Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo scheduled in Blaine

BLAINE, MN – The National Sports Center in Blaine will present the sixth annual Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo, Nov. 17-19, at the NSC’s Sport Expo Center and Welcome Center.
Just the Facts:
Location: National Sports Center Welcome Center, 1750 105th Ave NE, Blaine, MN 55449. The main expo space will be in the Sport Expo Center, a 21,000 square foot clear span roof ideally suited for vendor booths
Hours: Friday, Nov. 17, 2-8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $10 per day; Students (12-17), $7 per day. 11 and under admitted free. Unlimited free parking.
Features: ice fishing celebrities, seminars and classes, guide services, wheel houses, youth programs, travel destinations, new equipment, outdoor equipment testing.
Seminar schedule, presented by Clam Outdoors:
(All seminars will be in the Exhibition Hall of the Welcome Center)
Friday, 3 p.m.: “Bite Detection,” Pat Rodger.
Friday, 4 p.m.: “Tournament Mindset On-Ice,” Shawn Lankki and Adam Griffith.
Friday, 5 p.m.: Q and A session with the Ice Team Pro Panel.
Friday, 6 p.m.: “Ice Fishing Masters Course,” Chris Granrud.
Saturday, 11 a.m.: “Go-To Tactics for Everything Big,” Jeff Anderson.    
Saturday, noon: “Panfish Simplicity,” Jason Durham.
Saturday, 1 p.m.: “Ice Fishing Q and A; bring a question, win a prize,” Dave Genz.
Saturday, 2 p.m.: “Family Ice Fishing,” Mark Stevens.
Saturday, 3 p.m.: Q and A session with the Ice Team Pro Panel.
Saturday, 4 p.m.: “Catching Giant Bluegills,” Garrett Svir.
Sunday, 11 a.m.: “Putting it Together: a modern product overview,” Mike Rodger.
Sunday, noon: Q and A session with the Ice Team Pro Panel.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Upper Red Lake winter walleye regulations set

Anglers fishing Upper Red Lake in northwestern Minnesota this winter will be able to keep four walleye of which only one may be longer than 17 inches, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
This same regulation has been in effect since the walleye fishing opener in May, but this will be the first winter season with the combination of a four fish bag limit and one over 17 inches allowed.
“Harvest under a three fish bag limit last year resulted in approximately 109,000 pounds for the winter season,” said Gary Barnard, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Bemidji. “Total harvest for the past winter and summer seasons combined was below the target harvest range so there is room for additional harvest this year.”  
Red Lake walleye harvest is managed under a joint harvest plan, revised in 2015 by the Red Lakes Fisheries Technical Committee.
“The new harvest plan recommends a more aggressive approach when spawning stock is in surplus, as it currently is,” Barnard said. “The extra fish in the daily bag this winter is expected to increase winter harvest, and allowing one fish over 17 inches meets our harvest plan objectives by spreading harvest over a wide range of sizes and removing some of the surplus spawning stock.” More information on Red Lake fishing regulations are available at mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Fishing season closes Nov. 1, on Little Muskego Lake

MADISON, WI - The fishing season on Little Muskego Lake will close Nov. 1, due to a water level drawdown aimed at stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species.
"Our goal is to help the fishery survive the draw down," says Ben Heussner, Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist for Waukesha County.
Water has been drawn down in Little Muskego Lake so that part of the lake bottom is exposed to freeze out starry stonewort, an invasive plant that can harm fish populations. The drawdown is concentrating fish in the southern part of the lake, making them more vulnerable to angler harvest over the winter.
The current water level is about 74 inches below the normal high water mark. At this level, the lake has about 34 percent less water by volume and 50 percent less by surface acreage.
"Closing the season will conserve the game fish supply until water levels are restored and insure continued opportunities for good fishing," Heussner said. "The season will revert to normal fishing regulations on March 5, 2018. For more information on Wisconsin fishing regulations, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "fishing regulations."
The DNR held a public meeting on the planned closure earlier this month and the meeting was well attended, with the majority of people favoring season closure, according to Heussner.
Starry stonewort is a submerged invasive plant that invades lakes, ponds, reservoirs and slow moving rivers. It is native to Europe and western Asia and forms dense mats in lakes and can significantly reduce the diversity of other aquatic plants. Dense mats of vegetation can also impede movement of fish, fish spawning activity, water flow and recreational activities.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Annual fall surveys support conservative harvest decision

Mille Lacs Lake walleye fishing will open on Friday, Dec. 1, with no bait restrictions and a limit of one walleye 20-22 inches or one longer than 28 inches.
“We’re glad results of fall population survey show Mille Lacs anglers will be able to keep some walleye during the winter walleye season,” said Don Pereira, fisheries section chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We know this is important to resorts and businesses because the ice fishing season contributes a lot to the local economy.”
The DNR selected the size regulations to protect Mille Lacs’ walleye spawning population, which is largely comprised of walleyes hatched in 2013 (also known as a year class). Those fish currently range from 15 to 19 inches in length and represented about 40 percent of the walleyes sampled during this fall’s population survey.
Since the 2013 year class now is nearly fully mature, the DNR determined anglers could keep older and larger fish, something some anglers have been suggesting and requesting.
In recent years, conservative regulations on Mille Lacs have protected the younger spawners to-be so they can replace the older spawners, which is necessary to sustain the population.
The DNR and members of the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee did discuss setting the large fish limit at 26 inches. But feedback suggested that keeping those fish in the lake was preferred because the possibility of catching walleye 26 to 28 inches makes Mille Lacs an attractive destination. There also was concern that a 26-inch limit could result in a higher harvest level that would count against the 2018 allocation.
Mille Lacs fall walleye population survey, known as an “assessment,” showed that the 2013 year class continues to dominate the population. The catch of walleye hatched in 2014, 2015 and 2016 was below average. Fish hatched this spring were caught in good numbers, but it’s uncertain if those numbers will remain as the 2017 year class progresses through its first, second and third years.
“During the past 15 years, our studies show fewer and fewer young walleye surviving to their third year,” Pereira said. “Young fish not surviving has put Mille Lacs’ walleye population in the unfortunate situation it is now. Whatever is causing that mortality is the root problem.”
The assessment also looks at food abundance and walleye health. Perch 1-2 years old were caught in low numbers and the number of young-of-year perch was above average. The number of young-of-year tullibee caught was near average.
Perch and tullibee are the primary food source for Mille Lacs’ walleye, which are showing negative effects from a lack of adequate food. That shortage may be driving the hot walleye bite anglers have experienced on Mille Lacs.
Complete winter regulation information for Mille Lacs Lake is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Surveys show plenty of big sturgeon for unique winter fishery

MADISON, WI - The deadline to purchase licenses for the 2018 Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season is Oct. 31, with state biologists forecasting great opportunities to land the fish of a lifetime while enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.
"Getting together with family and friends is what keeps people coming back year after to year, but spearers will be happy to know that our 2017 assessments once again show there are a lot of really large fish out there to challenge them," says Ryan Koenigs, Department of Natural Resources Lake Winnebago sturgeon biologist.
"We handled nine fish greater than 75 inches and 65 fish over 70 inches this spring," he says. "The biggest fish we measured was 81 inches, so it should be a really exciting year for everyone enjoying this unique winter event."
The Winnebago System is home to one of the largest populations of lake sturgeon in North America. DNR's careful management of that population, in conjunction with citizens and conservation groups, allows the continent's largest recreational harvest through a unique winter spear fishery dating to the 1930s.
The 2018 spearing seasons open on Feb. 10, with separate but simultaneous seasons for Lake Winnebago and for the Upriver Lakes. Participation in the Upriver Lakes season is determined by lottery.
The seasons run for 16 days or until harvest caps are reached.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Fall musky fishing heats up along with chance for state record

MADISON, WI - While Wisconsin's first catch and release record has been established for musky, there's plenty of time left in 2017 for anglers to better that mark and enjoy some of the best fishing for the famed fighter and Wisconsin's official state fish.
The northern zone musky season runs through Nov. 30, on inland waters north of U.S. Highway 10 excluding Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters. The southern zone musky season stays open another month beyond that, closing Dec. 31, 2017, on inland waters south of U.S. Highway 10.
Jacob Holmstrom of Danbury reeled in his place in Wisconsin fishing history by claiming the first catch and release record in Wisconsin for musky. Holmstrom caught the 53-inch musky on Warner Lake in Burnett County on June 24, 2017, around 6:30 p.m.
The fish was measured, photographed on its side on a measuring board with Holmstrom, and released, according to Karl Scheidegger, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist coordinating the catch and release records program and the traditional by-weight records program.
"We're excited for Jacob and excited to have our first record established for one of our marquee species," Scheidegger said.
"It's a big fish, but there are bigger fish out there. We want anglers to know that just because there's a record, don't stop fishing. Late fall fishing is some of the best for musky and records are made to be broken!"
Zachary Lawson, inland fish biologist for Iron and Ashland counties, says recent weather patterns have now 'flipped' many lakes, creating conditions where anglers may want to turn attention to deeper rock structure, hard bottom areas, and steep breaking shorelines.
"Anglers are taking advantage of prime time for trophy specimens, with muskies up to 50-inches being reported," he says. Lawson himself caught and released a heavy 48.5-inch musky earlier this fall.
Wisconsin has about 775 lakes and streams with thriving musky populations. The statewide regulation sets a daily bag of one fish with a minimum length of 40 inches, but special fishing regulations are in effect on some waters in an effort to bring back the trophy muskellunge Wisconsin is clearly capable of producing.
Find a list of all musky waters and trophy musky waters by going to dnr.wi.gov and searching "musky."
To see fish biologists' forecasts for musky for 2017 based on fish survey results, read the 2017 Wisconsin Fishing Report.
Live catch and release records recognize anglers without killing the fish
DNR's live catch and release record program started earlier this year to promote the conservation of fisheries resources and quality fishing by encouraging the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species.
To see the application to fill out and the procedure to follow to submit a possible record, go to dnr.wi.gov and search "record fish."
Anglers interested in pursuing a record are encouraged to follow these live release tips to minimize stress on the fish as much as possible during the photo process:
* Keep the fish in the water as much as possible before releasing it.
* Gently place the fish back in the water. Do not hang the fish on a stringer or hold heavy fish by the jaw as this may damage the jaw and vertebrae.
* Use wet hands or wet cloth gloves to handle the fish.
* Hold a large fish horizontally and support its body.
* Have a camera ready before landing the fish to minimize air exposure. If necessary, revive the fish by holding it upright in the water and moving it back and forth, forcing water through its gills.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Walleye Tournament set Oct. 21 in La Crosse

Sara and Billy's Wild Walleye Tournament is scheduled Saturday, Oct. 21, in La Crosse.
Entry fee is $10, with catch-and-release tournament hours between 8 a.m., and 4 p.m. For more information, call 608-406-1622.