June 1, 2011
MADISON -- Trout anglers are finding this spring's cool, rainy weather to their liking.
Anglers in southern and western Wisconsin in particular report having an outstanding start to the 2011 trout fishing season, say state fisheries management and stream monitoring officials.
Trout anglers of all ages reported success in May from a variety of waters.
"The cool spring has kept both stream-side and in-stream vegetation down, allowing good access to most streams," says Mike Miller, a stream ecologist who helps coordinate stream monitoring for the Department of Natural Resources and is an avid trout angler.
"Continued above average stream-flows have created more habitat for trout allowing for higher fish reproduction and greater trout densities. And there have been good hatches of mayflies and caddisflies throughout the early season as well," he says.
Heath Benike, senior fisheries biologist for Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, reports that trout fishing has been very good in western Wisconsin. "Streams are in good condition and no major flooding has occurred this spring," he says.
"With the cool spring trout were very active and water temps are lower than normal for this time of the year. This is good news for trout anglers, since trout are a coldwater fish they generally bite best when water temperatures are in the 55-65 degree range and most streams are in that temperature window at this time."
With a few weeks left before spring officially ends, Miller passes on these tips to help trout anglers maximize their time on the water:
Improved mapping techniques are revealing that there are more miles of trout water to love in Wisconsin.
Len Harris Photo
The total 10,651 miles of classified trout water used on older DNR web pages and publications were derived from using a ruler or map wheel to estimate stream lengths on a paper map. DNR staff updated that figure using a geographic information system (GIS) line feature with many more bends and meanders than a person could accurately measure, according to Matt Rehwald, a DNR surface water data analyst.
The result? There are 13,175.82 trout miles in the state based on these improved mapping techniques and updated trout waters work. Of that new total, 5,400 miles are Class 1 waters, high quality trout waters that have sufficient natural reproduction to sustain populations of wild trout, at or near carrying capacity.
Slightly more waters, 5,911.6 miles are Class 2, which may have some natural reproduction, but not enough and stocking is required to maintain a desirable sport fishery. These more nutrient-enriched streams often produce larger trout since they often have higher densities of minnows and other trout food. The remaining 1,864 miles are Class 3, where there is marginal trout habitat with no natural reproduction occurring. These waters require annual stocking of trout to provide trout fishing.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Miller (608) 267-2753 or your local fish biologist