Wednesday, June 30, 2010

DNR to host series of Winnebago walleye management meetings this summer

Aim is to collect input for next 20 year management plan

GREEN BAY – The Winnebago System walleye population and its world class walleye fishery are the topic of four public meetings in northeastern Wisconsin in July and August as the state starts updating its plan for managing both.

“We’ve worked closely with the public to improve the walleye fishery on the Winnebago System for the last 20 years, and the result has been a tremendous success,” says Kendall Kamke, a Department of Natural Resources senior fisheries biologist in Oshkosh.

“But it is time to take a thorough look with the public at the progress we have made in understanding and managing our walleye population and fishery and look ahead to the next 20 years.”

So DNR will be holding four meetings in July and August to provide people information about the status of the Winnebago System walleye population, fishery, and management program and to collect public input to update the Winnebago Walleye Management Plan.

The Winnebago System, which includes lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan, and the connected rivers upstream, the upper Fox and the Wolf, is known nationally for its outstanding walleye fishery. A 2007 study (exit DNR) by the UW Extension and DNR showed that anglers annually spend up to 2 million hours on the Winnebago System pursing primarily walleye, as well as other gamefish in a fishery that generates a total economic impact of $234 million annually and 4,300 jobs.

Topics to be discussed at the meetings include walleye population and harvest estimates, adult walleye size and age distributions by sex from springs 1989-2010, the impact of spring water flows and levels on walleye recruitment, the walleyes’ movement and migrational patterns, and the assessment techniques DNR uses to develop population estimates.

The meetings are set for the following dates and locations:

•July 13, Shiocton, 7 p.m., River Rail, N5547 River St.
•August 10, Menasha, 7 p.m., Germania Hall, 320 Chute St.
•August 11, Quinney, 7 p.m., Quinney Fishing Club, Quinney Road.
•August 12, Fond du Lac, 7 p.m., Marghael’s Hall, N7688 Van Dyne Rd.

Moving beyond PCBs: improving water quality in the Lower Fox River and Green Bay

Public has until July 26 to comment on the draft Total Maximum Daily Load

MADISON - The public has an opportunity to comment on a new report that explains efforts to improve water quality in the Lower Fox River and Lower Green Bay and tributary streams. Fourteen water bodies in this watershed do not currently meet water quality standards.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with local stakeholders, has developed what is basically a “pollution budget,” for the Lower Fox River Basin and Lower Green Bay. Known as the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), the plan establishes the total amount of phosphorus and total suspended solids that water bodies covered by the TMDL can receive and still meet water quality standards.

A public informational hearing to learn about the draft TMDL and to provide oral comments is set for July 12, 2010, in Grand Chute. People also may submit written and electronic comments through July 26, 2010, with details provided below.

“This is an important step forward in cleaning up the Lower Fox River and Green Bay,” says Bruce Baker, DNR’s top water quality official.

“In order to improve water quality, all sources of total phosphorus and total suspended solids will need to be reduced,” Baker says. “DNR will work together with stakeholders to find solutions and reduction strategies to meet the water quality goals of the TMDL in concert with the cost effective framework that is in the proposed phosphorus rules.”

The TMDL document details the amounts of phosphorus and total suspended solids each of those waters can receive and still meet water quality standards, and identifies the reductions needed from each source of those pollutants, says Nicole Clayton, DNR coordinator for the lower Fox River TMDL project.

“Once we determine the total amount of a pollutant a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards, we can calculate needed reductions from specific sources,” she says.

Phosphorus is a naturally occurring nutrient that also is found in soils, livestock manure, commercial fertilizers and wastewater discharges. It fuels algae and plant growth, sometimes leading to excessive levels of both. Total suspended solids include small particles of materials such as soil and leaves that get washed into streams and make the water look muddy and cloudy and degrade habitat for fish and other aquatic life. These pollutants reach rivers and streams from polluted runoff from farm fields, barnyards, residential yards and wastewater treatment plant discharges.

DNR developed the TMDL with help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a private consultant, the Cadmus Group, Inc., and with feedback from science, technical and outreach teams including various stakeholders groups and the public.

The goal for Lower Green Bay is to improve water clarity to support a diverse biological community and expand the area of beneficial bottom-dwelling plants. To meet established targets, a certain percentage reduction is needed in different types of pollutants. Upon reaching these goals the local streams and Green Bay will have better dissolved oxygen levels, less turbid water, and fewer algae blooms. This is expected to improve habitat for fish and aquatic life and improve recreational opportunities, Clayton says.

The public informational meeting begins at 1 p.m. Monday, July 12, at the Grand Chute Town Hall, 1900 Grand Chute Blvd.

As part of the review and submittal process for TMDLs, a 30-day public comment period runs through July 26, 2010. People may submit written or electronic comments to Nicole Clayton at the DNR, WT/3, 101 S. Webster, Madison, WI 53703 or

People can view the draft TMDL report and formal public notice on the DNR website.

Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources & Public Health Madison & Dane County Blue-Green Algae Blooms Trigger Health Reminder Avoiding Contact is the Safest Approach

Madison, WI – June 30, 2010 - Recent warm weather has fueled the growth of noxious blue-green algae on Lake Kegonsa and this has prompted the Department of Natural Resources and Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) to remind folks to avoid swimming in areas blanketed with this type of algae.

On the morning of June 29, most of the lake’s surface area was reported to have been supporting heavy blue green algae growth which can have a paint slick or pea soup like appearance,” noted Susan Graham, DNR Lake Management Coordinator based at Fitchburg. She added that such blooms can be a moving target, since wind and wave action can often make a bloom disappear or appear quickly.

Blue-green algae, technically known as Cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in Wisconsin lakes, streams and ponds at low levels. When conditions are favorable, massive blooms can appear. According to Kirsti Sorsa, PHMDC’s Public Health Laboratory Manager, “some species produce toxins that, with exposure, can harm the skin (rashes, lip blistering), liver or nervous systems of people, pets, livestock and wildlife. It can also produce sore throats, headaches, muscular and joint pain and gastro-intestinal symptoms.” In rare cases, the toxins can be fatal to animals although not all blue green algae produce toxins. Anyone who is experiencing such symptoms should contact their clinic or physician. They can report this exposure to PHMDC at 266-4821, and to the State Department of Health Services at this link:

With the upcoming July 4th weekend, now is the ideal time to remind people that the presence of blue-green algae in a lake or pond is a marker for a potential hazard,” said Graham.

Health officials advise people to avoid swimming in areas of lakes and ponds where a scum or mat of algae is present on the water. People also should keep their children from playing in the water, and keep their animals from drinking or swimming in the water with visible blue-green algal blooms.

“Heavy rainfall causing nutrient rich runoff coupled with sunny calm days create ideal conditions for the growth of heavy blue green algae blooms,” according to Graham.

Blue-green algae blooms are common in Wisconsin, with its 15,000 lakes; about 44,000 miles of flowing rivers and countless small ponds. The presence of the algae does not mean the water is toxic, but large, unsightly blooms with a blue-green cast serve as a warning that blue-green algae are present and may be producing toxin, potentially at concentrations that could be a health threat.

The World Health Organization advises that people who choose to eat fish taken from water where blue-green algae bloom is present to consume such fish in moderation and avoid eating fish guts, where accumulation of toxins may be greatest. Also, anglers should take care to not cut into organs when filleting fish and rinse fillets with clean water to remove any liquids from the guts or organs before freezing or cooking.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wisconsin Fishing Club Presents "Bass Fishing on Big Muskego Lake"

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd.
An all species, instructional fishing club

On June 28 – Jim Lagonowski, guide, outdoorsman and WFC honorary member, will talk on “Bass Fishing on Big Muskego Lake.” Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd., $5.00. 7 PM. Yester Years Pub & Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, 414-476-9055. Contact Dan Freiherr, treasurer, 414-464-9316, Fishing reports, fishing equipment raffle plus hot food is available.

Lagonowski uses the latest and the greatest methods and techniques, and his “time on the water” is evident in his talks. Learn what it takes to catch shallow water “hawg” bass. Carpool with your angling friends and relatives. New members are welcomed.

L.A. Van Veghel

WFC, Media Director & Secretary and WCSFO, Media Director & Secretary

NOTES: Our club is an active member of the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations, WCSFO.

Free Internet Milwaukee Fishing Examiner column at:

Fish Watching in Wisconsin

During this time of year, many fish are moving about in Wisconsin's waters. They are exciting to watch as they dance, wiggle, and sail through the shallow waters of our rivers and lakes to find their breeding places. Here are some hot spots for watching fish.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Northern zone bass harvest season opens June 19

Bass populations, catch rates at all-time highs

SPOONER – The northern zone bass harvest season opens June 19 with state fisheries biologists saying the bass fishing opportunities arguably have never been better.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass populations are booming in northern Wisconsin, particularly in northwest Wisconsin, and anglers can expect fast and furious action this summer, fish biologists say.

“The densities are extremely high right now,” says Jamison Wendel, fisheries biologist in Spooner. “There are lots of smaller fish, so there’s all kinds of action.”

Surveys of northern Wisconsin anglers who target bass show that anglers are reeling in the bass faster than ever.

Wendel says the fact that catch rates have increased quite dramatically in the last 20 years while harvest rates have been stayed flat or decreased is not typical. “It’s kind of an indication of a few things: changes in regulation as well as smaller fish being caught that anglers are not as interested in keeping, as well as more anglers practicing catch and release.”

Whether it’s the low water levels experienced in northern Wisconsin, which favor bass, warmer water temperatures, or a number of other factors, bass populations and catch rates in many waters are at all-time highs.

Learn more about some of the reasons why bass populations, particularly populations of largemouths, are on the rise in “Sustaining a fishery of fighting natural change?” in the June 2010 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, available now on news stands, and online.

Season regulations

The northern bass zone harvest season runs from June 19, 2010, through March 6, 2011. The daily limit is five bass in total, with a minimum length of 14 inches. Check the “Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations 2010-2011” for special regulations on some waters.

Fishing forecasts

The 2010 Wisconsin Fishing Report contains information about how fish populations are faring, particularly on those waters where DNR fisheries crews have recently conducted fish population surveys or done habitat work. Below are excerpted forecasts that mention bass populations in northern Wisconsin, including many in the northern bass zone. These fishing forecasts are not inclusive, but represent what the fish managers want to highlight for the 2010 fishing season.

Ashland County - May and June are excellent months to target trophy smallmouth bass in the shallow waters of Chequamegon Bay. Spring 2009 surveys found 42 percent of the spawning smallmouth bass were greater than 18 inches. - Mike Seider, fisheries biologist, Bayfield

Burnett County - Largemouth bass and bluegill provide the fishing action in Burnett County and it doesn’t matter which lake you fish. Angler catch rates for largemouth run about 10 times higher than the rest of the state. Size limits and a strong catch-and-release ethic caused populations to increase, but growth rates declined. The chance of catching one larger than 16 inches isn’t very good. Still, catching lots of 11- to 15-inch bass on light tackle is a fun day on the water. – Larry Damman, fisheries biologist, Spooner

Douglas County - Anglers looking for a balanced fishery including walleye, small and largemouth bass, northern pike and an occasional musky along with a good bluegill and black crappie fishery should consider Upper St. Croix Lake. Largemouth bass populations have more than doubled since 1997 and smallmouth bass numbers have declined slightly in the same period. Both bass species average between 12 and 13 inches but can reach 19 inches or more in the lake. – Scott Toshner, fisheries biologist, Brule

Iron County - Turtle Flambeau Flowage supports an exceptional smallmouth bass fishery in terms of numbers and average size. Pound for pound, the smallmouth is known for its exceptional fighting ability. “Smallies” found in the flowage are easily caught in summer and are extremely robust for their length. These exceptionally heavy fish provide anglers with an extraordinary angling experience. – Jeff Roth, fisheries biologist, Mercer (Roth has retired since filing that report in December 2009)

Langlade County - The largemouth bass population in Phlox Lake s abundant with many in the 11- to 17-inch range. - Dave Seibel, fisheries biologist, Antigo

Oneida County - Largemouth bass are abundant on Squash Lake, with size centered on 14 inches. On Gilmore Lake, a comprehensive survey found abundant largemouth bass. Largemouth bass eight to 16 inches long were fairly numerous while few smallmouth were captured. – John Kubisiak, fisheries biologist, Rhinelander

Polk County – Largemouth bass are abundant on Big and Little Blake lakes. Bass growth is slower than average and most of the bass collected were less than 14 inches long. Northern pike and musky have been captured in low numbers in each lake, but the fish were in excellent condition. Largemouth bass on Deer Lake are abundant and growth and size structure appears to be declining with many bass in the 11- to 13- inch range. Largemouth bass and northern pike dominate Largon Lake. Largemouth bass provide another quality fishery with larger than average size fish present. Largemouth bass and northern pike are the primary game fish in Poplar Lake. Bass size structure is slightly below average but densities have improved when compared to past surveys. - Heath Benike, senior fisheries biologist, Barron

Rusk County - Strong river currents, canyon-like shorelines, darkstained water and fish moving long distances between dams challenged surveyors in this series of reservoirs, so it is uncertain that results from fall 2008 and spring 2009 surveys reflect the true status of sportfish in Big Falls, Dairyland, Ladysmith, and the Thornapple flowages. Nonetheless, it is possible to cautiously compare findings from those surveys with goals that anglers helped define in 2005.Electrofishing capture rates for smallmouth bass seven inches and longer ranged from 16 to 28 per hour in the four flowages compared to 50 to 100 bass per hour, the measure of desired abundance. Proportions of bass 14 inches or longer ranged from zero percent in Thornapple Flowage to 29 percent in Dairyland and Ladysmith, suggesting that smallmouth did not achieve the target range of 40 to 60 percent. - Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Taylor County - Netting in spring 2009 showed that largemouth bass were twice as abundant in North Spirit Lake as in Spirit Lake, but Spirit Lake held a greater proportion of bass 15 inches or longer (62 percent versus 26 percent.) - Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd. - May 24, 2010 Minutes

President Cliff opened our meeting by welcoming our guests and then introducing our officers.

Whitebass were active at Orihula. Walleyes on Winneconne for Editor Chuck, plus an 18” smallmouth.

Pine Lake, in Waukesha County, gave up a 16½” largemouth bass. Crappies have not yet spawning. 8-10” crappies and bluegills were taken on Monona. The crappies were bigger. The Olbrich Park launch costs $8.00 now, and it has no attendant or place to throw trash. This was our outing location. Secretary Larry caught some largemouth on a Lightnin’ Shad crankbait, and his friend caught a couple of pike on a Mepps inline spinner. Vice-President George had bass action and Kids Clinic Coordinator Wayne found pike.

VP George took a nice 36” northern from Crescent Lake. He also fished Boom Lake, a backwater of the Wisconsin River, for crappies. Star Lake served some northerns, walleyes and perch. On the east side of Wind Lake, panfish are hitting between the reeds and shore.
A rainbow and a coho were landed in Port Washington.

Secretary Larry read the minutes, and they were approved as read. Treasurer Dan said we have $916.70 in our account. Dan’s treasury report was unanimously approved.

Smaller hats are not yet in. See VP George for the latest rosters.

We will not have a meeting on June 14th, as the special Door County outing is scheduled at that time. Our next meeting is on Jun 28, and it features honorary member and popular WFC speaker Jim Lagonowski who will discuss “Bass Fishing on Big Muskego Lake.” Jim has many years experience on this lake both as a sport angler and a guide.

An extra day has been added to the Door County outing. For those who want to start a day early, the fee is $88.00. A pre-meeting for those attending the outing will be held on June 1 at Yester Years at 6 p.m.

After our raffle, 10 year Pro Bass angler Justin Newkirk, a freelance writer for MidWest Outdoors and for Fishing Facts magazines, and a person who does TV spots for MidWest Outdoors was our speaker.

Newkirk uses weedless jigs for walleye below Winneconne on the east side by the breakwall. He also casts Pointer SP crankbaits for walleyes.

Another Newkirk favorite is a drop-shot rig with a snap-on cylinder sinker and a nose-hooked Gulp Minnow. Cast to reefs and rockbars.

For springtime largemouth bass, he fishes in channels by tossing jigs and pigs, Texas rigged twin tail curly tail rigs. Use 50# braided line when fishing in heavy cover. Cast as weedless frog over matted grass. The Bomber Square A dives 4 feet and Mann’s Minus 1 dives one foot, and it is tested by the manufacturers. For a leader, use 10# line. Crawfish and bluegill patterns work great in channels.

Newkirk next covered smallmouth bass on Winnebago. He said the fishing just keeps getting better. Fish the west side and start with a crankbait. If the water is stirred up, use a Rattle Trap to attract strikes via sound.

When using a tube jig in rocky areas on Lake Michigan. Make sure to hope the jig hops along the bottom as this action imitates a Gobi.

Respectively submitted,
Larry Van Veghel
WFC and WCSFO Secretary and Media Director

Updated fish consumption advice available

MADISON – Fish consumption advice has been updated for 2010 and the few minor changes made are reflected in “Choose Wisely: A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin [PUB-FH-824, PDF 1.25MB],” now available online and at Department of Natural Resources service centers, state fish contaminant officials say.

DNR and the Department of Health Services jointly issue the advice to help anglers and their families enjoy eating fish they catch from Wisconsin waters or purchase, while reducing their exposure to environmental contaminants.

“Everybody who eats fish, whether they’re eating what they caught or what they bought at a store or restaurant, should review the updated advice and follow it to reduce their exposure to contaminants like mercury and PCBs,” says Candy Schrank, the toxicologist who coordinates the fish consumption advisory for the Department of Natural Resources.

People who frequently eat fish should choose fish species and sizes with the lowest levels of contaminants. Panfish and younger, smaller fish are best; older, larger predator and fatty fish accumulate the highest levels of contaminants.

“Fish are an inexpensive, low-fat source of protein that offer many other health benefits,” says Dr. Henry Anderson. “People should put their fish consumption habits in context with the advice found in ‘Choose Wisely.’ Most will find they do not have to change their current fish-eating habits.”

Because fish from most waters contain mercury, statewide safe-eating guidelines provide the same advice for most inland waters, but there are special exceptions for 102 lakes where higher levels of mercury have been found in fish, and for 49 river reaches where higher levels of PCBs and other chemicals have been found.

To update the advisory for 2010, DNR and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission collected new mercury data from 58 sites and new data for PCBs and other chemicals for 31 locations, Schrank says.

These include the following lakes: Spider Lake in Iron County; Bass-Long Lake in Lincoln County; Three Lakes Chain in Oneida County; White Tail Flowage in Jackson County; and lakes Superior and Michigan. The Fox River between Little Lake Buttes des Morts and the De Pere Dam, the Milwaukee River from Grafton to Estabrook and the Estabrook Dam to the estuary on that river, and Pool 4 of the Mississippi River also have special advisories.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that 60,000 children born each year in the United States may be at risk of neurological and learning problems because their mothers eat large amounts of mercury-contaminated fish and seafood during their pregnancy.

Studies have also found that infants and children of women who frequently ate fish contaminated with PCBs may have lower birth weights and be delayed in physical development and learning. PCBs in adults may affect reproductive function and the immune system, and are associated with cancer risk.

Give the gift of fishing this Father’s Day

Printable certificate for a future fishing trip with Dad

MADISON – Children looking for that perfect gift for a father or grandfather this Father’s Day can forget the tie and give a present their dad or granddad will really love – a gift certificate to go together on a fishing trip.

Kids of all ages can download the gift certificate from the Department of Natural Resources EEK! - Environmental Education for Kids! website, print and fill it out, and give it to their fathers to cash in later.

“We hope the gift certificate can help solve that age-old dilemma of what to give Dad,” says Karl Scheidegger, Department of Natural Resources fisheries outreach leader. “Fishing is a simple, inexpensive way of getting back to what matters most – family. It’s an opportunity to build memories that will last a lifetime.”

Fisheries teamed up with EEK!, the DNR’s Web site designed for children in grades 4-8, to offer the gift certificates. EEK! provides information about plants, animals, and the environment and receives more than 100,000 visitors a month.

“Kids and fishing naturally go together, so we thought this was a perfect opportunity to encourage kids to take someone important in their lives outside for a day of fishing and fun," says Carrie Morgan, EEK! editor.

“Have a great time, and remember to take a camera and send us a picture, and a big fish story,” she says.

After 18,000 fish, bowfisher lands a world record

MADISON - It’s hard to say what’s more impressive over the sweep of Wesley Babcock’s 40 years of bowfishing: the more than 18,000 carp and other fish he’s taken with a bow and arrow, or the eye-popping lunker he hauled in last month from the Castle Rock Flowage.

Babcock, a biology teacher for the Pardeeville School district for 33 years, shot the quillback/river carp sucker hybrid while bowfishing on the Castle Rock Flowage.

He’s been bowfishing since he was in middle school, keeping his dad company on trips to the Rock River. It was pretty low-tech, but lots of fun, back then. “We used to tape a coffee can to our recurve bow and wrap line around it,” Babcock recalls. “The arrow was tied to this string. You could not shoot very far.”

Next, they moved on to a 3-foot circumference hoop they shot through the middle of and wrapped line around. Now they use a bottle reel which allows longer shots and fast retrieval of the line after shots.

“Carp shooting has always been a fun pastime for me,” he says. “I used to only shoot as many as I could bury in our garden for fertilizer, and then had to stop because of no way to dispose of them. This was normally 100 to 200 a year.”

Eight years ago, when the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association began offering a 50-cent bounty on each carp shot with a bow, Babcock and his 14-year-old son, Aaron, started shooting over there every chance they got.

“The first year we shot more than 900,” he says. “The next year, it was 2,700-plus, and the third year, we topped 2,300.”

Aaron died suddenly on August 26, 2004.

The elder Babcock continued to find peace and relaxation in bowfishing, shooting more than 2,000 every summer since. The total is now over 18,000. “I plan to back off after reaching hopefully, 20,000,” he says.

A day he’ll never forget…

Babcock was on the Castle Rock Flowage shooting carp and buffalo when he shot the carp sucker hybrid.

“I saw two fish swim in front of the boat in cloudy water. Thinking they were buffalo, I shot at one,” he says. “It took out a lot of line and got tangled in the boat motor. When I managed to get it in, I was shocked to see it was actually a sucker. I thought it was a quillback, but now find out that it was a quillback/river carpsucker hybrid.”

He knew it was huge for a sucker and started checking. The Bowfishing Association state record was 11 pounds and the official state record for quillbacks was 10 pounds plus change.

John Lyons, a longtime DNR researcher with an encyclopedic knowledge of fish and a mission of updating George Becker’s seminal Fishes of Wisconsin, a compendium of information about fish species in Wisconsin, indeed had never seen a bigger carpsucker. He looked at the frozen fish and sent photos and a small fin clip to a Tulane University expert, who concurred that the fish was the hybrid.

But Lyons said it was far larger than any of the thousands of hybrids he has personally observed. That was pretty exciting.”

“This carpsucker is huge,” Lyons says. “Based on my own field experiences and my quick review of the literature, this may be the largest carpsucker ever recorded anywhere.

“I've handled thousands of carpsuckers of all three species found in Wisconsin and various hybrid combinations from all over the state and elsewhere, and I've never seen one more than about 8-9 pounds. Becker lists the largest carpsucker he was aware of from Wisconsin, a river carpsucker, at just over 10 pounds. Other literature sources from other states list the maximum size of carpsuckers in the range of 9-12 pounds; the angling record is a 12-pound quillback, the largest carpsucker I can find in the literature. So this fish, at 18.17 pounds, shatters all records.”

Babcock hasn’t decided whether he will have the fish mounted or have a replica made. In the meantime, he’s back out there bowfishing.

“I have always enjoyed being outside and observing other things in nature as I hunt or fish. No two days are the same. Seeing things like an eagle stealing a fish from a pelican, an osprey diving into the water and catching a fish, muskies swimming around where I shoot, or having an otter get in the boat and eat a carp while I was away shooting in the canoe,” he says. “I also enjoy the hunting experience without the hassle of owning land. I enjoy the peace and quiet and escape from every day work related stress.”

Advice for new bowfishers
His advice for novice bowfishers is to invest in a bottle reel and good arrows.

“They will get frustrated with losing fish and poor shot accuracy with inferior equipment. Also, don't worry about getting a fancy bow. Any used bow with a lower draw weight (45 pounds or less) will work. You will hopefully be shooting a lot of times and often must shoot quickly, so a bow that is easy to pull back works better.”

One more thing, he says, “Make sure you have arrows equipped with ‘slides’ to prevent dangerous line tangles on the bowstring when you shoot. Never tie the line directly to the arrow. I used to do that and almost lost an eye when a loop formed on my bowstring and the arrow snapped back, missing my eye by about an inch. I've used slides ever since.”

7 state fishing records fall in first five months of 2010

MADISON – State fishing records are falling fast -- literally with a “thunk” -- as anglers have been hauling in a boatload of true lunkers.

By June 1, seven new state fish records had been confirmed in 2010 in the “alternate methods" category. The fish ranged from 4 pounds to more than 200 pounds, and the longest stretched more than seven feet long. Six of the seven were taken with a bow and arrow, one with a spear, and one new record was only on the books for a month before it was eclipsed.

A monster fish – a quillback-river carpsucker hybrid – has also been harvested in recent weeks from Wisconsin waters but didn’t qualify for a record because the state no longer accepts records for hybrid fish.

“Bowfishing seems to be growing in popularity and our record books are starting to reflect that trend,” says Karl Scheidegger, the DNR fish biologist who coordinates the state record fish program.

“More people are learning about the alternate methods category and seem to be targeting those records.”

Bowfishing involves using specialized archery equipment to target carp, drum, burbot and the like during an open season that coincides with the statewide spearing seasons. The Guide to Wisconsin Spearing, Netting, and Bait Harvest Regulations 2010-2011 can be found on the fishing regulations page of the DNR website.

The parade of record fish, and the people who landed them, are listed with the most recent first (following links exit DNR to WiscFish website, a collaborative effort by the Wisconsin DNR, University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant):

•Taylor Hanson of New Lisbon shot a 4-pound, 1.6 ounce, 29-inch short nose gar from the Wisconsin River in Grant County on May 29.
•Lance Lyga of Independence shot a 3-pound, 8 ounce, 19-inch long spotted sucker, from the Mississippi River in Trempealeau County on May 22.
•Nathaniel Fritsch of Ettrick shot a 28-pound, 13.3 ounce, 35-inch long sheepshead, from the Mississippi River in Trempealeau County on May 17.
•Kyle Lakey of Trempealeau shot a 29-pound, 10.9 ounce, 33.15-inch smallmouth buffalo, from the Trempealeau River in Trempealeau County on April 18.
•Crae Wilke of Hortonville shot a 10-pound, 15 ounce, 26.6-inch silver red horse from the Weyauwega Mill Pond on March 23.
•David Kropp of Sauk City shot a 13-pound, 28 1/4 inch smallmouth buffalo on March 6, 2010, while bowfishing on the Wisconsin River in Sauk County. He held this record for a month before Kyle Lakey bettered it.
•Ron Grishaber of Appleton speared a 212-pound, 3.2-ounce lake sturgeon that stretched 84.25 inches long on Feb. 13, 2010, opening day of the Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon spearing seasons.

Wesley Babcock of Pardeeville hauled in an 18-pound, 2.7 ounce, 29-inch quillback-river carpsucker hybrid from the Castle Rock Flowage, a fish that nearly doubles the weight of the state record quill back and carp sucker records. He received an “Exceptional Catch” certificate from DNR for his efforts.

What to do if you think you’ve caught a record fish?

If you think you or someone else has caught a fish that may be a state record, here's what you need to do:

•Don't clean the fish
•Freeze the fish if possible or keep it cool, preferably on ice
•Get the fish weighed as soon as possible on a certified scale (usually found in grocery, hardware stores, etc.) and witnessed by an observer
•Contact a fisheries biologist at the nearest DNR Service Center to get the fish species positively identified and to find out whether the fish is actually a state record.
•Obtain and complete a record fish application, downloadable from the DNR websit or available from a DNR service center.
•If possible, take a photo of you holding your prize catch and e-mail it to [] or send a print to his attention at the DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management, Box 7921, Madison, Wis., 53707.