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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published June 7, 2011

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Hot action ahead for northern zone bass harvest opener

Cool spring means bass still spawning

RHINELANDER -- The northern bass zone harvest season opens June 18 and the cool spring is likely to deliver some hot fishing action, state fish biologists say.

"The cool spring means the bass are spawning later than normal," says Steve Avelallemant, Department of Natural Resources fisheries supervisor in northern Wisconsin. "They're going to be easier to fish because they will still be on the beds in many waters on opening day of the harvest season."

Avelallemant encourages anglers to enjoy the fast action but consider practicing catch and release for a while longer, especially for large bass.

"Overall, we don't have a huge concern, but one of the things that can happen when they are that vulnerable is you can overharvest large fish. So please let those big dogs go to complete spawning if you do happen to catch them," Avelallemant says.

Statewide, anglers tend to release far more bass than they keep: a statewide mail survey of anglers showed that only 550,335 of the 10,073,286 smallmouth and largemouth bass caught during the 2006-7 survey year were harvested, about 5.4 percent. .

There are waters in the northern zone, however, where DNR biologists are actively encouraging harvest of largemouth bass right out of the gate, although the reasons vary. These waters have no minimum length limit for all bass although most have few if any smallmouth present.

"On many of these waters largemouth bass have always been the dominant predator but they have become overabundant and slow growing," Avelallemant says. "They could use some thinning, especially of the small fish."

In other waters, where once naturally abundant walleye populations have declined, the DNR is encouraging harvest of expanding largemouth bass populations as one measure to help rehabilitate walleye populations.

"Take a look in the regulations pamphlet under the county headings to find those waters with have no minimum length for bass," Avelallemant says. Most of these waters also will have signs posted at the landings.

Chippewa Flowage largemouth bass regulations change

The Chippewa Flowage in Sawyer County is one of those waters where walleye are in decline. It's also a water which has good numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. The DNR is encouraging anglers to harvest largemouth bass by removing the 14-inch size limit for largemouth bass only. That regulation takes effect with the June 18 start of the "harvest" fishing season in the northern zone. The 14-inch size limit remains in effect for smallmouth bass, and biologists are encouraging people to release all smallmouth bass caught, even legal sized ones.

"This is a test case on the separation of these species, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass," Avelallemant says. "It is a focused effort and it results from the slow growth rates of largemouth bass in this particular flowage. Smallmouth bass growth rates are not as slow, however."

There also is a concern that the abundant largemouth bass populations may be one of the factors potentially impacting the walleye population in the Chippewa Flowage by eating young walleyes, says Dave Neuswanger, DNR fisheries team supervisor at Hayward.

"The crux of the matter is what was historically a top producing walleye fishery is declining and the bass harvest portion is one potential element in the rehabilitation," Avelallemant says.

The DNR used its authority to change the regulation on a temporary basis due to slow growth rates effective with the June 18 harvest season opener and until a long-term rule can be developed through the usual rule-making process.

To help determine that long-term rule, the DNR will conduct extensive surveys of anglers on the Chippewa Flowage during the 2011 fishing season. Fisheries scientists will be able to estimate harvest of largemouth bass and other species to see if the new regulation works as hoped.

"To date, we have marked 540 largemouth bass that our creel clerks will be watching for as they interview anglers who have harvested bass," Neuswanger says. "We hope to get an estimate of the exploitation rate of largemouths based on the proportion of marked fish seen by the clerks."

DNR and the Lake Chippewa Flowage Resort Association and Chippewa Flowage Area Property Owners Association are launching a comprehensive information campaign to help inform anglers of the new regulation for largemouth bass and to help provide information to so anglers can tell largemouth and smallmouth bass apart.

The Lake Chippewa Flowage Resort Association and Chippewa Flowage Area Property Owners Association are paying printing costs for posters for access area bulletin boards, flyers for posting at bait shops and fish cleaning houses around the lake, and flyers for posting in cabins and handing out to inquisitive anglers.

Key among those differences is that largemouth bass have, well, a large mouth. They also are dark green above, with a white belly, usually have a visible horizontal stripe along the side, and their upper jaw always extends beyond back of eye.

Season regulations and forecasts

The northern bass harvest season runs from June 18, 2011, through March 4, 2012. The northern zone is the area north of highways 77, 64 and 29, with Highway 10 as the dividing line. The daily limit is five bass in total, with a minimum length of 14 inches. Check the "Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations 2011-2012" for special regulations on some waters.

Anglers will find forecasts for bass fishing in many of their favorite northern waters in the 2011 Wisconsin Fishing Report (pdf).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Avelallemant (715) 365-8987



Anglers can reel in prizes for introducing someone to fishing

[Editor's note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, DNR has modified the promotional giveaway program so that anglers who pledge online to introduce someone new to fishing will be entered in a drawing for fishing-related prizes, including a personalized custom-carved fish sculpture. The prize list will not include tickets to see a baseball game in Milwaukee.]

MADISON -- A trio of initiatives to get more people out fishing in Wisconsin will net some lucky anglers big prizes beyond the fun they have and the fish they catch, the state's fisheries director says.

"There's great fishing all across Wisconsinites," says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin's fisheries director. "We hope these new promotions can lure more people out onto the water to cast a few and to introduce someone new to the fun of fishing."

Wisconsin has 15,081 inland lakes, 44,000 miles of perennially flowing streams, two Great Lakes and 260 miles of the mighty Mississippi River. The Take Me Fishing pages of the DNR website are a great place to start finding the fishing experience you're after, Staggs says.

The promotions are also aimed at helping connect new people to fishing, Staggs says. "It's important to get the next generation out fishing so they will begin to understand and appreciate the state's valuable fisheries and aquatic resources," he says.

Getting more people out on the water is also important for providing the funding necessary to help sustain and improve fishing and fish populations in Wisconsin. That's because its funding comes from fishing license sales and a federal grant from federal excise taxes on the sale of fishing gear that sends $9 to Wisconsin for each fishing license sold.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, license sales and federal grants account for 99.5 percent of the $26.8 million fisheries budget, with general purpose tax revenues contributing $140,000.

Wisconsin typically sells about 1.4 million fishing licenses. Fishing generates a $2.75 billion economic impact in Wisconsin, supporting more than 30,000 jobs and generating more than $200 million in tax revenues for local and state government, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Related Recreation and the American Sportfishing Association's "Sportfishing in America," report [] (PDF; exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Staggs (608) 267-0796; Karl Scheidegger (608)267-9426



Take Dad Fishing with this Printable certificate

MADISON - Kids of all ages can fill out a certificate to give their father a gift he'll really like -- a future fishing trip with them.

The fishing certificate can be downloaded and printed from the Department of Natural Resources EEK!, Environmental Education for Kids website, which is designed for children in grades 4-8. EEK! and the DNR fisheries management program have teamed up to offer the gift certificates. EEK! provides information about plants, animals, and the environment and receives more than 100,000 visitors a month.

"Kids and fishing naturally go together, so we thought this was a perfect opportunity to encourage kids to take someone important in their lives outside for a day of fishing and fun," says Carrie Morgan, EEK! editor.

"Have a great time, and remember to take a camera and send us a picture, and a Big Fish story," she says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Karl Scheidegger (608) 267-9426; Carrie Morgan (608) 26 7-5239



Great Lakes Photo Contest Winners Announced

MADISON - Five photographers from Wisconsin earned top honors for their entries in the Department of Natural Resources' third annual Wisconsin's Great Lakes" photography contest. Their photos will be featured in a calendar available this summer at the Wisconsin State Fair.

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Great Lakes photo contest slide show.

Carolee Euritt-Salat of Land O'Lakes, Karen Gersonde of Milwaukee, Eric Poggemann of Fredonia, and John M. Glowacki of Carey, Illinois won first place honors in the contest's four categories.

Tim Feathers of Schofield, Jessica Zalewski of Milwaukee, and John M. Glowacki of Carey, Ill., won second place for their photographs. Feathers, Poggemann, and Euritt-Salat also submitted photos that received "honorable mention" awards.

Their photos will be featured in the 2011-2012 sixteen-month calendar that the DNR Office of the Great Lakes will give out at the 2011 Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, Aug. 4-14, 2011, according to Jo Temte, the Great Lakes office water specialist who coordinates the contest.

Photographers from across Wisconsin as well as from Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Nevada submitted more than 200 photographs. "We received so many beautiful photos for this year's contest," says Ken Johnson, Water Division Administrator. "The people of Wisconsin and beyond really value our magnificent Great Lakes, and that is reflected in the images we receive each year."

The DNR also coordinates a "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" Writing Project and this year received 14 poems, 11 of which can be found on the Office of the Great Lakes website. Four poems by Mayann Hurtt of Elkhart Lake, Liz Smith of Mellen, Bonnie Dickmann of Cedar Grove, and Karen Gersonde of Milwaukee, will be featured in this year's calendar.

DNR's Office of the Great Lakes will begin accepting photos for next year's contest starting Aug. 1, 2011.




Two centennials anchor the June issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

MADISON -- The June cover story of Wisconsin Natural Resources, Devil's Lake delivers 100 years of stories, is timely as the state's most popular State Park celebrates its centennial. A tour of the park by Diane Pillsbury, assistant naturalist, provides evidence of past activity from summer cottages to a quarry. Find out how to enter your Devil's Lake photos in a contest and look for special events to plan a centennial visit.

Wisconsin Natural Resources

Another reason for Wisconsin to celebrate is featured in the story, Growing up, which looks at the state nursery system as it also turns 100. Find out what it takes to reach the lofty goal of providing a consistent supply of high quality seedlings at an economic price to landowners interested in reforestation.

A watershed year takes the pulse of Wisconsin lakes and looks to future management challenges. In time for watering gardens and the lawn, Water conservation and efficiency, provides advice for how to save water and money.

Carrying out the mission, takes readers underwater with the DNR dive team while Weevil warriors explains how the invasive spotted knapweed can take over large areas and reduce forage and wildlife habitat, but how efforts are being made to biologically control the dreaded plant.

As a bonus, the issue contains a poster featuring art work by Drew Wandschneider of Cedarburg High School. He won the Garbage to gardens: Compost grows poster contest sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources. The back of the poster features helpful information for getting started composting.

And spring finds Creature Comforts reminding people to leave wildlife alone and take caution in helping those pokey turtles cross the road. Traveler gets us in the mood for summertime - finally! Pedal, paddle or make like a pedestrian as you explore everything from light houses to kites and balloons.

Consider the magazine as a thoughtful gift (Father's Day will be here before you know it!) that you can share throughout the year. Six colorful issues are delivered to reader's doors all year for less than $1.50 a copy. Year-round the magazine shares ways and place to enjoy the Wisconsin outdoors for only $8.97. Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from the magazine circulation office at PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Kassulke, editorial, at (608) 261-8446 or Karen Ecklund, circulation editor, at (608) 267-7410




[EDITOR'S ADVISORY--CORRECTION: A May 17, 2011 news release on a requirement for facilities that draw large quantities of groundwater to register with the state has been updated with a correction. Only facilities that have a water supply system with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or 70 gallons per minute or more on their property are required to register with the state by June 30, 2011. Facilities that have multiple water supply systems that are each capable of producing less than 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute) are not required to register. The corrected news release is available on the DNR website.]


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 07, 2011

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