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Fishing WisconsinLake Superior lake trout harvest

fighting a lake trout

Lake trout are a popular target in the Lake Superior fishery.

Lake trout harvest (WI-2 waters) - the lake trout season will open on December 1, 2018

lake trout harvest counter

Harvest chronology

Click on the blue triangle below to see lake trout harvest totals for 2017-2018. Harvest totals will be updated monthly. The season may close when the harvest total reaches the trigger of 75% of the overall quota.

Lake trout harvest totals 2017-2018
Date Month Harvest Total Harvest Number to reach trigger
Dec '17
Jan '18
Feb '18
Mar '18
Apr '18
May '18
June '18
July '18
Aug '18
Sept '18

Lake trout sport angler quota calculation

The lake trout sport angler allocation for WI-2 during the 2017 and 2018 fishing season is 15,715 fish. Angler harvest is monitored with the use of a creel survey and mandatory charter captain reports. A harvest trigger has been set at 75% of the overall quota (15,715 fish x 0.75 = 11,786 fish) to prevent overharvest of lake trout. When the 11,786 fish trigger is reached, lake trout fishing in WI-2 may be immediately closed, with no more fishing for lake trout. The trigger was set to account for delays in data processing during times of potential high harvest.

Current status of the lake trout season

Although the trigger has been reached, the decision at this time is to keep the lake trout season open. This decision is based on current and historical harvest trends. The historical harvest during September has been below 1,000 fish; therefore, it has been decided to continue to allow fishing until the total harvest gets closer to the safe harvest limit (15,715). If a closure is needed, we will announce at least 5 days prior to season closure on this website, through press releases, and at popular fishing access points on Lake Superior.

Lake Superior lake trout management

Lake trout harvest zones

The lake trout in Lake Superior are managed within two harvest zones (WI-1 and WI-2). Lake trout numbers have declined in the WI-2 zone – the Apostle Islands area of Lake Superior - during the past eight to ten years.  As a result, harvest quotas have been reduced for sport and commercial fishers. 

How was this regulation selected? Over the past several years, Fisheries Management has asked anglers for input regarding various lake trout regulation options. This past fall, anglers participated in a poll that included four different bag and length limit options (see below) and the associated risk with each option reaching the quota before the end of the season (September 30th).

Lake trout harvest zones

Results from the survey indicated a majority of participants supported a regulation that included a bag of two lake trout with a 15 inch minimum and one fish that could be longer than 25 inches.  This regulation option allows the greatest harvest opportunity but also has moderate risk of reaching the quota prior to the end of the season.

Contact information

For more information: Bradley Ray, Biologist, Lake Superior Work Unit

Last revised: Wednesday October 17 2018