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Weekly News Published - September 5, 2017 by the Central Office

 

DNR to hold public hearing on agriculture rule revisions

Hearing Sept. 15 in Green Bay and Madison; public comment period through Oct. 4

MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources is holding a public hearing September 15 regarding state rule changes governing the spreading of manure on soils in certain sensitive areas of the state.

The changes, under Ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code, relate to shallow soils over "karst topography," which are areas where the bedrock may be fractured. Some of the proposed changes to NR 151 may be based on recommendations in the Groundwater Collaboration Workgroup final report, issued in June 2016.

An informational meeting and Q&A will start at noon and the public hearing will start at 1 p.m. The hearing will be held September 15 at the University Union Phoenix Room (Rooms A, B and C), UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Dr., Green Bay. The hearing will also be broadcast at the same time in Madison at the Wisconsin Natural Resource Building, Room G09, 101 S. Webster St., Madison.

The public is invited to attend and provide oral and written comments on NR 151 rule changes at each location. A public hearing officer will be present to conduct the hearing and may put time limits on individual oral statements to ensure an opportunity for all persons present to make statements.

The public may also submit written comments on the proposed rule changes by October 4, 2017, via mail to Mike Gilbertson, DNR, 101 S. Webster Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53707, or by e-mail to: DNRNR151Revisions@dnr.wisconsin.gov.

Agency staff will provide a brief summary of the available information about the rule changes at the meeting, and will also provide a summary of the steps that must be followed before the changes become final.

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Extended inland trout season offers good opportunities for anglers

Higher trout numbers and bigger fish noted in summer surveys

MADISON -- Cooler and wetter summer conditions, and trout streams that held up well under flooding in western Wisconsin, add up to even better fishing opportunities this fall for trout anglers who will enjoy a longer harvest season and good opportunities for trophy-sized trout, state fisheries officials say.

"This is the second year we've had this extended harvest season so anglers now have opportunities to fish through October 15 on inland waters," says Joanna Griffin, trout team coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. "We hope people take advantage of it."

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 7 photos

The open season on inland trout waters runs through Oct. 15 and offers anglers more opportunity to chase trophy-sized trout, like these nice brookies from a recent DNR survey on an Eau Claire area stream.

Despite extremely wet conditions this summer, trout fishing in La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon and Crawford counties has been good," says Kirk Olson, fisheries biologist in La Crosse.

While a historic flood in late July changed many area streams, filling in favorite fishing holes and creating new ones, "even with these changes, fishing has been very good when water levels and clarity permit," Olson says. Initial fisheries surveys this summer indicate that the flooding did not have a severe impact on trout populations. so anglers will find plenty of fish for fall action.

Northeastern Wisconsin fisheries biologists noted higher numbers of trout during sampling by the Shawano Crew this summer. In northern Wisconsin, cooler and wetter conditions kept fish dispersed among headwater creeks and large river conditions, giving anglers good access to fish and some very nice brook trout throughout the summer, says Zach Lawson, a fisheries biologist based in Mercer. This fall, look for those larger brook trout in the smaller tributaries of large rivers.

In west central Wisconsin, Fisheries Supervisor Heath Benike notes that natural reproduction has been strong the past three years with ample fish in the 8- to 12-inch range on most streams.

"And larger-sized trout have also been showing up in good numbers this summer, likely from slightly reduced densities from poorer year classes in 2013 and 2014," Benike says. "This fall should be a good time to go looking for a trophy-sized trout."

Season regulations and tools to find a trout water

The general open season for inland streams, connected springs and spring ponds runs through 11:59 p.m. Oct. 15 except as noted in the Specific Waters by County section of the Guide to Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations, 2017-2018 [PDF].   Note that the open season closes Sept. 30 for streams flowing into Lake Superior from their mouths to the first impassable permanent barrier, unless noted in the Specific Waters section.

Anglers can use a new DNR mobile website tool to find places to fish. TROUT, short for Trout Regulations and Opportunities User Tool, includes trout fishing regulation, classified trout water, public land and DNR fishing easements.

Anglers wanting a printed map can use the tool to find the water they want and then print off a copy, or anglers can also print off county maps showing Wisconsin's classified trout streams. These PDFs will not have regulations public lands and fishing easements noted on them.

Fisheries forecasts for selected waters

Find below recent short summaries from fisheries biologists for some trout waters in their areas. Other forecasts and survey results are found in the trout section of the 2017 Wisconsin Fishing Report, starting bottom of page 15 [PDF].

Adams and Portage counties

After recent 2017 trout survey work, trout populations are healthy in Adams and Portage counties. Streams surveyed included Big Roche a Cri Creek (Adams), Fordham Creek (Adams), Neenah Creek (Adams), Campbell Creek (Adams), Tomorrow River (Portage), Emmons Creek (Portage), Flume Creek (Portage). - Jennifer Bergman, fisheries biologist, Wisconsin Rapids

Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties

Fishing has been excellent in the Driftless lately as streams have finally come down and cleared. Preliminary results from our electrofishing indicate that the late July flooding didn't have a substantial impact on trout abundances in most locations. I expect that fishing will pick up as water temperatures cool and trout become more active prior to spawning.- Kirk Olson, fisheries biologist, La Crosse

Baldwin/Eau Claire Area

Fishing opportunities in the Baldwin/Eau Claire Area are very strong. Several good years of natural reproduction have occurred recently and fish densities are once again approaching all-time highs. Angler effort and interest is strong especially near streams close to the Twin Cities Metro Area. The Kinni, Rush and, Trimbelle rivers receive a bulk of the angling interest. Habitat crews completed another project on the Trimbelle River downstream of HWY 10 near the mouth of Spring Creek and will complete a 2,000-foot project on Fall Creek near Durand by the end of the field season. No major complaints have been received in regards to fishing regulations and for the most part anglers appear happy.

Stream restoration crews have busy and have recently completed trout habitat restoration projects on the Trimbelle River in Pierce County, Swinns Valley Creek in Buffalo County, Beaver Creek in Trempealeau County, Tainter Creek in Vernon County, Fall Creek in Pepin County, Tarr Creek in Monroe County and removed a dam on Silver Creek near Fort McCoy. - Heath Benike, fisheries supervisor, Eau Claire

Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties: Bluff Creek upstream of County Highway P in Walworth County now has more fishable stream miles than any time since 1940, thanks to a large-scale stream re-meander project the last two winters. This project has redirected stream flow into the original channel, bypassing hundreds of feet of warm, shallow ditch channel which was unsuitable for trout and fishing. Trout Unlimited, UW-Whitewater Ecology Club and other stakeholders have assisted with installation of woody structure and other habitat features. Local trout anglers visiting Bluff will find trout and other coldwater species already inhabiting the remeandered reaches, providing a brand new and highly accessible trout fishing opportunity in Southeastern Wisconsin. - Luke S. Roffler, senior fisheries biologist, Kansasville

Iron and Ashland counties

Cooler and wetter conditions this summer kept the trout streams of Iron and Ashland Counties flowing at consistent levels and ample temperatures throughout the season, thus fish were dispersed among headwater creeks and larger river systems. Anglers enjoyed good access to very nice brook trout throughout the summer. DNR trout stream surveys documented good brook trout natural reproduction falling on the heels of an immense flooding event in summer of 2016, suggesting that quality angling opportunities experienced today should be carried into future seasons. With summer now giving way to fall, anglers can expect fishing to heat up in the smaller tributaries of larger rivers (i.e. the Potato River, Tyler Forks, and the Bad River) as brook trout set up in pre-spawn areas. The remainder of inland trout season is a great time to locate concentrations of larger brook trout in these areas, with many fish exhibiting especially vibrant coloration. - Zach Lawson, fisheries biologist, Mercer

Oconto and Langlade counties

Large brown trout and brook trout are on the move within the South Branch Oconto River as we head into fall. Popular fishing access areas are along the South Branch Oconto Fishery Area, as well as upstream at County Highway W, County Highway T, Old Grave Road, and Sauls Spring Road. There are reports of 20+ inch brown trout caught recently. - Tammie Paoli, fisheries biologist, Peshtigo

Sawyer County

DNR trout surveys this summer show more big brook trout (12-plus-inches) than usual. We've even seen some up around 15 inches in a few spots. So anglers will have good opportunities to catch some nice fish. Some new spots to try: We did restoration work on 1,700 feet of trout streams in the Exeland area this summer. The spots were previously dammed by beaver and were wide and mucky. We used some brush bundling to narrow and deepen the channel for trout. The work was done with the help of the Wild Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Lac Courte Oreilles Youth Conservation Corps. Typically, downstream of such projects, the new habitat projects deliver more fish very quickly. - Max Wolter, fisheries biologist, Hayward

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Lake Michigan trout and salmon stocking level in 2018 topic of comment period

Input sought on summer's fishing experiences, future stocking levels

CLEVELAND, Wis. - Anglers and others are invited to provide feedback on whether to raise, lower or keep Lake Michigan salmon and trout stocking numbers the same in 2018 and beyond. The comment period opens today and runs through Sept. 30.

"We are seeking general input about angler success in 2017 and whether anglers feel we have the appropriate number of salmon and trout stocked in the lake to provide a sustainable fishery into the future," says Brad Eggold, Great Lakes District fisheries supervisor.

As part of efforts to address lake-wide changes in the food web, DNR and natural resources managers in surrounding states have worked cooperatively to develop stocking strategies that support a balance in the ratio of predators to prey. DNR seeks to pursue an approach that maintains a diverse fishery and maximizes opportunities for anglers while adjusting stocking to account for lower levels of available prey species such as alewives.

DNR continues to work with regional clubs, recreational anglers, fishing tournament participants and charter captains to monitor their experiences with this year's catch and gather additional data to help set salmon and trout stocking numbers for 2018.

Anglers contacted by DNR creel clerks collecting information about the number, size and species of fish anglers were catching in 2017 on Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan reported that fishing for salmon and trout has been good for most of the summer.

"Anglers reported catching significant numbers of coho salmon early in the season, and significant success with some of the largest chinook salmon in the last several years being harvested," Eggold says.

Anglers and others attending an Aug. 30 Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum meeting had the chance to offer their feedback on how the summer's fishing went and provide input on Great Lakes trout and salmon stocking levels in 2018 and beyond. "This comment period is a good opportunity for anglers who weren't able to make that meeting to let us know how what they think," Eggold says.

Background information including a copy of the presentation at an August 30 Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum meeting can be found by visiting the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and searching "Lake Michigan salmon and trout meetings 2017."

To provide comments on the information, send an email to: DNRLakeMichiganPlan@wisconsin.gov or by U.S. Postal Mail to: Bradley T. Eggold, Wisconsin DNR, UWM - GLRF - SFS, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 05, 2017

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