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.