Contact(s): Joanna Griffin, 264-8953; Jonathan Pyatskowit, 715-526-3227
MADISON -- Anglers and other people interested in Wisconsin's trout resources are invited to apply to serve on an advisory team that will help the Department of Natural Resources start developing a plan to guide trout management over the next decade.
The plan would address trout habitat, stocking, and other management issues in Wisconsin. The advisory team would meet on three Saturdays in winter 2018 and would help the DNR brainstorm issues, set broad goals and define needs, says Joanna Griffin, DNR's trout coordinator.
"We're looking for people who are not members of organizations like the Conservation Congress and Trout Unlimited that will already have representatives on the advisory team," Griffin says. "People do not need to be trout anglers, but have an interest in the future of Wisconsin's trout resources."
People who are interested in serving on the advisory team can fill out an online form through Nov. 30. Four people will be selected by DNR's trout team to serve on the advisory team as at-large members, one from each of four regions. Search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "trout management" to apply.
The four at-large members will serve alongside anglers, landowners, tourism officials, Conservation Congress members and tribal representatives selected by DNR biologists to represent diverse interests in Wisconsin's trout resources, Griffin says.
"We're already going to have a diverse group represented on our stakeholder advisory team, but adding at-large members is another way we're trying to be proactive and capture all interests out there."
In recent years, DNR has been creating or updating management plans for different fish species and major waters. Management plans have recently been created for panfish and bass and for the Lake Michigan fishery, Griffin says.
"Wisconsin's trout resources are important recreational, environmental and economic assets," Griffin says. "We need a plan to help us sustainably manage them so future generations can enjoy them and the benefits they bring local communities."
Wisconsin has more than 13,000 miles of trout streams, including more than 5,300 miles, or 40 percent, that are Class 1 streams with naturally self-sustaining populations of wild trout. Another 46 percent, or 6,120 miles, are Class 2 trout streams that have some natural reproduction but require stocking to maintain a desirable sport fishery.
A 2017 study by a UW-La Crosse economics professor [PDF] (exit DNR) shows the impact trout resources can have on local communities. The study estimates that trout fishing and trout restoration work generates a $1.6 billion annual impact in the nationally-renowned Driftless Area, which encompasses 24,000 square miles in southwest and western Wisconsin along with portions in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.