Monday, March 30, 2009

Invasive species grow to 188 in Great Lakes

By Don Lajoie, The Windsor Star

There are now 188 invasive species identified in the Great Lakes and while chances of ridding the water of established populations is considered slim, steps are being taken to control them and the public is called upon to help.

That was the message Sarah Bailey, research scientist for the Great Lakes laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Science Fisheries - Oceans Canada brought to an audience at Windsor’s main library branch Sunday. [Full Story]

Source: The Windsor Star

Drugs in fish: Pharmaceuticals found in fish caught near North Side sewage treatment plant in Chicago area

By Michael Hawthorne
Tribune reporter

Prescription drugs used to treat depression, high blood pressure, seizures and other ailments are turning up in fish caught downstream from a Chicago sewage treatment plant, according to a new study that highlights some unintended consequences of our medicated lives.

Little is known about the potential effects on people and wildlife, but scientists and regulators increasingly are concerned about long-term exposure to drugs in the water, even at very low levels. [Full Story]

Source: The Chicago Tribune


by: L.A. Van Veghel

Buck Perry's famous Spoonplugs, plus the great books on structure fishing are still available. The website is The instructional material includes Buck Perry's Structure Situation Guide, Perry's Spoonplugging Your Guide to Lunker Catches (A first edition costs $10.00 more), Perry's outstanding Home Study Course 9 Volumes, and Tom Coleman's Journal. Using the knowledge in these books will do much more than just looking at locators and underwater TV's. In fact, reading these books and applying what you learned will make sense of what you see in your locators and on underwater TV's.

As for the Spoonplugs, I can tell you from experience that they work. For example, I won a Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd., outing on Pewaukee Lake, several years ago, by using a brass Spoonplug on an outside weedline. The second from the left Spoonplug in the photo above shows a brass Spoonplug. Long before the advent of Power Pro, Spiderwire, and Fireline, Perry advocated using a tough line called NoBo Trolling Line. It is still available on this site too, as is NoBo Wire Line. Incidentally, the Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd. was once called the Wisconsin Spoonpluggers. Now we know why I used a Spoonplug during that fall outing.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Barrier to keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes almost complete

By James Janega Tribune reporter

A long-awaited permanent electric barrier built to keep invasive Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal out of the Great Lakes could be up and running by the end of April, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday.

Workers spent the day repairing a series of cooling pipes necessary to chill the heavy equipment that creates the underwater electrical barrier. [Full Story]

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Despite residents' efforts, lake invaders prove hard to kill

Starry Stonewort is an invasive aquatic weed to be reckoned with, lake experts say.

People around lakes infested with it are spending tens of thousands of dollars a year trying to harvest it and treat it with copper-based algacides to stop its spread. So far, it has creeped into 21 inland lakes in the state, including 12 in Oakland County alone. And experts fear it could get much worse. [Full Story]


Perch, pickerel, bass return to Cootes after carp leave

Eric McGuinness
The Hamilton Spectator

The burly, bronze-coloured carp thrashed strongly as Melissa Fuller displayed it to a crowd of spring break walkers at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) fishway separating Cootes Paradise from the open water of Hamilton Harbour. [Full Story]

Source: The Spec.Com

Asian carp pose conundrum for lawmakers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — How do you control an animal that has no natural predators, seems to multiply uncontrollably and has bad effects on the ecosystem?

“That’s the million dollar question” and the conundrum caused by Asian carp, according to Rob Maher, commercial fishing program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Two Illinois lawmakers think they have a hint. Reps. Patricia Bellock and Jim Watson want to repel the aquatic invaders, but they have come up with opposite solutions. [Full Story]

Source: The Register-Mail

Volunteers sought to prepare Copper Falls State Park for summer season

ASHLAND – People looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day by helping improve Wisconsin’s environment can participate in volunteer work day at Copper Falls State Park, Mellen on Sat. May 9. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks which is also coordinating the work day.

“With a tight economy, state park officials are anticipating more people will be looking for recreational opportunities close to home, and they expect state parks will be especially busy this summer,” said Luthien L. Niland, Wisconsin State Parks liaison to the Friends group, “and with help from Earth Day volunteers our parks will be cleaner and more enjoyable.”

Volunteers will help the local Friends of Copper Falls State Park and Department of Natural Resources parks staff in sprucing up the parks by clearing debris from trails and campgrounds, making minor repairs to park structures, cleaning up beaches and waterfronts and a variety of other activities.

“This is an opportunity for visitors who appreciate the beauty of Copper Falls State Park to give something back to the park,” Niland said.

The work day will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The rain date for the event will be the following Sunday. Lunch and snacks, donated by the Deep Water Grill and other area businesses, will be served. All participants will also receive a Work • Play • Earth Day water bottle.

Advanced registration is free, but required. Interested individuals can find more information or register through the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks web site. Similar cleanups are taking place at other parks around the state are also listed on this site.

Volunteers will not need a park sticker and should bring gloves and clothes appropriate for the outdoor work. All tools will be provided.

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks is a nonprofit umbrella organization that works in support of local state park, forest, and trail Friends groups around the state and assists them in enhancing, preserving, and protecting Wisconsin State Parks and Trails.

April 13 at Pontiac Convention Center: Annual fish and game rule hearing

JANESVILLE – Rock County sportsmen and women are reminded that the Department of Natural Resources’ spring conservation hearing on Monday evening, April 13, has moved to a new location.

The hearing, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. will be held at the Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 N. Pontiac Dr., Janesville. The annual gathering had been previously held at the Janesville Moose Lodge.

Held simultaneously in each Wisconsin county, the hearings give residents their annual opportunity to vote on DNR proposed fish and wildlife management rule changes. Everyone will be given an opportunity to comment on the proposals, but individuals are limited to three minutes for each proposal.

The hearings are held prior to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings. The Congress, a citizen group created by the Legislature, serves as an independent organization to advise DNR on hunting, fishing and environmental matters. It is made-up of five delegates from each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Delegates will be elected at the Congress meeting.

April 13 at Lancaster High School: Annual fish and game rule hearing

LANCASTER – Grant County sportsmen and women are reminded that the Department of Natural Resources’ spring conservation hearing on Monday evening, April 13, has moved to a new location.

The hearing, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. will be held at the Lancaster High School Auditorium, 806 East Elm St., Lancaster The annual gathering was held last year at the Grant County Youth & Ag Building, Lancaster.

Held simultaneously in each Wisconsin county, the hearings give residents their annual opportunity to vote on DNR proposed fish and wildlife management rule changes. Everyone will be given an opportunity to comment on the proposals, but individuals are limited to three minutes for each proposal.

The hearings are held prior to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings. The Congress, a citizen group created by the Legislature, serves as an independent organization to advise DNR on hunting, fishing and environmental matters. It is made-up of five delegates from each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Delegates will be elected at the Congress meeting.

April 13 at Middleton High School: Annual fish and game rule hearing

FITCHBURG – Dane County sportsmen and women are reminded that the Department of Natural Resources’ spring conservation hearing on Monday evening, April 13, has moved to a new location.

The hearing, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. will be held at Middleton High School’s Performing Arts Center, 2100 Bristol St., Middleton. The annual gathering had been held for many years at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

Held simultaneously in each Wisconsin county, the hearings give residents their annual opportunity to vote on DNR proposed fish and wildlife management rule changes. Everyone will be given an opportunity to comment on the proposals, but individuals are limited to three minutes for each proposal.

The hearings are held prior to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings. The Congress, a citizen group created by the Legislature, serves as an independent organization to advise DNR on hunting, fishing and environmental matters. It is made-up of five delegates from each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Delegates will be elected at the Congress meeting.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

New regulation changes game fishing on Wisconsin River between Rhinelander and Kings Dam

RHINELANDER - Anglers are reminded that, new this year, a 22-mile stretch of the Wisconsin River from Rhinelander to Kings Dam will be closed to game fishing April 1 through May 1, 2009. It will reopen with the statewide opener on May 2. That section of the river -- which had been open in the past to fishing year ‘round -- is being closed to protect spawning game fish.

“This part of the river was once one of the most polluted in the state,” said Fisheries Manager Dave Seibel, “and closed seasons were not needed to protect fish that people did not want and weren’t plentiful. Since the passage of laws like the Clean Water Act in 1972 and other regulations, however, the river has made a dramatic comeback and the abundance of bass, walleye, and muskellunge have increased along with fishing pressure.”

The regulation change now makes the section of the river consistent with most inland waters in northern Wisconsin. Effective April 1 and in the future, game fishing on the river will open the first Saturday in May and run through the first Sunday in March. Also applicable this year and in the future is a catch-and-release-only season on bass from the first Saturday in May through the Friday before the third Saturday in June. After that the daily bag limit is five with a minimum of 14 inches.

The river portion included in the change begins at the Rhinelander Paper Mill (St. Regis) Dam down river to Kings Dam including Hat Rapids Flowage and Lake Alice.

Slow no-wake boating restriction in effect on St. Croix River

(Minnesota) With spring snow melt and recent precipitation, water levels on the St. Croix River are projected to rise to the point where any early boaters will be required to slow down to minimize shoreline damage.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expects that boats will be required to operate at slow no-wake speeds on the St. Croix between Taylors Falls and Prescott by Friday.

“With ice still covering parts of the St. Croix, one wouldn’t expect too many boaters,” said DNR river hydrologist Molly Shodeen. “But where there’s open water, some folks may be anxious to get out, and we want them to be aware of the restrictions.”

The special restriction, authorized by state rules in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, is triggered when the level on the St. Croix reaches 683 feet above sea level at Stillwater. Boaters should consult the National Weather Service Web site for the latest updates on current and projected water levels.

Officials from Wisconsin, Minnesota and the National Park Service will post signs regarding the slow no-wake requirement at all public accesses, and marina operators have been notified. The rule is aimed at reducing shoreline erosion and resulting property damage in areas not usually susceptible to wave action at lower water levels.

The slow no-wake rule will remain in effect until the water level again recedes below the 683-foot level. Boat and water safety officials at the DNR also point out that high-running rivers often contain debris floating just below the surface that can pose serious hazards. Boaters should slow down and exercise extra caution in such conditions.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Watch for Great Lakes invaders moving inland, group told

Green Bay - University of Notre Dame professor David Lodge has some advice for inland lakefront property owners worried about unwanted organisms invading their seemingly isolated waters: Keep an eye on the Great Lakes.

"The Great Lakes are a beachhead - just the first stopping point for species arriving in North America," Lodge told a group of about 400 people who are gathered in Green Bay this week for the 31st annual Wisconsin Lakes Convention.

"If you want to know what's coming next," he said Thursday, "look at what's already in the Great Lakes." [Full Story]

Source: JSOnline

Back-to-back snowy winters help replenish Great Lakes

Two extraordinarily snowy winters in a row have contributed to rebounding water levels in the Great Lakes basin, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The 2007-2008 winter had 87.4 inches of snow, the third-highest in Green Bay history, according to the National Weather Service in Ashwaubenon. This season has produced 86.2 inches of snow so far, good for fourth place in the record books. [Full Story]

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette

Volunteers needed to prep Hartman Creek State Park for the summer

STEVENS POINT – People looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day by helping to improve Wisconsin’s environment can participate in a volunteer work day at Hartman Creek State Park west of Waupaca on Saturday, May 2.

“With a tight economy, state park officials are anticipating more people will be looking for recreational opportunities close to home, and they expect state parks will be especially busy this summer,” said Luthien L. Niland, Wisconsin State Parks liaison to the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks, which is sponsoring and coordinating the volunteer work days.

Volunteers will help the local Friends of Hartman Creek State Park and Department of Natural Resources parks staff in sprucing up the parks by clearing debris from trails and campgrounds, making minor repairs to park structures, cleaning up beaches and waterfronts, and a variety of other activities.

“This is an opportunity for visitors who appreciate the beauty of Hartman Creek State Park to give something back,” Niland said.

Volunteers will not need a park sticker and should bring work clothes including work glove and boots if they have them. Tools will be provided at Hartman Creek.

The work day will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If needed, a rain date has been set for the the following Sunday. Lunch and snacks, donated by New Page Paper Company and other area businesses, will be served. All participants will also receive a Work • Play • Earth Day waterbottle. Advanced registration is free, but required. Interested individuals can find more information or register through the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Similar cleanups are taking place at other parks around the state are also listed on this site.

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks is a nonprofit umbrella organization that works in support of local state park, forest, and trail Friends groups around the state and assists them in enhancing, preserving, and protecting Wisconsin State Parks and Trails. Anyone with questions can contact Luthien Niland either by phone at 608-264-8994 or on e-mail at

Cottage Grove: Village seeking stewardship grant

COTTAGE GROVE - The Village of Cottage Grove has applied for a 50 percent matching grant from the Urban Green Space and Acquisition & Development of Local Parks components of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program to assist with the purchase of 59 acres of land in the Town of Cottage Grove. The village will provide match to the grant award.

The property is being acquired to: provide a green space buffer between surrounding developments; allow for the future improvement of outdoor recreational infrastructure such as trails; offer safe routes to schools; and linkage with the Glacial Drumlin Trail and Fireman’s Park.

Property uses will include trapping, hiking, cross-county skiing, picnic areas, nature study, wildlife observation, bicycle trails, dog exercise areas, disc golf, and educational opportunities.
The DNR has made a preliminary determination that the proposed acquisition will not involve significant adverse environmental impacts and neither an environmental assessment nor environmental impact statement will be required for this action.

Persons can address comments on the proposed acquisition to Vance Rayburn, Administrator, Customer and Employee Services Division, care of care of Renee Sanford, Customer and Employee Assistance 608 275-3213 Comments must be received by April 10, 2009.

Town of Westport: Dane County seeks stewardship grant

WAUNAKEE – Dane County has applied for a 50 percent matching grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program to assist with the purchase of 172 acres of land in the Town of Westport in Dane County. Dane County will provide match to the grant award.

The property would be purchased with money from the Urban Rivers and Urban Green Space sub-program, and is being acquired to provide green space within a rapidly developing area, protect a significant portion of Six Mile Creek from development, and create an integrated, naturalized stormwater system for minimizing runoff.

This purchase will create diverse opportunities for recreational uses, including hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, cross-county skiing, non-motorized boat access, biking, picnics, snow-shoeing, nature study and wildlife observation.

The DNR has made a preliminary determination that the proposed acquisition will not involve significant adverse environmental impacts and neither an environmental assessment nor environmental impact statement will be required for this action.

Persons should address public comments on the proposed acquisition to Vance Rayburn, Administrator, Customer and Employee Services Division, care of Renee Sanford, Customer and Employee Services (608) 275-3213, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road, Fitchburg, WI 53711-5397 or e-mail to Comments must be received by April 10, 2009.

Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of March 26, 2009

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

Wisconsin has had a wet beginning to spring, with different parts of the state receiving anywhere from half an inch to more than 3 inches of rain in the last week. Water levels are very high on some rivers, especially on the Rock River, where slow-no-wake rules have been put in place in Jefferson County as well as Rock County. The Mississippi River was at 9.6 feet at Prairie du Chien this week, up more than a foot from last week, and expected to reach the 10-foot mark late this week or early next week.

The wet weather continues to have trails in parks and forests saturated and horseback and mountain bike trails remain closed. Bicyclists should continue to not use any of the limestone-screened linear state bike trails until they dry out completely. Using the trails when they are wet can leave ruts that will remain after the trails finally do dry out.

Ice is going out on lakes and rivers, with the Madison lakes opening up completely this week. Northern pike are spawning and fish refuges have been posted on the Yahara River. Ice went out of the Amnicon River in Douglas County last week. The "ice road" from Bayfield to Madeline Island across Chequamegon Bay is now closed, and the shuttle service and wind sled and have started running.

The Fox and Wolf rivers are now open in the northeast but anglers have been having only limited success for walleyes. Walleye and brown trout were being caught on the Menominee River in Marinette, but there have been no reports of steelhead moving in yet. Anglers are also watching the Peshtigo River for signs of steelhead movement. Fishing has been good on the Manitowoc and Little Manitowoc rivers, with anglers catching steelhead and browns that ranged from 6 to 10 pounds. Anglers fishing the West Twin River around the Shoto dam also caught some nice fish.

In the southeast, the Sheboygan and Pigeon rivers are relatively high, and fishing has been slow other than a few steelhead and browns. Boaters out of Port Washington have been catching browns in 30 feet of water. Anglers fishing the Milwaukee River have been taking a few rainbows and browns. The Milwaukee River remains relatively high, but some steelhead have been caught. Steelhead have also been caught in the Menomonee River and Oak Creek. Water levels on the Root River have dropped considerably in the past week, and water clarity has improved. A few browns and steelhead were being caught and fisheries crews have been processing fish at the Root River Steelhead Facility to collect eggs for hatcheries.

The spring bird migration picked up this week. Loons began arriving on Lake Monona in Madison as soon at the ice went out. Meadowlarks are back on their territories and are calling. Pintail ducks and common mergansers have been seen migrating along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and there is also some great waterfowl viewing on Pool 9 of the Mississippi River between Lynxville and Ferryville.

Tom turkeys have been observed strutting on sunny days over the past week. Goldfinches are molting their olive colored winter feathers and are sporting a bi-color yellow and olive coat. Bluebirds are displaying and pairing up at houses and are beginning to gather grass as a mating behavior. Great horned owl young are still fuzzy but have grown quite a bit and are almost ready for flight.

Silver maples are flowering and tapping of sugar maples picked up this week. The first deer ticks have been spotted already, so be on the lookout for them when working in or visiting the sugar bush.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

DNR seeking volunteers for frog and toad calling survey

(Minnesota) The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR’s) Nongame Wildlife Program is recruiting volunteers to participate in its ongoing statewide frog and toad calling survey.

Since 1996, volunteers have collected data by listening to and identifying frog and toad species on specified 10-stop routes. The results provide information on where species are located and how their populations change in abundance and distribution.

Volunteers are needed particularly in the southwest portion of the state for this year’s survey, which begins on April 15.

Volunteers “run” their assigned 10-stop route and listen for calls to identify frogs and toads on three nights a year. These routes are run after dark, in good weather, and in each of the following time periods to capture seasonal variation in calling frog species: April 15 - 30 (early spring), May 20 - June 5 (late spring), and June 25 - July 10 (summer). Dates in the northern portion of the state are delayed by 10 days.

The provides new volunteers with a CD of Minnesota frog and toad species’ calls, a map of their assigned route, instructions and a field datasheet. A vehicle is required to travel between stops along the survey route.

A map of available route locations and other survey information are available online.

To volunteer, contact Krista Larson by e-mail.

DNR Says Fish Kills Common in Spring

(Michigan) As the ice and snow melt on Michigan's lakes, it's not uncommon to discover fish kills or die-offs, the Department of Natural Resources reminds lakefront property owners and recreational boaters and anglers. Typical Michigan winters with heavy snow and ice cover create conditions that cause die-offs of fish and other aquatic life such as softshell turtles, frogs, toads, and crayfish.

"Winterkill is the most common type of fish kill," said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Kelley Smith. "Particularly in shallow lakes and streams, it can have large effects on fish populations and fishing quality."

Winterkill occurs during especially long, harsh winters, such as occurred in Michigan this past winter. Shallow lakes with excess amounts of aquatic vegetation and mucky bottoms are particularly prone to this problem. Fish and other aquatic life actually die in late winter, but may not be noticed until a month after the ice leaves the lake because the dead fish and other aquatic life are temporarily preserved by the cold water.

"Winterkill begins with distressed fish gasping for air at holes in the ice and ends with large numbers of dead fish that bloat as the water warms in early spring," Smith explained. "Dead fish and other aquatic life may appear fuzzy because of secondary infection by fungus, but the fungus was not the cause of death as winterkilled fish were actually suffocated from a lack of dissolved oxygen under the ice."

Trace amounts of dissolved oxygen are required by fish and all other forms of aquatic life. Once the daylight is greatly reduced by ice and snow cover, the aquatic plants stop producing oxygen and many die. The bacteria that decompose organic materials on the bottom of the lake require oxygen and work to use up the remaining oxygen in the water, once the plants stop producing it. This winter, many locations had perfect conditions for winterkill with heavy ice and snow cover, and a number of locations likely ran out of dissolved oxygen to support fish and other aquatic life.

"The DNR is still concerned about Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHSv) infections, particularly after a stressful winter such as the past one, and requests the assistance of anglers and citizens in reporting fish with symptoms of this disease," said Smith.

Information on VHS can be found at

If anglers or citizens see unusual fish or other aquatic life kills or see fish with clinical signs of VHSv, please e-mail information about the fish kill to

If you suspect a fish kill is caused by non-natural causes such as a chemical spill, please call your nearest DNR location or Michigan's Pollution Emergency Alert System at 800-292-4706.

2009 Fishing Season Opens on April 1

(Michigan) The 2009 fishing season opens on April 1; and anglers have three major regulations changes to note this season, the Department of Natural Resources said today.

Fishing licenses are on sale at all license retailers and online at

Unlike last year, when the DNR printed two fishing guides -- including specifically for inland trout and salmon -- the 2009 Michigan Fishing Guide includes all fishing regulations. The color-coded maps that were previously printed in the trout and salmon guide are not included this year. Color-coded trout stream maps will be available online at beginning April 1. Changes to lake and stream types are noted in red in the Fishing Guide.

There are three major regulations changes for 2009:

  • The daily limit of five trout and salmon in combination may now include up to five Chinook or coho salmon. In the past, the limit included a maximum of three fish of one species.
  • Anglers may now use up to three rods. In the past the limit was two, except anglers trolling for salmon in the Great Lakes could use three rods.
  • There is a two-gallon daily limit on smelt. Previously, there was no limit.

The 2009 Michigan Fishing Guide is available at license retailers statewide.

Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center Announces Spring Programs

(Michigan) The Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center today announced its spring programs for 2009. The Department of Natural Resources' visitor center is located at 3377 US-31 in Oden, five miles east of Petoskey.

On Saturday, April 25, the visitor center will host at Earth Day Celebration with activities taking places from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Saturday, May 2, the center will host its 4th Annual Youth Fishing Clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This clinic is for children in grades 4-8. Preregistration is required and begins on Friday, April 3. For more information, call the center at (231) 348-0998.

Saturday, May 23, is the official opening day for the visitor center. The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week through Labor Day.

All programs at the visitor center are free. Tours of the Oden State Fish Hatchery are offered by reservation, and hunting and fishing licenses are now on sale at the visitor center.

DNR seeks comments on lake and stream management plans in International Falls area

(Minnesota) The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking comments on individual fisheries lake and stream management plans for 11 lakes and one designated trout stream in northern St. Louis and Koochiching counties. Fisheries managers use the plans to describe the past, present, and future conditions of the lake. The plans identify goals and objectives for the fish community and identify specific management activities planned for the lake in the next 10 years. The lake management plans available for review at this time are for Bartlett, Fat, Mukooda, Kjostad, Myrtle, Moose (near Orr), Gannon, Blackduck, Quarterline, Little Loon, and Franklin The stream management plan available for review is for Lost River (near Orr). Copies of the plans are available at the DNR Area Fisheries Office, 392 Highway 11 East, International Falls, Minnesota 56649. Call 218-286-5220 or email to request a copy. Comments will be accepted until April 7, 2008.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


On Saturday, Sportsman's Warehouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The filing ends speculation that the Midvale, Utah based outdoor chain was struggling for survival despite announcing the closure twenty-three stores, layoff of nearly 2,000 employees and the exchange of fifteen other stores to Canada's United Farmers of Alberta cooperative as repayment of a late-2008 cash infusion.

That infusion was originally to have been the first phase of an acquisition of eighty percent of the chain by UFA. After due diligence, however, UFA said it was no longer pursuing the acquisition, instead taking fifteen stores along the Canadian border as repayment for the capital infusion in late 2008.

In the Saturday bankruptcy filing, the company listed assets of $436.4 million with liabilities of $452.1 million. Chief Financial Officer Rourk Kemp said in the court filings the company "another retailer victim of the worldwide global recession." Industry observers, however, say the company was victim of an overly aggressive and fatally-flawed business model.

A Chapter 11 filing is not a liquidation proceeding. It gives a company legal breathing room while it attempts to reorganize itself going forward. During that process, the company will keep its twenty-nine remaining stores open, continue to pay employees' wages and benefits and honor customer returns and exchanges and gift-card programs.

The filing says the company has secured $85 million in financing from GE Capital Corporation that will be available to it while it is under the Chapter 11 protections.

In the meantime, there are thirty unsecured creditors owed more than $34.2 million dollars who are watching the matter very closely.

Source: The Fishing Wire

DNR Horicon Service Center moving back to Highway 28 on March 31

HORICON – The Department of Natural Resources’ Service Center here will move back to its former location off State Highway 28 between Horicon and Mayville into a newly remodeled building, soon to be home to the Horicon International Education Center.

The Service Center had been temporarily located at 1210 N. Palmatory St., Horicon, since November, 2007, when construction began on the Education Center.

“The Palmatory Office will be closed to the public on March 30 and the Horicon Service Center will reopen for normal business hours at our new location on Tuesday, March 31,” said customer services supervisor Darlene Luehring.

Business and office hours at the new address, N7725 State Highway 28, will be 8:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. The Service Center is closed to the public on Mondays.

Open hours for the new Horicon International Education Center have yet to be finalized.

Visitors traveling to the new Service Center from the west and south should note that State Highway 33 through the City of Horicon is undergoing reconstruction and they should follow detour signs to access State Highway 28.

Rick DeWitte: DNR warden recognized for environmental protection

CASSVILLE – Veteran Department of Natural Resources conservation warden Rick DeWitte, Cassville, was recognized recently for his outstanding law enforcement efforts during 2008 in the field of environmental protection.

Warden DeWitte, whose area of responsibility covers the southern half of Grant County, was selected as tops among his peers in DNR’s 11-county South Central Region for working to prevent degradation of the region’s air, land and water.

“Rick is an outstanding conservation warden and was heavily involved in matters related to last year’s June flooding and animal waste runoff,” noted warden supervisor Chuck Horn, Dodgeville.

John Buss: DNR warden earns region and statewide honors

PRAIRIE DU SAC – Veteran Department of Natural Resources conservation warden John Buss, Prairie du Sac, was chosen recently as the Wisconsin Bowhunter’s Association Warden of the Year for 2008 and also for his outstanding law enforcement activities in the field of public relations.

Warden Buss, whose area of responsibility covers the southern half of Sauk County, received the bowhunter award at the organization’s annual convention in Wausau for his excellent “Community Wardening” program that he has built in the county.

The group noted that warden Buss has established solid external partnerships with local sporting clubs, service groups, schools and media.

“More than anything, John is personable and easy to talk to. Communication is one of his many talents,” according to the WBA award.

Continuing this theme, warden Buss was chosen as tops among his peers in the DNR’s 11-county South Central Region in 2008 for his communications and education programs, including school presentations, teaching outdoor skills and working with sporting clubs.

“John is an outstanding conservation warden and his public relations activities stand a cut above in this crucial area of law enforcement,” said warden supervisor John Holmes, Poynette.

Dave Walz recognized as outstanding conservation warden

WATERTOWN – Department of Natural Resources conservation warden Dave Walz, Watertown, was honored recently as the Outstanding Warden for 2008 in the agency’s 11-county South Central Region.

Warden Walz, whose area of responsibility covers Jefferson County, was selected tops among his peers for not only his conservation law enforcement efforts, but for programs in the fields of outdoor safety, public relations, protecting the environment and working with other agencies.

“Dave has developed a (law enforcement) program within his administrative area that is a good blend of enforcement activities and educational initiatives,” noted Madison Area Warden Team Supervisor Jeremy Plautz, Fitchburg.

Warden Walz was also recognized for several rescue efforts in 2008, including the June floods during which he used a flat bottom boat to assist with the evacuation of residents from a Fall River apartment. He also worked with the utility company to shut-off services to many flooded homes.

Tyler Strelow: DNR warden honored for outdoor safety programs

FITCHBURG – Department of Natural Resources conservation warden Tyler Strelow, Fitchburg, was recognized recently for his outstanding law enforcement efforts during 2008 in the area of outdoor safety programs.

Warden Strelow, whose area of responsibility covers eastern Dane County, was honored as tops among his peers in the DNR’s 11-county South Central Region in administering and conducting safety programs and investigating accidents involving hunting, boating, ATV operation and snowmobiling.

“Tyler’s program addresses safety education as well as enforcement in Dane County,” noted warden supervisor Jeremy Plautz, Fitchburg. “He is a skilled taxidermist and has made several pheasant decoys for use in addressing road hunting problems.”

Warden Strelow was also recognized for helping motorists stranded on the interstate during a snowstorm last February and residents imperiled by the June floods.

Volunteers sought to help Wisconsin State Parks prepare for the summer season

MADISON – People looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day by helping to improve Wisconsin’s environment can participate in volunteer work days that are scheduled at 10 state parks across Wisconsin.

“With a tight economy, state park officials are anticipating more people will be looking for recreational opportunities close to home, and they expect state parks will be especially busy this summer,” said Luthien Niland, Wisconsin State Parks liaison to the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks, which is sponsoring and coordinating the volunteer work days.

Volunteers will help local Friends groups and Department of Natural Resources parks staff to prepare the parks for the summer season by clearing debris from trails and campgrounds, making minor repairs to park structures, cleaning up beaches and waterfronts, controlling invasive species, and a variety of other tasks.

“This is an opportunity for visitors to give back to the favorite park or explore a new park they have never been to before,” Niland said. “There will also be time set aside for people to appreciate and enjoy the park where they volunteer.”

The volunteer work days kick off on Saturday, April 25 in honor of Earth Day on April 22, and will continue on the following two Saturdays. The rain date for each event will be the following Sunday. Lunch and snacks, donated by area businesses, will be served at each location. Advanced registration is free, but required. People can find more information or register through the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Web site at [] (exit DNR).

The work days will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the following dates at the parks listed:

Saturday, April 25:
  • Mirror Lake State Park, Baraboo
  • Governor Dodge State Park, Dodgeville
  • Lake Kegonsa State Park, Madison
  • Wyalusing State Park, Prairie du Chien  
Saturday, May 2:
  • Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca
  • Lake Wissota State Park, Chippewa Falls
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest- Northern Unit, Fond du Lac
Saturday, May 9:
  • Perrot State Park, Trempealau
  • Buckhorn State Park, Necedah
  • Copper Falls State Park, Mellen
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks is a nonprofit organization that works to support local Friends groups around the state and assists them in enhancing, preserving, and protecting Wisconsin State parks, forests, and trails.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Luthien Niland - (608) 264-8994 or

Spring offers unique fish watching opportunities in Wisconsin

Crowds gather to watch annual lake sturgeon spawning run

MADISON – People looking for a free, family-friendly event this spring can visit some Wisconsin waterways where fish put on quite a show as they travel to their spawning grounds.

One of the most well-known fish watching events, bringing out thousands of visitors each year, is the upstream movement of the ancient lake sturgeon along the Wolf and Embarrass rivers during mid-April to early May.

A short video clip of sturgeon spawning and the people who come out to watch them, “Come face to face with prehistory” is available on the sturgeon spawning page of the DNR Web site.

“You really can’t see anything like this anywhere else, not on this scale,” says Ron Bruch, Department of Natural Resources senior sturgeon biologist. “During their spawning runs, you are able to be within a foot or less of these prehistoric fish, some weighing in excess of 150 to 200 pounds, spawning right at your feet.”

The world’s largest naturally reproducing lake sturgeon population resides in the Lake Winnebago System thanks to Wisconsin’s century-old sturgeon management program, the dedicated work of DNR fisheries staff, and the commitment of citizens.

“This is such a unique resource,” says Bruch. “If you can just imagine, more than 150 million years ago, there were dinosaurs watching these fish do the same thing and the sturgeon then looked pretty much exactly like they do now.”

Depending on where the fish are, the public might also have a chance to watch DNR fisheries crews as they net the large fish, bring them ashore, measure and tag them, and then release them back into the river.

Spawning time is dependent on water temperature and flow but typically happens during mid-April to early May. An average spawning run lasts on average for seven days and there is typically no more than two days of peak spawning at every given site, so visitors are encouraged to call the Sturgeon Hotline (920) 303-5444 for the most up-to-date information.

“This is just a great opportunity in the spring to see a wonder of nature,” says Bruch. “We have these fish here because we’ve been doing it right with sturgeon for 100 years, and we’re reaping the benefits.”

Lake Sturgeon Spawning and Viewing Locations
  • Wolf River Sturgeon Trail (near New London) - About two miles west of New London on County Highway X. Parking available on the south side of the river about one-half mile from the spawning site.
  • Bamboo Bend at Shiocton - on County Hwy 54. Parking available on the north side of County Hwy. 54.
  • Shawano Dam in Shawano - Parking available on the east side of the river at the end of Richmond Street.
* Maps are available on the sturgeon spawning Web site.

Sturgeon guard volunteers still needed
While the sturgeon are spawning, they are fairly oblivious to human activity and are vulnerable to illegal harvest. “Sturgeon Guard” volunteers are needed who can commit to 12-hour shifts of watching the fish while they are spawning.

If you would like to sign up, send the downloadable form (pdf) to the DNR sturgeon guard coordinator at the DNR Oshkosh Service Center at or call (920) 303-5444. For more information visit the Sturgeon Guard web site.

Other spring fish watching opportunities
Sturgeon aren’t the only ones making waves as they travel to their breeding grounds.

The spring steelhead run has begun on Lake Michigan tributaries, and a number of facilities offer fish viewing during the run, including the Root River Steelhead Facility in Racine County, where people can watch fish move up fish ladders, and the C.D. Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility on the Kewaunee River in Kewaunee County that has a unique viewing window allowing visitors to see fall and spring runs of fish as they enter the facility.

Walleye, northern pike, and musky will also be on the move beginning in late-March. The DNR Fish Watching web site has more information on when and where these fish are in action.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: lake sturgeon - Ron Bruch (920) 424-3059; C.D. Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility- (920) 388-1025; Root River Steelhead Facility - (262) 884-2300; DNR fisheries management - (608) 27-7498


28-year-old bald eagle released back to the wild

LADYSMITH, Wis. -- A 28-year-old male bald eagle was released back to his home territory last week after being treated for injuries received last summer. He is once again flying the skies near the Dairyland Flowage, north of Tony.

The eagle was found May 22, 2008 by Department of Natural Resources biologists Mark Schmidt and Chris Cold and transported to Antigo, where he was treated for impact trauma by wildlife rehabilitator Marge Gibson of Raptor Education Group, Inc. Cold said that the decision to hold the bird and wait until mid-March for release was made because of old age and the recent severe temperatures.

“This bird has an interesting history,” Cold said.

He was banded as a nestling on June 5, 1981 by DNR wildlife biologists Ron Eckstein and Chuck Sindelar at Jersey City Flowage, north of Tomahawk. Sometime late in life, he was shot and now has a healed leg fracture to show for it.

“This old injury may have eventually predisposed him to other injuries, which ultimately put him in rehab,” Cold said.

“The good news is that his condition is good and the time is right. As the river breaks up, it is heartening to know that this old veteran is once again on familiar ground as one of the oldest known wild eagles presently alive and free in our state.”

Schmidt and Cold commended the efforts of Marge Gibson and other animal rehabilitators for making this success story possible. While Wisconsin eagle numbers have recovered from historic lows to a present population of more than 1,200 known breeding pairs, they still face threats from illegal shooting and environmental contaminants. One of the major contaminants is lead.

Cold said that when lead is ingested as spent buckshot in crippled game or as sinkers and jigs in unrecovered fish, it continues to kill eagles at a time when alternatives to this toxic metal are available to hunters and anglers. A large percentage of eagles coming in to rehab centers are suffering from lead exposure, either directly (shot) or as ingested in dead fish and animals.

“Lead levels in the blood may predispose eagles to impaired behavior that predisposes them to injury such as impact trauma from vehicles at roadkill sites,” Cold explained.

The biologists and rehabilitators encourage all sportspeople to “get the lead out” and do their part for wildlife conservation. An old eagle flying above some waterway somewhere will benefit from such efforts.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


(Franklin, WI) After we networked, WCSFO president, Ted Lind, of Walleyes Unlimited, USA, began our meeting at 9:55 a.m. The weather was good, and attendance should’ve been higher. Clubs are again reminded to send their representatives or presidents for our fall meeting.

Secretary and media director, Larry Van Veghel, of the Wisconsin Fishing Club Ltd., read the minutes from our fall statewide meeting. The minutes were approved as read.
Our treasurer, Chuck Plotz, of Walleyes Unlimited, said we have $3,058.23 in our savings account and $4,923.05 in our checking account. The treasurer’s report was approved as read.
Ted Lind will switch computer service providers, as his current provider is locking up his computer.
Mike Staggs, Director Bureau of Fisheries Management, WDNR, gave us a rundown of the DNR fish questions scheduled for the April Spring Hearings. He covered the major statewide questions. There are numerous local questions.

A background check is proposed to help eliminate unsavory characters from becoming fishing instructors.
Remote controlled devices used in fishing were discussed. The DNR wants these items to be tethered. These devices currently fall into the prohibited jug fishing category.

The DNR wants to insure that smelt do not spread throughout our Northern Wisconsin waters. Smelt eat walleye eggs, and walleye populations drastically drop.

The largemouth and smallmouth bass minimum size limits and managing of the species separately appear on the Spring Hearing questionnaire.
Per Staggs, VHS has not spread at a fast rate, and that is good. VHS often shows the most fatalities after 3 years.

Tournament permits were next discussed by Staggs. A calendar listing permitted tournaments is now on the WDNR’s Fishing Tournaments – Calendar of Events website page. People can use this handy calendar to see what dates are open or filled on the particular body of water of interest.

Staggs handed out some DNR pamphlets. One was the “Minnows As Bait” pamphlet, and another was the pamphlet showing where the DNR spends its money.

In the future, some special DNR studies and projects may have to be cut or put off due to the poor economy. The DNR hopes to keep 95% of their programs in operation, and this is better than what is being done by most other state agencies.

Per George Meyer of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, 24 DNR service centers will close. Staggs said more emphasis is being put on “800” phone numbers manned by live people.

Recreational Boating and Fishing Federation, RBFF, is working with our DNR to get people who stopped fishing back into fishing.

Walleye stocking in the Milwaukee River is on hold due to the VHS issue. The DNR is hoping to soon have an egg disinfection system in operation for walleye eggs.

The Lake Michigan salmon stocking should be up to normal soon. Lake Superior will get fewer Seeforellen strain German brown trout.

Sturgeon stocking in the Milwaukee River will continue.

The DNR is pushing for less stocking of lake trout in Lake Michigan. The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife is stepping up their lake trout stocking, but due to disease problems in their hatcheries, they might not be able to stock an increased number of lakers.

Per George Meyer, there has been a restructuring of our state government committees on wildlife. Representative Spencer Black now chairs the Assembly Environmental Committee, while Representative Anne Hraychuck heads the Assembly Fish and Wildlife Committee. In the senate, the Environmental Committee is chaired by Senator Mark Miller, and the Senate Natural Resource Committee has Senator Jim Holperin as its chairperson.

WCSFO and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation are among many groups pushing for a DNR Board appointed Secretary of the DNR. Currently, this job is filled by an appointment from the Governor.
To contact him, Ted Lind said to use phone #414-466-8284.

Lind said that 117 acre and 48 feet deep Friess Lake, in Washington County, is getting construction bids for a new DNR launch. On the Wisconsin/Illinois border, Elizabeth Lake will have its new launch done during spring. Project approvals are a little bit slow. The North Lake launch, in Waukesha County, is still being opposed by some locals. It is hoped that construction occurs sometime this summer or fall. On Okauchee, in the same county, the house will soon be removed so that the launch parking area can be expanded. The Delavan launch, in Walworth County, renovation is slow. The DNR is putting six fishing piers in on state land. Harrington, Whitewater and Bong are to receive these piers.

Vice president and webmaster John Durben, of the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Green Bay Area Chapter will update our blog to include the form for business sponsors. Membership includes a business card size listing for the business sponsor members. Membership fee is just $50.00/year.

Our meeting ended at 1:20 p.m. Our fall statewide meeting will be held at the Walleyes For Tomorrow headquarters in Fond du Lac on October 17, 2009. This is the third Saturday of the month. Our 2010 statewide spring meeting will again be held at Gander Mountain in Franklin, WI. The date for the meeting is on March 20, and this is the third Saturday.

For representation, member clubs must send their delegates. New member clubs are always welcome as are new individual and business members.

Respectively submitted,
L.A. Van Veghel
WCSFO secretary and media director

WCSFO Photos by John E. Durben (Click on Photos to enlarge) Top: WCSFO Treasurer Chuck Plotz left, WCSFO President Ted Lind, right.  Second photo: WDNR Fish Manager Mike Staggs, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Representative George Meyer and WCSFO Secretary and Media Director L.A. Van Veghel.

Unprecedented Legislative Support for DNR Secretary Appointment Bill Has Overwhelming Conservationists Backing

Poynette: Today, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the state’s largest conservation organization, comprised of 164 hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry organizations, extends its deepest appreciation to the 68 state senators and representatives that have cosponsored Assembly Bill 138 which restores the appointment authority of the DNR Secretary back to the Natural Resources Board. The Board appointment authority was initially established by the Legislature in 1928 under the leadership of Aldo Leopold and other conservation leaders with the strong political backing of hunters, anglers and trappers. The concept of a Board appointed Secretary is to promote professionally based natural resources management with broad public input over direct political influence in natural resource decision-making.

“The sportsmen and women in this state overwhelmingly support the restoration of the appointment authority of the DNR Secretary to the Board,” indicated Lil Pipping, (Elkhart Lake), Federation President. “When this measure is brought up before the Wisconsin Conservation Congress it receives 90% approval from the state’s sportsmen and women.”

“Wisconsin’s hunters, anglers and trappers would like to thank each and everyone of the sixty-eight legislative cosponsors of the restoration bill,” stated Ralph Fritsch, (Kaukauna), WWF Wildlife Committee Chair. “A special thank you and appreciation is due to the bipartisan efforts of the lead cosponsors of the bill: Representatives Spencer Black (Madison), Dean Kaufert (Neenah) and Mary Hubler (Rice Lake) and Senators Bob Wirch (Kenosha) and Rob Cowles (Green Bay).
“In the thirty-eight years of observing and working with the Legislature, I can not remember a majority of both houses of the legislature endorsing a substantive piece of legislation of this nature,” provided George Meyer, WWF Executive Director. “This incredible legislative support is a reflection of the deep seated feelings, tenacity and hard work of Wisconsin’s sportsmen and women on this issue, it is really a visceral issue to Wisconsin hunters, anglers and trappers.”

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is dedicated to conservation education and the advancement of sound conservation policies on a state and national level. The WWF is the state affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. For further information, please contact George Meyer, Executive Director, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation at 608-516-5545.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 17, 2009 - Summer will soon be here and for many parents, this may be the first time your family goes boating. To make sure everyone is ready, the non-profit BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has three free online resources at to make sure the kids are safe.

How to properly fit a kid's life jacket: Having a child wear an adult or incorrectly sized life jacket could be as dangerous as having no life jacket at all, giving parents a false sense of security. A short online video explains how to fit a right-sized life jacket to your child.

How to borrow a kid's life jacket if you don't have one: Boaters don't always have every kid-sized life jacket aboard. However, the BoatU.S. Foundation has over 500 locations across the country - local marinas, fire departments and other waterfront businesses - where parents can borrow a kid's life jacket (in various sizes) for the day or weekend, absolutely free. The Web site allows parents to search for a Kid's Life Jacket Loaner location near them. The program loaned out over 90,000 life jackets last year, and three lives have been saved to date.

Know your state's life jacket laws: Confused about who needs a life jacket? The Web site has a state-by-state listing of life jacket regulations.

For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to

Click Here to Learn How to get the Proper Life Jacket for Your Child.

DNR Spring Hearings on Proposed Wildlife and Fisheries Rules & Annual Conservation Congress County Meeting

The 2009 Annual DNR Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings and Conservation Congress County Meetings will take place on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 7 p.m., in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties (hearing notice including rule proposals and hearing locations). Attendees will have a chance to elect county delegates to represent their views on natural resource issues, record their preference for DNR rule proposals and weigh in on a variety of Natural Resources Board and Conservation Congress advisory questions. There is also an opportunity at the end of the hearing to introduce resolutions pertaining to the management of natural resources in Wisconsin. Last year over 6,400 people attended the hearings.

Click Here for 2009 Spring Hearing Questionnaire

Doyle proposes tougher controls on Great Lakes water quality

When Dean Haen, president of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association, first learned of the state's latest effort to improve water quality in the Great Lakes, he was not impressed.

"I thought to myself, 'Who do they think they are?" said Haen of state Department of Natural Resources officials. "Who is going to meet Wisconsin's standards when it's tougher than what most states and the rest of the world has in place?" [Full Story]

Source: The Capital Times

Biologists predict sizeable fish kill on Big Eau Pleine Reservoir

WAUSAU – Low levels of dissolved oxygen in the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir are responsible for recent fish die-offs, and fisheries biologists now expect the ongoing fish kill to continue and perhaps worsen in the reservoir’s lower reaches.

Historically, fish kills have occurred during the winter. During winter months the reservoir typically suffers from low dissolved oxygen levels as organic materials decay and consume oxygen. At the same time the water’s frozen surface limits or prevents surface air mixing and light penetration.

Since 1981, the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, the operator of the dam, and the Marathon County parks department have operated an aeration system on the flowage. The aeration system has provided a refuge for fish when oxygen levels are low. However, the efficiency of the 28-year-old system has been declining in recent years, and this made its operation questionable for 2009.

Additionally, there was not enough rain this past fall to refill the reservoir so water levels were low going into the winter.

In October, a WVIC crew and county park workers assessed the aeration system and completed repairs and modifications, said Dave Coon, director of environmental affairs for WVIC. Still, the system was operating at less than optimum efficiency with one pump and one aeration manifold. WVIC contributed $5,000 to cover energy costs.

Since that time WVIC and the DNR have partnered to operate the system.

DNR wildlife supervisor Tom Meier said the cooperation of the Halder Sportsman’s Club in early January helped the DNR fence what would become an open water area. The aeration system began operating January 14.

Dissolved oxygen levels remained stable until the end of January when WVIC monitoring started picking up low levels above and below the aeration system. By early February WVIC and DNR agreed that a second aeration pump and manifold would be started to further aid fish in the refuge area.

“The aeration system has provided some refuge to the fish, although sporadic fish kills have occurred,” said Tom Meronek, DNR fisheries biologist. “Icy runoff from the early February thaw added more highly oxygenated water to the reservoir and provided some relief, especially in the upper portions.”

That same runoff, however, carried manure from farm fields and other organic materials from land surfaces into the reservoir, increasing the biological oxygen demand.

The latest monitoring shows very low dissolved oxygen levels in the lower portion of the reservoir below the county park. The highest readings in this portion of the reservoir were near the aeration system, but they did not appear high enough to sustain the fish.

The ongoing fish kill is not expected to affect the entire fishery. Higher oxygen readings were found upstream of County S where a larger fish refuge now exists. Many fish were migrating for spring spawning and were able to seek refuge during late February and early March when favorable conditions existed upstream of the aeration system.

Individuals with questions about these processes can contact Tom Meronek at 715-359-7582.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fish Cleaning Station Planned for Holland State Park Boating Access Site

Michigan - The Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division is partnering with the Big Red Foundation to construct a fish cleaning station at the Lake Macatawa boating access site in Holland State Park. The fish cleaning station will be a 20-foot-square building with a cleaning table located in the center of the building. The building will be ADA accessible and open to the public. Funding for this project is being provided by the Big Red Foundation with a matching grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.

Interested persons desiring additional information about the project are invited to a public meeting, Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. at the Holland Fish and Game Club, located at 10840 Chicago Drive in Zeeland. For more information about this project, contact Joe Strach at (517) 641-4903, ext. 227.

Individuals attending the meeting are requested to refrain from using heavily scented personal care products in order to enhance accessibility for everyone. Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for the meeting should contact Strach at number listed above.

DNR Reminds Ice Fishermen of Shanty Removal Rules

Michigan - The Department of Natural Resources reminds ice fishermen that March is when ice fishing shanties must be removed from ice covering Michigan waters. While dates are established in Michigan law, ice fishermen should be aware that once ice is unsafe for their shanties to be out overnight, they must be removed regardless of whether or not the date in statute has arrived, DNR law enforcement officials said.

Once the dates for various parts of the state have passed, shanties can be placed on ice on a daily basis, but must be removed at the end of each day.

The date to have a shanty removed in the Northern Lower Peninsula is Thursday, March 15. The date for the Upper Peninsula is Saturday, March 31. The date for the Southern Lower Peninsula was March 1.

Persons who own shanties that fall through ice or water are responsible for their removal or face penalties of up to 30 days in jail or a fine not less than $100 or more than $500 - or both. Also, if a governmental agency removes or provides for removal of an ice shanty, the court can require that the defendant reimburse the governmental entity for an amount up to three times the cost of removal.

DNR plans structure adjacent to field station/shop on White River Marsh

Warden and 3 wildlife staff will work from this location in Green Lake County

WAUTOMA - The Department of Natural Resources proposes construction of an office and storage facility on the White River Marsh Wildlife Area in Green Lake County.

The proposed building will be adjacent to the current department field shop on South Road in the Town of Seneca. Construction of the 2,400 square foot facility will begin as early as summer of 2009.

This facility will be used as a field station and office for four permanent department staff, including 3 wildlife personnel and the Green Lake County Conservation Warden. In addition, the building will be used for storage and repair of department-owned vehicles and equipment.

The proposed department action is not expected to result in significant adverse environmental effects. The department has made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement will not be required for this action. Copies of the environmental assessment that led to this preliminary determination can be obtained from Jim Holzwart, Wildlife Biologist/Property Manager, Wildlife Management, PO Box 343, 120 North Pearl St, Berlin, WI 54923. Phone number: 920-361-3149, e-mail:

Public comments, either written or oral, on the environmental assessment are welcome and must be submitted to Jim Holzwart no later than 4:30 p.m. April 3, 2009.

Get hooked on the 2009 Wisconsin Fishing Report

MADISON – Anglers looking for places to fish, tips to hook their favorite catch, or the latest fishing reports for the upcoming season can catch the latest information in the 2009 Wisconsin Fishing Report.

This free, annual 16-page newspaper is an angler’s guide to the 2009 fishing year, with fishing forecasts that Department of Natural Resources fish biologists provide for many popular waters statewide.

Anglers looking to target some of Wisconsin’s well known fish can dive into “Hook Your Favorite Catch” for tips on adjusting your sights, techniques and bait to increase your chances of success.
“A Year of Fabulous Fishing” provides anglers a month-by-month rundown of what’s bound to be biting and where, depending on the time of year.

In “Fabulous Fisheries Projects,” readers can learn about the work fisheries crews are doing around the state each year to protect Wisconsin’s fish and make fishing better.

“Get Hooked” will introduce readers to DNR’s Urban Fishing Program that encourages more people, especially children, to go fishing and helps to make fishing opportunities more readily available in urban areas.

Anglers will also find great refrigerator material such as fishing season dates, top 50 family-friendly waters and fish watching opportunities throughout the state.

The 2009 Fishing Report is available now online for download and will be available April 1, 2009 in newsprint form at local DNR service centers and select Fleet Farm and Gander Mountain stores. It will also be included in the April 2009 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, which will be available online and at many Wisconsin newsstands.

Be the first to get the online version of the Wisconsin Fishing Report every year by subscribing to fisheries email updates or following [fishwisconsin] on Twitter [] (both links exit DNR).

Salmonella is cause of death in pine siskins in Sawyer County

MADISON – Salmonella bacterial infection has been confirmed as the cause of death of pine siskins found in the vicinity of bird feeders in Sawyer County according to DNR wildlife health experts. Lab results are still pending for redpolls collected in Waupaca County however once again, salmonella is suspected as the cause of death.

“Salmonella infection is a common cause of mortality of wild birds at bird feeders and affects many bird species nationwide,” said Jasmine Batten, a microbiologist with the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Health Team. “Most outbreaks in wild birds occur during the winter when they are nutritionally stressed and concentrated around bird feeders.”

Salmonella bacteria (Salmonella typhimurium) live in the intestine and are shed in feces of infected birds. Birds contract salmonellosis through direct contact with infected birds or through ingestion of food or water contaminated with infectious feces, according to wildlife experts.

While all avian species can be susceptible to salmonellosis, house sparrows, common redpolls, American goldfinch, and pine siskins are among the most susceptible species and most commonly affected species at Wisconsin bird feeders.

“In years when redpolls and siskins are heavily using Wisconsin bird feeders late in the winter because food sources are scarce farther north, it is not uncommon to get outbreaks of salmonellosis,” explains Batten. “These species might be particularly susceptible because they are nutritionally compromised, or perhaps because they are coming into contact with a strain of Salmonella they don’t usually encounter.”

Public Health Significance

Salmonellosis is a public health concern because all strains of Salmonella are potentially pathogenic to humans and animals. However, it appears that wild birds mainly acquire the disease from the environment and that infected wild birds play a relatively small role in the transmission of disease to domestic animals and humans.

While dogs and cats are rarely infected, pets should be discouraged from consuming bird carcasses to reduce risk of contracting salmonellosis. If you must handle a dead bird wear disposable gloves or plastic bags over your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly after the clean up is completed.

What you can do to reduce the risk of salmonellosis in your backyard.
  • Clean feeders, feeding areas and birdbaths regularly using a 10 percent bleach solution as a disinfectant before a final rinse.
  • Clean up seed hulls under bird feeders.
  • Consider moving bird feeders periodically to prevent buildup of waste underneath the feeder.
  • Consider adding additional bird feeders to reduce crowding.
  • Keep seeds and food dry.
  • Change water in bird bath regularly.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning a bird feeder or birdbath.
  • If you observe dead or sick birds near a feeder, take it down, discard all seed, and thoroughly clean the feeder. Wait at least a week before setting up the feeder again.

DNR seeks comments on 15 area lake management plans

Minnesota - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking comments on individual fisheries lake management plans for 15 lakes in St. Louis and Lake counties. Fisheries managers use the plans to describe the past, present, and future conditions of the lake. The plans identify goals and objectives for the fish community and identify specific management activities planned for the lake in the next 5 to 10 years.

The management plans available for review at this time are for Bass (Echo Trial), Bear Island, Cedar (southwest of Aurora), Crooked, Deep (south of Gilbert), Fenske, Garden Lake Reservoir (includes Garden, Farm and South Farm lakes), Little Long, Loon, Maskenode (alternate name Four-Mile, near Mountain Iron) Newton, Pine (east of Hoyt Lakes), Shagawa, Tofte, and White Iron lakes. These draft plans are available for review and comment, at the Tower Area Fisheries Office at 650 Highway 169, Tower, MN 55790, 218-753-2580, ext. 222. The comment period will be open through March 25, 2009.

Increased walleye limit for Upper Red Lake

Minnesota - Anglers who fish Upper Red Lake will be able to keep four walleye during the 2009 fishing season that opens May 9. The new limit is one more walleye than last season and two more than when the lake was re-opened to fishing in 2006.

“We have been very pleased that a cautious approach to regulating this fishery has maintained harvests within the safe harvest range,” said Gary Barnard, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) area fisheries manager in Bemidji. “It has allowed us to gradually relax regulations to provide even more angling opportunities.”

Harvest estimates for the winter season, which ended Feb. 22, were approximately 52,000 pounds of walleye. Since that level is well below the safe harvest level of 112,000 pounds, the daily bag and possession limit could be increased.

The current protected slot limit requiring all walleye from 17-to 26-inches to be immediately released will remain in effect for the early season, when angler catch rates are high.

Beginning June 15, and for the remainder of the open water season, the protected slot will be adjusted to require that all walleye from 20-to 26-inches be immediately released.

Throughout the open water season, only one fish more than 26 inches is allowed.

The walleye size limit will revert back to the 17-to 26-inch protected range on Dec. 1, 2009. The winter adjustment is necessary because winter angling pressure has been consistently higher than open water pressure.

The bag limit for the next winter season has yet to be determined but will be based on harvest estimates from the open water season. DNR officials hope the four fish limit can continue into the 2009-2010 winter season.

More information about Minnesota’s walleye, fishing and fishing regulations is available online.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Purchase of Tomahawk River frontage concludes Forest Legacy project

TOMAHAWK – Through the purchase of 1,546 acres of land in Oneida County the state has protected over seven miles of river frontage on the Tomahawk River. The acquisition completes the third and final phase of the Tomahawk Northwoods Forest Legacy Project involving 70,000 acres of forest in six counties.

“We’re excited about this final purchase” said Paul DeLong, Chief Forester of the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division, “the land along the river is scenic and undeveloped and will be available for sustainable timber productions and recreation for generations to come.” DeLong added that he was grateful for the role the federal Forest Legacy program and Wisconsin’s Stewardship program played in acquiring the land that includes 27 acres that also connects the purchase area to a segment of the Bearskin State Trail.

The $4 million dollar cost for the more that 1,500 acres was paid for through by a $1,972,000 US Department of Agriculture Forest Legacy grant and $2,028,000 from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund. The Forest Legacy Program is administered by the US Forest Service and designed to protect working forests, protect water quality, provide wildlife habitat, and allow for recreation. The state’s Stewardship program has a similar charge and has provided nearly $10 million dollars for the entire project, DeLong said.

The river is about half way between the cities of Tomahawk and Minocqua and flows from the Willow Flowage into Lake Nokomis. The 18-mile Bearskin State Trail passes through the communities of Minocqua, Hazelhurst, Goodnow and Harshaw.

The Northwoods Forest Legacy Project started in 2002 when the DNR acquired easements on 35,335 acres of land from Tomahawk Timberlands LLC. Through the years it has purchased other lands for the project in Vilas, Oneida, Marathon, Lincoln, Iron and Forest.

The federal Forest Legacy program has and continues to play an important role in conserving and protecting forested watersheds in Wisconsin. It is a partnership with the federal government that the state plans to carry on, DeLong said.

To date, the Chief Forester added, the state has acquired 56,517 acres through the program, totaling over $30.9 million in land value including $13.0 million in federal grants. For more information on Wisconsin’s Forest Legacy Program visit: Forest Legacy Overview.

Volunteers Needed for Sturgeon Guard: Night shift volunteers especially in demand

OSHKOSH - Each Spring, hundreds of volunteers guard sturgeon at their spawning sites on the Wolf River to protect the fish from poaching. This rich tradition and partnership with the public is directed by Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement staff and funded, in part, by Sturgeon for Tomorrow, a local sturgeon conservation organization.

When sturgeon spawn along the rocky shorelines of the Wolf River they pay little attention to people and are very susceptible to illegal harvest. To protect them, "Sturgeon Guard" volunteers maintain a presence at the spawning sites 24-hours a day throughout the spawning season, which usually begins in late April and lasts through early May.

When spawning begins, pairs of sturgeon guards are assigned to sites along the river for 12-hour shifts. Prior to assignment, guards check in at "Sturgeon Camp" just north of Shiocton, where they are fed a good meal, given a generous sack lunch and an identification hat (that they keep), and directed to their site. At the end of their shift, guards return to camp for another hearty home-cooked meal before they make their way home.

Currently, Sturgeon Guard is much in need of volunteers to fill the overnight shifts. If you are interested in signing up for the Sturgeon Guard, send an email message to: (email is preferred), or call the Sturgeon Guard Coordinator at the DNR Oshkosh Service Center (920) 303-5444.

While it is impossible to predict the exact dates that spawning will occur each year, guards are routinely scheduled somewhere within a window from April 15 through May 5. Spawning generally occurs for a five to seven day period. DNR schedulers do their best to get all scheduled guards out on the riverbank to see fish, but since nature dictates the spawning activities timing and duration, schedulers cannot guarantee all volunteers will actually get a shift.

Public meeting to be held on Great Lakes commercial fishing rules

ASHLAND – Public meetings will be held on proposed regulation changes pertaining to commercial fishing on the Great Lakes. The proposed rule revisions address three issues: the definition of the Great Lakes commercial fishing “license year,” annual re-licensing requirements for Great Lakes commercial fishers, and the number of available commercial fishing licenses for Lake Michigan.

The revisions changes the commercial fishing license year from July-June to January-December. It also addresses what is commonly referred to as the “minimum catch rule,” the requirement that a commercial fishing license holder must remain active in the fishery if he or she wishes to have his license renewed. The purpose of the rule is to identify inactive fishers and attempt to accommodate concerns raised by commercial fishers while retaining meaningful relicensing requirements.

The complete rule and fiscal estimate may be reviewed and comments electronically submitted through the Wisconsin Administrative Rules Web site [] (exit DNR; search for CR09-016). Written comments on the rule may be submitted via U.S. mail to William Horns, DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Comments may be submitted until March 31, 2009.

Written comments whether submitted electronically or by U.S. mail will have the same weight and effect as oral statements presented at the public hearings. For more information contact Bill Horns at - (608) 266-8782. The public hearings will begin at 5 p.m. on the following days at the location listed:

March 18, Ashland - Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center; 29270 Cty Hwy G.
March 20, Cleveland - Cleveland Training Room, L242; Lakeshore Technical College; 1290 North Ave.

11th Annual 2009 State-Fish Art Contest

Students in Grades 4-12 Eligible to Win Scholarships, prizes, and more...

BROOKLYN CENTER , MN - Students across the United States have the opportunity to win prizes and national recognition while learning about state-fish species, aquatic habitats, and conservation. The State-Fish Art Contest uses art to catch the imagination of youth while teaching youth about the outdoors.

The 11th Annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest is open to all students in grades 4 through 12.

A talented artist in grades 10-12 will be selected as the national “Best of Show” winner and will receive a $2,500 tuition scholarship to attend The Art Institutes International Minnesota (Ai Minnesota ), a leading creative college for design, culinary, and media arts education located in downtown Minneapolis . The first-runner up nationally in grades 10-12 will receive a $1,000 tuition scholarship to Ai Minnesota .

Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2009 . Winners will be announced May 1, 2008 .

To enter, young artists nationwide must create an illustration of their chosen state-fish. A short written composition on its behavior, habitat, and conservation needs is also required.
Educators and Parents: Visit the State-Fish Art website at for complete details and to download the free lesson plan.

Winning contestants from each state will be honored in three grade categories, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. All winning designs will receive national recognition on the official State-Fish Art website and during the Expo.

The 11th Annual State-Fish Art Expo will be held at Mall of America on August 1st, 2009.

Winners who attend the Expo will receive FREE Trees from the U.S. Forest Service and a special rod and reel compliments of Wildlife Forever. Contest winners and their families will also enjoy a free field trip to a local National Wildlife Refuge and fishing event with staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The following day, August 2nd, the winners and their families will be treated to a “special” Minnesota Twins baseball game.

For more information or to send entries: contact Pat Conzemius
Wildlife Forever, 2700 Freeway Blvd., #1000 , Brooklyn Center , MN 55430
(763) 253-0222 email

WCSFO Announces Kid's Fishing Clinics Date

Please Click on poster to enlarge.

Monday, March 9, 2009

9 Hot February Panfish Waters

Author: Lawrence Van Veghel

February 2009 Panfishing is piscatorial pleasure, and this outstanding pastime presents us with great-tasting, low cholesterol fish dinners. Petite February teases anglers with the possibilities of productive panfishing. Here are nine Wisconsin waters rivaling any panfish producing pond in our state.

WINNEBAGO Perch are the anglers' prized panfish in Winnebago County's 137,708 acre and 21 foot deep Lake Winnebago. This huge pond is surrounded by access points. Take along a good compass, and think ice safety. Even the most experienced anglers have perplexed their hippocampuses during blizzards, white outs and pallid fogs. Popular spots are off of Oshkosh, Pipe, Quinney, and Brothertown.

Use waxworms, spikes, or small minnows and sensitive jig poles for perch. To cover more water, some anglers put small minnows on tip-ups. Many claim this produces the bigger perch.

Other species snack on small minnows. You'll catch sauger, walleye, lawyers (freshwater cod, not barristers), and sheepshead (The opposite?). Bluegill fans find 9 inch plus fish on the drop-off exiting Asylum Bay.

MENDOTA When the ice is safe over deep water in the middle of the lake, Dane County's 9,842 acre Lake Mendota serves hefty perch. Early ice showed that fish are still present in this 82 foot deep lake. Gigantic minimum size limits for both walleye and northern pike is a concern of many panfish anglers, as this could affect panfish numbers and sizes.

Drill holes in 40- to 60-feet for perch. Orange Rat Finke jigs tipped with waxworms or small shiner minnows are great enticements. As baits descend, you'll catch white bass. Smaller size chartreuse Jigging Rapalas take white bass and some big perch. To feel the most bites, use thin diameter, non-stretch line with a 4# monofilament leader and a swivel to prevent line twist. To get past the white bass, try a heavier sinker to increase drop speed.

Begin in 8- to 10-feet of water for the bigger 'gills. As in mid-summer, shallower weeds hold smaller fish, but some bigger fish are taken. Bluegills are often finicky. There are days, when the 'gills want softer-bodied waxworms, while other days see spikes out producing all other grub-type snacks. Other days have plastics being best.

ROME POND Jefferson County's Rome Mill Pond is a 446 acre widening of the Bark River where numerous colorful bluegills gather. This shallow water hot spot averages a meager 2 feet of water with a gradual slope to a maximum water thickness of 7 feet. Bluegills are the anglers' beckoning sirens.

Here is where, over three decades ago, using a tiny strip of purple plastic worm became a popular bluegill ice fishing bait. The thin strip stretches outward from the tiny hook. Its life-like swimming motion often out produces live bait. Shaving thin slices from Mr. Twisters or split tail grubs also works as does using tail strands from tube jigs.

With live bait, like waxworms or spikes, black and chartreuse jigs are often effective. Try both to see which color is better. Don't be afraid to experiment.

River currents create areas having thin ice, so use caution.

GENEVA Yellow perch, bluegill, and rock bass live in Walworth County's 5,262 acre and 135 foot deep Lake Geneva. Though considered a "tourist trap," this 61 foot mean depth lake remains an outstanding panfish producer. Nearby refurbished Lake Delavan is a great backup pond, should Geneva have an off day.

On Geneva, fish where you find healthy green weeds. Productive areas include in front of the golf course, near the Bible Camp, and on the eastern drop-off of Williams Bay. Perch inhabit 21- to 27-feet of water along the east side of Williams Bay. Near downtown, the green weeds of Geneva Bay hold fish, and park parking is available along shore. Good places to eat are within walking distance.

NOQUEBAY Decent size bluegills are an attraction to Marinette County's Lake Noquebay. Worth considering, even when action is slow, there are always anglers who catch limits. Healthy green weeds produce oxygen and hold fish on this 2,409 acre lake. Use 2-pound test monofilament line.

The weedy flat along the west shore is ideal for bluegills, as are the central portion of the north shore and the shallow water off of the southeast shore. Crappies to a pound are taken on minnows. Watch your line to detect slack caused when crappies swim upward from the bottom to mouth your bait.

While panfishing, place a tip-up on the outside weed edge for northern pike. A bonus keeper pike is an exciting way to warm up an ice fishing outing. Use golden shiners, suckers, or similar prey fish. Many pike fall for oily, dead smelt.

POKEGAMA Part of the fabulous Barron County bluegill producing waters known as the Chetek Chain, Lake Pokegama is in the heart of Indian Head Country, This 506 acre lake serves excellent bluegill and crappie. Finding green aquatic plants is important.

Bluegill congregate near the island on the north end, in the bay on the northwest end, and around the stumps in the southwest portion. Use waxworms, spikes, or mousies on ice fishing jigs or small, plain gold or red hooks.

Expect to hook some big crappies, especially when using fathead minnows or small shiners in the southwest bay. Spring bobbers detect light hits. Should your spring bobber move upward, a fish has struck your bait while rising. A float style bobber will slightly spin or tip to the side and then float a bit higher. Set the hook!

DEVILS LAKE To help keep angling and pleasure boating pressure down during open water season, you can't use an outboard motor on Sauk County's Devil's Lake. You must buy a state park sticker to fish this 47 foot deep and 369 acre panfish producer.

For Wisconsin scenery, Devil's Lake is hard to beat. Many times, I've climbed these rocks, walked the trails, and observed the soaring turkey vultures. I recommend the "Climber's Guide to Devil's Lake" by Sven Olof Swartling. The soft cover version is $16.95 from The University of Wisconsin Press, and you can order the book by calling 1-800-829-9559. Perch are the major attractions. Look for them in the 40-foot range. The lake has a deep mean depth of 30 feet. Small Rocker jigs tipped with wigglers or pin minnows are effective.

Lacking boat liveries (rentals) many Southeast Wisconsin waters are actually underfished. Among these lakes are Army, Booth, Dyer, Hunters, Pickerel, Lulu, 118 acre Wandawega, and Chinese named Kec-Nong-Ga-Mong, often errantly called "Long." Even major waters are sans boat rentals, and these lakes include LaBelle, Nagawicka, Ashippun, Silver, near Oconomowoc, Washington County's Silver, Druid, Lauderdale, Waubeesee, Upper Nashotah, Little Muskego, Rainbow Springs, Okauchee, North, Hope, Blue Spring, and now, Tichigan. Ice fishing is when anglers finally get a chance to look for panfish.

TICHIGAN Being a lake near Milwaukee doesn't mean that the fishing is bad. Tichigan is a welcome panfish producer. Even though the DNR keeps "fixing" nearby lakes and lowering panfish limits to barely a few, such as on Big Muskego, in neighboring Waukesha County, and Eagle Lake, in Racine Co., this lake is still worth your time, effort and gas money.

Tichigan Lake offers panfish, and you can keep the 25 panfish state limit. Parking is a bit difficult. I suggest parking in the park lot about a 15 minute walk north of the lake.

Part of the Fox River system, Tichigan serves various panfish species. Whitebass come from deep water in the lake center. Try where the points aim at each other, and use a flasher locator when seeking suspended fish. Hot baits include Jigging Rapalas or crappie-type minnows, such as fatheads. Not in the minnow family but equally excellent, small shiners fool countless crappies and occasional tasty channel cats or walleyes.

Bluegills live among healthy weeds on the north and northwest end of the lake. These fish were already here at first ice, and they were here on the day I wrote this article. Crappies locate along the point south of the bay on the northeast end. Use minnows, spikes or waxworms on white Rat Finkes, Big Dave's' Custom Darts, or Moon Glow jigs with chartreuse or green dots. Walleye anglers pop fish through holes in the ice along nearby drop-offs, and some big pike are iced.

PARTRIDGE Near the center of our state, Waupaca County's 6 foot deep Partridge Lake annually offers bountiful bluegill catches, plus perch, and northern pike. Summer has this 1,124 acre lake being too weedy for effective fishing, but this retains a lot of fish for the hard water anglers.

Bluegill fans utilize grub baits on small ice jigs or tiny spoons. Perch mouth the same baits, plus minnows. Try orange horizontal baits for yellow perch. Use 2-pound and lighter test monofilament line. If your eyes are weak, use high visibility line.

Crappies are caught. Use plain Aberdeen hooks and tiny minnows. A hot area is Barber's Landing. Late afternoon and early evening hours are outstanding.

Forget cabin fever, aka seasonal stress disorder, Study successful anglers, and do the same. Take some fish home to eat, and leave both some big ones and little ones to continue Wisconsin's super fishing long into the future.

- Lawrence Van Veghel

L.A. Van Veghel has been writing and selling outdoors articles for 35 years. He's a fishing tournament winner both in open water and in ice fishing in panfish and gamefish, including winning both the northern pike and panfish categories in the 2008 Wisconsin Governor's Fishing Opener. He's an officer in numerous writing and fishing organizations, including serving as media director for the Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd. and as secretary and media director for the statewide Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations. As a writer, he's sold over 1,650 articles, and as a technical writer, he's written and had published 154 books, plus a rotary saw operating manual. L.A. is an angler who also writes, and he believes "you can't talk the talk, unless you can walk the walk."