls Flow-
–Steve Hogler, fisheries biologist, Mishicot       However, anglers may be surprised to see
                                                   an increase in smaller muskies showing up         to walleye, small and largemouth bass, north- age, Beecher Lake, Big and Little Newton
Inland lakes and rivers of Calumet, Door,          on the end of their lines in 2006. These are      ern pike and panfish. A number of dam re- Lakes. Initial review of the data revealed that
Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties                    Great Lakes strain musky, which DNR               movals in recent years has helped to improve White Rapids has a very healthy fishery sup-
   Northern pike and panfish anglers should        started stocking in the system in 2002, as        habitat and create a barrier-free stretch of porting walleye, bass, and several panfish
have good success in catching these fish dur-      part of a reintroduction effort. (See story       river. Channel catfish populations remain species. Reservoir Pond also had a healthy
ing the ice-fishing season on local lakes. An-     page 1). In late November 2004, about 25 or       high; flathead populations seem stable and bass population and many panfish, although
glers also may target large northern pike on       30 of the spotted muskies were captured and       should improve with the new bag and pos- panfish tended to be small.
local tributary streams during late winter.        were all 29 or 30 inches, and were in excel-      session limit. Survey information has shown        Trout stream surveys on the Upper
Walleye and yellow perch are always a good         lent shape and growing very well. It’s likely     that it takes, on average, 10 years to reach Middle Inlet Creek, North Branch of Bea-
bet early in the open water season, with           these fish are now in the low- to mid-30 inch     30 inches and nearly 20 years to reach 40 ver Creek and K C Creek indicate healthy
largemouth bass and bluegill fishing improv-       range.                                            inches.                                         trout populations.
ing as the water warms in late May.                   Panfish and white bass: Bluegill popula-       Marquette and Waushara county                      We cooperated with Michigan DNR and
   In Manitowoc County, at Walla Hi County         tions have benefited from the increase of                                                         U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a three-
                                                                                                     lakes
Park, work is continuing on a stream resto-        rooted aquatic vegetation over the last few          Both counties contain a good number of day survey of the lake sturgeon population
ration project that has removed several rem-       years. Good areas to start are Sunset Bay         small pothole lakes, most of which are highly below White Rapids dam on the Menominee
nant dams and structures from the grounds          and inside the breakwall at Terrell’s Island      developed but do provide good public ac- River. We captured and released 312 stur-
of a former hatchery. Future work includes         on Lake Butte des Morts, Boom Bay and             cess and contain good populations of large- geon, with an average length of 33 inches
restoring a more natural stream channel to         Page’s Slough on Lake Poygan and the nu-          mouth bass and panfish. Some may contain compared to an average length of 49 inches
Millhome Creek, a stream that supports na-         merous bays and channels along the west           small numbers of walleye maintained by in sturgeon surveyed below the Menominee
tive brook trout. Following the completion         shore of Lake Winnebago. Perch have also          stocking. Low density populations of north- Dam, the lowest dam on the river with a di-
of the project, we hope anglers will enjoy         benefited from the increased vegetation. The      ern pike are also present in some lakes. A rect link to Green Bay. Only 11 sturgeon
improved fishing for brook trout at this sce-      perch year-class in 2005 was down from the        few contain high- density, slow-growing were more than 50 inches in length.
nic location.                                      previous two years, but still respectable. Fi-
–Steve Hogler, fisheries biologist, Mishicot
                                                                                                     populations of largemouth bass and low-den-      Oconto County
                                                   nally, for anglers liking fast action or some-    sity bluegill populations We have been try-         Projects to remove the Hemlock and
Winnebago System                                   thing to keep kids interested, you can’t beat     ing to improve this situation by eliminating     Knowles dams from the North Branch of the
                                                   the annual run of white bass on the Wolf and      the 14-inch size limit to reduce bass num-       Oconto River continued in 2005 with fur-
(Wolf and upper Fox rivers, lakes                  upper Fox Rivers in mid-May. Good shore
Winnebago, Butte des Morts,                                                                          bers, improve growth rates for largemouth,       ther restoration of the two sites where dams
                                                   fishing opportunities are present in              and panfish numbers will increase to better      were removed in 2004. Continuous tempera-
Winneconne and Poygan)                             Winneconne, Fremont, Gill’s Landing east
   DNR crews, aided by numerous volun-                                                               balance the fishery. Improvements in aquatic     ture loggers were deployed in 2005 and will
                                                   of Weyauwega on the Wolf and Oshkosh,             plant management and nearshore habitat pro-      continue to be deployed in 2006 to monitor
teers, captured and tagged more than 7,200         Omro and Eureka on the upper Fox.
walleye from around the system in spring                                                             tection also continue to play an important       the river water temperatures and to evaluate
                                                   –Kendall Kamke, senior fisheries biologist,       role in improvements to the lake fishery.        any difference before and after removal of
spawning surveys. Males ranged from 12 to          Oshkosh
22.1 inches and averaged 16.3 inches and                                                             Marquette and Waushara county                    the dams. This project was conducted in con-
1.6 pounds, identical to last year. One-quar-      Green Lake County                                                                                  junction with the U.S. Forest Service and ad-
                                                                                                     trout streams
ter of the males were 17.5 inches or larger!                                                                                                          ditional funding was provided by local
                                                   Big Green Lake                                       This part of the state provides for some of
Fifty-five percent were less than 16 inches,                                                                                                          chapters of Trout Unlimited.
                                                      Protection and improvement of fragile          the best trout fishing anywhere. Miles of
due to the number of fish from the large 2001                                                                                                            In August 2005, DNR replaced two new
                                                   shallow water areas has improved spawning         public ownership, along with numerous road
year-class, which make up a significant por-                                                                                                          culverts on Swede John Creek and estab-
                                                   habitat for northern pike, largemouth bass        crossings, provide good access to most
tion of the male spawners and will for a num-                                                                                                         lished a new stream channel. The creek had
                                                   and panfish species. Smallmouth bass con-         streams. As always, ask permission to ac-
ber of years.                                                                                                                                         a chronic problem of washing out and the
                                                   tinue to thrive in this lake filled with rocky    cess private land. Any questions about this
   Females in 2005 ranged from 14.9 to 28.6                                                                                                           old culverts were creating fish passage is-
                                                   shoreline habitat, and improvements in wa-        report can be addressed to (608) 297-7058.
inches with an average of 22.4 inches and                                                                                                             sues. The new culverts installed were larger
                                                   ter clarity and vegetation management have        – David Bartz, fisheries biologist, Montello
4.6 pounds, also very similar to last year.                                                                                                           and placed in at the correct height so as not
                                                   helped to keep the low density walleye popu-
                                                                                                                                                      to impede fish passage. In addition, a 160-

10             Fish Wisconsin! www.fishingwisconsin.org
foot section of the stream channel was di-          class was below average at age one and con-      for the past few years and should continue         population characteristics of this popular
verted away from the shoulder of the road-          tinued to be below average at age 2 (5.9         based on the numbers seen this fall.               sportfish and important top predator. In 2005,
way where erosion was becoming a problem.           inches). Due to increased production over           DNR continued efforts to restore the spot-      DNR fisheries crews captured 528 flatheads
The new stream channel will be armored              the past few years and those recent year-        ted muskellunge population in Green Bay            during hoop net surveys in locations near
with stone to prevent down-cutting and pro-         classes entering the fishery, yellow perch       by stocking fingerling and yearling fish into      Fremont, Gills Landing and New London
vide a better substrate for fish and aquatic        fishing has started to improve and sport har-    the Menominee and Peshtigo rivers in 2005.         that ranged up to 47 inches (or 56 pounds)
invertebrates. This project will be completed       vest has increased in Green Bay. Data col-       (See story page 1). Anglers have reported          with 58 percent of the catch over 31 inches
during summer 2006 when specialized                 lected during the 2005 summer creel survey       catching tagged fish in the 30- and 40-inch        (or 16 pounds). In addition to collecting
equipment for working on soft terrain can           revealed that 63 percent of the sport harvest    range with one fish reported at 48 inches.         length and weight information, biologists are
be brought in to install additional stone. The      were fish from the 2003 year class and 25        Anglers catching tagged fish are asked to          taking a sample of pectoral fin spines to de-
Town of Silver Cliff provided labor and ma-         percent from the 2002 year class. A major-       note the tag number and fishing information        termine the age of this long-lived species.
terials to help with this project.                  ity of the perch caught (80 percent) were 7      (date, location, water temp, length, weight,       Growth was highly variable with most
   The project to stock wild trout in the South     to 10 inches and a few fish (5 percent) were     etc.) and send the information to the address      flatheads attaining 31 inches (or 16 pounds)
Branch of the Oconto River continued in             11 to 13 inches. Most of these fish were 7-      on the tag, call (715-582-5052), or e-mail         in 10 to 14 years. Anglers should report
2005, with DNR working cooperatively with           year-old fish produced in 1998. We believe       Matthew.Mangan@dnr.state.wi.us.                    tagged fish, along with catch date and loca-
the Oconto River Watershed Chapter of               that continued successful production of yel-     –Matt Mangan, fisheries biologist, Mike            tion, tag number, length, whether the fish was
Trout Unlimited and the Suring Sportsman’s          low perch should yield good fishing in 2006.     Donofrio, fisheries supervisor, Peshtigo           kept or released, angler’s name and address
Club to raise wild brook and brown trout for           We implemented a very intensive effort                                                           to the address on the tag or call (715) 526-
stocking. No brook trout were stocked out           in 2005 to survey the lake sturgeon popula-      Shawano County                                     4227. Anglers are asked to not remove tags
in 2005 but 25,000 large fingerling brown           tion in the lower Menominee River from           Shawano Lake                                       from fish they release.
trout were stocked during fall 2005. DNR            seven events July through October. We               Fall boomshocking surveys captured good
                                                                                                     numbers of largemouth bass ranging from
                                                                                                                                                        Waupaca and Shawano county
crews also shocked and captured wild brook          caught and tagged 278 sturgeon with an av-
and brown trout in fall 2005 to collect eggs        erage size of 49 inches. The fall hook and       2.8 to 19.9 inches and averaging 11.3 inches.      trout streams
to be reared at the Trout Unlimited Underhill       line fishery produced 136 lake sturgeon from     About 32 percent were over 14 inches. Blue-     In the Waupaca River, 2005 stream
facility.                                           50 to 65 inches in the lower Menominee           gills up to 8.3 inches were sampled with 26  electrofishing surveys indicate that trout
   A trout population estimate survey on the        River compared to 155 in 2003. We inter-         percent over 6 inches. Walleye reproduction  populations and size structure are improv-
South Branch of the Oconto River suggests           viewed over 100 anglers during the fall sea-     appeared to be very poor in 2005 with no     ing. Young-of-the-year numbers were up 36
good trout population numbers.                      son and found general approval of the season     young-of-the-year sampled during fall sur-   percent from the last survey and 46 percent
   During 2005, baseline stream surveys             and harvest. Finally, we inserted ultrasonic     veys; most of the adult walleye population   higher than the 10-year average. In addition,
were carried out at several sites on the Lower      transmitters into 14 adult sturgeon and we’ll    is comprised of fish hatched from year-      numbers of 12+ inch were 34 percent higher
North Branch of the Oconto River Water-             track their movements between the Menominee      classes in the mid- to late- 1990s. Only 11  than the average. The wild trout stocking
shed covering portions of Oconto and For-           and Peshtigo rivers for the next year.           adult walleyes were sampled in the fall sur- program has been very important to bolster-
est counties. A total of 29 streams were               Fall 2005 brown trout brood stock collec-     vey and all were 14+ inches. On a positive   ing trout populations in the Waupaca River.
electroshocked, including several trout             tions in the Menominee River found higher        note, musky fishing has been and should      Annually, the river is stocked with 18,000
streams. Many of the streams surveyed were          numbers of adult fish returning to the river     continue to be very good. Anglers are report-feral brown trout fingerlings. To date, such
facing low water levels and higher than nor-        than in the previous three years. Most were      ing improved musky fishing with several 50+  stocked wild trout comprise almost 40 per-
mal water temperatures during summer                Seeforellen strain stocked by DNR in 2002,       inch fish showing up in the catch. This past cent of the adult population.
2005, but still showed very good brook trout        2003 and 2004 and averaged 25 inches. The        summer DNR stocked 6,000 fall fingerling        Electrofishing surveys on other streams in
production because many of the streams are          largest brown trout captured was 31 inches.      musky.                                       Southern and Central Waupaca County show
spring-fed.                                         The higher numbers returning support an-                                                      population density and size structure at or
                                                                                                     Wolf River (Outagamie, Waupaca, above average. Surveys in Shawano County
–Justine Hasz, senior fisheries biologist, Peshtigo gler reports of increased catch rates in Green   and Shawano counties)
                                                    Bay. Large numbers of chinook salmon,                                                         show some decline in numbers which may
Brown County                                                                                            DNR fisheries biologists are researching be partly due to low water/flow conditions
                                                    walleye, and whitefish were also observed        flathead catfish populations within the Wolf and warm summer temperatures in 2005.
Lower Fox River and southern Green Bay              during the fall brown trout collections. Wall-   River system to document flathead catfish –Al Niebur, fisheries biologist, Shawano
   We completed three targeted fishing sur- eye fishing in the Menominee River and sur-
                                                                                                     seasonal movement, habitat use, harvest, and
veys on the Fox River and lower Green Bay rounding area of Green Bay has been good
in 2005.
   The Great Lakes muskellunge reintroduc-
tion program continues to grow and excite
musky anglers. (See story page 1) We cap-           South Central Region
tured 79 muskellunge during our 2005 spring
survey, ranging from 12 to 50 inches, aver- Lafayette County                                         trout are most abundant and range from 5 to
aging 38.5 inches, and up to 40 pounds. We Yellowstone Lake                                          16 inches. Brook trout are located in its up-
also collected eggs and milt for transfer to           Already abundant with channel catfish,        per portions and range from 5 to 12 inches.
the Wild Rose State Hatchery and later stock- walleye, crappies, bluegill, and largemouth            About 3,800 feet of trout habitat work was
ing. Our southern Green Bay and lower Fox bass, this lake now sustains a fishable popu-              completed on the lower half of the public
River index shocking turned up a below-av- lation of smallmouth bass averaging 13                    fishing easements in 2005. Bank shaping,
erage amount of young-of-the-year walleye, inches with fish up to 18 inches. Most abun-              rip-rap, LUNKERS, and wedge dams have
indicating that a poor year-class was pro- dant in the lake are crappies and walleye.                increased the holding areas for trout along
duced during 2005. The abundance of adult Walleye 15 to 18 inches comprised 42 per-                  this small stream. It may take two years for
walleye from our fall surveys, however, in- cent of walleye sampled in 2005, with 34                 overall numbers of adult fish to increase in
dicates that walleye fishing should be excel- percent greater than 18 inches. The 2002 year          the project area, but it only took two months
lent on the Fox River and Green Bay during class of crappies still supports a tremendous             for the fish now there to utilize the new struc-
2006 and beyond. Walleye ranged from 8 to number of fish averaging 9 inches. Yellow-                 tures. Habitat work is scheduled to continue
26 inches, and averaged 16.5 inches. We also stone Lake also maintains a low density, high           for an additional 3,400 feet. Public fishing
observed an incredible number of gizzard quality northern pike and musky fishery.                    easements are located along the project area.
shad in the Fox River this fall, which pre-
                                                    Steiner Branch                                   Gordon Creek
sumably made fishing difficult, even though
                                                       This small 4.25 mile stream contains the         With just over four miles of public fish-
good numbers of adult walleye were present.
                                                    only fishable brook trout population in          ing easement, Gordon Creek supports one
Fall musky fishing was slow during 2005,
                                                    Lafayette County and contains brown trout        of the better brown trout fisheries south of
not for a lack of muskellunge, but the abun-
                                                    as well. Brook trout are now responding to       Route 18. We have estimated 1,800 brown            Cam Nelson displays the monster musky he
dance of gizzard shad. Muskellunge captured                                                                                                             caught and released in 2005 from the Yahara
                                                    habitat work completed along a 1.25 mile         trout per mile of all sizes from surveys con-
during surveys ranged from 12 to 45 inches                                                                                                              River south of Lake Kegonsa. Photo by Tyler
                                                    stretch in 2003, showing an increase in adult    ducted in 2005. With brown trout over 20
and averaged 32 inches. Green Bay and its                                                                                                               Diettert.
                                                    fish and natural reproduction. Establishment     inches present, the creek offers anglers the
tributaries will once again provide ample
                                                    of this brook trout population is ongoing with   opportunity to catch trophy size fish as well.
musky fishing opportunities with true tro-                                                                                                         There are still many opportunities for an-
                                                    more trout habitat work scheduled and a          Habitat improvement projects are scheduled
phy potential during 2006. Anglers                                                                                                                 glers to catch smallmouth 12 to 17 inches.
                                                    catch-and-release status at this time.           to begin in 2006. Catch and release as well
   Anglers catching and keeping tagged fish                                                                                                        Some streams anglers may want to take a
                                                                                                     as harvest areas are located on Gordon
are asked return the tag and fishing informa- Pecatonica River and East Branch                                                                     look at include Blockhouse Creek, Rattle-
                                                                                                     Creek.
tion (date, location, water temperature, fish Pecatonica River                                                                                     snake Creek, Platte River system, and the
length, weight, etc.) to the address on the tag.       Even with manure-related fish kills in        Grant County                                  Grant River system. Remember that land-
Anglers that practice catch and release should      2004, this river system continues to produce        Trout: Surveys conducted in 2005 along owner permission is required before walk-
leave the tag in the fish, note the tag number, one of the better channel catfish fisheries in       portions of the Grant and Little Grant River ing along the stream banks where public
and send the information to the address on south central Wisconsin. Channel catfish in               systems reveal that both have an estimated fishing easements are absent.
the tag, call (920) 662-5480, or e-mail Kevin. the 19 to 23-inch range are abundant with             brown trout population of 600 trout per mile. –Bradd Sims, fisheries biologist, Dodgeville
Kapuscinski@dnr.state.wi.us. Information we some fish up to 30 inches. Flathead catfish              Both also offer anglers the opportunity of
collect from anglers through tag returns is vi- are also present with some measuring 42              trophy fish, with brown trout over 20 inches Dane County
tal to effectively manage the fishery.              inches. We have tagged 875 channel catfish       present. Other streams of interest that an-      The Madison (Yahara) lakes offer anglers
–Rod Lange, fisheries technician, and Kevin along with 44 flathead catfish. Anglers catch-           glers may want to try are Borah Creek,        a “one-stop” fishing experience as home to
Kapuscinski, fisheries biologist, Green Bay         ing a tagged fish are asked to record the tag    McPherson Branch, and the Rountree a suite of high quality game and panfish op-
                                                    number, date of catch, length of fish, and lo-   Branch – all of which have an established portunities. Highlights from the 2005 field
Marinette and Oconto counties                       cation caught and call (608) 935-1935 or         brown trout population with public access sampling season follow.
Outlying waters of Green Bay                        send to the fisheries staff at the Dodgeville    available.                                    Wingra Lake
   Summer trawling surveys for yellow perch Service Center, 1500 N. Johns St.,                          Smallmouth bass: Environmental condi-         The muskellunge population is estimated
in Green Bay indicated another good year- Dodgeville, WI 53533. These river systems                  tions in 2005 proved to foster another good at 753 fish, or 2.18 adult (over 30 inches)
class was produced in 2005, following good also offer anglers the opportunity to pursue              reproductive year for smallmouth bass in fish per acre. Compared to other “good “
year-classes produced in 2002 and 2004 and walleye and smallmouth bass.                              Grant County. Surveys conducted in the musky lakes, this is anywhere between two
an excellent year-class in 2003. This is good Iowa County                                            Platte and Grant River basins turned up to four times the average standing stock. We
news for anglers, as the Natural Resources                                                           many young-of-the-year smallmouth bass. saw relatively good numbers of 9-inch white
                                                    Ley Creek
Board in December increased sport bag lim-                                                           Combined with the good year-class of 2003, crappies. Panfish remain numerous but
                                                       Ley Creek supports a mixed brown trout /
its to 15 starting May 20, 2006.                                                                     the 2005 year-class has anglers looking for- small. Bass numbers are low and size distri-
                                                    brook trout fishery with an estimated 200
   Due to the high numbers produced in                                                               ward to the 2007 and 2008 fishing seasons. bution on the small side.
                                                    adult fish per mile (pre-habitat work). Brown
2003, average growth of fish from that year-

                                                                                                                                                        2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report             11
South Central Region                             2004. Fisheries management is actively in-
                                                 volved in finding solutions to balance the
                                                                                                     largemouth bass population is in excellent
                                                                                                     shape for numbers and size structure, with
                                                                                                                                                       for the trout using fathead minnows. The lake
                                                                                                                                                       touts a trophy northern pike fishery with its
continued                                        public trust in high quality fisheries with our     the number of large fish increasing every         32-inch size limit. Largemouth, smallmouth
                                                 agricultural heritage.                              year. The lake has a limited but fair popula-     bass and jumbo bluegills are also present.
Monona Lake                                         New maps showing both DNR ownership              tion of walleye of all sizes that have resulted   Only electric motors are allowed.
   Our musky population survey in 2004 es- and public easement along Dane county                     from large YOY walleye being stocked in-
timated densities of 0.49 adult fish per acre. streams are available from the South Cen-                                                               Lake Redstone
                                                                                                     stead of small YOY. The number of musky              Crappie fishing is popular during the
Average size and condition are excellent: an tral Regional Office.                                   stocked has been reduced and significant
average Monona musky is 36 inches and –Kurt Welke, fisheries biologist, Fitchburg                                                                      spawning period. Walleye stocking contin-
                                                                                                     amounts of musky forage have been planted,        ues to fuel a quality fishery. Good numbers
weighs 13 pounds. Bass numbers are highest                                                           resulting in more normal catch rates and fish
of any lake on chain: we see fish to 20.3 inches Southwest Wisconsin trout                                                                             up to 20 inches are noted. Smallmouth bass
                                                                                                     in much better condition and heavier bod-         stocking in 1998 and 1999 by a local club
with 14 percent of all largemouth larger than streams                                                ied. While not a producer of trophy musky,
legal size. Walleye are the Monona “sleeper”-                                                                                                          has now established a natural reproducing
                                                    The fishing forecast for trout in southwest      the number of 36- to 40-inch fish is outstand-    population. The lake has also become known
—the average fish shocked was 16.4 inches Wisconsin for trout is nothing short of fan-               ing for a small lake.
and 62 percent of all fish we shock are le- tastic. Almost the entire trout fishery is now                                                             for musky with several legal fish noted. Good
                                                                                                     –Gene Van Dyck, fisheries biologist,              size structure of largemouth bass, channel
gal. Bluegill numbers are very high—the a wild trout fishery and most of the streams                 Dodgeville
catch rate is 265 fish per hour, compared to contain multiple year classes of fish. Growth                                                             catfish and bluegill round out the fishery.
52 per hour on neighboring Mendota. We rates have remained good, and because of                      Columbia County                                   White Mound Lake
had a very strong year class of ‘gills this last the significant number of older fish, most          Lake Wisconsin/Wisconsin River                       A drawdown in winter 2003-04 to remove
year. Perch averaged 7 inches but 20 per- streams now contain significant numbers of                    Fall 2005 surveys show below-average           sediment in the two bays will optimize bass
cent of catch exceeded 9 inches with fish to medium to larger trout. A number of shocker             year-class production for both walleye and        predation as the dredging will reduce mil-
10.2 inches. Northern pike were found up to surveys of the catch-and-release streams and             sauger. For walleye, it’s been 1997 since a       foil vegetation which provided hiding cover
38 inches in fall 2005 sampling.                 stream segments found across the board out-         major year-class occurred. Sauger have been       for small bluegills. It is on its way to return-
Mendota Lake                                     standing trout populations even late in the         more stable but less numerous. The positive       ing to its quality bluegill status of the 90s.
   Walleye stocks showed both excellent season. Since these trout are predisposed to                 news for 2006 is a good number of legal-          Lake Virginia
young–of- year survival (23 percent) and a survive and reproduce in the wild, they have              size fish (15 to 19 inches) present, possibly        A drawdown during fall and winter 2003-
high percentage (19 percent) of fish greater a thinner, racier build as well as a smaller            because of lower than normal harvest in           04 to allow for replacement of the outlet
than 18 inches. Catch rates were 33 fish per ultimate size. The adult wild brown trout av-           2005. Late ice out prevented angling on the       structure led to compaction of sediment,
hour—consistent with the four-year average. erage 10 to 13 inches with big trout measur-             spawning run leaving the lake, and poor           which should help reduce the dense vegeta-
The largemouth bass sample was dominated ing 14, 15 or 16 inches and trophies                        catchability of fish after early June in the      tion for a while. Restocking with bass and
by 50 percent of the catch being young-of- measuring 17 or 18 inches. Wild trout greater             lake. A very large year-class of shad occurred    bluegill occurred during 2004 and the fish-
the-year or fish less than 7 inches. Fall blue- than 18 inches are very scarce.                      in 2005 and may have kept walleye well-           ery is developing as scheduled. The Lake
gill samples were inconclusive and Lower Wisconsin River                                             fed, but the shad population has suffered a       District installed a new aeration system,
non-representative.                                                                                  typical, late November kill. Thus, the wall-      which will prevent any future fish kills.
                                                    The walleye population has seen a signifi-
Lake Waubesa                                     cant increase in 15- to 18-inch fish resulting      eye may be more eager to bite in 2006. A          Mirror Lake
   Bass catches remain strong with fish up from protection afforded by the newly es-                 record number per mile of fish over 20 inches        The 137-acre State Park impoundment
to 21.2 inches. The percent of fish greater tablished 18-inch size limit. A fair increase            was also observed, likely aided by the pro-       continues to support an excellent largemouth
than 14 inches ( legal size) continues to hover in the number of 19-inch and larger fish has         tected 20- to 28-inch no-harvest slot rule.       bass population. Native northern pike are
at about 11 percent. Walleye catches were also been noted in the surveys. In particular,             Most of these fish are from low level year-       also present and a stocked walleye fishery
modest, with and average size of 15.3 inches. anglers report the number of medium, and               classes. Largemouth and smallmouth bass           exists. Bluegill, black crappie and yellow
Fish ranged from 9.3 to 20.6 inches. Fifty to some extent, larger walleye caught down-               populations continue to look good and large       perch provide plenty of action as well.
percent of all walleye were greater than 15 stream has improved significantly. Channel               bluegill are definitely present in the lake,      Lake Delton
inches. Panfish were numerous but small.         catfish are currently in good shape. The            indicating they are not overharvested. A good        Excellent fishing is found when boating
Lake Kegonsa                                     smallmouth bass population has a good num-          white bass year-class was noted. Crappie          and other water activity on this Lake Delton
   A very dominant year-class of yellow bass ber of fish with a number of medium and                 abundance has never regained the level of         playground tapers off in the fall or early
was evident. Largemouth bass were prolific, larger fish. Almost all of the bass anglers              10 to15 years ago, but large fish are present.    spring and during early morning and
especially at the Yahara River mouth and up practice catch-and-release almost exclu-                 Musky stocking occurs in alternate years and      evening. A good largemouth bass population,
to AB bridge. 348 bass were sampled; only sively and the population is improving to                  50-inch fish are occasionally caught.             stocked walleye and spillover northern pike
8 percent were legal sized or larger. The larg- reflect this practice. There was a great hatch          A fall population estimate of 238 legal size   from Mirror Lake offer outstanding action.
est bass was 17.6 inches. Bluegills catch rates of smallmouth bass this year in the river, and       lake sturgeon was determined below the Sauk       The lake has shad forage, which allows for
were 108 fish per hour, fair to good num- while this won’t affect the 2006 fishery, it               Dam. With 75 fish harvested during the fall       good growth. Bluegill, crappie and yellow
bers-wise. Fish were measured up to 9.3 bodes well for future fishing. There are also                hook and line season, the 30 percent harvest      bass provide panfishing.
inches. Kegonsa had the best quality (size- decent populations of bluegills and crappie              rate is too high to maintain the fishery, thus
                                                                                                     future harvest will have to be reduced.           Sauk and Columbia county trout
wise) of the lakes’ samples for panfish. Wall- located in the river’s quiet still water areas.                                                         streams
eye catches were fair at best, with mostly Iowa County                                               Lake Columbia
                                                                                                        The annual late fall survey of this 500 acre      Stocking of wild strain trout has been
small fish encountered. However, the 2005
                                                                                                                                                       documented to provide two to three times
sample excluded the north shore due to Blackhawk Lake                                                “hot tub” found the fishery in good shape.
                                                    The largemouth bass population of                Largemouth bass of 14 to 17 inches are at a       better survival in trout streams. About 80 per-
weather and this area traditionally provides
                                                 Blackhawk Lake has responded positively             record high with bass over the 18-inch size       cent of the streams are stocked. The better
the best walleye habitat on the lake.
                                                 to the special “No Size Limit” regulation that      limit about average. Though power genera-         streams in Columbia County are Rowan,
Fish Lake                                        has been in effect for the past couple of years.                                                      Rocky Run, Jennings and Lodi, while in
   The most recent survey, 2003, found a The overpopulation of medium bass has been                  tion has increased, causing the lake tempera-
                                                                                                     ture to be warmer for a longer period,            Sauk County, try Dell, Rowley and Manley
good opportunity to catch and release bass reduced and the current population still con-                                                               for native brookies. Recent habitat work has
under the 18-inch size limit. Abundant mil- sists of good numbers but the fish are much              smallmouth bass continue to maintain a pres-
                                                                                                     ence. Annual hybrid striper stocking is           been conducted on Honey Creek in western
foil beds allow bluegills to hide from preda- heavier for their body length and there are                                                              Sauk County and is showing good response.
tors, thus they are abundant but don’t grow more large fish. The crappie population re-              funded by Alliant Utility and fish of all sizes
to quality size, although a fair number of 7- mains in pretty good shape for number and              continue to be present. The largest sample        Kids Fishing Ponds
inch fish exist. Carp are abundant and nutri- size distribution. The population of large             this year was 27 inches and 9 pounds. Chan-          During late May and early June the fol-
ent levels from agricultural runoff over the bluegills has passed out of the system, re-             nel catfish numbers are down about 50 per-        lowing ponds receive a planting of panfish
years have decreased water quality. Mud placed by very large numbers of smaller fish.                cent over the past few years, possibly due to     by local sportsmen’s clubs. Try Plenke Pond
Lake, connected by a road culvert, was noted The bait shop, anglers and a co-op DNR                  increasing numbers of flatheads, ranging up       in Reedsburg, Deppe Pond in Baraboo and
to contain good populations of quality-size project has led to purchasing large young-               to 40 inches.                                     Pauquette Pond at Portage. Fishing clinics
yellow bullheads and 7-9 inch crappie.                                                               Swan and Park lakes                               and contests are offered by local clubs.
                                                 of-year walleye and stocking them in the               These two upper impoundments of the            –Tim Larson, fisheries biologist, Poynette
Dane County trout streams                          lake. A pretty decent bonus walleye popula-       Fox River continue to be plagued by over-
   Perennial favorites for wild fish include       tion is developing.                                                                                 Dodge County
                                                                                                     abundant gizzard shad. Superstocking of
Black Earth Creek, Mt. Vernon creek, and           Cox Hollow Lake                                   walleye in Park Lake has been tried for the       Beaver Dam Lake
portions of Garfoot and Deer creeks. Newly            The special “No Size Limit” regulation in      past three years, but the young shad outgrow         2005 spring fyke netting indicated that the
rehabilitated waters where extensive habitat       effect for the past couple of years has elimi-    young walleye during the first year, so pre-      size distribution of walleye has shifted with
work was completed include the West                nated the severely stunted population of bass,    dation is not effective until walleye reach       several additional year classes present un-
Branch Sugar River, Primrose Branch, and           however, the bluegill fishery remains domi-       year two. The once abundant aquatic veg-          der the new 18-inch minimum length limit/
German Valley creeks. Dane County also             nated by medium and larger fish with only         etation with its excellent bluegill and bass      three fish daily bag. Growth rates of wall-
hosts pond and lake fishing opportunities at       limited number of smaller fish. The liberal       fishery has been replaced by shad and cur-        eye continue to be good for southern Wis-
Stewart Park Lake near Mt. Horeb, Token            bass regulation will remain in effect until the   rent populations of stocked walleye and           consin, with females reaching 18 inches in
Creek Ponds east of Waunakee, Salmo Pond           number of smaller fish dramatically im-           northern pike. Nutrient runoff from the wa-       an average of five years, and males in seven
near Black Earth, and Kyle and Jenny ponds         proves. An experimental DNR program to            tershed over the years is to blame.
in Fitchburg.                                      evaluate the success of stocking large instead       The shad in Swan Lake out-compete
   Dane County streams grass up early mak-         of small young-of-year (YOY) walleye has          stocked walleye fry for zooplankton, thus a
ing summer fishing more challenging as veg-        been completed. Stocking large YOY re-            switch was made to small fingerling stock-
etation drapes the watercourses. Recent bank       sulted in a significant population of walleye,    ing. They have been noted to survive better
work has created more fishable conditions          which never developed when smaller YOY            and will provide a continued walleye fish-
by removal of invasive box-elder and woody         walleyes were stocked. These fish have not        ery. Largemouth and smallmouth bass, crap-
vegetation.                                        made the legal size limit yet but they are sur-   pie, bluegill, yellow bass and catfish round
   The focus is on producing wild fish by          viving well and growing at a modest rate.         out the fishery.
creating in- stream habitat that supports          Twin Valley Lake
spawning, nursery, and over winter cover.                                                            Sauk County
                                                      Twin Valley Lake has really seen improve-
Fisheries staff stock modest numbers of fin-       ment in the overall quality of its fishery in     Devils Lake
gerling trout to supplement natural reproduc-      recent years as result of a number of inten-         The two-story brown trout fishery contin-
tion in most waters. Yearling domestic strain      sive management efforts. The lake currently       ues to grow in popularity. About 15 percent
trout are stocked on popular waters where          has a large population of medium to me-           of the catch is comprised of 2-year-old trout
fishing pressure is heavy.                         dium-small bluegill and crappies and there        (14 to 17 inches). Stocked at 9 inches in DNR fish biologist Laura Stremick-Thompson
   Dane County experienced at least two run-       is no limit on harvest in any one day. The        April, they grew to 12 inches the following shows off a nice walleye captured during fall
off related fish kills on trout water since fall                                                     fall. Many anglers are enjoying ice fishing surveys on Fox Lake, Dodge County.

12             Fish Wisconsin! www.fishingwisconsin.org
years. DNR stocked 1,870,000 walleye fry          small fingerling walleye into Fox Lake.          perch measured during fall electrofishing up to 9.2 inches and yellow perch up to 10.4
into Beaver Dam Lake in 2005. The major-          Catch rates of largemouth bass were much         were 7 to 8 inches, and 43 percent of blue- inches were sampled. Rock bass were the
ity (74 percent) of bluegill sampled during       higher (87.4 per hour) than in 2004, due to      gill measured were 5 to 6 inches.              second-most abundant panfish species, at 53
2005 spring fyke netting were 7 to 8 inches,      the abundance of small bass, most likely due     Jefferson County                               fish per hour and up to 11.5 inches.
while 95 percent of yellow perch sampled          to the spawning and rearing habitat provided     Rock Lake                                      Rock River
were between 7.5 and 10 inches.                   by the abundant growth of submerged                 Fall electrofishing in 2005 produced large-    In November 2005, a fish passage struc-
Fox Lake                                          aquatic plants in summer 2005. The lake also     mouth bass up to 16.5 inches and small- ture was installed at the Jefferson Dam in
   Walleye catch rates for 2005 fall              experienced clearer water in summer 2005,        mouth bass up to 16.4 inches. Despite the the City of Jefferson. (See story page 5) and
electrofishing were 86.5 per hour, compa-         aiding development of the excellent plant        stocking of 499,200 walleye fry in 2005, the is providing fish 40 miles of uninterrupted
rable to 2004 rates. The number of young-         habitat. Anglers should continue to experi-      walleye population continues to struggle, river access from the Indianford dam at Lake
of-the-year (YOY) walleye under 10 inches         ence good crappie fishing on Fox Lake, with      with fall electrofishing catch rates remain- Koshkonong to the lower Watertown dam.
was 5.3 per hour, a drop from 11.5 per hour       2005 fall electrofishing sampling black crap-    ing consistently low at 4.2 per hour, and fish –Laura Stremick-Thompson, fisheries
in 2004. In 2005, DNR stocked 129,850             pies up to 12 inches. The majority of yellow     ranging from 7.8 to 20.4 inches. Bluegills biologist, Horicon



 Southeast Region
Southern Lake Michigan                            which triggers the upstream migration of         mouth are Nagawicka,
   Chinook fishing has been very good, with       salmonids. If flow conditions improve in         Okauchee and Pine.
many fish in 2005 12 to 18 pounds reported.       2006, we expect a good tributary fishery.        Good bets for large-
The forage base in Lake Michigan is declin-         For up-to-date fishing information, call       mouth are Keesus,
ing and may have had an impact on the Chi-        the Southern Lake Michigan Fishing               Denoon and Big
nook growth rates, so Wisconsin will reduce       Hotline at 414-382-7920. For information         Muskego.
Chinook stocking by 21 percent, or about          about our Lake Michigan program visit            –Susan Beyler, senior
300,000 fish, beginning in 2006 as its share      www.fishingwisconsin.org then look un-           fisheries biologist,
of a lakewide stocking reduction agreed to        der “Fisheries Program” to find “Lake            Waukesha
by states surrounding Lake Michigan.              Michigan.”                                       Milwaukee River
   In spring 2005, coho were abundant but         – Pradeep Hirethota and Cheryl Peterson,         Drainage and the
relatively small. As summer wore on, 8 or 9       Southern Lake Michigan fisheries, Milwaukee      Metro Area
pound fish became more common. Coho               Waukesha County                                     Located in the heart
fishing is expected to be as good or better in                                                     of downtown Milwau-
2006. Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coho fish-        Pine Lake                                        kee, fishing opportuni-
ery begins in the south (Kenosha and Racine)         We conducted a comprehensive fish sur-        ties for coldwater and Significant improvements in water quality and dam removals have
in April and May and gradually moves north        vey on Pine Lake in Spring, 2005 and pre-        coolwater gamefish increased naturally reproducing populations of northern pike and
as water temperatures rise, typically reach-      liminary results reveal a good walleye           have greatly improved smallmouth bass in Lake Michigan harbors. Here, Tom Burzynski,
ing Milwaukee in May and Port Washing-            density of about 3.4 adults per acre—com-        in the Milwaukee DNR Lake Michigan fisheries technican, shows off a nice pike
ton and Sheboygan by June.                        pared to 2 per acre, more typical of most        River Estuary. (See caught in the Milwaukee harbor. Photo by Cheryl Peterson.
   Steelhead catches in recent years have         Waukesha County lakes. Pine Lake has a           story page 6). Excep-
been average at best. Because of the excel-       naturally reproducing walleye population         tional brown trout fish-
lent chinook fishing close to shore, anglers      that is supplemented by DNR stocking in          ing can be found starting in fall and lasting the habitat and fishability of the stream. The
haven’t been as inclined to search for steel-     odd-numbered years.                              all winter along the Menomonee River por- trout population is entirely wild brown trout
head out in deeper water.                            An ongoing year-long creel survey will        tion of the estuary. There, anglers have a since habitat restoration has greatly in-
                                                  help determine angler success in catching        good chance of landing a huge northern pike, creased natural reproduction.
Nearshore fishing
                                                  and harvesting walleyes, bass, northern pike     along with walleye and smallmouth bass at-       Smallmouth bass fishing on the
   Shore anglers enjoyed some good fish-
                                                  and panfish. To aid this effort, thousands of    tracted by a warmwater discharge and large Sheboygan and Mullet rivers should be very
ing in July and August working harbors and
                                                  game fish and bluegills were tagged with         gizzard shad forage base. Don’t forget a long good, especially the Sheboygan River down-
river mouths for Skamania steelhead. These
                                                  thin, barrel-shaped, yellow plastic tags. An-    handled landing net!                          stream of State Highway 23 and the Mullet
fish are staging in anticipation of their early
                                                  glers who harvest a fish with a tag are asked       With removal of the North Avenue Dam River upstream from Sheboygan Falls.
fall spawning run. The Chambers Creek and
                                                  to return the tag to the DNR, along with in-     on the Milwaukee River in 1997, anglers          Fish survey work at Crystal Lake indicates
Ganaraska strains should also provide some
                                                  formation on the length and weight of the        have good access to spring and fall runs of that the largemouth bass population is hold-
action for anglers in late winter and early
                                                  fish harvested.                                  rainbow and brown trout and fall runs of ing up well and providing very good fishing
spring.
   In recent years two additional rainbow         Oconomowoc River                                 coho and chinook salmon. Under all but opportunities. The panfish population ap-
trout strains have been stocked on an experi-        The treatment of a 7-mile stretch of the      drought conditions, these fish can make their peared to be somewhat depressed from the
mental basis to augment the near-shore fish-      Oconomowoc River with rotenone to elimi-         way 21 miles upstream to the Thiensville past but should return when water levels re-
ery. (See story page 3). The Arlee strain has     nate the carp is already paying off in “keeper   Dam in Ozaukee County where good public turn to normal.
been stocked since 2001 along with the            sized” bass, northerns and panfish. (See story   access exists for anglers who want to wade       Panfish action at the “South Ditch” area
Kamloops strain since 2003, and the Arlees        page 6).                                         or fish from shore. Under higher flow con- of Sheboygan Marsh has been fantastic at
are showing up in anglers’ creels.                    Muskellunge: Waukesha County has sev-        ditions, trout and salmon have been taken as times. DNR crews transferred almost 30,000
   Brown trout fishing was good in spring         eral lakes where musky hunters can pursue        far upstream as the Village of Grafton’s Lime panfish from Eagle and Vern Wolf Lakes to
and fall 2005. Browns provide a consistent        their quarry. DNR stocks Okauchee and            Kiln Dam and park in Ozaukee County.          the Marsh in recent years and those fish pro-
nearshore fishery during the cold months,         Pewaukee, but muskies like to travel, and you       Smallmouth bass fishing in the Milwau- vided very good action, especially during the
especially at warm-water discharges and           will now find fishable musky populations in      kee River should rebound after last year’s winter fishery. The panfish grow very
near river mouths. We see dependable returns      Oconomowoc, Fowler, Lac La Belle, North          severe drought and low stream flows. While quickly when stocked into the Marsh.
on domestic brown trout, while the fast-          and even Pine Lake.                              smallmouth numbers are high, they continue       Musky action at Big Elkhart and Random
growing, hard-fighting Seeforellen strain            In fall 2005, Muskies, Inc. and Muskel-       to run rather small. Anglers should expect lakes has been very good at times over the
continues to add excitement to the brown          lunge Club of Wisconsin teamed up and pur-       to encounter an occasional walleye from the past five years. Random Lake has been best
trout fishery.                                    chased 450 Leech Lake (Minnesota)strain          lower Milwaukee River. Almost all Milwau- in the early season while Elkhart action has
   Although the yellow perch population in        muskies and stocked them into Okauchee           kee River walleyes are stocked fish. Since been relatively steady.
Lake Michigan continues to be depressed,          Lake. These muskies were marked with a           we are hoping to establish walleye natural Washington County
fishing from the piers and shore was very         fin clip so they can be differentiated from      reproduction, anglers are encouraged to
                                                  those stocked from the state hatcheries. DNR                                                      DNR’s fish survey of Big Cedar Lake in
good at times in spring and summer 2005.                                                           practice catch and release on these stocked 2005 indicated that the northern pike popu-
The 1998 year-class still supports a large per-   will evaluate the performance of these fish      walleyes. First stocked in 1995, these wall- lation is beginning to rebound. A 40-inch
centage of the harvest, but the 2001 and 2002     with future surveys.                             eyes continue to grow at above average rates. minimum size limit enacted several years
year-classes are contributing substantially to       Walleye: Each year DNR stocks between         2006 will find us partnering with the Envi- ago seems to be working. We found more
the catches as well. Perch fishing remains        200,000 and 300,000 walleye fingerlings in       ronmental Protection Agency, Walleyes for yearling pike in the lake in 2005 than ob-
closed from May 1 through June 15 to pro-         17 lakes in alternate years, with about half     Tomorrow and the US Fish and Wildlife Ser- served in the recent past and anglers are be-
tect mature females before spawning.              stocked in even-numbered years and half in       vice in conducting a fish habitat restoration ginning to report catching many more small
   Many of our harbors have seen habitat im-      odd-numbered years. Recent surveys have          project along the Milwaukee River immedi- pike. Anglers in 2005 also said they caught
provements over the last decade, which has        shown excellent survival of stocked walleyes     ately downstream of the former North Av- more and bigger largemouth bass and some
translated into increasing naturally reproduc-    with development of good size and age struc-     enue Dam. This project will provide rubble limits of nice bluegills and perch. The adult
ing populations of smallmouth bass and            ture in the population. Some of the more         spawning habitat for walleyes.
                                                  popular Waukesha County walleye lakes in-                                                      walleye population was somewhat down due
northern pike, two species native to Lake                                                          –William Wawryzn, senior fisheries
                                                  clude Lac La Belle, Oconomowoc, Pine,                                                            probably to poor success from stocking but
Michigan. Walleye will be stocked in the                                                           biologist, Milwaukee
                                                  Nagawicka and Little Muskego.                                                                    recent stocking may have been more suc-
Milwaukee River through 2009 as part of the                                                                                                        cessful as a fair number of small walleye
Milwaukee River Estuary Walleye Manage-              Bass: Many Waukesha County lakes have         Sheboygan County
                                                  both largemouth and smallmouth bass, al-            The Onion River and its tributaries should   were observed
ment Plan. The walleye have shown good                                                                                                               Pike Lake continues to be the best wall-
                                                  though one species tends to predominate. If      be the highlight of trout fishing opportuni-
survival and high growth rates.                                                                                                                    eye lake in Washington County due entirely
                                                  you want to fish mainly for smallmouth, try      ties in the entire southeastern region. Spe-
Tributary fishing                                                                                  cial regulations put in place in 2004 on all    to natural reproduction. An electrofishing
                                                  Oconomowoc Lake; if largemouth is your
   Spring and fall steelhead runs have not                                                         Onion River watershed streams upstream of       survey in fall of 2004 confirmed that the
                                                  favorite, try Golden Lake. Largemouth and
been strong in recent years. Anglers can gen-                                                      County E are really paying off. Some an-        adult population of walleye remains in good
                                                  smallmouth bass are not currently stocked,
erally look for Skamania as water tempera-                                                         glers said they caught more trout on a typi-    shape. However, few small walleye were
                                                  and bass are managed by protecting and en-
tures start to cool in mid-September.                                                              cal day in the special regulation sections of   captured during that survey. Perch, bluegill
                                                  hancing habitat for spawning and feeding.
Chambers Creek usually follow in late fall                                                         the Onion River than they normally catch        and largemouth bass action has been very
                                                  Recent surveys have found bass populations
and can be found through March and early                                                           on some of the best southwestern Wiscon-        good at the lake at times.
                                                  to be good. Our warm, southern Wisconsin
April. Ganaraska Strain enter the streams as                                                       sin streams. Many areas upstream of County        Smallmouth bass fishing has reportedly
                                                  waters provide excellent growth. Small-
early as late November and December and                                                            Highway E are open enough now to allow          been very good on the Milwaukee River in
                                                  mouth up to 5 pounds and largemouth up to
again from late March through April.                                                               fly fishing. Wisconsin DNR and Lakeshore        West Bend and downstream in recent years,
                                                  7 pounds have been caught in fisheries sur-
   As always, the tributary fishery depends                                                        Chapter – Trout Unlimited combined efforts      with anglers catching 30 or more smallmouth
                                                  veys and by anglers in the right place at the
on water temperature and flow conditions,                                                          over the past five years to greatly improve     bass in an evening.
                                                  right time. Other good lakes to seek small-


                                                                                                                                                   2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report           13
Southeast Region                                  2005. Some of these fish are showing up in
                                                  fall surveys and growth rates are very good,
                                                                                                   Turtle Lake
                                                                                                      Our fish surveys turned up bass up to 18
                                                                                                                                                   cellent and several walleyes between 16 and
                                                                                                                                                   18 inches long were collected. Browns Lake
continued                                         with some approaching the legal size limit       inches long. Bluegills are abundant with        is a good bet for anglers wanting a lot of
                                                  of 14 inches.                                    some up to 8 inches long. The Turtle Lake       action catching northern pike. Northerns
Fond du Lac County                                Delavan Lake                                     Sportsmen’s Club has stocked walleye fin-       were caught at the rate of 20 per hour dur-
   Long Lake near Dundee is one of the best          Still greatly benefiting from the 1990 lake   gerlings into this lake and fish surveys have   ing fall 2005 electrofishing and ranged be-
overall lake fisheries in the general area. A     restoration project, 2,500 acre Delavan Lake     collected walleyes up to 18 inches long.        tween 17 and 32 inches.
comprehensive fish survey of the lake in          continues to support excellent largemouth bass   Geneva Lake                                     Rockdale Lake
2004 confirmed that the lake holds the best       and smallmouth bass populations. The mini-          A perennial favorite, 5,000 acre Geneva         A good choice for largemouth bass, this
largemouth bass population of any lake in         mum size limit of 18 inches has created above-   Lake supports excellent largemouth bass,        carry-in lake is undeveloped and provides
the area. A high percentage of the bass were      average size structure. Our walleye stocking     smallmouth bass, northern pike, and wall-       an aesthetically pleasing fishing experience.
of legal size or larger. The panfish fishery of   program, along with special fishing regula-      eye populations. Geneva gets stocked with       The 12-16 inch slot size limit means anglers
Long Lake fluctuates considerably due to          tions, has created an excellent walleye fish-    walleyes every other year, and lake trout and   can harvest bass under 12 inches and over
very heavy fishing pressure, especially in        ery with many walleyes exceeding the             brown trout annually. Gamefish in this lake     16 inches. Tichigan and Wind lakes are both
winter. Northern pike were abundant in the        minimum size limit. Northern pike reproduce      feed on abundant mimic shiners and growth       stocked with walleyes in alternate years.
lake according to the survey but, most were       naturally in this lake and survival and growth   rates are excellent. Black crappie grow big
below the 26-inch minimum size limit.                                                                                                              Kenosha County
                                                  are excellent. Bluegills dominate the panfish    here, and yellow perch numbers are up.
–John Nelson, senior fisheries biologist,                                                                                                             Special fishing regulations and an exten-
                                                  community and size structure is above aver-      Racine County                                   sive stocking program on Silver Lake will
Plymouth
                                                  age. Our fish survey crews see many ‘gills be-                                                   attract anglers again in 2006. 23,000 wall-
                                                  tween 7 and 8 inches long and some even          Browns Lake
Walworth County                                                                                       A fall 2005 fish survey collected bass at    eyes are stocked every other year, and 1,000
   Baseline fish surveys showed both the          larger. We stock about 2,500 muskellunge into                                                    muskellunge are stocked annually. Fish sur-
                                                  Delavan Lake annually. Fish survey crews         the excellent rate of 86 per hour. Most were
Lauderdale chain of lakes and Lake Beulah                                                          13 to 15 inches long with a few greater than    veys have sampled muskies up to 47 inches
support large numbers of bass. Most are less      have collected musky up to 48 inches long.                                                       long. DNR fish surveys on the Fox River in
                                                  We plan on stocking two strains of musky in      16 inches. Browns received 103,920 wall-
than 14 inches long but 18+ inch bass do                                                           eye fingerlings between 2002 and 2005.          2005 collected smallmouth bass, white bass,
swim these waters. In cooperation with the        2006 as part of a study to compare survival                                                      yellow bass, and channel catfish.
                                                  and growth between muskies originating from      Some of these fish have showed up in fall
Lauderdale Lakes Improvement Associa-                                                              electrofishing surveys. Growth rates are ex- –Doug Welch, senior fisheries biologist,
tion, we stocked 51,424 smallmouth bass           Wisconsin and stocks from elsewhere.                                                             Sturtevant
fingerlings into the chain between 2001 and



 West Central Region
Mississippi River                                 same for fish 8 inches and greater, but the
(Grant, Crawford, Vernon, &                       maximum size captured increased from 10.8
La Crosse counties)                               inches to 13.4 inches. Density of bluegill 6
   Walleye populations remain high in Mis-        inches and greater has decreased slightly but
sissippi River Pool 9 near Genoa and Pool         the catch was strong and the maximum size
10 near Praire du Chien. DNR fall 2005            has remained about the same at 8.9 inches.
electrofishing surveys continued to show that     Anglers also report channel catfish of vari-
this natural reproducing system is very pro-      ous sizes are caught regularly.
ductive. Catch-per-unit-effort (CPE) for          Lake DuBay (Marathon/Portage
adult walleye in Pool 9 was up from 2003 to       County)
240 fish per hour with the majority of fish          We surveyed the DuBay Flowage in 2003
11 to 28 inches. In Pool 10, CPE for adult        and estimated one walleye per acre 15 inches
walleye was also higher to 120 fish per hour      or greater, exceeding nearby Big Eau Pleine
with the majority of fish 11 to 25 inches.        Flowage, which produced 0.8 fish per acre
Young-of-year (YOY) surveys show a good           at that size. We captured 157 smallmouth
year-class of walleye, with a catch rate in       bass, 99 percent of which were greater than
Pool 8 of 207 fish per hour, above the            11 inches, with about 36 percent 14 inches
longterm average of 119 walleye. In Pool          or more. Northern pike were a major com-         Improvements in land uses, coupled with DNR’s aggressive restoration of habitat and its wild
10, the catch rate was down slightly from         ponent of the catch, with 40 percent of those    trout stocking program, have added 325 miles of new or improved trout waters in La Crosse,
the longterm average.                             sampled 21 inches or more. About 15 per-         Vernon, Crawford and Monroe counties since 1995. Another 50 miles are expected to be
   Two habitat rehabilitation and enhance-        cent were 26 inches or greater and 4 percent     identified in 2006 through stream inventory surveys like this one done in 2005 by Dave Vetrano,
ment projects recently completed near             of were 32 inches or larger. This compares       Dean Edlin and Mark Endris in 2006. Photo by Jordan Weeks.
Ambro Slough in Pool 10 and Sunfish Lake          favorably to the Big Eau Pleine Flowage in
in Pool 1l have greatly improved available        2003 where 3 percent of the pike were 32
                                                  inches or greater. The largest pike collected       Walleye were 11 percent of total catch       held about 400 brook trout per mile, brook
overwintering habitat for many fish species.                                                       with sizes ranging from 6 to 25 inches, and     trout numbers have decreased by about half
Electrofishing surveys conducted in Tilmont,      was 44.5 inches and the flowage appears to
                                                  have outstanding growth potential. Lake          averaging 10.5 inches. Catch rates were         since that time. We surveyed three sections
Big Missouri, Spring, and Upper Doubles                                                            highest below Stevens Point Dam (10.8 per       of Flume Creek in 2005 from below Rosholt
Lakes (Pool 10) and Sunfish Lake (Pool 11)        DuBay has been a reference lake for our
                                                  northern pike regulation studies. Panfish        hour), followed by DuBay Dam (6 per hour),      to Northland; brook trout dominated the
showed good populations of black and white                                                         with catches about 3 per hour below Whit-       catch, averaging 700 brook trout per mile
crappie 9 to13 inches, bluegill 5 to 9 inches,    populations were excellent: 67 percent of
                                                  bluegill were 6 inches or greater; 69 percent    ing, Rothschild, and Brokaw. This likely in-    with about 7 percent above the 9-inch mini-
yellow perch 6 to 12-inches, and largemouth                                                        dicates good numbers coming from the 2004       mum size. We also surveyed Emmons Creek
bass 10 to 19 inches. These efforts to en-        of black crappie were 8 inches or greater,
                                                  and 40 percent of yellow perch were 8 inches     year-class, throughout the river.               upstream and downstream from Stratton
hance and rehabilitate degraded backwater                                                             Lake Sturgeon restoration is continuing      Lake Road and estimate about 2,700 brown
areas in the Mississippi River will ultimately    or more. For angler preferred sizes, 15 per-
                                                  cent of bluegill were 8 inches or more, 12       in the river and in 2005 we stocked 10,000      trout per mile. About 12 to 15 percent were
provide year-round fishing opportunities for                                                       fingerlings and 1,000 yearling sturgeon. We     at or above the 9-inch minimum.
generations.                                      percent of black crappie were 12 inches or
                                                  more, and 7 percent of yellow perch were         also initiated a population status survey us-   –Tom Meronek, fisheries biologist, Wausau
–Patrick Short, fisheries biologist, Prairie
                                                  10 inches or more.                               ing electrofishing in the reach below DuBay     Petenwell and Castle Rock flowages
du Chien
                                                                                                   Dam and captured nine lake sturgeon rang-          Central Wisconsin’s inland seas, the
                                                  Wisconsin River                                  ing in size from 26.9 to 36 inches. Anglers
Marathon and Portage counties                        Smallmouth bass was the most common                                                           Petenwell and Castle Rock flowages, pro-
Lake Wausau                                                                                        are reminded there is no open season for lake   vide the most consistent and varied fishing
                                                  species captured during a 2005 electrofishing    sturgeon on the Wisconsin River above Wis-
   We surveyed Lake Wausau in 2005 and            survey, and comprised 67 percent of the                                                          opportunities in the area. Boaters are re-
compared it to the 1995 survey before the                                                          consin Dells.                                   minded to take precautions, so as not to trans-
                                                  catch from the combined five survey sites.
new walleye regulation—a minimum size             The highest catch occurred below the             Portage County trout streams                    fer the zebra mussels, because once they
limit of 15 inches, no fish may be kept be-       Stevens Point Dam, where a rate of 60 fish          Habitat was created in 2005 on the To-       have been introduced to new water, there is
tween 20 and 28 inches, and only one fish         per hour was observed, followed by catches       morrow River above Nelsonville and below        nothing that can be done to control them.
28 inches or greater may be kept on the Wis-      below DuBay Dam (42 per hour), then be-          Amherst. (See story page 6). This new habi-        White Bass: This past summer we’ve seen
consin River from Grandfather Dam near            low Rothschild Dam (29 fish per hour), be-       tat and a section completed at the Waupaca      a virtual explosion of young-of-the-year
Merrill to the Prairie du Sac Dam. Results        low Whiting Dam (13.7 fish per hour), and        County line in 2003 should give stocked and     white bass in both flowages, the strongest
were comparable or better than in 1995.           at Brokaw. Smallmouth ranged from 4 to           resident fish plenty of hiding places and       year-class in many years. The white bass are
Walleye per net night increased from 0.6 in       18.1 inches and averaged 11.2 inches.            hopefully enhance the population for the        so dense that in 2005 they were a nuisance
1995 to 1.4 in 2005, with much of the in-            Channel catfish were second in abun-          future.                                         to anglers, but they are providing excellent
crease due to more fish 20 inches and larger.     dance at 13 percent of the total catch, with        Most major Portage County trout streams      forage for walleye and northern pike. The
We also noted a 10 percent decrease in an-        the greatest catch below Stevens Point Dam,      were surveyed in 2005. Even with low wa-        abundance of food may result in reduced
nual mortality which was likely due to re-        followed by below Rothschild Dam, and            ter levels the trout populations were in good   catch rates of walleye and northern pike. But
duced angler harvest of fish greater than 20      below DuBay Dam. A channel catfish hoop          health. Surveys on the Tomorrow River pro-      the strong year-class will be good news to
inches. Another positive was the capture of       net study completed in summer 2005 also          vided estimates of 924 brown trout per mile     the angler fishing the “white bass runs” in
five walleye 27 to 29 inches long compared        indicated the greatest abundance below           upstream from Nelsonville with about 20         May 2006 and 2007. Anglers should remem-
to only two in 1995. The northern pike popu-      Stevens Point Dam, with 54 fish per net          percent within the harvest slot and 1,699 per   ber that white bass are listed on the PCB Fish
lation is better than ever. Even though catch     night, and the largest catfish were captured     mile at Nelsonville with about 20 percent       Consumption Advisory.
decreased slightly, there’s a larger percent-     below DuBay Dam, with sizes ranging from         within the harvest slot and a few fish             Musky: Unfortunately, there is no natural
age of fish over 21 inches than in 1995. An-      14.7 to 30.5 inches and averaging 22.2           harvestable above 20 inches. The population     reproduction of muskies so the population
other important change has been the increase      inches. Average sizes below Whiting and          level was similar to 2004, but two to three     is 100 percent dependent upon the stocking
in musky, with catch up from 0.02 to 0.11         Stevens Point Dams were 18.4 and 15.4, re-       times greater than that observed 10 years ago   efforts of DNR and private organizations.
fish per net night, with fish ranging from 9.2    spectively. Anglers should target the Stevens    in these reaches. Brook trout were estimated    Muskies are very expensive to stock and the
to 46 inches. Largemouth and smallmouth           Point Flowage and upriver for larger catfish     at 196 per mile upstream from Nelsonville       large acreage of these flowages makes it im-
bass numbers are stable, as are panfish. Black    and below Stevens Point Dam for higher           and about 156 per mile at Nelsonville, but      possible to stock enough muskies to reach
crappie stock density has remained about the      catch rates.                                     few brook trout were captured within the        the biologic carrying capacity.
                                                                                                   harvest slot. Ten years ago the same areas

14            Fish Wisconsin! www.fishingwisconsin.org
   In 2006, muskie anglers will begin to see      eyes, but since then has only been stocked            Restoring native brook trout streams has        Anglers looking for shore fishing oppor-
the benefits of the new 45-inch size limit.       sporadically. Based on the results of this sur-    been a high priority for the DNR. Just re-       tunities in this area may want to check out
As time goes on, there will be increasingly       vey, walleyes will once again be stocked           cently, our trout crew completed restoration     Willow River State Park near Hudson,
more and larger muskies available. Netting        every other year. In August 2005, 9,800 sur-       of the lower 3 miles of Cady Creek in Pierce     Mary’s Park in New Richmond, Homestead
surveys have resulted in .29 muskies per net,     plus fingerlings from our hatchery system          County. This wild brook trout stream had         County Park on Perch Lake south of
ranging in size from 11.7 to 47.1 inches with     were stocked in the lake.                          trout densities averaging less than 500 per      Somerset, the Army Corp. of Engineers Eau
36 percent of the muskies smaller than 34         Lake Hallie                                        mile during the early 1990s and today, sev-      Galle Recreation Area near Spring Valley,
inches, the old size limit, and 64 percent           In June 2005, a dedication was held for         eral years after restoration, densities aver-    and Pine Point County Park near the Village
larger. The most revealing statistic was that     the opening of a handicapped-accessible            age 4,000 to 5,000 trout per mile.               of Eau Galle. A new fishing pier is sched-
under the old size limit, only 7 percent of       shoreline fishing facility, completing a 10-       Gilbert Creek                                    uled to be installed in Glen Hills County Park
the muskies surveyed reached 45 inches.           year effort to reconstruct the dam and im-            In Dunn County, anglers are already en-       near Glenwood City by mid-June.
   Walleye: The walleye population has ex-        prove access to a very popular, family fishing     joying stretches of the newly improved brook     –Marty Engel, fisheries biologist, Baldwin
cellent natural reproduction and growth rates     lake between Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire.        trout water. However, trout populations will
that exceed statewide averages.                                                                                                                       La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and
                                                  The Lake Hallie Lake Association, along            need several more years to reach their full
   Netting surveys average 1.6 walleyes per       with the Village of Lake Hallie and DNR,           potential. (See story page 1).
                                                                                                                                                      Monroe counties
net, ranging in size from 6 to 27.4 inches.       developed a 571-foot long shoreline fishing                                                            Recent improvements in land use, aggres-
                                                                                                     Tiffany Creek                                    sive habitat restoration and a wild trout pro-
About 58 percent of the walleyes captured         area complete with park benches, several ac-          Another brook trout stream restoration ini-   gram have transformed the fishery in the
were under the 15-inch size limit and pro-        cessible picnic tables and a small overhang-       tiative began during spring 2005 on the head-    four-county area from a “put and take” fish-
tected, with 34 percent in the harvest slot       ing fishing pier for individuals who may have      waters of Tiffany Creek in St. Croix County,     ery to one with self-sustaining wild trout
between 15 and 20 inches. 8 percent of those      a difficult time casting.                          which had been impounded, then ditched,          populations on most streams. Since 1995,
captured were between 20 and 28 inches and
                                                  Lake Wissota                                       and suffered from severe bank erosion. Over      stream inventory surveys have added more
protected.
                                                     With the installation of 26 log fish cribs      half-mile of stream was restored through the     than 325 miles of new or upgraded water and
   Anglers should expect similar walleye
                                                  in 2005, the Chippewa Rod and Gun Club             St. Croix County fairgrounds and we antici-      another 50 miles will be added in 2006.
fishing in 2006, but the huge white bass
                                                  has placed 584 log cribs in the lake since         pate major improvements in trout reproduc-          The regulation for most streams north of
population may make it more difficult to
                                                  1981. For a flowage nearing its 90th year,         tion and size distribution over the next         the La Crosse River is a 7-inch minimum
catch walleyes until white bass grow large
                                                  these fish cribs provide valuable habitat          several years.                                   size limit and a five fish bag limit. These are
enough to be no longer suitable forage.
                                                  where structure is lacking. In 2004, the club         Budget cuts led to no stocking of legal       lower fertility brook trout streams with good
   Lake sturgeon: We continue efforts to re-
                                                  started to place half-log structures for small-    sized trout on most waters during the 2004       numbers of 8-10 inch brook trout and some
establish a self sustaining population of lake
                                                  mouth bass nesting, and in 2005 started their      and 2005 seasons but the recent increase in      nice browns.
sturgeon throughout the Wisconsin River.
                                                  first rock reef installation. The club will con-   license fees and no unforeseen problems in          Most waters south of the La Crosse River
(See story page 5).
                                                  tinue to install fish cribs and will expand on     our hatchery system mean stocking of legal-      have a 9-inch minimum size limit and a three
Adams County                                      their half-log and rock reef installations.        sized trout will resume on waters including:     fish bag limit. These are highly fertile
Sherwood Lake                                     With the elimination of annual winter draw-        the South Fork of the Hay River near             streams with excellent numbers of brown
   Electrofishing surveys completed in May        downs, aquatic vegetation is rebounding and        Boyceville, Lower Pine Creek near                trout and some brook trout. Both species are
2000 and April 2002 provide comparisons           bluegills and other panfish have responded         Ridgeland, Otter Creek near Wheeler, Bolen       fast growing in these waters and several
of largemouth bass and walleye populations        well to this increased habitat. On a negative      Creek near Connersville, Eighteen Mile           browns in the 20+ inch range and brook trout
captured in the two surveys.                      note, Eurasian water-milfoil was discovered        Creek in Colfax, downstream segments of          15-18 inches are caught each year.
   Largemouth: Largemouth bass are natu-          in 2005. DNR is stressing that boaters re-         Wilson and Gilbert Creeks near Menomonie,           There are 17 “Category 5” special regula-
rally reproducing at adequate levels to main-     move all vegetation from their boats, mo-          Bear Creek near Durand, Arkansaw Creek           tion streams in the La Crosse area, 13 of
tain the population, therefore stocking is not    tors and trailers before leaving the boat          in the Village of Arkansaw, the Apple River      which are “artificial lures only, catch and
necessary. The 2002 survey captured 49            landing to prevent the spread of this exotic       in Star Prairie and the Willow River upstream    release” streams. Most of these are small
largemouth bass per hour, bass ranged from        species to other area lakes.                       of New Richmond and in the state park near       brook trout streams, the rest, brown trout
5.5 to 19 inches and averaged 12 inches. The      McCann Creek                                       Hudson. Perch Lake, a two-story fishery just     waters with good trophy trout potential.
2000 survey captured 44.4 largemouth bass            Habitat improvements to the creek were          south of Somerset, also will be stocked.         There are also four streams where harvest
ranging from 4 to 20.4 inches with the aver-      done in 2001 and 2002. and a survey con-           St. Croix, Pierce, Dunn and Pepin                of smaller fish is encouraged by an increase
age at 11.5 inches.                               ducted in 2005 showed that trout have re-          county lakes                                     of the bag limit to 5 trout but they must be
   Walleye: Natural reproduction of walleye       sponded positively. (See story on page 5).            Area lakes can provide fast panfish action    less than 12 inches. These streams are start-
does not occur to any significant degree and      Hay Creek                                          at ice out, during spawning periods and early    ing to provide some real quality fishing with
so depends on stocking by DNR as well as             The stocking of brown trout in Hay Creek        ice. Bass and Squaw Lake in St. Croix            many trout in the 12-15 inch range, good
the Lake Association. The 2002 survey cap-        was eliminated in 1998 to protect and en-          County are consistent producers. Lake            numbers of 16-19 inch fish and some real
tured 20 walleyes per hour of shocking rang-      hance a native brook trout population. Our         Menomin in Dunn County and Nugget Lake           trophies in the 24+ inch category.
ing from 7.5 to 23 inches, with the average       survey in 2004 showed that the population          in Pierce County have lower densities, but          Although there are more than 200 miles
14.1 inches. The 2000 survey captured 21.3        of brook trout has more than doubled from          exceptional quality. Panfish populations can     of public access provided by easements or
walleyes ranged from 5.5 to 27 inches and         211 per mile in 1995 to 542 per mile. Our          easily be overharvested near large popula-       state ownership, the majority of good water
averaging 12.5 inches.                            2004 survey found 27 percent of the catch          tion centers where fishing pressure is high.     is surrounded by private land. While anglers
–Scot Ironside, fisheries biologist, Friendship   was over the minimum size limit.                   Several years ago, we began a project to         have access to navigable waters through road
                                                  –Joe Kurz, fisheries biologist, Chippewa Falls     evaluate the effectiveness of a reduced          “right of ways” and other public crossings,
Chippewa County                                                                                                                                       they must remain in the stream to remain
                                                                                                     panfish bag limit to improve the panfish size
Otter Lake                                        St. Croix, Pierce, Dunn and Pepin                  structure in Squaw Lake in St. Croix County,     legal. An easier approach is to stop and talk
   Aeration systems are operated and main-        county trout streams                                                                                to the landowner. Most just want to know
                                                                                                     and Thompson Lake in Pepin County. Fish
tained through a joint effort between                The 2006 season is projected to be another                                                       who’s on their land and will rarely deny ac-
                                                                                                     surveys conducted in spring 2005 show
Chippewa County, the Otter Lake Booster           outstanding season.ºSome of the best trout                                                          cess. It’s also a good opportunity to develop
                                                                                                     promising results on Squaw Lake where fish-
Club, the Town of Colburn and DNR. A 2005         streams in this area with high trout densities                                                      some new relationships.
                                                                                                     ing pressure has historically reached 475
fish survey found high quality populations        and excellent fishability include the Rush                                                             There is also some excellent warm water
                                                                                                     hours per acre. During 1996, bluegill electro-
of largemouth bass, walleye and northern          River, Kinnickinic River, Plum Creek, the                                                           fishing scattered throughout the counties.
                                                                                                     fishing catch rates exceeded 70 fish per mile
pike. Our survey found 34 percent of the bass     lower Trimbelle River, Isabelle Creek, Cady                                                         The Black River has abundant smallmouth
                                                                                                     over 7 inches. By 2003, catch rates had de-
catch was greater than the 14-inch minimum        Creek, Lost Creek, lower Elk Creek and the                                                          bass and walleyes and some trophy muskies.
                                                                                                     clined to16 fish per mile over 7 inches. By
size limit. The lake has a low density, adult     headwater sections of the South Fork of the                                                         The lower La Crosse River has an excellent
                                                                                                     2005, one year after the regulation change,
walleye population (0.7 fish per acre) which      Hay River. Annual monitoring of trout popu-                                                         catfish population. A recent survey found
                                                                                                     Squaw Lake electrofishing catch rates had
depends on stocking every other year but is       lations throughout the four-county area show                                                        flathead catfish up to 43 pounds and chan-
                                                                                                     increased to 37 bluegill per mile over 7
undoubtedly one of the best in the county.        natural reproduction of brook and brown                                                             nel catfish 5 to 10 pounds. There are also
                                                                                                     inches. These results are promising, but fur-
Eighty percent of the walleyes over the 15-       trout down significantly in 2005, most likely                                                       smallmouth bass, walleyes and some very
                                                                                                     ther fish surveys are needed to determine
inch minimum size limit (207 fish) were 20        due to lack of rainfall in fall 2004 and late                                                       large northern pike. The Kickapoo and the
                                                                                                     whether the reduced bag limit is working.
inches or larger. Female walleyes averaged        winter floods that imperiled emerging trout                                                         upper La Crosse rivers are also home to some
                                                                                                        The New Richmond Flowage dam was re-
24.9 inches while males averaged 19.6             fry. Annual fluctuations in trout reproduc-                                                         very large brown trout. Canoes or small flat
                                                                                                     paired and refilled during 1997; restocking
inches. The average walleye captured was a        tion are common and not a concern unless                                                            bottom boats are the best way to access these
                                                                                                     started in 1998, and anglers today find nice
9-year-old but we found a 21-year old male        several consecutive years of weak reproduc-                                                         rivers.
                                                                                                     catches of largemouth bass, northern pike,
(24.4 inches) and a 20-year old female (27.8      tion occur. Trout reproduction had been ex-                                                         –Dave Vetrano, fisheries supervisor, La
                                                                                                     perch and crappie. Hatfield Lake, also in
inches). Northern pike have a low density         cellent before 2005 so yearling and adult                                                           Crosse
                                                                                                     New Richmond, suffered from poor oxygen
population (0.3 fish per acre) but their size     trout densities are in great shape for 2006.       levels during winter which limited sportfish
structure is also exceptional. During the         Rush and Kinnickinnic rivers                       development. In cooperation with the city
spawning run, 68 percent of our catch was            Fish surveys conducted during summer            of New Richmond and the Willow River Rod
26 inches and larger and 41 percent was 30        2000 and 2005 show phenomenal trout den-           & Gun Club the lake was rehabilitated by
inches and larger. Female northern pike av-       sities and excellent size structure. Brown         aeration and stocking in fall of 2001. Jumbo
eraged 31.4 inches while males averaged           trout densities (4 inches and larger) through-     perch action was hot during the winters of
22.5 inches.                                      out the 25 miles averaged 5,000 fish per mile,     2004 and 2005. We anticipate other species
Cornell Lake                                      with densities in prime locations reaching         such as northern pike, bass and bluegill to
   A 2005 survey by DNR and the Chippewa          8,000 fish per mile with 800 per mile over         pick up during the 2006.
Valley Outdoor Resource Alliance docu-            12 inches. Growth rates, however, have                Walleye assessments were conducted dur-
mented a low density remnant population of        slowed primarily due to colder water tem-          ing the spring and fall of 2005 on several
walleye. Most adult fish captured during the      peratures, reductions in forage fish and sub-      area lakes. We sampled 973 walleye in Lake
spawning run represented year classes from        stantial gains in natural reproduction. Studies    Menomin which ranged up to 29 inches. The
the last two stockings of the lake in 1992        on the Rush are under way to determine             majority of fish were 12 to 16 inches long.
and 1995. The survey showed some natural          whether brown trout stocking can be reduced        Adult walleye population estimates of 2.4
reproduction of walleye from 1996 to 2000,        or eliminated altogether. Coldwater investi-       per acre were similar to the 1999 survey of
but spawning habitat in the lake is very lim-     gations on the Kinnickinnic also show ex-          2.6 per acre.
ited. Size of the walleyes was exceptional,       tremely high brown trout densities of 5-8,000         Walleye reproduction on Cedar Lake in
with females averaging 25.1 inches and            fish per mile. throughout most of the 25           St. Croix County remains well above state        Fisheries staffer John Raatz holds a 20-inch
males 20.1 inches. The average age of wall-       miles of stream. Anglers are encouraged to         averages. Walleye fishing in 2006 will be        naturally reproduced brown trout from one of
eye captured was 10 years. Before 1963, the       harvest a limit of trout under 10 inches.          fast at times but the average walleye will be    Crawford County’s many Class 1 trout
lake had been stocked regularly with wall-                                                           sub-legal.                                       streams. Photo by Jordan Weeks.


                                                                                                                                                      2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report              15
Major fishing regulation changes for 2006-07
   The complete “2006-2007 Guide to Wis-         transporting it to a DNR office for identi-    cide with the runs of migratory salmonids
consin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations”        fication. An angler is restricted to one       on tributaries to Lake Michigan and Green
is available at DNR offices and license          specimen and it must be immediately            Bay.
agents. It also can be found in portable docu-   killed.                                      • The open season for northern pike on small
ment format (pdf) on the DNR Web site, • Placement of setlines, set or bank poles,              Lake Michigan tributaries north of U.S.
http://www.wisconsinfishing.org, then click      or any part thereof, is prohibited before      Highway 10 is changing from a continu-
on “regulations” or contact the Bureau of        the opening of the setline, set or bank pole   ous open season to the general fishing sea-
Fisheries Management and Habitat Protec-         season, and they must be removed after         son of the first Saturday in May to the first
tion at (608) 267-7498 for more details.         the season is closed.                          Sunday in March to protect northern pike
   Check the regulations for changes to spe- • The bag limit for yellow perch increases         during the spawn. The northern pike fish-
cific county waters. The following major         to 15 in Green Bay only beginning May          ing season on the East Twin River, West
rule changes take effect April 1, 2006, un-      20, 2006.                                      Twin River, Ahnapee River and Kewaunee
less otherwise noted.                          • The night fishing closure and hook size        River will remain open all year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Eurasian
• Anglers may legally possess a non-indig-       restrictions begin September 15 rather –Joe Hennessy, warmwater lakes and                                                                   water-milfoil
  enous detrimental fish for the purpose of      than October 1 each year to better coin- regulations specialist, Madison

Store bought or sport caught, it doesn’t matter

Track your fish consumption, choose species wisely Simple steps
   State health officials urge all people who      slow invasives
                                                 cording to Dr. Lynda Knobeloch, the re-         cury levels and 49 waters that warrant spe-
eat fish more than once a week – regardless      searcher who led that study. Study partici-     cific PCB advisories. The federal govern-
of whether it was bought at a grocery store      pants’ mercury hair levels generally            ment and 42 other states also issue fish              Invasive species are threatening
or restaurant or caught by an angler in a lake   reflected their fish intake and men typically   consumption advisories.                            Wisconsin’s lands and lakes, woods and
or stream – to keep track of what they eat       had higher mercury levels then women, es-          Mercury naturally occurring in the envi-        wetlands.
and select species low in mercury.               pecially if they fish.                          ronment and from the burning of fossil fu-            Natural predators and pathogens that
   “The benefits of eating fish usually out-         Investigations of several cases in which    els enters waters and is converted to a toxic      keep these non-native, invasive species
weigh the potential risk from contaminants       people developed elevated mercury levels        form that’s easily absorbed by fish and other      in check in their homelands generally
that may be in the fish, but recent studies      or had symptoms that improved after they        aquatic organisms, and in turn, by people          aren’t found here, so the invaders are
underscore that people need to make sure         stopped eating mercury-contaminated fish        that eat the fish. At low levels, such mer-        spreading and taking a toll on
they follow our advice for the number of         found that all people with hair mercury lev-    cury can harm the developing nervous sys-          Wisconsin’s environment, economy and
meals and species they can safely eat,” says     els were eating too much of some types of       tem of a fetus and adults’ cardiovascular and      recreation. Buckthorn, gypsy moth,
Dr. Henry Anderson, chief medical officer        fish, such as store-bought tuna, sea bass, or   immune systems. At high levels, mercury            purple loosestrife and Eurasian water-
for the Bureau of Environmental and Occu-        predator fish, usually walleye or northern      can trigger problems including memory              milfoil are among the most widely-
pational Health, Department of Health and        pike caught from Wisconsin lakes. Irritabil-    loss, slurred speech, lack of coordination,        known, but new threats are emerging,
Family Services (DHFS).                          ity, confusion, difficulty in sleeping and      coma, and possibly death.                          including the Emerald Ash Borer, which
   Recent surveys and studies have shown         balance problems were among the problems           Anderson says surveys show that 78 per-         has infested and killed nearly 15 mil-
that 83 percent of all Wisconsin adults eat      the people reported, according to Candy         cent of adults are aware of the need to limit      lion ash trees in Michigan since the mid-
fish, with some people exposing themselves       Schrank, a DNR toxicologist and co-author       fish consumption to avoid exposure to con-         1990s.
to unsafe amounts of mercury by eating too       of the case report.                             taminants, and 20 percent are unaware.                The good news is citizens can slow
much of the wrong kind of fish. Panfish,            Wisconsin has issued fish consumption        “Most adults in Wisconsin have heard about         the advance or prevent invasive species
young fish and light tuna have lower             guidelines since 1978 for sport fish caught     the need to limit their intake of mercury-         from gaining a foothold.
amounts of mercury while canned white            in state waters, and in more recent years has   contaminated fish, but some are apparently         Here are a few simple steps
tuna, swordfish, and game fish like musky        provided information from the federal gov-      not following the advice or did not under-         you can take:
and walleye have more.                           ernment on fish purchased from stores and       stand the consumption advisories apply to          • Before leaving a boat launch:
   A DHFS study of hair samples submit-          restaurants. These “Safe Eating Guidelines”     purchased fish as well,” he says.                    Inspect and remove plants and ani-
ted by 2,031 Wisconsin residents found that      now apply to most inland waters with the           “There are also still adults who are un-            mals.
20 percent had high hair mercury levels, ac-     exception of 92 found to have higher mer-       aware of the advisories. We need to do a             Drain or flush water from live well,
                                                                                                 better job of understanding who these people           bilge, motor, etc.
                                                                                                 are and how best to reach them with con-             Dispose of unwanted live bait in the
 Consumption advice for healthy eating                                                           sumption information so they can continue              trash. This includes worms.
                                                                                                 to enjoy the benefits of eating fish while re-       Rinse boat and equipment with hot
   Women of childbearing years,                       Men and women of beyond                    ducing their exposure to contaminants.”                and/or high pressure water OR
   nursing mothers and all children                   childbearing age                              Fish are low in saturated fat, high in pro-       Dry boat and equipment for five days.
   Wisconsin sportfish                                Wisconsin sportfish                        tein and contain high levels of Omega-3
                                                                                                                                                    • Take only the wood you need for your
   1 meal/week: panfish                               Unlimited: panfish                         fatty acids, which lower the risk of heart
                                                                                                                                                      trip. Burn it or bring home the rest.
   1 meal/month: gamefish and other species           1 meal/week: gamefish and                  disease and stroke, diabetes and cancer,
                                                                                                 Anderson says.                                     • Don’t buy or bring any firewood from
   Do not eat: muskellunge                              other species
                                                                                                    For more information on Wisconsin fish            Michigan; buy firewood from local
   Purchased fish                                     Purchased fish                                                                                  sources.
                                                                                                 consumption advisories, go to
   2 meals/week: salmon, shrimp,                      Unlimited: salmon, shrimp, canned
                                                                                                 www.fishingwisconsin.org.                          • Inspect any outdoor items moved from
     canned light tuna, pollock, catfish                light tuna, pollock, catfish
                                                                                                    For more information on purchased                 the eastern half of Wisconsin for gypsy
   2 meals/month: canned white tuna,                  1 meal/week: canned white tuna,
                                                                                                 fish, go to www.epa.gov/ost/fish/.                   moth caterpillars or egg masses. Visit
     tuna steaks, halibut                               tuna steaks, halibut                     –Candy Schrank, DNR fish contaminant                 www. gypsymoth.wi.gov for identifica-
   Do not eat: shark, swordfish, king                 2 meals/month: shark, swordfish,           coordinator                                          tion help.
     mackerel, tilefish                                 king mackerel, tilefish
                                                                                                                                                    • If you’re a gardener, learn which spe-
                                                                                                                                                      cies can be invasive and avoid using
                                                                                                                                                      them. DNR’s Web site contains lists
 Science Corner                                                                                                                                       and photos. Go to www.dnr.wi.gov
                                                                                                                                                      then use the A to Z index and select
   DNR’s fisheries program is supported by I’m currently:                                                                                             “invasive species.”
scientists in the Science Services Bureau. • Studying trout populations that supply                                                                 • Report new infestations of invasive
For the full array of research these scien-     eggs for DNR’s wild trout program to de-                                                              species to your local DNR office.
tists are pursuing, go to DNR’s Web site,       termine how they’re affected by annual
www.dnr.wi.gov, then search for “fish and       egg collection. I’m also tagging these trout
habitat research.” Here, we spotlight the       to determine survival rates for trout spawn-                                                         2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report
work of one researcher.                         ing in the streams versus those brought to                                                                     Wisconsin Department
                                                a hatchery to spawn, recruitment of new                                                                        of Natural Resources
Matthew G. Mitro, DNR coldwater                 trout to each population, and how these                                                                              Box 7921
fisheries research scientist                    populations are changing over time. The                                                                         Madison, WI 53707
Age: 36                                         goal is to ensure a sustainable wild trout
                                                                                                                                                              Writer/editor: Lisa Gaumnitz
Education: Ph.D. in fish and wildlife biol-     stocking program.
                                                                                                                                                             Graphic Design: Georgine Price
ogy and master’s in statistics from Montana   • Testing if trout habitat improvement with-
State University, Bozeman, Mont; master’s       out overhead cover can improve brook Matthew G. Mitro
degree in wildlife and fisheries biology from   trout populations in Big Spring Creek and
the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT;      Elk Creek, two streams where brook trout • Developing population models to help
bachelor’s degree in biology from Colgate       coexist with brown trout. Results of this    manage trout populations in Wisconsin
University, Hamilton, N.Y.                      study will help guide future brook trout     streams that could help predict how dif-
                                                stream restoration projects.                 ferent stressors, such as habitat degrada-
Previous jobs: Population ecologist for U.S. • Collaborating on development of a stream      tion or loss, and angler catch and release
EPA’s Atlantic Ecology Division; stock as-      classification and land-use modeling study   or harvest, may affect trout reproduction
sessment biologist for the Atlantic States      that can be used to allocate trout stream    or growth or survival of trout in different             The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources pro-
Marine Fisheries Commission, Wakefield,         monitoring efforts, to identify trout        size and age classes. Trout models would             vides equal opportunity in its employment, programs, ser-
R.I.; graduate research assistant at Montana                                                                                                      vices and functions under an Affirmative Action Plan. If
                                                streams for restoration work based on the    help in better understanding processes that          you have any questions, please write to Equal Opportu-
Cooperative Fishery Research Unit,              potential for success, and to evaluate how   regulate and factors that limit trout popu-          nity Office, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
Bozeman, Mont.                                  different land use or global climate change  lations, and would provide a framework               20240.
                                                                                                                                                     This publication is available in alternate format (large
                                                scenarios may impact trout populations in    to rigorously evaluate trout fishing regu-           print, Braille, audio tape, etc.) upon request. Call 608-267-
                                                Wisconsin.                                   lations and habitat management activities.           7498 for more information.                             GP2/06

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16            Fish Wisconsin! www.fishingwisconsin.org

				
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