September 29, 2015
SUPERIOR, Wis. - An online survey, two public meetings and a public comment period that runs through Oct. 15 are part of efforts by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to develop new rules that protect lake trout populations while minimizing economic and recreational anger impacts.
Two public meetings to discuss next steps in aiding recovery of lake trout populations in Lake Superior are set for this week on Tuesday (Sept. 29) at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland and Thursday (Oct. 1) at Saxon Community Center. The public meetings will cover six regulation options developed by DNR fisheries biologists to help lake trout numbers recover and improve the long-term sustainability of the fishery.
Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, said anglers are being encouraged to provide feedback on the options through an online survey. The survey lists options in order of risk to meet or exceed the safe harvest quota, with the options least likely to result in an early closure of the fishery at the top.
After reviewing public input on the various options, the fisheries team will develop an emergency rule covering the recreational lake trout open season that runs from Dec. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016. The current emergency rule expires Sept. 30. Options for public consideration include:
Margenau stressed that more liberal regulation options may result in reaching the quota prior to Sept. 30, 2016 and require a season closure. Population assessments over the last six to eight years indicate that the decline in lake trout abundance is largely due to harvest. Recent research by the fisheries team show lake trout numbers remain well below historical averages.
Lake trout often live more than 40 years and do not reach sexual maturity until they are eight to 10 years old. As a result, the lake trout stock must be carefully managed to address the needs of many stakeholders including commercial fishers, sport anglers and a host of associated businesses that all depend on a strong lake trout fishery in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior.
This week's meetings will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday's meeting will be at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center, 29270 Highway G in Ashland. Thursday's meeting will be at the Saxon Community Center, 2 Church St., Saxon.
The survey can be found at: 22.selectsurvey.net/DNR/LakeTroutRegOptions.
Citizens also may provide feedback by mailing Terry L. Margenau, Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 589, 141 S. Third Street Bayfield, WI 54814; or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.