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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published January 11, 2011

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10 fishing developments tee up great 2011 fishing

Taking stock in 2011

MADISON - Wisconsin anglers can look forward to more great fishing opportunities in 2011 as anglers turn the page on a record-setting 2010, state fisheries officials say.

"We realize how critically important fishing is in Wisconsin both as a cultural activity and as a part of our economy," says Mike Staggs, Department of Natural Resources fisheries director. "We've worked hard to improve fishing in Wisconsin. Anglers enjoyed the results of that work in 2010, and should continue to see more of the same in 2011 and beyond."

10 Signs of Good Fishing in 2011


    State record sturgeon speared and more where it came from

    Record Sturgeon

    World record brown trout pulled from Lake Michigan

    brown trout record

    58 new trout waters added and fish populations and fish size grow

    Fish growing

    Renovated Wild Rose produces more and bigger fish

    Wild Rose ></a>
			<p>Lake trout recovering in Lake Superior</p>
			<a href=Round Lake

    Big Mississippi River habitat projects pay off big

    Mississippi Pools

    Trophy musky haul among the top three


    Northern walleye fishery solid after 3 decades of shared fishing

    Round Lake Roundup

    VHS fish virus successfully contained so far


    Chinook harvests hit record levels

    2010 chinook

Nearly half of Wisconsin adults say they fish, and they catch 88 million fish annually, based on DNR's 2006-7 statewide mail survey of anglers. Fishing generates $2.75 billion in economic impact in the state, supports more than 30,000 jobs, and provides $195 million in tax revenue for state and local governments. DNR's fisheries program receives no state tax dollars but is wholly supported by fishing license sales and federal grants.

Here are the top 10 events/developments of 2010 that foreshadow even better fishing opportunities in 2011 and beyond.

  1. State record lake sturgeon speared. Ron Grishaber of Appleton landed a 212.2 pound, 84.2-inch behemoth out of Lake Winnebago on opening day of the 2010 Lake Winnebago seasons. That new record is possible as a result of DNR's century-long efforts to work with citizens to manage sturgeon. Those efforts have nurtured the Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon population into the world's largest. Its estimated 2010 population of 15,800 females and 31,700 males in the adult spawning stock are able to support a unique spearing season even as the federal government has proposed listing five Atlantic sturgeon populations in other states as endangered. A record 12,423 people have bought spearing licenses for the 2011 spearing seasons on the Lake Winnebago system.
  2. World record brown trout pulled from Lake Michigan near Racine. The 41-pound, 8-ounce brown trout Roger Hellen of Franksville caught in Lake Michigan on July 16, 2010, set new state and world records (according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article; exit DNR). The fish, which genetic testing suggests is likely a seeforellen strain trout raised at a DNR hatchery, testifies to the importance of the state's stocking program to provide a fishery for trout and salmon in Lake Michigan, and to the cleaner water resulting from more protective state and federal standards for wastewater discharges and for runoff from farms, urban areas, construction sites and roads.
  3. Trout fishing opportunities grow with addition of 58 new trout waters. Anglers have more trout water than ever to fish as Wisconsin revised its official list of trout streams in 2010 based on monitoring results. Since 2002, the total number of trout streams has increased by 58 and the total number of trout miles has grown by 260 to 10,531 miles. The increased fishing opportunities arise from synergistic factors including DNR's trout habitat improvement work with partners; its program to stock trout from wild fish, increasing survival and natural reproduction in recovering streams; land use changes and farmers' improved conservation practices that have decreased erosion and runoff into streams; increased precipitation resulting in better base flow in some parts of the state; and more protective regulations and a strong catch and release ethic among trout anglers.
  4. Wild Rose Fish Hatchery is renovated, producing more and healthier fish. A workhorse hatchery of Wisconsin's stocking program has been fully renovated, with DNR staff raising their first northern pike and lake sturgeon for stocking in summer 2010 from the new cool-water facilities. New cold water facilities opened in 2008. Wild Rose produces the vast majority of trout and salmon for Lake Michigan; it produces lake sturgeon, northern pike and other cool-water species to help restore populations statewide, and the renovated hatchery has won a trio of national design awards, including for its visitor and education center.
  5. Recovery of lake trout in Lake Superior. Lake trout, one of the four signal species in Lake Superior, are showing strong signs of recovery in this largest and deepest of the Great Lakes, with Wisconsin waters boasting some of the strongest populations. That's good news for the overall health of the Lake Superior ecosystem and for anglers and commercial fishers. The recovery plan has been carried out in Wisconsin by the DNR, the Red Cliff tribe and the Bad River tribe, which collectively manage fisheries in state waters of Lake Superior, and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which carries out lamprey control in U.S. waters as the agent for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Protecting remnant populations of lake trout, stocking wild trout, preventing overfishing through protective regulations and controlling populations of the predatory sea lampreys are all keys to the recovery.
  6. Large-scale Mississippi River habitat projects improve fishing. Anglers can attest to the success of a federal/state effort to restore declining habitat along the Upper Mississippi River. The Environmental Management Program marks its 25th anniversary this year, with more than 50 large-scale habitat projects undertaken along the 1,200 mile long stretch of the river. Twenty-eight projects -- including five within the past decade and four specifically to benefit fisheries -- have restored more than 30,000 acres along Wisconsin's border. In 2010, work continued on the construction of island habitats in Pool 8, part of a five-phase Upper Mississippi River Environmental Management Program project (exit DNR) that was named one of the Seven Wonders of Engineering for 2002 by the Society of Professional Engineers. Planning started for sloughs on the Wisconsin side in Pool 9.
  7. Trophy musky haul among the top three. Anglers have been landing a growing number of big musky. In 2010, Muskies, Inc. members reported catching and releasing 72 muskies that were 48 inches or larger from Wisconsin waters. That ranks 2010 third for the number of 48-inch plus fish registered from Wisconsin waters. Top counties were Vilas, Oneida, Dane, Chippewa, Waukesha, Brown and Sawyer. The Muskies, Inc. registry is just one indicator -- there are many musky anglers that are not members and members who may not register their fish because they do not want people to see what they are catching and where -- but it's been a good index of the changes in the number of big fish caught over time statewide, says Tim Simonson, co-leader of DNR's musky committee. The Green Bay musky fishery, re-established through a generation of stocking on the bay, and more protective regulations, a growing catch and release ethic, and habitat protection, statewide, have also played into the growing numbers in recent years, as has increased angler interest in the fishery.
  8. Wisconsin maintains a solid walleye fishery that accommodates sport and tribal harvest. More than a quarter century after a U.S. federal court reaffirmed the Ojibwe's rights to spearfish off-reservation in northern Wisconsin, fish populations are intensively monitored, stable and able to accommodate a sport harvest and tribal harvest. Within the Ceded Territory, anglers have caught about 750,000 walleye and harvested 250,000 of them annually over the last five years, according to creel surveys.
  9. Successful containment of VHS fish virus so far and implementation of rules that will help protect against the next big (or microscopic) invader. Testing of fish in 2010 for VHS fish virus, which can be deadly to more than two dozen fish species, again found that the virus has not spread to new waters. VHS was first detected in the Great Lakes in 2005 and in Wisconsin's Lake Michigan and Lake Winnebago system waters in 2007. Wisconsin passed protective rules aimed at preventing the spread of VHS in 2007 and the virus has not spread beyond those waters where it was first detected or assumed to be present. The rules, which restrict the movement of water and live fish from one waterbody to another, also prevent the spread of other fish diseases and invasive species such as zebra mussels and spiny water fleas.
  10. Chinook harvests hit record levels. Chinook fishing in Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan was phenomenal starting in 2003 and peaking in 2007 when anglers reeled in the highest recorded harvest of chinook. That year, anglers caught an estimated total of 431,143 chinook, the most since angler, or "creel," surveys started in 1969. The phenomenal fishing reflects a confluence of factors including the success of DNR's stocking program for Lake Michigan, efforts by DNR fish management specialists to address fish health problems in earlier years, and clean up efforts that have improved water quality in the lake. The fishing has cooled off some since the heyday as Wisconsin and other states around the lake have reduced stocking to bring fish populations more in line with the forage base. Angler harvest levels are therefore likely to be somewhat lower than those earlier in the past decade but average fish size should be better.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Staggs (608) 267-0796



Wisconsin residents now need to recycle used oil filters

MADISON -- "Each year, Wisconsinites throw away an estimated 187,000 gallons of oil in used oil filters and 1.6 million gallons of oil in oil absorbents," says Jack Connelly, solid waste program coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources waste and materials management program. "Oil is a valuable, reusable material. By recycling filters and absorbent material, used oil can be extracted and reused."

A new law bans the disposal of used automotive oil filters and oil absorbent materials in landfills in Wisconsin as of January 1, 2011. The ban covers everyone in the state, including homeowners, farmers, businesses, industrial operations, and others.

The oil filters and absorbents ban is intended to keep these materials out of Wisconsin landfills and out of the landfill leachate that is collected from landfills and often treated at municipal wastewater treatment facilities.

Filters also contain steel components that can be recycled. Recycling the approximately nine million filters that currently enter the landfill will save more than 4.5 million pounds of steel for reuse.

Recycling options for oil filters and oil absorbent materials are available throughout the state. Many businesses that perform oil changes will accept used oil filters. Some communities allow used oil and oil filters to be collected at their waste transfer stations or at specific collection sites.

People should contact their local recycling program for more information. To find other recycling options in your community, see the Wisconsin Recycling Markets Directory (exit DNR; to find oil filters recyclers, select the "Motor Vehicle Items" category and select oil filters. To find oil absorbent recyclers, select the "Other Materials" category and select oil absorbents) on the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education website.

Used filters may also be used as a fuel supplement in an approved municipal solid waste combuster. Oil absorbent materials may be taken to an approved biopile at a landfill, used as a fuel supplement in an approved municipal solid waste combuster, or recycled.

More information on the ban, including more information on what the ban covers is available in a oil filter and absorbent recycling media kit on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jack Connelly at (608) 267-7574



Porcupine ecology on snowshoes clinic offered

BABCOCK, Wis. - Learn about more than 14 years of winter research conducted by area high school students on porcupines at the Sandhill Wildlife Area Sandhill at an upcoming clinic at the Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center.

The porcupine ecology clinic will be held on Saturday, February 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Participants will join skills center staff on snowshoes to visit porcupine winter dens to learn about these fascinating and incredibly prickly rodents. The Skills Center will provide snowshoes.

Registration is limited to 20 people ages 12 and up on a first-come, first-served basis. Register by mailing in a $15 per person fee by Jan. 28. Checks should be made out to DNR-Skills Center. Include the name of each participant, and the address and daytime phone number of one person in each party. Participants may stay in the center's dorm on the night before or after the course for a donation of $15 per person per night. Send your registration fee to: Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, PO Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413. Inquiries on the status of registrations may be sent via e-mail to:

The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center is located 20 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids on County Highway X, 1 mile north of Highway 80 near Babcock, Wisconsin on the 9,000 acre Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Wildlife Area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandhill Skills Center at: (715) 884-6333 or (715) 884-2437


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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