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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published February 15, 2011

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52 fish over 100 pounds speared in first three days of sturgeon season

OSHKOSH - Big fish and challenging travel conditions were the story during the first three days of the Lake Winnebago System sturgeon spearing seasons.

Genske sturgeon
Josh Genske of Sheboygan speared this 185 pound, 80.2 inch female sturgeon Feb. 14, the largest fish taken in the first three days of the Lake Winnebago System seasons.
WDNR Photo

Through the end of spearing hours Monday, 881 fish system-wide had been harvested, with 52 of them, or 5.1 percent, weighing more than 100 pounds, according to Ron Bruch, Department of Natural Resources fisheries supervisor.

That includes the 185-pound, 80.2-inch female that Josh Genske of Sheboygan registered at the Calumet Harbor Station on Valentine's Day, and the 172.7-pound, 76.9-inch female registered by Jeffery Nozar of Oshkosh on opening day.

Those fish weigh in as the third and fifth largest sturgeon speared since DNR began keeping harvest records in 1941. Registration of all harvested fish began in 1955.

Seven of those top 10 fish have been speared in the last three years, Bruch says.

"The big fish we see now began growing into the 'big fish' category (100 pounds or more) just at the time when our new regulations were put in place to provide greater protection to them," Bruch says. "That's resulted in the impressive numbers of big fish in an expanded population overall of lake sturgeon we currently have in the Winnebago System."

Bruch says it's possible that the season could run the full 16 days allowed under law.

"Given the changing travel conditions on Lake Winnebago, it appears spearers will have many more days, possibly a full 16 days this year, to add to the top 10 list of biggest fish."

A list of the top 10 largest fish can be found on the Lake Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Season page of the DNR website.

Travel will likely be difficult for spearers

The deep snow and drifts spearers encountered on opening day of the seasons, Feb. 12, made it difficult to get around on the lake. That problem was compounded when warmer temperatures melted snow and made travel very sloppy. Windy conditions forecast for this week will push ice around, although colder temperatures forecast for the weekend may freeze up the slop and improve travel conditions by next week. "There's going to be a major adjustment for spearers to contend with over the next few days," Bruch says.

Spearers were closing in on the number of adult females that would trigger closure of the Upriver Lakes season. After Monday, there were 16 adult females left before hitting the trigger for the Upriver Lakes adult female harvest cap.

Lake Winnebago spearers after Monday were about one-third of the way to hitting the trigger for adult females on the big lake. Current updates are available on DNR's Lake Winnebago 2011 Sturgeon Spearing Season page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kendall Kamke, Winnebago fisheries biologist (920) 424-7880; or Ron Bruch, fisheries supervisor, (920) 424-3059.



2011 Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearing questionnaire available online

MADISON - The questionnaire package for the 2011 Department of Natural Resources Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearing and Annual Conservation Congress County Meeting and the list of meeting locations is now available for review on the Department of Natural Resources website.

On Monday, April 11, there will be 72 public hearings, one in each Wisconsin county starting at 7 p.m. where individuals interested in natural resources management will have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony to the Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Board and the Conservation Congress on proposed hunting and fishing rule changes and advisory questions. Printed copies of the questionnaire will be available after March 1.

The hearings, held annually, are combined with the county meetings during which residents can vote on and introduce their solutions to natural resources related issues.

The spring hearings cover three major areas: elections for county Conservation Congress delegates; proposed wildlife and fisheries rule changes that have been developed through previous Conservation Congress meetings; and Conservation Congress proposals for future rule development.

Among the wildlife rule proposals being considered are: eliminating the archery deer hunting season closure during the traditional November firearm season; allowing normal hunting hours for pheasants on weekends at stocked properties that otherwise close at 2 p.m.; establishing a September firearm and archery hunting season for elk that would run concurrently with the first 30 days of the archery deer hunting season that would be held after the elk population reaches 200 animals; extending each of the spring turkey hunting periods by two days; and allowing landowners, lessees or occupants of private land, or other people with their permission, to shoot a cougar that is in the act of killing, wounding or biting a domestic animal and require that the carcass of the cougar be turned over to the DNR.

Among the fisheries rule change proposals are: increasing the musky size limit on about 600 inland waters from 34 to 40 inches; increasing the minimum size limit from 15 to 18 inches and decreasing the daily bag limit from five to three fish in aggregate for walleye, sauger, and hybrids for most waters in 19 southern Wisconsin counties; requiring the use of "quick-strike" rigs when fishing with minnows 10 inches or longer as bait; and creating a continuous hook and line fishing season for cisco (lake herring), whitefish, and hybrids in the Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters with a possession and daily bag limit of 10 in total and no size limit.

In addition to the department's rule proposals, there will be a wide variety of advisory questions that the Congress will be asking citizens to gauge public support on various natural resource issues.

During the Conservation Congress county meetings, county residents have the option to run for a seat on the Conservation Congress and to elect delegates from their county to represent their views regarding natural resources issues on the Conservation Congress, the citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources. Also, individuals have the opportunity to bring forth new conservation issues of a statewide nature to the attention of the Conservation Congress through the citizen resolution process. Information about the process is also available on the Conservation Congress pages of the DNR Web site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kari Lee-Zimmerman - (208) 266-2952



Online maps show areas where farmers should avoid spreading manure

New video demonstrates what to do if a manure spill occurs

MADISON -- As Wisconsin enters the riskiest period for spreading manure on farm fields, farmers who don't have enough storage space to avoid spreading manure should not spread on high risk areas and have a manure spill response plan in place in case an accident happens, state agriculture and environmental officials say.

"The best practice is to avoid spreading when rain or melting snow is forecast." says Jim Vanden Brook, water quality section chief for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Protection. "Farmers who do need to spread can minimize runoff risks by avoiding sites that are prone to runoff."

Farmers can locate high risk sites on their property through online maps available through DATCP's Manure Management Advisory System [] (exit DNR). The maps identify where the risk of runoff from manure is highest because of the site's slope, soil type, and proximity to lakes, rivers, sinkholes and other sensitive features. The site also includes a National Weather Service map of predicted risk of runoff due to rain or snowmelt events.

New video shows how to respond to a manure spill to minimize damage

"Farmers who do need to spread, should do so very carefully and make sure they have a plan in place for who you're going to call and the steps you're going to take if runoff occurs or a spill happens," says Roxanne Chronert, spills team leader for the Department of Natural Resources.

A new video demonstrates techniques for containing manure spills or runoff to avoid losing that valuable nutrient and to keep it out of lakes, rivers and drinking water.

"A few simple steps and supplies can help avoid or minimize problems for the farmer and the environment if a spill or runoff occurs," she says. "And by reporting the spill immediately, we can help bring together resources to help contain the manure and prevent resource damage."

Under state law, spills must be reported immediately to the state spill hotline, 1-800-943-0003. The number is toll free and is available 24 hours a day.

Farmers can find example plans on DNR's Respond to Manure Spills web page that they can download, print off, fill out and post.

Manure-related problems can occur at any time of the year, but UW-Discovery Farms research suggests that February and March are the riskiest months for spreading. And current field conditions, snow depths and frost depths make winter 2011 particularly ripe for problems, said Discovery Farms Co-Director Dennis Frame in a Feb. 8 release] (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Roxanne Chronert, DNR (920) 662-5488; Jim Vanden Brook, DATCP (608) 224-4501; Steve Sisbach, DNR Environmental Enforcement, (608) 266-7317



Waupaca warden lauded for "Faithful, Able Service"

Dremel known for investigative skills, outreach programs

WAUPACA, Wis. - When Ted Dremel isn't hip-deep investigating crimes against Wisconsin's natural resources, he is organizing outdoor sports opportunities for kids, the physically challenged and senior war veterans.

These are among the reasons this 11-year veteran of the Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Service is the 2010 winner of the Haskell Noyes Conservation Warden Efficiency Award. The award is a gold watch provided by the Noyes family.

The annual honor named after the late prominent Milwaukee businessman Haskell Noyes for exemplary public service and natural resource protection.

"The Noyes Family will be pleased to present the Haskell Noyes Efficiency Award to Ted Dremel, a worthy recipient of 'The Watch,' later this spring in Waupaca," Chris Noyes, one of Mr. Noyes' grandsons, said. "Our family is honored to continue this 80-year tradition in partnership with the DNR."

"Ted has earned the public's trust and respect through his dedication to duty and leadership in his community," DNR Chief Warden Randy Stark said of Dremel, who has been stationed at Waupaca since 2006. "Ted has worked diligently at building a program that balanced enforcement, education and community involvement - while exceeding expectations in many other facets of the warden profession."

Dremel has led investigations in sensitive cases while never forgetting his public relations skills. He also has worked with other agencies in collaborative investigations. Among the more high-profile cases Dremel has been involved included the illegal slaughter of deer involving snowmobiles.

Known for his passion for creating outdoor opportunities for others, Dremel has organized and held a Learn to Hunt program annually for disabled hunters at the Hartman Creek State Park in the Waupaca area. He also has organized a hunt for senior veteran residents of the King Veterans Home in Waupaca on a local deer farm. And, he often can be found in the schools, or in front of business groups, civic and conservation groups sharing his skills, knowledge and abilities.

"This outreach has proved a great asset for his work as a warden and also for the Department as a whole," Stark said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Randy Stark - (608) 266-1115 or Joanne Haas -(608) 267-0798



Deadlines approach for ice fishing shelter removal

MADISON - The first of a number of deadlines for ice anglers to remove ice fishing shelters from inland and boundary waters is this weekend. All ice fishing shelters must be removed from Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters by Sunday, Feb. 20. This date, affecting the Mississippi River south of the Minnesota-Iowa border, is set to correspond with Iowa regulations.

The deadlines for the other two boundary waters are March 1 for Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters and March 15 for Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters.

For inland Wisconsin waters, ice fishing shelters must be removed daily and when not occupied after the first Sunday following March 1 for waters south of Highway 64 and after the first Sunday following March 12 for waters north of Highway 64. For 2011, those dates are:

One exception to this rule is that on the Fox River downstream from the DePere dam in Brown County, ice fishing shelters must always be removed from the ice daily and when not in use.

At this point in the season, ice conditions start to deteriorate and make removal unsafe and difficult. A shanty that breaks through the ice can create a safety hazard for boaters and anglers during open water season.

Failure to remove a shanty or ice fishing shelter by these deadlines could result in a forfeiture of $263.10. Additional costs may be incurred if the DNR must arrange to have the shanty removed or if the shanty or ice fishing shelter breaks through the ice and must be recovered and disposed of.

After these dates for removing ice fishing shelters from a frozen lake or river, an angler may continue to use a portable shelter but must remove it daily and when it is not occupied or actively being used.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller - (608) 267-2774 or Joanne Haas (608) 267-0798



Free Turkey Hunter Education Clinics dates set

MADISON -- Free Turkey Hunter Education Clinics will again be offered this year around the state. These free clinics are presented by volunteer instructors and are sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Clinics typically last two to three hours and are designed to cover wild turkey biology and behavior, hunting methods, regulations, safety precautions, and landowner / hunter ethics, as well as tips for scoring trophy birds and a few ideas for preparing turkeys at home. The Turkey Hunter Education Clinics are for all ages and experience levels from beginning turkey hunters interested in learning wild turkey hunting techniques to experienced wild turkey hunters looking to brush up on their skills and learn new techniques.

These clinics will be held from late February through late March. Information and a listing of the dates and locations for each clinic are now available on the wild turkey page of the DNR website or may be obtained by calling the DNR Customer Call Center from 7 a.m. through 10 p.m., seven days a week, at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463). For the latest additions or changes in the schedule, please refer to the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Walter - (608) 267-7861, Krista McGinley - (608) 264-8963 or Sharon Fandel - (608) 261-8458



2011 Wolf Awareness Week poster entries sought

MANITOWISH WATERS, Wis. - Wildlife artists have until April 20, 2011 to submit entries for the 2011 Wolf Awareness Week poster. More than 30,000 of these posters are distributed nationwide to a variety of institutions and individuals, including schools, nature centers, zoos and more.

The Timber Wolf Alliance has published a much sought-after, full-color poster promoting Wolf Awareness Week since 1990, and the posters often become collectors' items following publication.

The theme for the 2011 posters is "Why Wolves? Wolves' Role in a Healthy Ecosystem." Artwork can be specific or general as related to the theme. Entries must have wolves as the subject (gray, Mexican gray, red), and, if included, should include accurate habitat depictions in their native environment.

All artists working in a two dimensional medium are invited to enter the poster competition and entries from a wide range of artists and media are encouraged. For paintings, realism is preferred, and accuracy in portrayal of wolves' anatomy, pelage, and the surrounding habitat are critical. Entries should be submitted as either a transparency (slide) or a digital file format.

2010 Winning Wolf Awareness Week Poseter entry by artist Jon Ren

The chosen artist will receive prominent credit on the poster and website, 200 copies of the poster, and a $500 stipend. Entries must be postmarked no later than April 20, 2011. More information and an official entry form is available on the Timber Wolf Alliance website at [] (exit DNR).

The Timber Wolf Alliance's mission is to use education to promote and maintain a viable population of wolves in the Great Lakes region The alliance is a program of the North Lakeland Discovery Center of Manitowish Waters. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies and organizations are co-sponsors of Wolf Awareness Week.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Licia Johnson at 877-543-2085


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Last Revised: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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