June 9, 2015
MADISON - A rule to allow motor trolling while fishing on all inland waters of Wisconsin takes effect July 1, 2015.
Trolling means fishing by trailing any lure, bait or similar device that may be used to attract or catch fish from a boat propelled by means other than drifting, pedaling, paddling or rowing. Drifting or "row trolling" is allowed on all waters statewide. Previously motor trolling had been prohibited on waters unless allowed under special regulations.
The rule received extensive public input through Wisconsin Conservation Congress hearings and was reviewed and approved by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board. The rule extends trolling opportunities to all waters, said Tim Simonson, a DNR fisheries management specialist.
Under the new rule, in most counties anglers may troll using up to three hooks, baits or lures with no restrictions per boat. However, trolling is allowed with only one hook, bait or lure per angler and two hooks, baits or lures per boat in certain counties and in certain waters of other counties. For a listing of waters open to trolling with three hooks, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "trolling."
In addition to simplifying fishing regulations, Simonson said the rule will reduce confusion that may occur when a technique called "position fishing" is used. Position fishing involves fishing from a boat with a line that extends vertically into the water while the boat is maneuvered with a motor. The new rule allows anglers to trail at least one sucker, minnow or other bait or lure behind a moving motor boat, regardless of whether the occupants are casting other lures. It also provides additional fishing opportunities for anglers who may have difficulty fishing by other methods and would eliminate the need for disabled anglers to apply for trolling permits.
Simonson said analysis of available data indicates no difference between casting and trolling in terms of angling success or "catch rate" for muskellunge, walleye and northern pike.
The rule expires on May 4, 2018, but many anglers have expressed interest in continuing to make the trolling option available. The department will assess trolling over the next couple years and work with anglers to develop another trolling proposal for 2018 and beyond.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Simonson, DNR fisheries management specialist, 608-266-5222, email@example.com; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov