Lake Winnebago fish kill caused by VHS

OSHKOSH, WI - The fish disease VHS has been confirmed as the cause of a large fish kill of mostly sheepshead in Lake Winnebago in April.
"We've received final lab test results from the La Crosse Fish Health Center confirming that VHS caused the fish kill," says Kendall Kamke, DNR fisheries supervisor in the Oshkosh area. "Results for all fish species tested were positive for VHS and negative for all other common fish pathogens."
A DNR fisheries biologist first responded to reports of dead fish in the Fond du Lac area on April 24, and found hundreds of dead fish, mostly sheepshead, as well as common carp, black crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass and bluegill.
Time of year, lake conditions and the behavior of the affected fish suggested VHS, short for viral hemorrhagic septicemia, as a possible cause. Additional samples were collected as reports of dead and dying fish started coming in from just north of Oshkosh and on the north end of Lake Winnebago.
A total of 60 drum, seven black crappie, and one each of yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass collected from the lake at Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and High Cliff were sent to La Crosse for pathogen testing.
VHS is a deadly virus of fish which does not affect people who handle infected fish or want to eat their catch. VHS does, however, pose a threat to more than 25 Wisconsin fish species including musky, walleye, yellow perch and northern pike.
The virus has been detected in Lake Michigan and Lake Winnebago for more than a decade. Most recently, the fish disease was associated with 2018 fish kills of gizzard shad in Port Washington Harbor on Lake Michigan and in the Menomonee River in Milwaukee County.
Kamke does not expect the die-off to have a significant effect on the Winnebago fishery. But the confirmation that VHS caused the fish kill is an important reminder to all anglers about the critical importance of disinfecting boats and gear when moving between bodies of water, he says.
"This time the fish kill was confined to mostly sheepshead on the big lake - next time we might not be so lucky. VHS could affect our walleye when they are concentrated on the marshes during spawning. We can't get lax about following the safeguards," Kamke added.
Rules for preventing the spread of invasive species and pathogens require that boaters do not transfer water, fish or vegetation from one body of water to another. Drying or disinfection of boat and gear is recommended before moving between waterbodies. More information is available by searching the DNR website,, for "boat transportation and bait laws."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

La Crosse's Monsoor finishes 114th in Detroit

DETROIT, MI – La Crosse bass fishing pro Tom Monsoor had a rough day on the water on Friday.
Monsoor finished 114th in this week's FLW Tour Qualifier on Lake St. Clair as presented by Mercury in Detroit, MI. Monsoor was in 41st place after Thursday's opening round, but couldn't weigh in a heavy bag on Friday.
Monsoor, in his 15th year on the FLW Tour, weighed in a five bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 8 ounces on Thusrday. He caught another five fish limit on Friday, but it only totaled 13-14 for 33-6 two-day total. Despite his poor finish, Monsoor has still won $18,800 this year pushing his career total to almost $900,000.
FLW Tour pro Chad Grigsby of Maple Grove, MN, brought another limit of smallmouth bass to the scale Friday, this one weighing 24-4, to maintain his lead after Day Two.
The field is now cut to only the top 30, and Grigsby starts Saturday’s Day Three of competition with a slim 4-ounce lead over Costa pro Dylan Hays of Sheridan, AK (49-13).

Brad Parsons named state fisheries chief

Brad Parsons, a 31-year fisheries veteran and current central region fisheries manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has been selected as the new fisheries chief for the DNR. He begins his new duties Wednesday, July 25.
“Brad brings a breadth of valuable experience to this important job,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “His years working his way up as a researcher in the field and then serving as regional fisheries manager will help us manage the state’s fisheries in ways that positively serve citizens, natural resources and local economies.”
Parsons, a St. Paul Park resident, has been the DNR’s central region fisheries manager since 2010. In addition to managing the region’s eight fisheries offices, he has played a key role in management issues on Lake Mille Lacs, and the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. He also is the agency’s point person with the citizen-based Walleye Workgroup.
Parsons began his career at the DNR researching a range of topics including walleye populations, angler harvest and attitudes, wetland ecology and predator-prey interactions. As fisheries manager for the central region he was responsible for an area including Minnesota’s lake country, two major rivers, three major metropolitan areas and trout streams in the southeastern part of the state.   
Parsons will oversee a $34 million annual fisheries section budget and a staff of 286 full-time and part-time employees. With personnel based in four regional offices, 29 area offices and 15 hatcheries, the fisheries section carries out research and management programs affecting state fish species and habitat.
Fishing is big business in Minnesota. Direct angler expenditures in Minnesota total $2.4 billion and support 35,000 jobs, according to a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey. About 28 percent of Minnesotans go fishing, double the national average.
Parsons is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and has an advanced degree in fisheries from the University of Wyoming. He is the author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and technical reports. He replaces Don Pereira, who retired on June 8.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

La Crosse's Monsoor tied for 41st place in FLW Tour event

DETROIT, MI – La Crosse bass fishing pro Tom Monsoor is in a three-way tie for 41st place after Thursday's opening round of the FLW Tour Qualifier on Lake St. Clair as presented by Mercury in Detroit, MI.
Monsoor, in his 15th year on the FLW Tour, weighed in a five bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 8 ounces. He is currently in 78th place in the FLW Tour points standings with 687 points. He has won $18,800 this year pushing his career total to almost $900,000.
FLW Tour pro Chad Grigsby of Maple Grove, MN, also caught a limit of smallmouth bass weighing 25-13 – the largest limit ever weighed in his 15-year FLW Tour career. The Minnesota pro holds a 1-pound, 13-ounce lead over pro Darrel Robertson of Jay, OK, who caught five bass weighing 24-0.
The four-day event features 180 of the world’s best bass fishing professionals and co-anglers competing for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division.
Grigsby’s limit was anchored by a chunky 6-pound, 3-ounce, smallmouth that also earned the day's $500 Simms Big Bass award in the pro division.
Overall, there were 868 bass weighing 3,033 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 178 pros Thursday, by far the largest single-day catch for the FLW Tour pros in 2018. The catch included 165 five-bass limits.

Ish Monroe

California's Monroe wins Mississippi River Bassmaster Elite tourney

Notching his fifth Bassmaster victory, Ish Monroe of Hughson, CA, produced a solid limit of largemouth bass that weighed 16 pounds, 2 ounces to collect his first victory in six years at the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Go RVing.
Monroe’s four-day total was 65-7, edging out Jacob Powroznik of North Prince George, VA, who produced a four-day limit of 64-12. Powroznik finished in second place.
Across the four official competition days, there were four different leaders, which kept the event very exciting until the final weigh-in.
Monroe started in 20th place on Thursday’s opening round, moved up to sixth on Friday, third following Saturday’s semifinal round of competition and then into the top spot on Championship Sunday.
The impressive victory earned the 44-year-old pro valuable Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points and a $100,000 payday.“Everybody knew that the rising river levels would affect the fish and how they positioned on the structure,” Monroe said. “I had a plan, but early on Day 1, I got stuck on a sandbar, and that was as stuck as I’ve ever been in a bass boat. I freed my boat, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
Monroe said that after he got stuck, he was hesitant to run the Mississippi River backwaters too quickly, so he decided to fish his way into the area he had originally intended to start the tournament.
“I noticed some very similar grass and duckweed not too far from where I got stuck, so I decided to start there,” he said. “I ended up catching a solid limit of bass before I ever got to my original destination. That taught me a lot about where the fish were located and how they were set up.”
As the tournament went on, and the river levels continued to rise, the fish moved further back into the shallow backwaters that were covered in grass, lily pads, duckweed and other types of aquatic vegetation.
“Today, the larger bass were as far back into the slop as they could be, but once I found them this afternoon, I caught plenty of very nice bass. It was important to understand where the bass moved as the water rose, and that was the key component to my victory this week,” he said. “Every fish I brought to the scales this week came on my Ish Monroe Phat Mat Daddy frog by River2Sea,” he said. “It’s a heavier frog with a larger profile, which was critical to bust through the dense duckweed that covered most of the water where my fish came from.”
Monroe used his signature series 7-foot, 4-inch Daiwa Tatula Elite Series frog rod paired with a Daiwa Zillion SV baitcaster that was spooled with 65-pound Maxima braided line.
The combo was critical to hooking fish and pulling them from the dense cover that covers much of the Upper Mississippi River.
The last time Monroe won was in 2012 on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, which made this win all the sweeter.
“Every time I win, it means more than the last,” he said. “The competition on the Elite Series is getting tougher and tougher, especially with all the young anglers on the scene doing so well. Winning on such a fantastic fishery means the world to me.”
Rounding out the Top 5 were Randall Tharp with 64-5, Gerald Spohrer with 64-0 and Jacob Wheeler with 62-3.
Monroe also won the Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 for being the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program, and the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.
The second-highest-placing eligible entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, Powroznik, received $2,000.
Brent Chapman was awarded $1,000 for leading the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race at the end of the event.

Sunday's Final Results
Each day's weight, total weight
1. Ish Monroe, 5/15- 6, 5/16-11, 5/17- 4, 5/16-2, 20/65-7.
2. Jacob Powroznik, 5/16-14, 5/15-8, 5/15-11, 5/16-11, 20/64-12.
3. Randall Tharp, 5/16-6, 5/17-12, 5/15-10, 5/14-9, 20/64-5.
4. Gerald Spohrer, 5/16-7, 5/16-6, 5/16-5, 5/14-14, 20/64-0.
5. Jacob Wheeler, 5/15-15, 5/14-10, 5/15-0, 5/16-10, 20/62-3.
6. Keith Poche 5/14-3, 5/15-14, 5/16-3, 5/15-12, 20/62-0.
7. Cliff Pace, 5/16-14, 5/12-15, 5/14-12, 5/16-1, 20/60-10.
8. Aaron Martens, 5/16-5, 5/17-14, 5/15-8, 5/10-14, 20/60-9.
9. Casey Ashley, 5/16-7, 5/13-6, 5/18-4, 5/12- 5, 20/60-6.
10. Gary Klein, 5/15-13, 5/15-0, 5/15-6, 5/13-15, 20/60-2.
11. Justin Lucas, 5/14-10, 5/14-2,    5/16-6, 5/13-5, 20/58-7.
12. Wesley Strader, 5/16-4, 5/14-11, 5/14- 0, 5/13-7, 20/58-6.


Discounted fishing licenses the ticket for fun

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin's $5 first-time buyer resident fishing license or a one-day fishing license may be just the ticket for fun for family, friends and visitors gathered for the fourth of July holiday.
"Wisconsin fishing is a great value and these discounted licenses make it even easier to get your family, friends and visitors out on the water over the holiday," says Justine Hasz, Wisconsin's fisheries director.
The regular annual fishing license is $20 for residents. Anglers who have never purchased a fishing license - or who haven't purchased a fishing license in 10 years - can get a discounted first-time buyer license. Lawmakers created the discounted license and both residents and non-residents can take advantage of this opportunity. Residents' discounted license is $5 and non-residents' is $25.75 for the annual licenses.
If a person is eligible for the first-time buyer license, that license will be offered in their product catalog in place of the regularly-priced license.
For those family members and friends who have fished more recently, but not yet bought a license for 2018, a one-day fishing license can be a good option. The one-day fishing license costs $8 for residents and $10 for nonresidents. The purchase price of that one-day license can be credited toward purchase of an annual license.
People can buy fishing licenses online through the Go Wild website, or purchase in person at any authorized license agent.
Wisconsin residents and nonresidents 16 years old or older need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state. Residents born before Jan. 1, 1927, do not need a license. Resident members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty may obtain a free fishing license when on furlough or leave by presenting their military ID and leave papers at any license agent.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Tharp takes control in Bassmaster Elite on Mississippi River

Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, FL, scrapped his fish catching game plan because floodwaters washed out his primary hot spot and forced him to find a place to catch bass on the upper Mississippi River.
That adjustment might earn him a second Bassmaster Elite Series title and a healthy $100,000 payday.Tharp’s efforts produced 15 pounds, 10 ounces of bass on Saturday, giving him the lead going into Championship Sunday at the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Go RVing.
His two-day total is 49-12, only 1 ounce ahead of Aaron Martens of Leeds, AL.Martens will start the final round Sunday in second place with 49-11.
Moderate flooding of the Upper Mississippi has been a hot topic in La Crosse this week. It’s affected the fishing for most of the field — some good and some bad. For Tharp, it’s kept him on his toes.
“I knew my pattern was falling apart. The more the water levels increased, the more concerned I’ve been that my bass would move,” he said. “And they did. I started out in the same area I have been over the past couple of days, and after an hour or so I knew the fish weren’t there anymore. I decided to call an audible, and it paid off.”
The 49-year-old pro said he was catching bass right along a section of the bank that is now under water, and the bass are no longer positioned on the same structure.
“I probably stayed too long this morning,” Tharp said. “Decisions are critical in this game, and today I made the right ones after changing my plan and moving to a different spot. Hopefully tomorrow I can keep the momentum rolling and win this thing.”
Tharp won a Bassmaster event in 2016 that was played out on two Arkansas lakes - Bull Shoals and Norfork. A second Elite Series title would mean a lot to the former Forrest Wood Cup champion.
“I know what it means to win one of these, and that would be great. But right now I’m focusing on staying on top of the fish,” he said. “The standings are very tight, and it could come down to a single big bite for one of us tomorrow. One ounce ahead of Aaron Martens isn’t enough to be comfortable.”
Martens was sharing water for the past three days with California pro Chris Zaldain, who finished in 28th place with a final three-day total of 42-7. That means Martens will be fishing his favorite spots all by himself during the final round of competition.
“I’m not worried about catching a limit at my spot. I’m confident I can do that,” he said. “The fish are there, but finding a big fish that weighs 4 pounds or better is the challenge. I know they are there because I caught two during practice. To have a shot at winning tomorrow, I’m going to need a couple of bigger bass like that.”
Ish Monroe of Hughson, CA, begins Championship Sunday in third place, only 7 ounces out of the lead.“It’s always great to spend a week fishing here,” Monroe said. “I love tournaments where I can fish my strengths, and I’ve only got one rod on my front deck. It’s rigged up with Ish’s Phat Matt Daddy Frog from River2Sea, and my best spots only seem to be getting better, even with the high water. Tomorrow is going to be exciting.”
Rounding out the Top 5 are Gerald Spohrer of Gonzales, LA, with 49-2 and Casey Ashley of Donalds, SC, with 48-1.
Takeoff is at Veterans Freedom Park on French Island at 6 a.m., and final weigh-in will be at Valley View Mall at 3 p.m.

Saturday's weight, three-day weight
1. Randall Tharp, 5/16-6, 15/49-12
2. Aaron Martens, 5/16-5, 15/49-11
3. Ish Monroe, 5/15-6, 15/49-5
4. Gerald Spohrer, 5/16-7, 15/49-2
5. Casey Ashley, 5/16-7, 15/48-1
6. Jacob Powroznik, 5/16-14, 14/48-1
7. Keith Poche, 5/14-3, 15/46-4
8. Gary Klein, 5/15-13, 15/46-3
9. Jacob Wheeler, 5/15-15, 15/45-9
10. Justin Lucas, 5/14-10, 15/45-2
11. Wesley Strader, 5/16-4, 15/44-15
12. Cliff Pace, 5/16-14, 15/44-9