Sunday, October 30, 2011

Florida snowbird overdoes it in Sawyer County Overbagging: Nearly $6,000 in fines, rights revoked

State Conservation Warden Tom Heisler of Winter was already working an overbagging case when he spotted another busy angler on popular Lake Chetac in Sawyer County.

“I saw it. There were four fishing lines. The law allows three. And, he was catching a lot of fish,” Heisler said of the moment he launched a summer investigation in what became the case of the Florida snowbird and his Wisconsin son. “I zeroed in on it.”--DNR Photo

Months later on October 11 in a Sawyer County courtroom, Ronald Dollevoet of Florida, and his adult son, Jeffrey Dollevoet of Green Bay, were ordered to pay a total of $5,787.75 in fines and to lose some of their outdoor privileges of hunting, fishing and trapping for a few years.

(Above: Some of the fish packets confiscated in the Lake Chetac overbagging case.)

The father, Ronald Dollevoet of Florida, loses his outdoor recreational privileges for three years in his home state of Florida, too, under the multi-state Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Both Wisconsin and Florida are among the 36 member states in the compact. This agreement calls for license privilege suspensions in the 36 member states. In the case of Ronald Dollevoet, it means his rights revocation is in effect in his home state of Florida, the location of the violation – Wisconsin, and the rest of the member states.

The penalty was less for his son, Jeffrey Dollevoet of Green Bay. Because of his cooperation with the investigation, he lost only his fishing privileges in Wisconsin and for only two years.

“It took a little bit of time to catch them,” Heisler said. “In the end, they faced substantial fines and lost their privileges for hunting, fishing and trapping.”

A familiar story

The case of the Florida snowbird over-fishing is an all-too-familiar story to the conservation wardens on the beat in the northwoods, as well as the local residents and anglers who follow the rules of ethical and legal fishing to preserve their regional natural resources and their tourism economy.

Conservation Warden Andy Lundin of Green Bay says the wardens know the majority of people who enjoy the lakes follow the rules to sustain the resource. However, he says, the Sawyer County case shows how that attitude can change.

“Visitors like this (Ronald Dollevoet) typically are in the north for a limited time. The ones who choose to break the law sometimes feel the need to take as many fish as possible,” Lundin said. “It is certainly one of the more common complaints but not just limited to people who are visiting Wisconsin.”

Heisler agreed. “It is a common problem and it is a workload issue because you must spend so much time on one case.”

The case crosses county lines

Long before Heisler spotted Ron Dollevoet fishing on that summer day, Heisler had been getting citizen complaints from citizens about another fisherman overbagging on certain lakes. But the visiting Florida man wasn’t the fisher mentioned in the other complaints. Ron Dollevoet had been visiting from Florida for several years and had a place on the lake in which he stayed for months each summer.

Yet, on the day Heisler was following up on the complaints, he spotted Dollevoet and gave himself another case.

“The investigation revealed this guy was catching and keeping fish all the time,” Lundin said of the Florida man. Through the wardens’ investigation of the area, the wardens were able to determine there was a family member from Wisconsin – Jeffrey from Green Bay – involved in the case.

This is when Heisler asked Lundin from Green Bay to check in with the adult son.

“I found that Jeffrey had 77 packages of panfish in his freezer, which totaled 687 panfish,” Lundin said. “We were only able to account for possession limits for three people.”

The general statewide daily bag limit for panfish is 25 and the possession limit is 50 fish per person. Take away 150 from 687 and you’ve got 537 too many fish.

“And this is from a lake that already has a more stringent panfish bag limit. Normally, your 25 panfish daily bag limit could consist of all bluegills,” Lundin said. “But on this lake, only 10 of the 25 fish can be bluegills.”

What happens to the fish now? The wardens say the fish are either donated to a food pantry or provided for a charitable event.

Both wardens say another lesson the case shows is the fact every fish caught does not have to be kept. “There is no law that says you must keep every fish you catch,” Heisler said.

Lundin agreed, adding he takes the lesson into his guest lectures and safety classes at schools.

“I tell the kids you can catch and keep 25 panfish today for your daily bag limit and you can catch and keep another 25 tomorrow,” Lundin said. “But now you have 50 which is your possession limit. At that point you should be done fishing for panfish until some of the fish get consumed."

“The goal is to keep it fair, ensure sustainability of the resource and limit things from going to waste,” Lundin said. “ Many of these types of cases are of people being greedy and in part why we have possession limits.”

Heisler says while this case didn’t stem from specific citizen complaints, a high volume does. “The citizens are our eyes and ears.”

To report a violation, call the DNR Hotline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR  (1-800-847-9367) or cell #367

-- JMH, Bureau of Law Enforcement

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fact Sheet--SS SB24/SS AB24--Alteration of Navigable Waters

SS SB24 and SS AB24 will have significant adverse impact on Wisconsin lakes and streams and will greatly limit the opportunity for Wisconsin citizens to have public input on lake and stream development projects. Specifically;

SS SB24 and SS AB24 substantially limit Wisconsin Citizen’s ability to protect their lakes and streams. Lake and stream users including hunters, anglers and trappers and riparian owners have the Constitutional right to object and intervene in DNR decisions that adversely affect lakes and streams. The bills specifically:

1. force citizens to evaluate proposed projects on incomplete information from applicants;

2. eliminate notices of applications to citizens in their local newspapers. Many citizens, especially in rural areas, do not have easy access to internet notices;

3. reduce the amount of time that citizens have to review applications from 30 days to 20 days;

4. put the burden of proof on an application on the citizen rather than the permit applicant.

SS SB24 and SS AB24 significantly weaken environmental regulations protecting fish and wildlife habitat. The bills substantially reduce DNR’s ability to evaluate projects that will lead to inadequate application of environmental regulations and also directly remove environmental standards. The bills specifically:

1. limit DNR’s authority to ask the applicant for additional information about a project even when the applicant continues to not provide the needed information;

2. force DNR to make permit decisions on incomplete applications;

3. prohibit DNR from denying a permit application on grounds that the application is incomplete even when the applicant does not provide the needed information;

4. create default permits when DNR is unable to process an application in time even when the DNR has insufficient staff to process the permit or even when the applicant has not provided adequate information;

5. remove DNR’s authority to prevent serious environmental damage by the construction of piers in the state’s most sensitive water areas known as “Areas of Special Natural Resource Interest”

6. require DNR to issue a general permit to any riparian owner to remove five 10 yard dump trucks of material from the bed of a lake or stream on an annual basis for their pier or boatlift. The cumulative affect of this considering the hundreds of thousands of piers in Wisconsin can have serious adverse affect on fish and wildlife habitat and water quality;

7. require DNR to issue a general permit to any riparian owner to remove fifty 10 yard dump trucks of “plant and animal nuisance” (undefined) from the bed of a lake or stream on an annual basis. Once again, individually or cumulatively, this can have serious adverse impacts on fish and wildlife habitat and water quality;

8. remove DNR’s authority to designate additional areas of the most valuable and significant scientific value for protection from development in lakes and streams;

9. require DNR to establish expedited procedures for the approval of certain dams. Often these dams can cause serious environmental damage and block spawning fish from getting to their spawning habitat.

SS SB24 and SS AB24 violate the Constitutionally based Public Trust Doctrine protecting navigable waters by allowing private development on public lake and stream beds. The beds of lakes and the water area of streams are owned by the Citizens of Wisconsin under the State Constitution. Private structures in those areas are to be limited to whatever is necessary to allow riparian owners to use the waters for their navigation. The bills specifically:

1. remove DNR’s authority (prospectively and retroactively) to prevent the construction of private condominiums and other private structures on filled public lake beds and streams which are protected by the Public Trust Doctrine. This provision has been placed in the bills partially because of a lawsuit currently underway in the Circuit Court of Manitowoc County. These bills will directly intervene in that litigation.

2. would grandfather many very large structures such as party decks and gazebos on the beds of lakes and streams that were built illegally. This would be contrary to a legislative compromise that was entered into in 2004 and voted for by several current legislators.

SS SB24 and SS AB 24 weaken environmental standards that apply to metallic mining in Wisconsin. Metallic mines require permits and approvals under many Wisconsin environmental laws. Many of these laws have been weakened by the provisions contained in these bills. The bill specifically:

1. would remove the requirement for the permit applicant for a major new stationary source of air pollution to perform air dispersion modeling before obtaining an air permit. This means that the proposed Penokee mine in Ashland and Iron County would not have to model their air emissions to ensure that their taconite pellet processing facility and their large electrical generating plant will meet compliance with air quality standards;

2. would create default permits for mine prospecting permits in the state.

Mine prospecting can cause significant damage to land and water if done improperly and the bills would grant default permits to applicants if DNR was unable to process the permit in time;

3. would create default permits for high capacity wells. Metallic mining

operations such as the proposed Penokee mine will need substantial makeup water for their operation which they will likely gain through high capacity wells. It would be virtually impossible for DNR to complete the necessary hydrological studies necessary for the mine in the short period of time set out for the high capacity well default permits;

4. would allow DNR to issue general permits rather than individual permits for the many stream alterations necessary for metallic mining projects;

5. would create default permits for the approval of licenses for oil and and gas production wells in Wisconsin. Oil and gas extraction, if not done properly can cause serious environmental damage and authority to do so should not be granted by default permits with inadequate DNR review.

Source: Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

Jobs Bills Significantly Weakens Laws Protecting Wisconsin’s Lakes and Streams

Poynette: Today, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation announced that it had completed its legal review of SS SB 24 and SS AB 24 that have been introduced as “Job Bills” in the Special Session of the Legislature. The review shows that the bills will significantly weaken Wisconsin laws protecting its lakes and streams and make it virtually impossible for Wisconsin citizens to have meaningful input into DNR decisions that affect their waterways. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, representing the interests of over 170 hunting, fishing and trapping groups, opposes the bills because of the damage that will happen to fish and wildlife habitat critically important to sportsmen and women.

Specifically, in its study of the bill the Federation found that the bills:

------Substantially remove Wisconsin Citizen’s ability to protect their lakes and streams

------Significantly weaken environmental regulations protecting fish and wildlife habitat

------Violate the Constitution-based Public Trust Doctrine protecting navigable waters

------Weaken environmental standards that apply to metallic mining in Wisconsin

The Federation has detailed these findings in the attached fact sheet.

“Whether you are a hunter, angler or trapper, Wisconsin’s lakes and streams are critically important habitat for the fish and wildlife that are the backbone for hunting, fishing and trapping in Wisconsin,” stated Chuck Matyska (Cecil), President of the Federation. “Allowing these lakes and streams to be damaged is contrary to the interest of every sportsman and woman in this state.”

“The Legislature is working hard to increase the recruitment and retention of young hunters, anglers and trappers in Wisconsin, but without quality fish and wildlife habitat, the important heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping will be lost forever,” indicated Betty Borchert, Chair of the Federation’s Environment Committee. “Ultimately, the loss of this habitat will hurt the economy and in fact cost Wisconsin jobs.

The Federation is the state’s largest hunting, fishing and trapping organization and is dedicated to conservation education and the advancement of sound conservation policy on behalf of hunters, anglers and trappers.

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd

Minutes from the September 26th Meeting

Since only members were present, President Cliff began our meeting with Fishing Reports.


Kids Fishing Coordinator Wayne Avery said salmon and browns were active for shoreline anglers. Avery is using a 10’ fishing rod with fly line and a monofilament leader with a streamer fly.

On Lake Michigan, 120’ of water is producing 2 to 3 year old salmon.

The club outing on Lake Winnebago had slow action, but there were enough fish for a terrific shore lunch. In the frying pan were perch, a walleye and white bass expertly cooked by Editor Chuck Fischer.

Sergeant at Arms “Big” Dave river fished the “Blue Hole” area. This is ¼ mile north of Capitol Drive where he caught fish including walleyes between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Secretary & Media Director Larry had smallmouth action in the Oconomowoc River. The fish were hitting Dick Smith’s Panfish Grubs.

The Mississippi River gave up white bass, crappies and sauger for back-up secretary Ray Letourneau.

Vice-President George fished his lake and boated a smallmouth and 4 walleyes.

Per President Cliff, Bob’s Bait has been offering good prices on fishing items so Cliff has been getting a number of door prizes from this store. Bob’s Bait has been contributing the bait used in the Kids Fishing Clinics.

The secretary’s minutes were read and approved by secretary & media director Larry Van Veghel.

Treasurer Dan Freiherr reported that we have $1255.00 in our bank account. The report was approved as stated.

After a general discussion on various forms of energy production including the cons of windmills in the Lake Winnebago and Alaskan skylines, pollution of certain fossil fuels and more, Cliff gave us a rundown on upcoming meeting highlights.

Oct. 10- Bass pro Justin Newkirk will discuss “Fall Bass Fishing,”

Oct. 24- Lowrance Rep. Gary Vanderhill will discuss their products with emphasis in using GPS units,

Nov. 14- No meeting. Watch the Green Bay Packers. The meeting has been moved to November 28,

Nov. 28- Al Hutchinson will talk about custom rod building. His talk has become a club favorite, since it is coupled with a later scheduled rod building get together. Hutchinson is a past president of the Rod Builders Guild.

Dec. 9- Christmas Party Time.

Dec. 12- Back by popular demand. Jerry Opicka gives us his annual ice fishing talk. He emphasizes safety.

Dec. 26- No meeting. Play with your new Christmas fishing toys.

Jan. 9- Andy Stuth on “Whitefish Fishing.” This talk has become another club favorite, as it is combined with an outing now termed “Gary’s Outing.”

Ray Letourneau has thankfully taken on the task of getting our website going. Secretary Larry is computer literate, so he will assist. He’s used computers to design industrial refrigeration units for Vilter Mfg. Corp., has 4 blogs, and writes an online southeastern Wisconsin fishing column for out of Denver. Larry used to enter the fishing reports on our former website. Ray’s son will get us going on the website, and Ray will do the website after some training.

For your club roster info., add President Cliff’s cell phone at (414) 388-6888 and secretary Larry’s at (414) 801-1222.

Respectively submitted,

Larry Van Veghel

WFC & WCSFO Secretary and Media Director

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Halloween and Monster Walleye

Marcel Tourdot, Pittsburgh Fishing Examiner
October 7, 2011 - Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.

Walleye are widely regarded as one of North America’s most elusive freshwater game fish. Often referred to as marble eyes the walleye is a predator of the night. The sensitive nature of their eye sight forces them to spend the majority of their time at depths much greater than most other game fish. They inhabit these depths where little or no sunlight can reach to accentuate their remarkable eyesight and use the advantage to ambush their prey.

There is however a time of transition for walleyes and it is a time when they are more susceptible because they abandon their typical haunts. It is also a time when the largest of the species begin to feed with reckless abandon in the shallower depths of a river or lake system. That time of year is now and for the next 4 to 6 weeks an angler has the best chance to catch a trophy walleye.

Target gravel bars, shallow weed beds near drop off points, submerged weeds (typically only visible with electronic sonar), and areas downstream from dams. Since Pittsburgh is famous for its rivers (among other things), it is an ideal autumn spot for trophy class walleye.
Since the feeding frenzy that walleye undergo during this time of year is a response to the need to store up food reserves and energy to survive the coming winter months they are looking for large baitfish. It is best to cast jigs with shiners, or creek chubs, and minnow imitation crank baits to hook that monster walleye.