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Weekly News Published - August 22, 2017 by the Central Office

 

2017 Fall Turkey Hunting leftover permits go on sale August 26

MADISON - Hunters who were successful in the fall turkey permit drawing will begin receiving notification in the mail early next week. Please note, it is possible that the notifications may arrive after the leftover permit sales begin.

Leftover fall turkey permits go on sale August 26 for the season that opens Sept. 16.
Leftover fall turkey permits go on sale August 26 for the season that opens Sept. 16.
Photo Credit: Ryan Brady

Hunters can check to see if they were successful in drawing a fall turkey permit by logging into their accounts at GoWild.WI.Gov. A fall turkey license needs to be purchased, along with the turkey stamp [PDF], unless the stamp was purchased for the spring turkey hunt. Conservation Patron license holders already have their fall turkey license and stamp privileges and they will receive their fall turkey permits in the mail, if they were successful in the drawing.

Those not successful in the drawing will have the chance to purchase a leftover permit. All remaining fall turkey permits will go on sale Saturday, Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. Leftover permits can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone sells out or the season ends. The fall turkey hunting season for zones 1-5 runs Sept. 16 to Dec. 31 (season may be extended to Jan. 7, 2018, consult online regulations for updates), while the season for zones 6 and 7 runs Sept. 16 to Nov. 17.

Leftover permit availability in each Wild Turkey Management Zone [PDF] is as follows - total permits made available prior to the drawing are in parentheses:

Remaining fall turkey permits may be purchased using the online license center or through any license agent. Leftover fall turkey permits cost $5 for 10 and 11 year olds, $10 for residents, and $15 for nonresidents. This is in addition to the cost of the fall turkey license and turkey stamp (if not already purchased).

The 2017 Fall Turkey regulations are included in the 2017 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations pamphlet, available now on the hunting regulations page of the DNR website and at DNR Service Centers.

For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "turkey."

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Lake sturgeon hook and line season opens Sept. 2

Opportunities to catch and release or harvest a big, hard-fighting fish

MADISON - Anglers interested in pursuing a big, hard-fighting fish will want to try their hand at fishing for lake sturgeon--armed with a stout rod and heavy line.

The hook and line season for lake sturgeon opens Sept. 2 and runs through Sept. 30 on several major river stretches for a fish that can grow to more than 6 feet long and exceed 150 pounds. The world record taken by hook and line was a 170-pound, 10-ounce lake sturgeon pulled from Yellow Lake in Burnett County in 1979.

DNR Fisheries Technician Matt Simonson with a 47-pound sturgeon captured during a 2017 hook and line survey on the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. Fish captured during the survey ranged from 13 to 67 inches and weighed up to 56 pounds.
DNR Fisheries Technician Matt Simonson with a 47-pound sturgeon captured during a 2017 hook and line survey on the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. Fish captured during the survey ranged from 13 to 67 inches and weighed up to 56 pounds.
Photo Credit: DNR

While anglers can purchase a carcass tag to harvest one fish per season of 60-inches or greater, the growing catch and release opportunities for this fish are what's exciting many anglers, says Lori Tate, a fisheries biologist and member of the Department of Natural Resources sturgeon team.

"There's definitely still an interest in harvesting sturgeon in the state but we're also seeing anglers enjoy catch and release opportunities for lake sturgeon," Tate says. "Sturgeon fishing opportunities are improving as a result of the more protective length limit we implemented in 2007."

"We're very lucky--I don't think there is any other place in North America where you can fish for lake sturgeon like anglers can in Wisconsin rivers."

Wisconsin offers a hook-and-line season on several major inland waters, including sections of the Chippewa River, Wisconsin River, Flambeau River, Jump River and Yellow River.

Harvest tag requirements and other hook and line season regulations

All anglers fishing for lake sturgeon must have a valid Wisconsin hook and line fishing license. Anglers need to purchase a harvest tag if they intend to keep a sturgeon. The harvest tag is available throughout the season and costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. Anglers who harvest a legal-size fish must immediately attach the harvest tag to the fish and take it to a registration station by 6 p.m. the next day for registration.

Find a list of harvest waters, harvest registration stations and instructions for properly tagging a harvested fish on the Lake Sturgeon Hook and Line Season page of the DNR website. 

Tips for fishing for lake sturgeon using a rod and reel, including safe release

Ryan Koenigs, the fisheries biologist who chairs DNR's sturgeon committee, offers these tips for anglers wanting to fish for lake sturgeon during the hook and line season.

Fishing forecasts for waters open for the season

DNR fish biologists have submitted summaries detailing some of the lake sturgeon populations that provide hook and line angling opportunities for this large and exciting fish. See their forecasts below and find others in the 2017 Wisconsin Fishing Report [PDF].

Lower Chippewa River

The Chippewa River is home to a healthy lake sturgeon population. In 2017, 196 lake sturgeon were captured by the DNR fisheries crew out of the Eau Claire office. The fish ranged from 13 to 67 inches and weighed up to 56 pounds, so there are trophy fish out there to be caught. Last year, eight sturgeon were harvested from the lower Chippewa River and anglers reported catching numerous sub-legal fish. Most anglers use night crawlers or cut bait and fish downstream of the dam or in deep holes of the river. Anglers should be prepared for a hard fighting fish, so a stout rod is needed along with heavy line and a large landing net. - Joseph Gerbyshak, fisheries biologist, Eau Claire, 715-839-2877

Lake Wisconsin

Lake Wisconsin, starting above the Prairie du Sac Dam and including the main lake and the Wisconsin River up to the Kilbourn Dam in Wisconsin Dells, holds a lake sturgeon population that is completely self-sustaining. The adult sturgeon population in the lake (those greater than 50 inches) currently sits at around 1,600 individuals, and has remained stable for many years. Although no fish have been harvested from this section of lake/river since 2012, anglers continue to catch and release many fish each hook and line season, with the upper end of the main lake and the segment of river just below the Kilbourn Dam in Wisconsin Dells being two popular places to fish. - Nathan Nye, fisheries biologist, Poynette, 608-635-8122

Lower Wisconsin River

The Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac Dam remains a very popular place for sturgeon anglers to fish as well, and all of the sturgeon harvest from the Wisconsin River since 2012 has occurred below the Prairie du Sac Dam, with nearly all of the harvest occurring from the tailrace down to the Highway 12 Bridge at Sauk City. The tailwater adult population is generally between 150 and 200 fish in a given year, and since the 60-inch minimum length limit was instituted for the 2007 fishing season, harvest has averaged around eight fish per year. Typically more fish are harvested later in the season as adults move up from points further downriver and concentrate in the deeper areas immediately below the dam. - Nathan Nye, fisheries biologist, Poynette, 608-635-8122

Yellow River

DNR crews sampled 105 adult sturgeon that averaged 55.2 inches and 41.3 lbs in 2017. All fish were captured upstream of Yellow Lake in the Yellow River during their spawning migration. The largest fish this season was 72.8 inches and 106 lbs. Yellow Lake anglers traditionally do very well during the September hook/line season and are generally catch and release anglers with very few fish harvested. Harvest last season was four fish and the 2015 season had one fish registered. Overall, anglers can expect to see a good hook and line season with cooler water temperatures going into September. - Craig Roberts, fisheries biologist, Spooner, 715-635-4095

Menominee River

DNR has stocked 10 miles of the upper Menominee River from Sturgeon Falls Dam to Quiver Falls with lake sturgeon since 1982 and has documented a few legal size fish (60+ inches) in that section, including this 66-inch fish collected by DNR Fisheries Technician Derek Apps.
DNR has stocked 10 miles of the upper Menominee River from Sturgeon Falls Dam to Quiver Falls with lake sturgeon since 1982 and has documented a few legal size fish (60+ inches) in that section, including this 66-inch fish collected by DNR Fisheries Technician Derek Apps.
Photo Credit: DNR

The section of the Menominee river upstream from Grand Rapids Dam is open to hook and line with a 60-inch minimum size limit. DNR has stocked the 10 miles of upper Menominee River from Sturgeon Falls Dam to Quiver Falls since 1982. Crews just surveyed the river and caught a fish over 60 inches near the Sturgeon Falls dam. It's the first fish in that size range that has been caught in that section of river. If the public wants to try a new section of the river they could explore that area.- Mike Donofrio, fisheries supervisor, Peshtigo, 715-582-5050

Flambeau and Upper Chippewa rivers

Veteran sturgeon anglers as well as newcomers to hook-and-line sturgeon fishing should find plenty of catch-and-release opportunity for sublegal-size fish in the Flambeau and Upper Chippewa rivers, along with an occasional chance to harvest one far exceeding the 60-inch minimum length limit. Of the eight sturgeon harvested from these river segments in the 2016 open season, two were 74 inches long. Popular shore fishing spots include the tailwaters of most hydroelectric dams and the deeper pools in the free-flowing river reaches, though some sturgeon anglers prefer to fish from boats in the impoundments. Some prefer cut bait or prepared stink baits, but many sturgeon anglers use a gob of night crawlers. Fishing is always prohibited in the fish refuges immediately downstream of the Turtle-Flambeau Dam and the Upper Park Falls Dam on the North Fork Flambeau River and below the Arpin Dam on the Chippewa River. - Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls, 715-762-1354

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Twice as nice: Stevens Point student wins both the Inland and Great Lakes trout stamp contests

MADISON -- Sixteen-year-old Taylor Konczal has landed an important place in Wisconsin's conservation history and reeled in two big fish at the same time. The Stevens Point Area Senior High student won Wisconsin's first ever youth trout stamp contests and her designs will be featured on both the Inland and the Great Lakes stamps for 2018.

"It's our first youth contest and we're very pleased with Taylor's great designs," says Joanna Griffin, trout team coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. "Anglers and others will love to add them to their collection."

2017 Winning Inland Wisconsin Trout Stamp
2018 Winning Inland Wisconsin Trout Stamp by Taylor Konczal

Konczal, a junior this fall at SPASH, received a telephone call from Griffin notifying her of her winning entries while she was up north visiting with her cousins. "They are all outdoorsmen and were impressed with the news!" she says.

"I'm very thankful to win both (contests)," Konczal says. "It's incredibly exciting."

While she has excelled at art since kindergarten, the trout stamp contests were the first formal art contests she's entered, according to parents Mike and Tammy. Mike Konczal learned of the contests through business associates who had seen some of Taylor's previous work and recommended she enter. Her parents and art teachers encouraged her to enter as well.

Konczal, who fishes now and then with her brother Cade, 14, and with her parents, studied photos of Wisconsin inland and Great Lakes trout for inspiration and bounced her ideas off her family.

"I incorporated as much detail into the designs as I could," she says. "I hope when people look at my designs they can relate to them on some level or maybe be inspired to get outside and enjoy some of the great trout fishing opportunities Wisconsin has to offer."

Konczal is looking forward to taking additional advanced drawing and painting classes this fall and has considered using her skills as either a professional or as a freelance artist. "I am not sure what the future holds, but I will definitely be spending more time on the water."

Alex Synol of Gillett was runner-up in the Great Lakes trout and salmon stamp contest. The winning and runner up designs are featured on the trout stamp contest page of the DNR website.

People who have purchased inland trout or Great Lakes trout stamp privileges with their current or previous year fishing license can obtain the actual collector stamp by requesting the stamp online or visiting a DNR Service Center during their scheduled counter service hours. People interested in the stamps for their collections, (not the fishing privileges), can order them by mail at the cost of the stamp(s) plus $3 for shipping and handling or purchase the stamps at a DNR Service Center.

More information is available on the Wildlife and Fish Collector Stamp page of the DNR website.

The youth trout stamp contest for students in grades 9-12 will next return for the 2020 stamp year. DNR plans to alternate the youth contest with its traditional stamp contests, which are open to artists 18 and older.

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Watch for oak wilt signs to help stop the spread of this tree-killing disease

MADISON -- Each year, a tree-killing fungal disease strikes and kills thousands of oak trees in Wisconsin's forests, woodlots and urban areas. Oak wilt is common in southern and central Wisconsin and is becoming increasingly abundant in northern counties. It is difficult to control once the disease takes hold and prevention steps need to be taken to slow the spread.

"We are observing oak wilt in more places this year, probably due to the storms we had in the spring," said Todd Lanigan, a forest health specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. "The first symptoms of oak wilt are branches with wilted leaves dropping in summer. These are not the brown, dry leaves you see in autumn. These are partially green to bronze-green and are not completely dry."

Oak wilt is confirmed in all Wisconsin counties except Ashland, Bayfield, Calumet, Door, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Taylor counties.

Oaks in the red oak group, including northern red, northern pin, and black oaks, are particularly vulnerable to oak wilt.

"Oak wilt is fatal for the infected tree. Landowners need to know what to watch for to take immediate steps to protect nearby oaks," said Don Kissinger, DNR urban forester. "Trees that die of oak wilt can still spread the disease for approximately a year after they die. It is important to know the signs and have a certified arborist or local forest health specialist help manage and contain the spread of oak wilt."

Wisconsin communities may be eligible to participate in a cost-sharing program to help combat oak wilt. The Urban Forestry Grant Program is not available to individual property owners; however, they can work with their municipalities to take steps to protect their oaks. Grant applications are due October 1. If a community is interested in applying for a grant, contact the local DNR urban forestry coordinator for more information.

"It is important to know the signs and have a certified arborist or local forest health specialist help outline management options, such as applying a fungicide," said Don Kissinger, DNR urban forester.

What to watch for:

Leaves infected with oak wilt drop rapidly and appear bronze-green.
Leaves infected with oak wilt drop rapidly and appear bronze-green.
Photo Credit: DNR

Helpful tips:

The University of Wisconsin's Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic can help verify the presence of oak wilt. Instructions for collecting and mailing samples to the clinic are available at www.plantpath.wisc.edu/pddc/ (exit DNR), or by calling 608-262-2863.

Other diseases and insect infestations can mimic oak wilt. Additional information about oak wilt and other forest health issues can be found at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "forest health."

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Contact information

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James Dick
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608-267-2773