Our February 2008 issue.
Want to comment on a story? Email Readers Write and include the name of the community from which you are writing.
What's the story on cormorants attacking many small fish (perch and walleye) in Leach Lake in the northern part of Minnesota? The state game department had to stop the birds. Did any lake in Wisconsin have the same problem?
We carried a story in February 2008 (Cormorant conundrum) about the problems the once-endangered double-crested cormorants were causing on the Lake Michigan shores along Green Bay and isolated islands off the Door County peninsula. At the time, managers were concerned not only for the potential losses of panfish and game fish the birds feed on, but the hazards their increasing numbers posed to island vegetation and habitat important to other birds (like herons, egrets and other colonial waterbirds) and migrating songbirds.
Control efforts – including removal of adult birds and egg oiling – over the last few years appear to be working as cormorant populations in the area showed an 18 percent decline from the 2009 peak of 15,227 nests to 12,534 nests in 2011. DNR fisheries surveys documented strong year classes of yellow perch during the last eight years, though the adult perch population has not rebounded as expected. Declines in Green Bay brown trout harvest also coincide with increasing cormorant numbers, prompting DNR to modify stocking strategies to reduce post-stocking mortality. Fisheries biologists are hopeful a combination of fewer cormorants, more forage fish such as alewives in recent years, and adjustments to stocking strategies will result in improved harvest number for brown trout.
Let's talk hunting
I don't buy a Wisconsin deer, small game, turkey or fishing license. The reason for not buying these licenses is simple. people that have received two bear kill permits. I have received none for all the years I applied. Last year (2010) I hunted whitetail in Canada. I was impressed and shot a very large buck. This year (2011) I received a bear kill permit in Canada. I don't care if I receive the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. I purchased Big Buck Magazine from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I purchased my last Wisconsin black bear permit in September 2011.
I am a native of Wisconsin who has hunted deer there for more than 50 years. For the last 40 years, I have hunted as a nonresident. I have become very disappointed with my hunting experience and am not at all sure I will continue hunting there. Until approximately 10 years ago, my family and I had seen a lot of deer and been reasonably successful. However, for the last 10 years, we have not only bagged few bucks, we have seen few deer. We have also noted access to numerous "logging roads" in the area we hunt east of Mountain – closed, according to the signs – in an effort to provide "non-motorized recreational experiences." Those closures are inexplicable to us but certainly have adversely affected our hunting experience and success.
In any event, we read the DNR's assessments of the herd and the hunt, but we find them self-serving and disingenuous. Frankly, we don't believe them. There is no doubt that the herd is much diminished from years past. Whether that is due to the issuance of too many doe permits – to satisfy the insurance industry we hear – or too many wolves, we don't know. But in our opinion, the herd is not being managed as well today as in the past and we hunters are not being told the truth about it.
Big fish tale
I am attaching photos of a nice-sized walleye caught October 25, 2011. It was a dreary gusty day, and I was about to give up after over two hours of shore fishing in the rain without a single bite. Instead, I warmed up in my vehicle, then threw my 8-inch sucker back into the water. No sooner did it hit the water, when my bobber went two feet below surface and began "traveling" rapidly before plummeting down to the dark, murky river bottom. I could barely let line out fast enough. Finally, I set the hook and it was "game on!" The walleye leaped out of the water and thrust his head trying to shake me. But I wasn't letting this one get away! After about a 10-minute fight, I was able to bring him in and net him myself. What a surprise to see he was 29 inches long and weighed 9.6 pounds!