MADISON – Anglers and others are invited to share their expectations for fishing for panfish in Wisconsin at more than two dozen meetings across the state in February and March.
“We want to hear from the public on what they want from their panfishing experience to help guide us in developing a statewide plan for managing panfish populations,” says Joanna Griffin, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries specialist coordinating the effort.
The public meetings mark the opening phases of statewide outreach efforts by Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries management to better connect with anglers in Wisconsin. These first meetings will focus on panfish management although other local fishery concerns may be covered at the meetings, she says.
Attendees at the meetings will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire to help DNR understand their concerns, issues and priorities for panfish. The questionnaire and background materials presented at the meeting will be available online in coming weeks.
DNR has long had management plans in place for game fish species such as walleye, bass, musky and northern pike, and biologists and some anglers believe such attention is necessary for panfish.
“We know there have been proposals from the Conservation Congress in recent years and again this year to reduce the daily 25 fish limit on panfish on select lakes. Their concerns, along with our data analyses and modeling efforts, lead us to believe we need to take the next step and develop a management plan.”
As a category, panfish are by far the most common fish caught by anglers in Wisconsin although anglers report walleye as their favorite target. Wisconsin anglers reported catching 88 million fish in the 2006-7 license year, of which 57.7 million were panfish, according to a statewide mail survey done that year. About 25.7 million of those panfish were kept.
“We hope the feedback we get from anglers can help us understand whether to stay the course, or if they want changes in their panfishing experience that could require us to do something different, depending on the particular waterbody and its capabilities.”
The dates, times and locations of the panfish meetings are listed below.
Feb. 12, Stevens Point, Ben Franklin Jr. High School, Learning Resource Center, 6:30 p.m., 2000 Polk St.
Feb. 18, Waukesha, DNR Waukesha Service Center, 7 p.m., 141 N.W. Barstow St.
Feb. 19, Eau Claire, DNR Eau Claire Regional Office, 7 p.m., 1300 W. Clairemont Ave.
Feb. 19 Horicon, DNR Horicon Marsh Education Center/lower level auditorium, 7 p.m. N7725 Highway 28
Feb. 20, Hayward, Hayward High School Auditorium, 6:30 p.m., 10320 N. Greenwood Lane
Feb. 21, Plymouth, Plymouth High School Cafeteria, 7 p.m., 125 S. Highland Ave.
Feb. 22-24, Madison, Madison Fishing Expo; Fri. 4 p.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m-7 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., DNR booth at the expo at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
March 4, Shawano, Shawano Library, 5:30 p.m., 128 S. Sawyer St.
March 4, Burlington, Burlington High School Library (2nd floor) 6 p.m., 400 McCanna Pkwy
March 5, Mercer, Mercer Community Center, 6 p.m., 2648 W Margaret St.
March 6, Medford, Frances L Simek Memorial Library, 7 p.m., 400 N Main St.
March 6, Adams, Adams County Community Center, 6:30 p.m., M 569N Cedar St.
March 6, Florence, Wild Rivers Interpretive Center, Large Conf. Rm, 7 p.m., 5631 Forestry Dr.
March 7, Butternut, American Legion Hall, 6 p.m., 126 4th St. North
March 7, Dodgeville, DNR Dodgeville Office, Prairie Room 7 p.m. 1500 N Johns St.
March 7, Wautoma, Waushara County Courthouse, Demonstration Room, 6 p.m. 209 S Main St.
March 7, Fond du Lac, Fisherman's Road Fishing Club Headquarters, 7 p.m., End of Fisherman's Road on Lake Winnebago
March 11, Merrill, Merrill High School large conference room, 6 p.m. 1201 N. Sales St.
March 12, Brule, Brule Ranger Station, 7 p.m. 6250 S. Ranger Road
March 12, Menasha, Germania Hall, 7 p.m., 320 Chute St.
March 13, Rhinelander, Rhinelander Service Center, 7 p.m. 107 Sutliff Ave.
March 13, Green Bay, Brown County Library Auditorium, 6:30 p.m., 515 Pine St.
March 14, Woodruff, Woodruff Town Hall, 7 p.m., 1418 First Street (Highway 47)
March 14, Spooner, Spooner DNR Service Center, 7 p.m. , 810 W. Maple St.
March 14, Waupaca, Waupaca Area Library, 5:30 p.m., 107 S. Main St.
March 14, Black River Falls, U.W. Extension Office, 7 p.m., 227 S 11th St.
March 14, Woodruff, Woodruff Town hall, 7 p.m., 1418 First St. (Highway 47)
March 18, Balsam Lake, Polk County Government Center, East Conf. Rm. 7 p.m., 100 Polk County Plaza
March 18, Crivitz, Crivitz High School Auditorium, 6:30 p.m., 400 South Ave.