Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Night fishing on Mille Lacs Lake opens July 21

Mille Lacs Lake anglers may fish at night beginning Monday, July 21 at 10 p.m., according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“We’re pleased we can open the lake to night fishing,” said Brad Parsons, central region fisheries manager for the DNR. “Evening and night launches can resume operation, and boats can travel and fish at night. In addition to walleye, anglers can again seek muskellunge and bow fish during prime nighttime hours.”

In past years, the Mille Lacs Lake night closure, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., began the Monday after the May opener and continued through mid-June. This year’s regulations extended the closure to Dec. 1 to help ensure state-licensed anglers did not catch more walleye than the lake’s safe harvest limit allowed. If that limit was reached, anglers would have had to release all walleye instead of being allowed to keep two. The possession limit is two fish 18- to 20-inches. One fish may be longer than 28 inches.

“So far, anglers have caught about 10,000 pounds of walleye,” Parsons said. “That number will increase once night fishing resumes, but catch rates have been low enough to alleviate concerns that anglers will catch more than the 42,900 pounds of walleye the harvest limit allows.”

Anglers have caught fewer walleye because walleye are feeding on an abundance of perch in Mille Lacs this year and reduced fishing pressure. Cool temperatures and rain have kept the water temperatures down, which lowers mortality of released fish. Fish are more likely to die after being released in warmer water even if properly handled.

“The DNR is not removing the night closure because Mille Lacs Lake has recovered,” said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries section chief. “More young walleye still need to survive their first year and keep growing from year to year into larger walleye. Conditions this year combined for a slow bite, allowing DNR to re-open an activity that helps the Mille Lacs area economy and is a tradition among many fishing families.”

For more information, visit the Mille Lacs Lake Web page at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake. People interested in receiving email updates about Mille Lacs Lake can subscribe to the Hooked On Mille Lacs Update list at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslakenews.

Wisconsin drinking water systems still top-notch

Wisconsin drinking water systems still top-notch
MADISON – Wisconsin public water supply systems continued their excellent record of serving water that met all health-based standards in 2013, a recently released report shows.  -  Read Full Article

Comments sought on Lake Michigan fisheries management plan update

MADISON — The state is revising its long-term fisheries management plan for Wisconsin's Lake Michigan waters and invites citizens to provide input during a second round of public review. Lake Michigan has seen drastic ecological changes in recent years and the new plan will guide fisheries management through the next 10 years. 

“We listened to what the public said during an initial public input session and incorporated some of those ideas along with our own thoughts in this draft 10-year plan,” said Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “Now, it’s time to see whether we are on track with the expectations and desires of the public. We’re planning a second round of meetings in early August to give stakeholders additional opportunities for input." 


The meetings are set for:

  • Monday, Aug. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., Wisconsin DNR Green Bay Service Center, 2984 Shawano Avenue, Green Bay, WI, 54313
  • Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lakeshore Technical College, 1290 North Avenue, Cleveland, WI, 53015
  • Thursday, Aug. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at UW–Milwaukee GLRF-SFS, 600 E. Greenfield Avenue, Milwaukee, WI, 53204
  • Thursday, Aug. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wisconsin DNR Peshtigo Service Center, 101 N. Ogden Road, Peshtigo, WI, 54157

Wisconsin’s DNR manages Lake Michigan fisheries in partnership with other state, federal and tribal agencies and in consultation with the public, particularly sport and commercial fishers. The draft 2015-2024 Lake Michigan Integrated Fisheries Management Plan focuses on five areas or visions for the future: 

  • A balanced, healthy ecosystem. This vision focuses on protecting and maintaining habitat while minimizing the effects of invasive species.
  • A multi-species sport fishery. This vision includes sustaining a salmon and trout species mix that supports sport harvests. Other elements include improvements to the statewide fish hatchery system that produces fish for Lake Michigan and enhanced near-shore fishing opportunities.
  • A sustainable and viable commercial fishery. This aspect of the plan centers on maintaining the current number of commercial fishing licenses at 80 while adjusting harvest limits to sustain viable populations of key commercial species such as lake whitefish, yellow perch, round whitefish, rainbow smelt and bloater chubs over time.
  • Application of science-based management principles. This vision recognizes the ongoing need for staff training, the ability to employ continually evolving tools and modeling technologies, inter-jurisdictional cooperation and the involvement of trained scientists as well as public stakeholders.
  • Effective internal and external communication. This vision focuses on maintaining a full and open exchange of information and ideas among the public, elected officials, fisheries managers and neighboring states.

“Over the last 10-year planning cycle, we have made good progress and accomplished much of what we set out to do in our previous plan," Eggold said. “We’ve managed chinook salmon populations to fuel a decade of fantastic fishing. Supplies of trout and salmon for stocking have been enhanced following renovation of the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery while sturgeon and musky stocking also has improved. In addition, we’ve removed some barriers to fish passage and constructed a natural fish passage on the Milwaukee River.” 

However, over the last decade Lake Michigan has undergone major ecological changes and is less productive due to the arrival and proliferation of the exotic quagga mussel. These small freshwater mussels remove large quantities of plankton as they filter the water, short circuiting the food chain and ultimately leaving less for prey fish to eat while negatively impacting some important fish species such as yellow perch. 

Beyond the difficulties caused by invasive species, an additional challenge is the need to maintain, update and operate the state’s fish production system, including renovating the Kettle Moraine Springs State Fish Hatchery in Sheboygan County, which produces all the steelhead rainbow trout stocked in Lake Michigan. 

"Given the challenges and opportunities before us, input from anglers and others is critical in developing a plan that keeps Lake Michigan healthy and reflects the interests of sport and commercial anglers," Eggold said. 

People who are interested in commenting can find the draft plan and summary information on the DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching for "Lake Michigan Plan." In addition to providing verbal comments at the public meetings, written comments can be sent to a special email address created for the plan: DNRLakeMichiganPlan@Wisconsin.gov. Written comments also can be mailed to: Brad Eggold, Department of Natural Resources, Great Lakes Water Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI, 53204.

Monday, July 14, 2014

4th Annual Kids Fishing Day–Sponsored by Shawano Area Walleyes for Tomorrow

The Shawano Area Walleyes for Tomorrow Chapter sponsored their 4 Annual Kids Fishing Day yesterday. The event involved almost 100 area kids aged 5 to 15. Participants were given a quality Rod and Reel for fishing, a meal ticket for a lunch when they returned, and most important to some – about an hour of fishing with a Pro Fisherman in their boat. (Many of them got to go one on one with a Pro in their boat.)

The area Pro’s – donated their time and boat for the event. It was a great time for all.

Walleyes for Tomorrow photos can be seen at the URL below:


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sea Grant Helping Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species in Wisconsin Waters

In 2013, 13,000 People Heard Clean, Drain, Dry Messages; Inspectors Are On Pace to Talk With That Many People This Summer at Great Lakes Boat Landings

July 8, 2014

With the Fourth of July holiday now behind summer-lovers, perhaps it feels as if the recreational boating season is really revving up. That could lead to the inadvertent spread of aquatic invasive species from one water body to another. Sea Grant, however, is doing its part to help prevent that spread this summer by putting in place a boat landing inspector on the Great Lakes.

When a plant or animal hitches a ride on a recreational boat from one habitat to another, and flourishes, it could disrupt the health and well-being of the species already in that spot. In Wisconsin, some problematic aquatic invasive species are Eurasian milfoil, which crowds out native plants, and spiny water fleas and quagga mussels. The waterfleas and mussels eat a lot of the virtually microscopic organisms on the lower end of the food chain, denying other creatures a meal.

Boat landing inspectors approach boaters as they leave the lake and educate them on the best way to avoid transporting creatures like Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas to inland lakes. That’s done by sharing the messages of inspecting the boat for hitchhiking plants and animals, then, suggesting that boaters clean, drain and dry their boats before going into the water again. The ultimate message is one of education on the impacts these non-native species can have on the invaded waterbodies.

There are nine summer 2014 employees who work 20 hours a week—weighted more heavily to weekends when more people are boating.

The inspectors record boaters’ answers (keeping the sources anonymous) about their inspecting, cleaning, draining and drying practices on a form that is sent electronically to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for processing. In 2013, Sea Grant inspectors reached nearly 13,000 people and checked about 6,000 boats for AIS.

“We can’t force people to talk with us,” said Titus Seilheimer, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s fisheries specialist and the one who oversees the seasonal boat inspectors. “The inspectors are there for education, not enforcement. We want to get people to the point of: Do they understand why this (aquatic invasive species removal) is important. You want it to be more than them just saying ‘yes’ because a boat landing inspector is standing there staring at you. We won’t always be there so they need to make clean, drain, dry and never move a part of their routine.”

Seilheimer is refining the inspection and education process this year. With help from a group of county-based and DNR personnel, he has reworked the script to, for example, acknowledge when an individual boater may have already spoken with an inspector earlier in the season. “In general, people appreciate what the inspectors are doing. It can get a bit old, though, later in the season if they have talked to someone three times and they’re being approached for a fourth time,” Seilheimer said.

There are some successes from the effort. Quagga mussels, which number in the trillions in Lake Michigan, have not made it to inland lakes in any appreciable—and destructive—way.