MADISON – Organizers planning fishing tournaments for 2013 can apply for their permits starting April 1, 2012, and should do so before June 30 to have the best chance of securing the date and water they want, state fisheries officials say.
There is a cap on the maximum amount of tournament fishing pressure allowed on some waters, so to give tournament organizers a fair shot at reserving their spots, the Department of Natural Resources runs an open application period from April 1 through June 30.
Permit applications from tournament organizers applying after June 30, 2012, for events in 2013 will be considered on a first-come first-served basis, according to Jon Hansen, the DNR fisheries biologist who coordinates the fishing tournament permit system.
All applications for 2013 events DNR received during the open period will be reviewed by Aug. 1, 2012, and in the unlikely event that another tournament conflicts with an organizer’s choice of dates or waters, DNR fisheries biologists will discuss options with the tournament organizers, Hansen says.
In 2011, 559 applications were approved from the 603 submitted. None of the applications were denied but some applications were withdrawn and some events cancelled.
Organizers can still apply for 2012 tournaments
Tournament organizers can still apply for 2012 tournaments, but the DNR must receive completed applications at least 30 days before the start of the applicant’s tournament, Hansen says. These applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until the caps have been reached.
Tournament organizers will need a permit if the tournament:
- involves 20 or more boats, or 100 or more participants;
- targets any trout species on waters classified as trout streams;
- is a catch-hold-release tournament with an off-site weigh-in;
- will have fewer than 20 boats but participants will cull bass; or
- has total prize value of $10,000 or greater.
An application fee must accompany all permit applications. The fee will vary depending on the type of tournament and the value of prizes awarded. For more details on the tournament rules and fee structure, to submit an application, or to view a tournament event calendar, visit the DNR website and search for fishing tournaments.
Tournament numbers down, but fishing hours and fish caught up in 2011
The number of fishing tournaments with permits declined in 2011 but anglers participating in those tournaments caught more fish and spent more time fishing than did tournament anglers in the previous two years, DNR statistics show.
Hansen speculates that the decrease in tournament applications, and thus permitted tournaments, largely reflects the fact that the tournament rules are now three years old and that organizers of smaller tournaments are learning they may fall under the thresholds necessary for a permit and so are not applying.
The 559 permitted tournaments drew more than 75,000 anglers and awarded prizes totaling nearly $3.2 million. Anglers fished 1.58 million hours and caught 98,205 fish and released about 48 percent of them, down from previous years.
Top counties for permitted tournaments included Winnebago County, with 50, Oneida County with 28, Waukesha and Polk with 25 each, and Vilas County with 22, Hansen says.