Contact(s): David Rowe, DNR fisheries team supervisor, David.Rowe@Wisconsin.gov, 608-275-3282; Joanna Griffin, DNR trout specialist, Joanna.Griffin@Wisconsin.gov, 608-264-8953; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov
MADISON -- Ongoing efforts to improve habitat and water quality are paying off with seven streams in Dane and Grant counties receiving an upgrade or making a new appearance on Wisconsin's list of classified trout streams.
Token Creek exemplifies the long-term commitment behind these important gains, with a 2016 survey documenting naturally reproducing brown trout, said David Rowe, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries team supervisor. The survey collected young of the year fish as well as brown trout up to 15 inches in length.
Rowe said recovery of the cold water stream began in 1994 with the removal of the old mill pond dam and has continued with habitat improvement projects and watershed protections. The finding of the young trout allowed the Department of Natural Resources to upgrade 4 miles of the stream on the state's list of classified trout streams to class 2 waters from the previous class 3.
"This is good news for anglers and it's also good news for everyone who cares about the area's rivers, lakes and streams," said Joanna Griffin, DNR trout specialist. "It shows that work to manage runoff and restore the stream have improved habitat to the point where trout can not only survive but thrive."
This year, Token Creek is not the only good news story. In all, the current round of seven updates includes five upgrades to class 2 from class 3 waters, one upgrade to coveted class 1 from class 2 status, and one new classification to class 2 from unclassed.
Among the other recent changes:
Griffin said the changes are based on approximately 300 stream site surveys conducted by fisheries management staff each year to continuously update the classification. Under the classification system:
Trout stream classification updates were last published in early 2016 and going forward will now become official every odd year. The next classification changes will become official in January 2019.
If all of this great news about trout has you excited to get out, Wisconsin's official maps of classified trout streams include information from the last round of updates, with more than 41 additional streams that have been classified as trout waters since 2014. Most of these 292 miles are found in west central and southern Wisconsin counties and are open for the early catch-and-release season, which runs until midnight, May 5.
Additional information about where to fish and local regulations can be found using DNR's TROUT tool, which was designed to help trout anglers find places to fish including classified trout waters, public land and DNR fishing easements. To learn more about the regulations, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "trout regulations."
Early season anglers must have a valid 2016-2017 fishing license and a trout stamp; licenses are valid from the April 1 through March 31 the following year. Access DNR's online licensing system by searching "GoWild.wi.gov."