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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published June 20, 2017

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First state live release fish records set

Contact(s): Karl Scheidegger, 608-267-9426

Six traditional records fall in a stringer of great fish tales

MADISON - Four Wisconsin anglers have reeled in their place in fishing history by establishing the first state records for fish caught and released live.

Rod Eberly of Appleton submitted the first ever application under the new live release state record fish program launched earlier this year by the Department of Natural Resources. Eberly's historic catch was a 17.75-inch white bass caught and released May 8 from the Fox River in Brown County.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 10 photos

State record fish fall like rain in 2017

Eric Amenda from Germantown caught and released an 8.25-inch pumpkinseed sunfish on May 28 from Pleasant Lake in Waushara County.

Dennis Wilkerson of Twin Lakes caught and released a 10.5-inch rock bass on June 10 from Powers Lake in Kenosha County.

Ben Halfen of Prairie du Sac caught and released a 10.5-inch bluegill on June 16 from Reynard Lake in Bayfield County, establishing the first live release state record for bluegill.

"We've heard from anglers over the years that they wanted an opportunity to get recognized for catching and releasing trophy fish, so we're happy to say we have our first live release records on the books and look forward to many more," says Justine Hasz, DNR fisheries director.

DNR recognizes live release records by length for specific fish species meeting qualifying lengths. The angler is required to submit an official record application and photos showing the fish lying along a ruler or other measuring device, and with the angler. The photos and application are reviewed and certified by DNR fish biologists. New live release records must exceed the existing record by at least 1/4 inch.

The new live release records program is part of a larger effort to promote quality fishing and encourage the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species. Similar efforts have found success in other states and among some national record-keeping organizations.

Six traditional records and a stringer of great fish tales

Anglers in the traditional state fish record categories landed six new records -- and some even better fish tales - in the first half of 2017. DNR recognizes anglers who have legally taken the largest fish on record by hook and line, as well as those fish that have been taken by alternate methods including spearing or bowfishing.

Among the record setters is a pair of brothers, a Madison teenager who set his second state fish record after a frenetic race for the golden shiner record in 2011, and a Denmark angler who broke his own record. Traditional categories are determined by fish weight, with anglers needed to have the fish weighed on a certified scale. DNR recognizes anglers who have legally taken the largest fish on record by hook and line, as well as those fish that have been taken by alternate methods including spearing or bowfishing.

2017 By Weight records (hook and line)

Weight records (alternate method)

Shawn Schmidt of Denmark bettered his own record with a 9.5-inch, 13-ounce pumpkinseed speared on May 13 from Silver Lake in Washington County.

For more information on state record fish and the process anglers should take if they have caught a fish that might be a state record by weight or under the new live release program, visit and search "record fish."



Natural Resources Board to meet June 27-28 in Hudson

Contact(s): Laurie Ross, board liaison, 608-267-7420; Jim Dick, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773

MADISON - A request for approval of the Menominee River State Recreation Area Master Plan, a request to approve management plans for 12 State Natural Areas, and a request to initiate an amendment process for the Kohler-Andrae State Park Master Plan are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets June 28 in Hudson.

The regular business meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 28, in the County Board Room of the St. Croix County Government Center, 1101 Carmichael Road, Hudson. On Tuesday, June 27, the board will tour and/or receive presentations at locations around the Hudson area beginning at 11:20 a.m. at the UW-Hudson Center, 2501 Hanley Road.

The Menominee River State Recreation Area encompasses 7,652 acres of land in Dickinson and Menominee Counties, Mich., and Marinette County, Wis. The Menominee River Area master plan process is a collaborative effort between both the Wisconsin and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources. With public ownership on both sides of the river, this joint master plan will help create a "one place, one feel" experience. The board action will address only Wisconsin recreational and conservation goals.

A view of the Menominee River from river's edge.
A view of the Menominee River from river's edge.
Photo Credit: DNR

The DNR has developed Tier 3 management plans for 12 State Natural Areas located in Brown, Columbia, Door and Sauk counties. Tier 3 properties are smaller in size (ranging from 34 to 499 acres), have little infrastructure, and have narrowly-defined property objectives and goals. The purpose of SNAs is to protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin's native landscapes, significant geological formations, and archeological sites. They also provide habitat for rare, nongame, and game species and provide unique recreational opportunities.

The DNR is requesting board approval to initiate a process to consider amending the master plan for Kohler-Andrae State Park to evaluate a request from the Kohler Company to use approximately 5 acres of park property for access and a maintenance facility for an 18-hole golf course the company is proposing to construct on land it owns adjacent to the park. Kohler has also submitted applications for wetland and waterway permits from the department, but those permits will be evaluated separately from the master plan amendment process. Any permission for Kohler to use park lands would be contingent upon the company receiving all approvals needed for its project from other DNR programs as well as from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or local officials. The master plan amendment process provides several opportunities for public input and would require final approval by the board at a future meeting.

The complete board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas." []

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to attend the Tuesday tours and/or to testify at the board meeting. The deadline to register to attend the tours, testify, or submit written comments is 11 a.m. on Friday, June 23, 2017. Registration information is available on the agenda on the DNR website.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.



Online chats answer questions about oak wilt, jumping worms, zebra mussels and other forest and aquatic pests

Contact(s): Colleen Robinson Klug, 608-266-2172 (forestry); Andrea Diss-Torrance, 608-264-9247 (forestry); Bernie Williams, 608-266-0624 (forestry); Tim Campbell, 608-267-3531 (AIS); Maureen Ferry, 608-261-6450 (AIS)

MADISON - Before hitting the woods for a camping trip or the lake for fishing, Wisconsin residents can join in live online chats on Tuesday, June 27, and Wednesday, June 28, at noon to learn about firewood rules and other ways to slow the spread of forest pests and aquatic invasive species. 

Eurasian watermilfoil leaves
Eurasian watermilfoil leaves
Photo Credit: Contributed

Oak wilt, jumping worms, Eurasian water milfoil, and other invasive species are threats to the forests and waterways of Wisconsin, but few invasive species are present everywhere in the state. Simple precautions - like buying local firewood and inspecting boats for aquatic plants and animals before leaving the launch - continue to make a huge difference for places that remain free of certain pests and diseases.

To participate in a chat, visit and click on the graphic or search the phrase "ask the experts". You can also join the conversation via the department's Facebook page at - select the tab labeled "Ask the Experts Chat" at the top of the page.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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