Saturday, January 31, 2009

Greg Kessler named “Wildlife Biologist of the Year”

BRULE – Greg Kessler, Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager at Brule, was recently named Wildlife Biologist of the Year by his colleagues. Kessler was honored for his numerous contributions to that state’s wildlife program in Douglas and northwestern Bayfield County.

In presenting the award at an annual statewide wildlife meeting, Tom Hauge, Wildlife Management bureau chief said that “in assisting public and private landowners, Greg‘s work ranges from forest management for ruffed grouse, deer, bear and woodcock to grassland management for songbirds, waterfowl and turkeys to Pine Barrens management for sharp-tailed grouse and turkeys.” Hauge added that Kessler participates in hunter and trapper education and has helped organized and conduct turkey and bear learn-to-hunt programs, a new archery club and range, county sports shows, hunters’ expos, and Master Gardener training programs.

In Douglas and northwestern Bayfield counties, Kessler manages four State Natural Areas and is the DNR liaison to a natural areas friends’ group. Other program work includes timber wolf population monitoring and management. He has issued permits to landowners to control wolves causing agricultural damage and conducts surveys for pine martins, trumpeter swans, anurans, Sandhill cranes, and marsh birds.

Hauge said that to accomplish these tasks Kessler has developed excellent working relationships with forestry, fisheries, and law enforcement programs, natural resource agencies such as County Land Conservation Departments, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and local sports clubs. “His positive ‘can do’ attitude and his many wildlife management accomplishments has truly made him deserving of this year’s Wildlife Biologist of the Year Award,” Hauge said.

John Olson receives 2008 Wildlife Leadership Award

ASHLAND – John Olson, Department of Natural Resources Furbearer Ecologist stationed at Ashland, recently received the 2008 Wildlife Leadership award from his colleagues. The award is given annually to department wildlife staff who show outstanding performance in a program that supports wildlife management.

In presenting the award at a statewide wildlife meeting, DNR Wildlife Management Bureau Chief Tom Hauge said, “Olson is an inspiration to others and those touched by his presence are better people.”

Olson oversees the Wisconsin Fur School. He expanded it from a DNR training for wardens and wildlife personnel to UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, and Northland College students. The school is now nationally recognized as a model. Hauge noted Olson has worked tirelessly on Best Management Practices for trapping and cable restraints.

“John assists wildlife research to develop better survey methods for otter and beaver,” Hauge said, “and he works out solutions to problems and rule changes with partner groups including the Wisconsin Trapper’s Association.”

Olson chairs the Furbearer Species Advisory Committee for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. The trapping regulations, furbearer forecasts, cable restraint and coyote publication all have his touch, Hauge explained.

His wide knowledge and expertise in other fields have made Olson a member of the Wolf Management and Wild Rice Committees and liaison to the County Forest Association and Conservation Congress Fur Harvest Committee. He is also a member of the U.S. Furbearer Conservation Technical Working Group.

“John has developed more than 40 rule proposals to improve laws for furbearer management in Wisconsin,” Hauge said. When not in public service, he added, Olson can be found harvesting wild rice, cross-country skiing, competing in the Birkie, kayaking, canoeing, hunting and trapping.

Dalhquist named Conservation Warden for Forest County

SPOONER – Brad Dahlquist has been named Conservation Warden for Forest County, according to John Gozdzialski, Department of Natural Resource's Northern Region Director. Warden Dahlquist replaces Rick Koch who recently retired.

Dahlquist will be responsible for all field conservation and environmental law enforcement activities in Forest County. He will be stationed at Crandon.

Formerly from Brownstown, IN, Dahlquist started with the department in January of 2008 and has been undergoing intensive conservation law enforcement training in the last year.

Dahlquist said he is looking forward to working along side the many respected wardens in the Northern Region and serving the citizens of his county.

A graduate of Vincennes College, Dahlquist holds an Associates Degree in Conservation Law Enforcement. Dahlquist served in the Unites States Army with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, NC as an airborne infantryman. He completed two overseas tours with Charlie Company 1-325th AIR to Iraq and Afghanistan in efforts of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

In his spare time Warden Dahlquist enjoys spending time with family and friends, hunting, and fishing.

Casey Kruger named Conservation Warden Supervisor

SPOONER – Casey Krueger has been named Conservation Warden Supervisor of the Park Falls Warden team, according to John Gozdzialski, Department of Natural Resource's Northern Region Director. Warden Krueger replaces Warden Supervisor David Oginski who transferred to the Ashland Warden Supervisor position.

Krueger will be responsible for supervising field wardens and law enforcement activities in Rusk, Taylor, Price, Lincoln, and Langlade counties.

Formerly from Antigo, Krueger started with the department in 1997 as a park ranger at Hartman Creek State Park and a year later was hired as a full time conservation warden.

Following training, Krueger was stationed in Oconto County. He transferred to Columbia County in 2000.

A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Krueger holds a bachelors degree in Natural Resource Management and a double minor in natural science and law enforcement.

Krueger said he is looking forward to the new position and welcomes the opportunity to work with dedicated department employees and serving the citizens of his area.

In his spare time, Krueger enjoys spending time recreating in the outdoors with family and friends and hunting with his two dogs.

Warden Supervisor Krueger will have an office in the Lemay Forestry center in Tomahawk.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Name of the condition: Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

Cause of disease: Virus - extremely serious viral disease of fresh and saltwater fish

What does it look like? At a low level of infection, fish might not display any symptoms. As the infection becomes greater, however, fish will display widespread hemorrhages (bleeding) throughout body surface (eye, skin and fins) and within the internal organs (swim bladder, intestine, kidney etc). Because of the bleeding, gills and liver might appear pale. Sick fish will often be listless, swim in circles, and are frequently observed at the surface of the water.

NOTE: Confirming VHS infection requires sophisticated laboratory testing. A diagnosis cannot be made based solely on observation because many different diseases of fish have very similar symptoms. [Full Story]

For more information, download the VHS flyer

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd. Meeting - Feb. 9th

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd, - Our 43rd year.

Feb. 9 th. seasonal fishing will be discussed as members report their successes. Our Kids Fishing Clinic results are also on the agenda.

Admission is free, if no speaker. $3.00 if there is a speaker.

7 p.m. meeting; 8 p.m. speaker.

Calhoun Station, 1849 So. Calhoun Rd., New Berlin.

Contact Dan Freiherr, treasurer, (414) 464-9316.

Fishing reports, fishing equipment raffle plus hot pizza is available. Cordially, L.A. Van Veghel WFC Media Director & WCSFO Media Director & Secretary 414-769-6846. Our club is an active member of the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations, WCSFO.

Battle on Bago Fisheree (Feb 27-28)

Troy Peterson - 920.810.4570 - Glenn Curren - 920.410.0313

Friday, February 27, live music by CopperBox, 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Saturday is the Battle - Fishing Contest From 6:00 am - 2:00 pm. The Tournament is scheduled for February 28, 2009 from 6:00 am, until 2:00 pm on Lake Winnebago with official weigh-in starting at Menominee Park in Oshkosh by 2:00 pm. Contestants will be allowed to fish Lake Winnebago and weigh one fish per ticket of any of the following species: Walleye, panfish (perch, bluegills, crappies), whitebass or burbot (eelpout). Any other fish not listed here will not be eligible for registration.

Fish may be taken with tip-ups or by rod and reel. There is no age requirement on tournament participation. Contestants may purchase as many tickets as they like and register one fish per ticket. Raffle Prizes Drawn Saturday Afternoon - 3:00 pm. All Proceeds From Battle on Bago go towards local youth fishing programs like "Reel' in the Youth" and The Otter Street Kids Fisheree along with other conservation efforts on the Lake Winnebago System.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fed funds for fish, wildlife projects at risk

By Mike Jackson Daily Herald Outdoors Writer
Here's an uncomfortable fact of life:

If Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn's request for a "stay of execution" regarding the possibility of losing a massive amount of federal funds goes by the boards, Illinois can very well kiss about $16 million farewell.

The money was supposed to come to state coffers for fish and wildlife projects. [Full Story]

Source: Daily Herald Inc.

Freshwater Estuaries

Freshwater Estuaries occur where rivers and Great Lakes water mix in shallow wetlands located near the mouth of a river. These water resources are important components of surrounding communities. They support abundant fish and wildlife, offer recreational opportunities, contribute to water quality, and provide economic benefits.

Wisconsin’s Freshwater Estuary Initiative is an effort to increase awareness and promote stewardship of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes freshwater estuaries. The initiative involves the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and a diverse network of partners. Several exciting projects are included in this collaborative effort. Examples include the establishment of a National Estuarine Research Reserve on Lake Superior, an assessment Wisconsin’s Great Lakes freshwater estuary needs, and conservation of Green Bay’s coastal wetlands. (Read More)

Manitowoc County shipwreck listed in National Register of Historic Places

Herald Times Reporter • January 28, 2009

MADISON — The Wisconsin Historical Society has announced the listing of two Lake Michigan shipwrecks, the Lumberman (Milwaukee County) and the Continental (Manitowoc County) in the National Register of Historic Places.

The remains of the schooner Lumberman lie in 55 feet of water four miles east of Oak Creek. Built in 1862 in the remote, frontier shipyard of Allyne Litchfield in Blendon’s Landing, Mich., the Lumberman was built specifically for transportation of lumber products. The three-masted, double centerboard schooner sank in a fast-moving storm on April 6, 1893. [Full Story]

Source: Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter

Glitch delays carp wall opening

Electric fence was to start this month
By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel

Chicago - Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said a few weeks ago they would turn on their new electric carp barrier by the end of the month, but the agency scrapped those plans Wednesday because of unforeseen maintenance issues on a largely unused contraption that is now nearly three years old.

The barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal was completed in the spring of 2006, but the Army Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard have been wrestling since then over safety issues tied to electrifying a waterway that is heavily used by barges, some of which carry flammable materials.
[Full Story]

Source: Journal Sentinel Inc.

Report Fish Kills

Please e-mail information regarding all fish kills to

For more information about fish kills, click here.

18th Annual Kids’ Ice Fishing Clinics set for Saturday, Feb. 7: Free ice fishing instruction for kids in Milwaukee County

MILWAUKEE – Kids 15-years-old and younger can discover the fun of ice fishing at the 18th annual Kids’ Ice Fishing Clinics on Saturday, Feb. 7, at five park ponds and lagoons in Milwaukee County.

The free clinics will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Participants receive instruction on the proper use of equipment and techniques, knot tying, safety and much more. The clinics last 45 minutes and begin every hour on the hour starting at 9:00 a.m., with the last one starting at 2:00 p.m. If the weather and ice conditions allow, kids will be able to fish after receiving the classroom instruction.

“These clinics are an excellent way to introduce youngsters to the sport of fishing and a perfect opportunity for families that want to enjoy some of the outdoor recreational activities that Wisconsin has to offer,” says Matt Coffaro, Department of Natural Resources Urban Fish Biologist. “It’s the dedication of volunteers from the local fishing clubs that make it all work.”

The clinics represent a cooperative effort by the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations, Milwaukee County Parks, the Milwaukee County House of Correction Fish Hatchery, and the Department of Natural Resources.

No pre-registration is necessary for the clinics. Equipment and snacks will be provided and it’s all free; just dress warm. As in past years, the classroom instruction will occur regardless of weather and ice conditions on Feb. 7, with the actual ice fishing portion of the clinics dependent on the day’s conditions.

For more information call the DNR Urban Fishing Hotline at (414) 263-8494 or DNR Urban Fish Biologist Matt Coffaro at (414) 263-8614. The locations for the clinics and the sponsoring fishing clubs follow:
  • Humboldt Park, 3000 S. Howell Ave., hosted by Great Lakes Sport Fishermen & Milwaukee Casting Club.
  • McCarty Park, 8214 W. Cleveland, a wheelchair accessible site, with clinic hosted by Southside Sportsmen.
  • McGovern Park, 5400 N. 51st St., a wheelchair accessible site, with clinic hosted by Badger Fishermen’s League.
  • Scout Lake, 5902 W. Loomis Road, and a wheelchair accessible site, hosted by Walleyes Unlimited.
  • Wilson Park, 1601 W. Howard Ave., hosted by Wisconsin Fishing Club.

Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Announces House Leadership For 111th Congress

(Washington, DC) - As the 111th session of the United States Congress begins, and a new administration takes over the executive branch, sportsmen and women across the country will have strong bi-partisan legislative support on issues important to America's outdoor and sporting heritage.

Selected by their fellow sportsmen in the United States House of Representatives, Representative Dan Boren (D-OK) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) have been chosen to serve as House Caucus Co-Chairs.

"As an avid sportsman with a deep appreciation for the outdoors, it is an honor to be named Co-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. I look forward to working in the 111th Congress on behalf of the millions of sportsmen and women in Oklahoma and the United States," said Rep. Boren.

"I'm excited about co-chairing this caucus and working in a bipartisan way on issues that impact my fellow hunters, fishers, and all who enjoy the outdoors. Hunting and fishing are ingrained in Wisconsin's culture, and it's an honor to be able to chair this caucus and pursue our shared goals of habitat conservation and preserving sportsmen's rights," said Rep. Ryan.

Working alongside Co-Chairs Boren and Ryan, Representative Mike Ross (D-AR) and Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL) were chosen as House Caucus Vice-Chairs.

"I am honored to have been selected by my colleagues to serve as a Vice Chair for the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus," said Rep. Ross. "Outdoor activities like hunting and fishing are an important part of our heritage and way of life, especially in rural areas like Arkansas."

"As a member of this caucus, I will work hard to defend the rights and values of sportsmen in the House of Representatives and look forward to ensuring this important part of the American way of life is preserved," said Rep. Miller.

The Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation celebrate their 20th anniversary this year with pride in its past legislative accomplishments and with an eye on the future of hunting, angling, and conservation issues."Members of the Sportsmen's Caucus have a 20 year history of passing legislation that effectively protects hunters, anglers, and habitat and with our new leadership leading the way we expect no less in the current Congress," said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.

BIGMOUTH-The 35th Anniversary Edition

Ocala, January 9, 2009 – Glen Lau Film & Video has announced the February 2009 release of BIGMOUTH-The 35th Anniversary Edition. This legendary film narrated by Rod Serling describes the lifecycle of the largemouth bass in and around it’s natural habitat. Glen Lau’s underwater cinematography captures the complete birth to death odyssey of bigmouth that is a definitive, one-of-a-kind study of this popular freshwater fish.

“I dedicated over two years making Bigmouth says director Glen Lau, and most of that time was spent underwater befriending the bass so that I was given access to their fascinating world.”

The original film, theatrically released in 1974, has been digitally transferred with new material from Glen Lau and renowned bass expert “Uncle” Homer Circle. The DVD will be unveiled at the Bassmaster Classic in February and will be available for sale shortly thereafter through There is also a broadcast/broadband version of Bigmouth that will be released early in 2009. This film has never been televised in its 35-year history.

Screening copies of the film will be available on January 15th for anyone who would like to review the title for publication or electronic media. Glen Lau will also be available for interviews in support of the release.

Please direct your inquiries to:

MaryAnn Lau

Bob Judson

Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of January 29, 2009

GENERAL Northern Region Northeast Region Southeast Region South Central Region West Central Region

Although a few isolated areas of the north received 2 to 3 inches of new snow in the last week, it has been more than a week since most of the state received any more than a dusting of snow. A few scattered snow flurries were falling in southern Wisconsin Thursday, but there was an inch of accumulation expected at most. Despite the lack of snowfall, cold temperatures have allowed most of the snow that is on the ground to remain, with snow depths continuing to range from about a foot, or slightly less in some areas of the south, to about 20 inches in the north.

In general, snowmobile trails across the state are open and holding up quite well, though they are getting compacted and icy in some areas. Snowmobilers should slow down going into corners, where conditions are generally the worst. Cross-country ski trails have also held up very well, with most state parks and forests continuing to report trails in good to excellent condition. The biggest problem has been debris such as oak leaves and pine and fir cones on trails. A brief warm-up with the first temperatures above freezing in more than three weeks is forecast for this weekend, which should provide a good opportunity for a respite from cabin fever.

With the cold weather, ice thickness continues to increase and most lakes have 18 to 20 inches of ice. The sub-zero temperatures and windy conditions have kept ice fishing pressure down and reduced fish activity, with panfish success hasvingdropped off the most. Crappie Northern pike activity has also slowed as the increased ice thickness and snow cover seems to have lessened their feeding activity. The best success has come from walleye and action could be considered fair to good for this mid-winter time. The most productive bait continues to be sucker minnows, and the best success has come from the weed edges and mud flats in 6 to 10 feet of water.

Along Lake Michigan and Green Bay, some northern pike were being caught north of Oconto to the mouth of the Peshtigo River. Perch anglers were having some success at the mouth of the Oconto River. Along Door County, some limited success for perch was reported at Sturgeon Bay off Potawatomi State Park. Some walleye were biting at the Sturgeon Bay ship canal and off Larson’s reef. Whitefish were also being caught at various locations along the peninsula. On the Lake Winnebago system, anglers have had a lot of success jigging for white bass but action for walleye and perch has been slow. At this point, water clarity on the Lake Winnebago System is looking very good for the sturgeon spearing season that opens Feb. 14.

Ice fishing along southern Lake Michigan harbors has been relatively slow, but a few brown trout and northern pike have been caught. There is open water near the power plant in Port Washington, and aerators running in the north slip at the marina are keeping water open, with some open water anglers catching brown and a few rainbow trout.

The Mississippi River stage was 7.8 feet at Prairie du Chien this week, with almost the entire main channel frozen over after the last cold snap. Fishing pressure and success also dropped off with the cold snap, but there was some spotty bluegill and crappie action reported.

A few northern shrikes have been showing up at bird feeders in the La Crosse area. Because they lack talons, shrikes use their powerful bills to stun or kill small birds while in flight. They also have the unique habit of impaling their prey on sharp objects such as thorns or barbed wire fences. Their predatory habits have earned this winter visitor the nickname "butcher bird."

Great horned owls are beginning courtship activities. Great horned owls begin nesting by taking over old hawk, crow or squirrel nests. Listen for the characteristic “whoo who who who whoooo” calls after dusk.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

City officials envision new life for carp-infested Lake Tomah

TOMAH – Officials are embarking on an ambitious, two-year project to restore one of Tomah’s most treasured assets – the 251-acre lake that defines the city’s west side.

Lake Tomah is in bad shape. Its turbid waters are beset with excessive algae blooms each summer. There is little in the way of aquatic vegetation. The fishery is dominated by carp, an invasive, bottom-rooting species that is a major contributor to these poor habitat conditions.

In 2008 city officials completed a lake management plan, working in cooperation with the state Department of Natural Resources and the Monroe County Land Conservation Department.

The city intends to partially draw down water levels from September through August 2010 and to treat the lake with rotenone in October to eradicate the carp. During the drawdown, the city plans to dredge a previously excavated sediment trap and to use riprap to armor eroding islands and shoreline.

In mid to late February, under the plan, the DNR will temporarily remove all fish size and bag limits on Lake Tomah, allowing anglers an increased opportunity to harvest fish that will otherwise be destroyed during the chemical treatment. In spring 2010 the lake will be restocked. New size and bag limits will allow various species of game fish to re-establish sustainable populations.

The proposed project is not anticipated to result in significant adverse environmental effects.

The DNR has made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement will not be required. Copies of the environmental assessment that led to the preliminary determination can be viewed at city hall or obtained from the DNR contact person listed below.

Public comments are welcome and should be received by the DNR no later than 4:30 p.m. Feb. 9. Comments can be directed to senior fisheries biologist Jordan Weeks at 3550 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse, WI 54601, by phone at 608-785-9002 or e-mail at

Drawdown for Routine Inspection of Comus Lake Dam

MILWAUKEE - The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that later this spring, the water level behind a dam on Turtle Creek in the City of Delavan, Walworth County, will be lowered in order to facilitate maintenance and conduct a routine safety inspection of Comus Lake Dam.

The City of Delavan applied for a temporary drawdown of Comus Lake in order to replace deteriorating stoplogs in the structure. The DNR approved the request and the drawdown will begin Friday, May 1, 2009, and is expected to take several days. The lake level will be lowered approximately six inches each day, until a drawdown of about six feet has been reached.

The impoundment will remain drawn down until May 15, 2009.

News Release Published: January 22, 2009 by the Southeast Region
Contact(s): Michelle Schneider, Dam Safety Engineer, 262-574-2127

Lake Erie Management Unit Newsletter

(Michigan) Hello anglers! This is our annual newsletter covering major field activities of the Lake Erie Management Unit (LEMU). This unit covers all waters that lie within the watersheds which drain into the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River, and Lake Erie. Fisheries Management personnel in this unit include two biologists and a unit supervisor located at the Southfield Operations Service Center and two technicians and a technician supervisor located at the Waterford Fisheries Station. This newsletter highlights some of the field activities conducted by our field staff during 2008.

Click Here!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Teacher shares his love for fishing with students

Angler education workshops help others start fishing clubs

MADISON – Bob Wiedholz has been passing on his angling passion to students at Madison’s Hamilton Middle School for nearly 10 years as a Certified Angler Education Instructor and director of the school’s fishing club.

“With all the choices for the average sixth-grader these days, such as computer and video games, it’s refreshing to see that kids still choose to be outside and involved in activities like fishing,” says Wiedholz.

“The kids ask about the club on the first day of school. It fits a need that isn't found in conventional clubs or activities. It is the ‘one thing’ for some kids – and for me, nothing beats (hearing) ‘I caught one, Mr. Wiedholz!’”

He started offering the afterschool club after talking with Theresa Stabo, who directs the aquatic resources education program for the state Department of Natural Resources, and whose son was in Wiedholz’s class at the time. The department offers angler education workshops to help train adults and provide them with materials and access to loaner equipment to help them start their own fishing club.

The Hamilton Fishing Club is free and open to all Hamilton Middle School students in the Madison Metropolitan School District. The club typically has about 12 to 15 students participating each year, with some from families with a long fishing tradition but most who are discovering fishing for the first time.

The club starts in January and meets once a week after school for five months. The hope is not only to teach kids how to fish, but to teach them a variety of skills by doing hands-on activities, Wiedholz says.

Club members take an ice fishing trip in mid-February and learn to identify fish, as well as clean and cook them. They learn how to tie knots, paint jigs, and cast. They also take a canoe trip which supports teamwork. Some kids even express interest in future fisheries’ careers. A field trip to tour the Nevin State Fish Hatchery in Fitchburg and talk with a DNR fish biologist is also included in the schedule. A family fish fry brings the club to a close.

Wiedholz gets lots of support from people, businesses, organizations and clubs like the Yahara Fishing Club to make the after school club work. They provide time and lots of free and discounted gear that Wiedholz can give the novice anglers.

“They love to get ‘stuff,’” he says. “And the people, businesses and organizations realize that it is to everyone’s advantage to encourage healthy lifelong activities that hook kids early and deeply.”

Wiedholz sees other benefits for students as well. “I think the club gives some kids a connection to school, which makes them better students and citizens. It helps kids develop friendships. I think it inspires some kids to become involved in outdoor careers.”

And it helps him appreciate his students even more.

“The kids are so fun to be around in such a positive adventure. Last year I was taking a few kids home after a fun day. They were bubbling with enthusiasm, and I realized how lucky I was to be involved with such great kids.”

Upcoming Angler Education Workshops

Three upcoming angler education workshops give you a great opportunity to follow in Bob Wiedholz’s footsteps and share your passion for fishing with the next generation.

There is a $15 workshop commitment fee to ensure good attendance by registrants. The workshops include lunch or dinner. Registration forms and more information are available on the Angler Education Workshop page of the DNR Web site.

Participants attending the Feb. 7 workshop in Stevens Point, which is conducted by Chuck Bomar and Dennis Vanden Bloomen, UW-Stout fly fishing instructors, will receive materials to enable them to teach fly fishing and the DNR’s Angler Education Program, as well as a complimentary ticket to the Trout Unlimited State Council banquet held later that evening.
  • Feb. 7, Stevens Point, Special Training: Fly Fishing Instructor Certification, noon - 5 p.m., Holiday Inn Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave., Stevens Point. A link to the registration form and more information is available on the Angler Education Web page.
  • Feb. 10, Washburn, 5 - 9 p.m., Bayfield County Courthouse – Annex, 117 E. 6th St.. Return registration form to Darren Miller.
  • Feb. 18, Lake Geneva, 5 - 9 p.m., Badger High School, Room 210, 220 South St.
More instructor certification workshops are being scheduled for the spring so potential instructors should check the DNR Web site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Theresa Stabo (608) 266-2272; Rachel Piacenza (608) 261-6431

Eleven conservation wardens take to the field

[EDITOR’S NOTE: An audio slide show which provides a quick look at the kinds of training these wardens received over the past year is available on the DNR Web site ].

Class of 2008 Wardens

MADISON – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank today announced that 11 conservation wardens have completed their year-long training and will be taking their posts in communities throughout the state in the coming weeks, boosting protection of Wisconsin's natural resources and public safety. The wardens were hired in the fall of 2007, prior to their extensive training.

“We're excited to get these wardens out in the field, partnering with local law enforcement to protect communities throughout Wisconsin,” Frank said. “Some of these wardens are being assigned to counties that have not had a warden stationed there for several years and they will provide an important service to those communities. We appreciate the support of the public, and the conservation community in particular, in our effort to promote public safety and protect natural resources through enforcement, education, community involvement and stewardship.”

A twelfth warden recruit, Matthew Groppi, started training with the class last January but was called to active military service and is deployed with the U.S. Army Reserves in Afghanistan. He will continue his warden training after returning to Wisconsin later this year.

“We are proud of Mr. Groppi’s service to our country and look forward to his safe return,” Frank said.

Wardens are responsible for enforcing state laws relating to wildlife, fish, boating, snowmobiling, all terrain vehicles, the environment, water regulation, and forestry. They also have authority to enforce all state laws on DNR owned and managed lands. While wardens’ efforts are primarily focused on enforcement in the field, they also provide education to the public about regulations and safety issues, and introduce new people to hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

The new wardens are notable because they were drawn from a wide pool of candidates. Previously, applicants had to be certified law enforcement officers. This is no longer a pre-requisite to apply for a warden position.

“We’ve learned the public is better served by selecting people with the skills and abilities to do this type of work first, and then train them to do law enforcement, instead of the other way around,” Chief Warden Randy Stark said. “We hope this will open the door to more people with the skills and abilities we need.”

The wardens’ assignments cap a demanding year of training including 15 weeks in the academy to become certified law enforcement officers, specialized natural resources training and field work under the guidance of veteran wardens, as well as meeting with conservation, environmental and recreational user groups they will serve.

The wardens and their stations are:
  • Appleton - Jason Happe
  • Burlington - Juan Gomez
  • Chippewa Falls - Cody Adams
  • Crandon - Bradley Dahlquist
  • Fitchburg - Catherina Nooyen, as South Central Region recreational safety warden
  • Fond du Lac - Kyle Kosin
  • Green Bay - Andrew Lundin
  • Kenosha - Ryan Bieganski
  • Neillsville - Adam Hanna
  • Paddock Lake - Nathan Furlong
  • Port Washington - Joel Polzin
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Cork (608) 269-7666; Darrel Waldera (608) 266-2425

Winnebago sturgeon spearers hoping to make history in 2009

Large numbers of really big fish on tap

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Downloadable audio files featuring DNR Sturgeon Biologist Ron Bruch discussing the 2009 Winnebago System season are available online Lake Winnebago sturgeon pages of the DNR Web site.]

OSHKOSH – Spearers taking to the ice for the Feb. 14 opening day of the Winnebago System sturgeon spearing seasons can expect nearly ideal spearing conditions and lots of really big fish, according to the state’s lead sturgeon biologist.

“Ice and water conditions coming into the 2009 season look very good and the prospects of seeing some really big fish are excellent,” says Ron Bruch, Department of Natural Resources sturgeon biologist and fisheries supervisor stationed in Oshkosh. “In fact, based on last year’s harvest and recent fish survey results, there’s a strong chance that some lucky spearer will make history by spearing the biggest fish ever.”

The largest sturgeon ever registered in the Winnebago winter spear fishery, 188 pounds, was taken by Dave Piechowski of Redgranite, Wis., in 2004. The lake sturgeon population in the Winnebago System is the largest in the world and the number of very large fish has increased over the last 15 to 20 years due to careful management of the harvest and strong year classes of sturgeon hatched 70 to 80 years ago, Bruch says.

Last year, spearers registered 42 sturgeon that weighed between 100 and 172 pounds, the highest percentage of trophy-size fish ever recorded in the history of the fishery. Last fall, DNR fisheries crews netting sturgeon on Lake Butte des Morts captured and tagged several sturgeon over 200 pounds, including one that was more than 80 inches long and nearly 230 pounds.

The DNR has been intensively managing the lake sturgeon population and fishery for more than 60 years, conducting annual surveys and working closely with the public to maintain safe harvest levels, Bruch says. The current lake sturgeon population in the Winnebago System is estimated at about 60,000 fish aged 1 to 80, including 25,000 males and 13,000 females in the adult spawning stock.

Water clarity good, caution advised whenever on ice

Water clarity, the key to sturgeon spearing success, as of Jan. 24, was very good with 12 to 18 feet of visibility being reported over most of Lake Winnebago, although reports from the southern end of the lake are indicating only 6 to 8 feet of visibility there, Bruch says. Reports from the Upriver Lakes indicate clear water throughout.

Ice thickness is reported to run between 20 and 24 inches over most of the lake system, although thinner and dangerous ice is always found near channels and river currents, he says. Spearers and others going on the ice are advised to always know how much ice is covering the areas they want to travel on. Bridges have been placed over expansion cracks, and ice roads have been established and maintained around the lakes by local fishing clubs and marked every quarter-mile with standing Christmas trees. Ice travelers seeing downed Christmas trees should avoid these areas as they mark unsafe ice conditions.

More details about the two separate seasons

Sturgeon spearing regulations for the 2009 season are nearly identical to 2008. The rules are the same on Lake Winnebago as they are on the Upriver Lakes, with the exception of different harvest cap triggers and participation rules. Spearing hours for both seasons run from 6:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. daily.

The Lake Winnebago season runs from Feb. 14, 2009, through March 1, 2009, or until the pre-set harvest cap for Lake Winnebago is reached, OR the pre-set harvest cap for the entire Winnebago System is reached, whichever comes first.

The Upriver Lakes season runs from Feb. 14, 2009, through March 1, 2009 on Lakes Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan, or until the pre-set harvest cap for the Upriver Lakes is reached, or the pre-set harvest cap for the entire Winnebago System is reached, whichever comes first. Participation in this season was determined by a lottery for the required sturgeon tag, with 500 people selected from among the more than 4,000 who submitted an application by Aug. 1, 2008.

Successful lottery winners had until Oct. 31, 2008, to purchase a spearing license for the Upriver Lakes. Sturgeon spearing licenses for the Lake Winnebago season were not limited and were available to those spearers who purchased them by Oct. 31, 2008.

Spearers can only participate in the season for which they have a spearing license. A full listing of regulations for the Winnebago System sturgeon spearing season can be found on the [Lake Winnebago sturgeon] page of the DNR Web site or at DNR service centers.

2009 season a rare one in other ways

This season, Wisconsin's 77th consecutive lake sturgeon spearing season, will be notable for more than just its potential for record-setting fish. The Feb. 14 opening date is the latest the season can begin under state law -- and it’s also Valentine’s Day. State law establishes opening day as the second Saturday in February, and the fact that 2008 was a leap year, giving February 2008 29 days instead of 28, conspired to push this year’s opening date as far back as legally possible, Bruch says.

Both can work in spearers’ favor: the late opening date means more daylight and better light for spearers, potentially improving their success. The opener’s convergence with Valentine’s Day works well too: spearing hours end by 12:30 p.m. so spearers should be home in plenty of time to celebrate the occasion with their sweetheart -- and they’ll have something a little more memorable than a box of chocolates or bouquet of roses. “It’s a good year to get your sturgeon spearing sweetheart a new decoy or spear for opening day,” says Bruch.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Bruch (920) 424-3059

Monday, January 26, 2009

So is fish safe to eat or not?

The current official advice from the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA is that pregnant and nursing women and young children can safely eat up to 12 ounces — roughly two servings — of most fish a week, but should limit their intake of albacore tuna to 6 ounces a week and avoid entirely four species of fish containing high levels of mercury.

But the two agencies are at loggerheads over the two-serving limit. The FDA has circulated a draft report suggesting that the vast majority of fetuses and infants would actually benefit if their mothers ate more than two servings of fish a week because fish contain highly beneficial nutrients that aid in brain development. The FDA’s scientists argue that those benefits outweigh any potential harm.

Have mercury warnings gone too far in driving women away from a potentially beneficial food source? Meanwhile, experts caution that consumers should choose from fish that are low in mercury, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.

Source: Inland Seas Angler Great Lakes Basin Report

Non-Resident Angler Outdoors Card Requirement

Effective January 1, 2009

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is working on a project to improve the fishing and hunting licensing system. Once these improvements are complete, non-resident anglers will be able to purchase Ontario fishing licences from home, using the Internet or the automated toll-free phone system. As part of this project, MNR will also be developing an automated licensing system for licence issuers to improve service to anglers and hunters.

The automated system will mean that all anglers and hunters will need a unique identification number. That is why MNR will be extending the requirement to have an Outdoors Card to non-resident anglers and hunters, effective January 1, 2009. The Outdoors Card will be required to purchase an Ontario fishing or hunting licence.

Learn more...

Hopes high, fingers crossed for Great Lakes trust fund

LANSING -- President Barack Obama's campaign promise to create a $5 billion trust fund for the Great Lakes could be crucial in the battle to sustain Michigan's most precious resource, experts said.

In September, then-candidate Obama proposed the trust fund to support lake and beach cleanups, rebuild lake infrastructure and battle invasive species. It would be financed through higher taxes on oil and gas companies, according to Obama for America, his official campaign committee. (Full Story)


Invasion 30 foreign species destined to reach Great Lakes: report

With its milder temperatures and shallower waters, Lake Erie is in danger of being attacked by another surge of invasive species, says a new study.

A U.S. study, which used satellite data and computer modelling to predict how new invasive species might spread across the Great Lakes, identified 30 species of aquatic life that are likely to reach the Great Lakes in the coming years. The study also indicated 28 species that have already reached the lake system and have a potential to cause harm. [Full Story]

Researchers target invasive species


For years, wildlife officials have struggled to control invasive species without harming the native ones.

Researchers on French Island have identified a weapon they believe could help shift the tide. A delivery mechanism developed by a Maryland biotech company could be used to target unwelcome fish such as silver carp, the giant flying fish that has taken over the Illinois River and turned up last month in the Mississippi River at La Crosse. [Full Story]

Source: La Crosse Tribune

Hall of Fame Postpones Induction Banquet

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Citing the nation’s economic downturn, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame announced today that it is postponing its annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, originally scheduled for February 19, 2009.

Sammy Lee, president of the Hall’s Board of Directors, said the decision was a difficult one, but that it was necessary in light of the current economic environment.

“The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is supported by anglers and sponsors who want to ensure that pioneers of this great sport are honored with their own hall of fame. Like most companies today, our sponsors are carefully reconsidering all expenditures, including donations to non-profit organizations like ours,” said Lee.

“We are optimistic that the economic climate will improve soon, and we will reschedule the Induction Banquet as soon as it is advisable to do so.”

The 2009 inductees and their families have been notified of the postponement. They include:

The late John Powell of Alabama, one of the pioneers of professional bass fishing who won several tournaments in the 1960s and ’70s; FLW Outdoors founder and Genmar Boats owner Irwin Jacobs of Minnesota; former Bassmaster Classic Champion Woo Daves of Virginia; veteran fishing writer and photographer Steve Price of Texas and Tim Tucker, a BASS senior writer from Florida who died in an automobile accident in 2007.


Anglers will stop, stare and marvel at how Rapala has once again redefined the laws of lure design with the creation of the new lipless Clackin' Rap. "This is a totally different, versatile lure and it's the most exciting bait I've ever seen," remarks David Fritts, Rapala pro staff member and crankbait aficionado.

The Clackin' Rap excels in all fishing applications: cast, troll, jig it in deep water, buzz it fast just under the surface, pulse it to flutter it - there's no way to fish this lipless wonder wrong. This heavy vibrating, new concept bait is a fresh water delight. It features a fatter physical appearance and a "just have to bite it" continual deep base rattle that'll have big fish charging in from all directions, ready to pounce in clackity-clack attack mode.

Equipped with a metal rattle chamber that contains a single large BB, the Clackin' Rap produces a large, hard metallic cadence as it vibrates from side to side. The result is a deeper base, metal-on-metal sound that travels farther through the water, targeting fish at a distance. Numbers of rattles will catch fish, but one big deep rattle catches the really big fish. Not only can fish hear the rattle but they can feel the vibration produced from the BB - enticing and taunting every fish in the area.

"The Clackin' Rap is a very rare bait that excels in all applications," says Fritts. "Fish it five feet deep or 100 feet deep and let the Clackin' rattle go to work - it's the ultimate bait, perfect for any condition." Fish the Clackin' Rap with ease. Simply make your cast and let it sink to the bottom. Once it touches bottom, jerk your rod and lift the Clackin' Rap straight up, then let if fall straight down. By doing this, the bait is making a vertical drop, fluttering and rattling while tantalizing big fish.

"Another simple way to fish this bait is to drop the Clackin' Rap and work it just like a jigging spoon, creating an up-and-down fluttering action," explains Fritts. The Clackin' Rap is 3 1/8 inches long, weighs a hefty 7/8 ounce, and is equipped with a front VMC® SureSet belly hook and a Black Nickel treble hook in back to dig deep and hold the hook set. Featuring a translucent textured body with internal holographic foil creates an extremely seductive flash. With 16 tantalizing X-Rap finishes, the Clackin' Rap can just plain do it all. The new hard knocks champion of the fishing world has arrived.

Please visit

Minnesota boating fatality rate lowest on record

The state’s 2008 boating fatality rate was the lowest since the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) started keeping records in 1961. The 12 boating fatalities last year equal 1.38 deaths per 100,000 registered boats.

The DNR attributed the drop in boating deaths to several factors including increased life jacket use, more boaters taking boating safety classes, strong alcohol laws and enforcement, and larger, more stable boats.

“We’re encouraged that water fatality rates continue to fall, but there are still too many people losing their lives,” said Tim Smalley, DNR water safety specialist. “We still have room for improvement.”

Of the 12 fatal watercraft accidents, 11 were single-boat accidents. There were five falls overboard, four boat capsizings, one swamping, and one collision with a submerged object. There was also one fatal collision between two personal watercraft, also called PWCs or water scooters.

“In most cases, we aren’t talking about fiery collisions between high-powered speed boats when it comes to boating deaths,” Smalley said. “They are often one-boat accidents in which the craft capsizes or the victim falls overboard. The victims often have some swimming ability, but they inhale cold water and drown because they aren’t wearing a life jacket.”

Half of the boats involved were non-motorized canoes or paddleboats. Three of the other accidents involved anchored motorboats or boats next to a dock.

Ten of the 12 victims were not wearing a life jacket. Alcohol was a factor in five of the accidents. Cold water was a factor in five of the deaths. All victims were males ranging in age from 14 to 78.


In 2008, there were 33 non-boat related swimming and other drownings in Minnesota, which was the fifth lowest on record. Nineteen drownings occurred in a lake or river, 12 in a pool or tub, and two in a mine pit. Alcohol was a factor in nine drownings. Victim ages ranged from 13 months to 78, with six under the age of 7. Twenty-six victims were male and seven were female.

DNR water safety experts encourage people to wear their life jackets, take a boating course, watch out for other boats, take swimming lessons, and carefully watch their children while near the water.

Water safety information and accident statistics are available on the DNR’s Web site.

Featured presentations from DNR Roundtable available on Web site

(January 22, 2009) Two thought-provoking speeches on the future of conservation that were delivered at the recent Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Roundtable have been posted on the DNR’s Web site.

The first speech features DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten. He said this generation must rise to the challenge of proving that constitutionally dedicated funding for clean water, forests, prairies, and fish and wildlife habitat was revolutionary, visionary and a worthy thing to support. This will take courage, he said, because status quo will need to change.

Jim Martin, director of conservation for the Berkley Conservation Institute, was the keynote speaker. He delivered a powerful message on the realities of climate change, population growth, development, and conservation strategies that deal address what’s truly important rather than merely urgent.

More than 350 conservation leaders gathered to share their insights with DNR leadership during the annual Fisheries, Wildlife and Ecological Resources Roundtable meetings, which were held in Brooklyn Center, Jan. 9-10.

Both speeches and more information including photos from the DNR Roundtable are available here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fly fisherman’s Chippewa River catch confirmed as world record

HAYWARD – An avid fly fisherman and fishing guide is the latest Wisconsin world record holder for the monster musky he landed on the Chippewa River with a fly rod.

The National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum notified Brad Bohen of Hayward last week that the 51.25-inch musky he caught Oct. 16, 2008, was indeed a world fly rod record for a released fish on a 36-pound tippet, according to Emmett Brown, the Hall’s executive director.

Get a look at Bohen’s catch and read his story of how he landed this fantastic fish in Record Musky on the Fly.

“I’ve never been a record chaser by nature, but I must admit that I am tickled to be in this position,” Bohen says. “I give all the credit to Tom Greenup for his wonderful guiding and oarsmanship that day as well as good fishing buddy Derek Kuehl, who had invited me along on the trip after having a fellow angler cancel out.”

Bohen, who would say only that he caught his musky below the Winter dam but above Lake Holcombe, says that the real story of that day was that not only did he catch a magnificent fish, but within moments, “Derek also hung into a record class beast of his own (fish measured 45 inches) and we proceeded to execute an almost unheard of musky double on a fly!”

Bohen, who guides and currently caretakes at the Winneboujou Club on the Brule River, joins a sizeable and storied group of Wisconsin anglers who have hauled in record fish. Four world records were set in the Hayward area in the late 1940s, including the 69-pound 11-ounce monster Louis Spray pulled from the Chippewa Flowage in 1949.

In more recent years, Wisconsin fly fishermen have also added to the record haul, including three new fly fishing catch and release musky records set in 2008 in addition to Bohen’s. Bill Flader set a new record for 14-pound tippet with the 40-inch musky he pulled from the Chippewa River in Sawyer County; Tom Peterson set two new records, for the 43-inch musky he pulled from North Twin Lake in Vilas County on 50-pound tippet and the 41-inch musky he landed on Kentuck Lake in Forest/Vilas counties to set a record in the “unlimited tippet” category.

Wisconsin also owns a corner of a fifth fly fishing musky record set in 2008: Tom Peterson pulled a 46-inch musky from Smokey Lake, which is mostly in Michigan’s Iron County but also touches Vilas County.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Bohen,; Emmett Brown, Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame,

Chippewa system giving up world class fish

HAYWARD – The Chippewa River and its namesake flowage are regaining their reputation for record-setting musky.

Two fish pulled from the storied system in 2008 set new fly fishing catch and release musky world records: the 51.25-inch musky Brad Bohen caught and released on a 36-pound tippet on Oct. 16, 2008; the 40-inch musky Bill Flader caught on 14-pound tippet from the river, according to Emmett Brown, executive director of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Hayward.

Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Supervisor Dave Neuswanger reported that a genetics study done in 2006 netted 52 fish greater than 40 inches in length, including very hefty females over 50 inches long. “Those fish have only grown larger in the intervening years,” Neuswanger says. “Musky fishing is improving steadily throughout the Upper Chippewa Basin as our native strain is allowed to reach its inherent potential.”

More than half a century ago, Louis Spray’s capture of a 69-pound, 11-ounce musky from the Chippewa Flowage, followed by three other world record fish from the Hayward area, set off a fishing frenzy that led to the near collapse of the area fishery by the 1970s.

Since then, higher minimum length limits and a strong catch-and-release ethic, particularly among the most skilled musky anglers, have brought the big ones back. An article on these efforts can be found in the December 2002 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

Neuswanger says that the DNR has no way of knowing the origin of Bohen's fish. It could have grown up in the Chippewa Flowage before migrating through the Winter Dam and into the Chippewa River downstream.

“Some muskellunge live their entire lives in the rivers, while others become large in forage-rich flowages before escaping into the rivers,” he says. “River fishing is often overlooked by musky anglers, and so that's where many of the biggest fish live. It is quite a thrill (and even a little scary) to see a 50-inch muskellunge following your lure in clear water only a foot deep!”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dave Neuswanger (715) 634-9658

Weekly News Article Published: January 20, 2009 by the Central Office

Sex smell lures 'vampire' to doom

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

A synthetic "chemical sex smell" could help rid North America's Great Lakes of a devastating pest, scientists say.

US researchers deployed a laboratory version of a male sea lamprey pheromone to trick ovulating females into swimming upstream into traps. [Full Story]

Source: BBC News

Alewife numbers are encouraging

It's a well-known fact that Green Bay and Lake Michigan offer some of the most incredible multi-species freshwater fisheries found anywhere on the planet.

But when you move past the hundreds of miles of shoreline and go into the fish-filled waters, there are changes to the ecosystem that have many anglers concerned: populations of exotic invaders like quagga mussels and round gobies have exploded while many prey fish species — as well as the shrimp-like diporeia that provided a lot of food for young fish — have plummeted. [Full Story]

Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette

Saturday, January 17, 2009

GBAFLSF Membership Meeting – Thursday, January 22

January Speaker: This month’s speaker will be Captain Kyle Wogsland of Jenny Ann Sportfishing. Captain Kyle will be talking about shallow water salmon fishing. Captain Kyle did very well fishing shallow during the Kewaunee Challange and maybe will spill the “beans” or at least give some of us rookies some tips! Captain Kyle is a new Associate member of the club. Come on down and bring your questions!

And then there's the raffle...

We’ll start out with a Shimano Stradic reel on a Shimano Convergence rod combo worth $160.00. Then four ice rod and reel combos including a Berkley Lightening double rod and reel pack. There will be 3 tackle bags and hardside tackle box. Also a 6” Lazer hand drill worth $75.00, and 3 different types of tip-ups. How about a Coleman Quad Cat catalytic heater worth $460.00? On to jig kits. In this raffle there will be just about every ice jigging kit made. Rapala spoons and minnows, diamond eyes, HT ice jigs and many others. There will be knives, multi-tools, scales and a very nice Smith’s sharpener. Also a small lantern perfect for in an ice tent. And finally, a $25.00 Gander gift card.

And Now For the Very Special Raffle. The January special raffle will be a Jiffy Legend STX 3 horse ice auger with an 8” blade. To buy one like this it would cost you between $450.00 and $475.00. You already have an auger? Take a chance anyhow and either sell the old one or the new one if you win. And as always tickets for the special raffle will be $5.00 each or 3 for $10.00 Please come on down and bring friends. Get them to join the club. And as always, thank you for your support!

Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen (GBAGLSF)

Meetings are held at: Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill, 1963 Holmgren Way, Green Bay, WI.

Great Lakes Urban Habitat Restoration Symposium

January 22 - 23, 2009

(Chicago) The urban nearshore zone and riverine areas are places where many of the region's people first interact with the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, this nearshore zone of over 17,000 kilometers is heavily stressed by habitat alterations associated with increasing populations, heavy industry, commercial navigation, and pollution. Historical patterns of economic development and overexploitation of nearshore areas in the Great Lakes region have disproportionately impacted the nearshore. It should be no surprise that a strong demand exists for improved water quality, enhanced nearshore habitats and restoration of beneficial uses in urban areas.

For more information: Click Here

MI Great Lakes Plan:

Executive Summary

The Great Lakes are integral to the past, present, and future economic vitality of Michigan and the region. The health of the people of Michigan, our economy, and our quality of life depends on clean water and productive land that is sustainable far into the future.

The Great Lakes represent one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water and provide unparalleled recreational and economic opportunities to the 10 million people that call Michigan home. Studies show that the Great Lakes provide Michigan with 823,000 jobs that represent nearly 25 percent of Michigan’s payroll1. Additionally, Great Lakes tourism generates billions of dollars each year from those who spend leisure time around our lakes and streams.

Michigan’s water resources have been the catalyst for the economic development that moved us to international prominence. But those events have also left some communities with a legacy of pollution from contaminated sediments, invasive species, inadequate sewer systems, and uncontrolled development. These pressures put the lakes at risk – threatening our health and economic viability.

Michigan’s citizens want solutions to these challenges; solutions that protect our water and capitalize on unique opportunities for economic transformation.

To see the entire 82 page plan - Click Here

Discovery of natural reproduction may change bay musky stocking

GREEN BAY -- Indications the Great Lakes strain of spotted muskies have successfully spawned in Green Bay have been detected by the Department of Natural Resources, a discovery that could impact future musky stocking locations, said David Rowe, DNR fisheries biologist.

Biologists and musky anglers have been looking for signs of natural reproduction ever since the DNR began marking and stocking spotted muskies in the lower Fox River and the bay in 1989. [Full Story]

Source: Wausau Daily Herald

Inland Fisheries Grant Applications Due March 31

Jan. 15, 2009

(Michigan) The Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for the 2010 Inland Fisheries Grant (IFG) program, which offer grants up to $200,000 for local projects that enhance Michigan's aquatic resources.

The IFG program is intended to foster citizen and community understanding and appreciation of inland fisheries resources and to encourage participation and commitment to the improvement and protection of inland fishing opportunities, habitat, and fish communities. Eligible applicants include individuals, nonprofit organizations, and units of government, including school districts. Preference is given to nonprofit organizations and governmental units. [Full Story]

Source: Michigan DNR

DNR conservation officer has the right stuff to save a young man’s life

(January 16, 2009)

While Minnesotans hunkered down Monday evening (Jan. 12) for the coldest night of the season thus far, a Minnesota conservation officer braved dangerous temperatures, wind chills and freezing water to rescue a teenage boy from almost certain death.

Adam Bolkert, 19, of Winona was taking a shortcut home from Riverway Learning Community School when he fell through the ice of the Mississippi River backwaters near Minnesota City, Minn.

Bolkert was able to pull himself from the river and found temporary refuge on a nearby island where he made a 911 call from his cell phone to the Winona County Sheriff’s Office. They contacted Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Tom Hemker of Winona, who knew the area the call came from, and possessed the right equipment to make a rescue.

“The sheriff’s office has a program that brings up an address and a GPS location on all calls, so they pinpointed the location near Minnesota City, which I know real well,” Hemker said. “With that vital information, and an airboat in tow, I knew we were in business.” Hemker made his way to the Pool 5-A landing on the river.

But with 4-6 inches of fresh snow, the airboat was frozen to the trailer. Hemker tried to free the airboat by driving backwards and then slamming on the brakes, but it didn’t work.

Two Winona police officers helped push the airboat off the trailer while Hemker worked a pry-bar. “I could not have removed the airboat from the trailer by myself, I can’t thank those officers enough.”

With the sun beginning to set, temps dropping fast and the wind starting to pick up, Hemker put the airboat into the river and about 20 minutes later, found a cold, soaked, disoriented Bolkert.

“It was completely dark when I brought him in and the snow was swirling to the point where if the rescue had started a half-hour later vision would have gone from 50 yards to 10 feet,” Hemeker said. “You couldn’t see anything. Absolutely amazing that Adam is alive.”

A waiting ambulance at the landing met the conservation officer and Bolkert. The teen was taken to Community Memorial Hospital in Winona.

“I was almost afraid to hear what the news was going to be when I picked him up, but last I heard he’s going to be fine,” Hemker said

Hemker said it’s just another example of DNR having the right equipment for the job.

“Airboats are the only things can get you into and out of a situation like that,” he said. “If DNR didn’t have them, I have no idea how we would have rescued him. What an unbelievable piece of equipment.”

Source: Minnesota DNR News Release

Kids Ice Fishing Clinics - February 7

Sponsored in cooperation with the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations, WCSFO, Milwaukee and Waukesha County Parks, Milwaukee County House of Correction Fish Hatchery, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Click on poster to: ENLARGE

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Michigan lawmakers seek $20B for Great Lakes

Deb Price / Detroit News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Carl Levin and Rep. Vern Ehlers of Michigan introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to restore the Great Lakes by combating invasive species, cleaning toxic sediment and upgrading sewage facilities.

The $20 billion restoration plan is generally supported by President-elect Barack Obama, who hails from the Great Lakes state of Illinois. [Full Story]

Source: The Detroit News

Carp roundup is a net gain for Minnesota's lakes

The weather helped scientists, out to rid lakes of the damaging fish, round up 90 percent of the carp in Chanhassen's Lake Susan.

By LAURIE BLAKE, Star Tribune

Talk about a great day of ice fishing.

Capitalizing on a quirk of nature -- carp congregate when it's cold -- University of Minnesota biologists pulled more than 3,000 of the unwelcome bottom feeders, some of them as old as 50 years, out of Chanhassen's Lake Susan on Monday. [Full Story]

Source: Star Tribune (Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN.)

Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of January 15, 2009

Please check on the "Previous outdoor reports" link if it appears this is an outdated Outdoor Report. The DNR Outdoor Report is updated every Thursday at noon.

GENERAL Northern Region Northeast Region Southeast Region South Central Region West Central Region

Monday, January 12, 2009

Carp barrier might be activated this month

But electric Great Lakes defense would start at just quarter-strength
By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel

Chicago - The Chicago District commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Vincent Quarles, on Thursday told about 50 experts in the fight to keep the monstrous Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes that he will do what it takes to get the job done - including turning on the corps' new $9 million fish barrier by Jan. 30.

"I know my mission," said Quarles, standing in combat fatigues tucked into high-laced boots, at a meeting of a barrier advisory group. [Full Story]

Source: Journal Sentinel Inc.

Too much mussel: Mollusk explosion could do great harm to Lake Michigan sport-fishing industry

by Jeff Alexander The Muskegon Chronicle
Sunday January 11, 2009, 10:39 PM

Below the steel blue waters of Lake Michigan, a giant sucking sound is transforming the world's sixth largest lake in ways that scientists never thought possible.

An estimated 330 trillion quagga mussels carpet vast areas of Lake Michigan's underbelly. The foreign mollusks literally are sucking the aquatic life out of the water and depositing it on the lake bottom, according to new scientific data. [Full Story]

Source: The Muskegon Chronicle

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of January 8, 2009

GENERAL Northern Region Northeast Region Southeast Region South Central Region West Central Region

Appointment of DNR secretaries up in the air

Anita Weier — 1/06/2009 2:19 pm

Gov. Jim Doyle might not sign expected legislation that would restore the Natural Resources Board's power to appoint Department of Natural Resources secretaries, a spokesman said.

That power was taken from the board and given to the governor in 1995, when Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and a GOP controlled Legislature were in charge of state government.

Now that Democrats have control of both houses of the Legislature, chances are good that a bill reversing the policy could reach the Democratic governor's desk. But Doyle is evaluating what to do if that happens, according to spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner. (Full Story)

Source: The Capital Times

Foreign species stall in Wisconsin waterways in 2008

Mike Simonson/WPR, WPRPublished Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The spread of invasive species to Wisconsin lakes last year slowed to the lowest rate since extensive tracking began in 2000. Those results come with a combination of coercion and education … and a bit of fear. News of the fish-killing VHS virus found in the Lake Winnebago system, Lake Michigan and Green Bay has had a sobering effect statewide. (Full Story)

Source: Superior Telegram

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Presents 15th Annual Fishing Banquet

The banquet will be held on February 26, 2009 at the Stadium View Bar & Grill located at 1963 Holmgren Way in Green Bay, Wisconsin (A good block or so from Lambeau).

Tickets are still just $25.00 per person with Cocktails starting at 5:00 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.

There are raffles...

The Grand Door Prize is a Digital Camera. (Imagine photographing your fish so they can be uploaded onto WCSFO's site.)

Other raffles include: Fishing & Gun Raffle, 50/50 Cash Raffle, Special Free Ladies Raffle, a Silent Auction, Plus Additional Raffles and Door Prizes.

Proceeds Benefit Local Fish Stocking in Green Bay.

Tickets available at:

Stadium View Bar & Grill - 1963 Holmgren Way, Green Bay
Russ's Barber Shop - 1345 Velp Ave, Green Bay
West Green Bay - Bernie Erickson at: 920.497.9006
East Green Bay - Bill Willis at: 920.468.7099
Howard/Suamico - Tom Patzke at: 920.822.2342
DePere - Larry Miller at: 920.336.3926
Shawano/Cecil - John E. Durben at: 715.745.2248
Algoma/Kewaunee- Ed Coppersmith at: 920.388.4484

Mark your Calendar and make your plans now to attend...

Cold weather increases ice cover, but those venturing out still need to follow ice safety tips

MADISON –Recent cold weather is attracting increasing numbers of ice anglers, skaters and others to frozen lakes, but a state recreational safety specialist cautions that people need to remember a number of safety tips if they venture onto the ice.

Knowing when it is safe to step onto the ice, how to travel on ice and what to do should the ice break is as important as knowing the hot fishing bait or best areas to skate, according to a Department of Natural Resources recreational safety specialist.

“The best advice is to remember that there is no such thing as safe ice,” said Todd Schaller, DNR chief of recreation enforcement and education. “And although a lake or river is frozen, there’s no guarantee it can be safely traveled. Ice may look okay, but it’s difficult to tell by appearances alone. Ice thickness may vary or a thin ice cover may hide weak or honeycomb ice and water pockets.”

Schaller offers the following safety tips to anglers and others:

  • Local bait shops, resorts and anglers are often the best source of ice conditions. Conditions can vary from location to location and day to day. Avoid traveling on the ice unless you’re familiar with the conditions.
  • Check ice thickness with an ice spud or auger starting from a few feet from shore and every 10 to 20 feet as one goes towards the middle of the waterway.
  • Springs, lake inlets and outlets, and channels can alter ice thickness.
  • Whether alone or with a friend, carry safety gear such as a length of rope, ice grippers and a personal floatation device. Tools that can assist yourself or others if an ice break occurs.
  • Proper clothing can increase chances of survival should a person break through the ice. A snowmobile type suit -- if it is zipped -- can and will trap air and slow the body’s heat loss. Once filled with water, however, insulated suits become very heavy and will hinder rescue. Newer model snowmobile suits have flotation material built in and anyone traversing ice should consider purchasing one of these suits. On early ice it is advised to wear a personal flotation device.
  • You should never venture onto rivers, where currents may cause thin ice conditions that aren’t visible due to erosion of the ice from below.
  • Refrain from driving on ice whenever possible. Travel in a vehicle, especially early or late in the season, can be very dangerous.
  • If you do take a vehicle on the ice be prepared to leave the vehicle in a hurry. Unbuckle the seatbelt, keep doors unlocked, and have a plan of action in mind if the vehicle breaks through the ice.
  • When using a gas or liquid heater to warm an ice shack or tent make sure it is properly ventilated with at least two openings, one at the top and one at the bottom of the structure. Any flame eats oxygen so proper ventilation is required.

“At DNR, we want you to be safe enjoying the outdoors. Common sense is the greatest ally in preventing ice related accidents,” Schaller said. “That includes checking ice conditions and preparing oneself before venturing out. One rule of thumb remains the same. Treat all ice as unsafe and use caution when venturing onto our frozen lakes and rivers.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller - (608) 267-2774

Snowmobilers reminded of key trail safety tips

Weekend fatalities underscore top hazards

- Wisconsin recreation safety officials urge snowmobilers to slow down, stay sober, and follow other safety tips in the wake of seven fatal snowmobile accidents since the start of 2009.

“Snowmobiling offers a great way to get outside and enjoy family, friends and our beautiful scenery, but everyone needs to remember to operate with a safety mindset,” says Gary Eddy, Department of Natural Resources snowmobile safety administrator.

“Don’t operate at excessive speeds, keep a safe distance between sleds in a group, be extra cautious at night, and perhaps most importantly, limit alcohol use. The best policy is to wait to drink until you’re done riding.”

Record-breaking snows in many parts of the state have lured Wisconsin residents and visitors to the snowmobile trails en force, with the vast majority returning home safely. However, 13 people have died in snowmobile accidents so far this season, compared to nine a year ago and one at this time in the 2006-2007 season.

“Speed, alcohol and nighttime use – outdriving headlights -- are the main recurring factors every year,” Eddy says. “We’re also seeing an increase in head-on collisions and accidents among snowmobiles in the same group.”

DNR wardens are currently investigating head-on collisions that occurred over the weekend and claimed four lives, one in Price County and three in Vilas County. “Operators are reminded that state law requires them to stay on the right side of the trail and proceed with caution when meeting oncoming traffic on the trail,” Eddy says.

Snowmobilers riding in a group need to keep enough distance between themselves to stop safely if they see a hazard, and to use extra caution on corners and hills, Eddy says.

And all snowmobilers need to remember to travel at a speed commensurate with their skill, knowledge of the trail, and visibility conditions, particularly at night.

Snowmobile lights shine out only to 200 feet, so snowmobilers need to travel at a slow enough speed to allow them time to react when their headlights illuminate a hazard. The DNR recommends snowmobilers do not exceed 45 miles per hour at night under normal conditions to avoid overriding their headlights.

State law sets a 55 mile per hour speed limit from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise. More information about the new law as well as snowmobile safety tips , snowmobile regulations and other information is available on the snowmobile safety education pages of the DNR Web site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Eddy (608) 267-7455

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cordless drill can help determine ice thickness

Several factors affect the relative safety of ice, like temperature, snow cover and currents. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), a cordless, rechargeable electric drill is a new way to check ice conditions and the actual thickness.

“If you keep an eye on the bit as it bores into the ice, you can estimate how thick the ice is when it finally breaks through,” said Tim Smalley, Minnesota DNR water safety specialist. “To double check, you can use a tape measure to be sure the ice is thick enough for your planned activity.”

With a cordless drill and a long, five-eighths inch wood auger bit, people can drill through eight inches of ice in less than 30 seconds. Most cordless drills that are at least 7.2 volts will work, but the bit needs to be a wood auger bit with a metal spiral called a “flute” around the shaft. The flutes pull the ice chips out of the hole and help keep it from getting stuck.

“It’s important to dry the bit and give it a quick spray of silicone lubricant after each use,” Smalley said. “Otherwise, the next time you open your toolkit, you’ll find your once shiny drill bit looking like a rusty nail.”

Smalley said people who don’t have access to a cordless drill may use an ice chisel or auger to check ice conditions, but they should also contact a local bait shop before venturing out on the ice.

According to the DNR, here are recommended minimum thicknesses for new clear ice:

  • 4 inches for ice fishing and small group activities
  • 5 inches for snowmobiles and ATVs
  • 8- to 10-inches for small to medium cars and pickups.

The above thicknesses are for new clear ice. Old white ice - sometimes called “snow ice” - is only about one-half as strong, so the above numbers should be doubled. Vehicles weighing one ton should be parked at least 50 feet apart and moved every two hours to prevent sinking.

Ice safety pamphlets, posters and videos, are available online or by contacting the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll free 1-888-646-6367.

Source: MN Department of Natural Resources