Public meetings scheduled for state walleye pike management plan
OSHKOSH, WI - The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled three public meetings on a proposed update to the Winnebago Walleye Management Plan. The meetings will also offer the public an update on the status of the Winnebago System walleye population. Each meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with the first occurring Monday, March 19, at the JP Coughlin Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh. The second public meeting is set for Wednesday, March 21, at the Engler Center for the Performing Arts, 530 W. Main St., Chilton, and the third is set for Wednesday, March 28, at the Mosquito Hill Nature Center, N3880 Rogers Road, New London. The Winnebago system is well known both for its healthy, self-sustaining walleye population and the decades-long history of public input in support of fisheries management. This is the first major update to the plan since it originated in 1991. Winnebago System waters include lakes Poygan, Winneconne, Butte des Morts and Winnebago and all their tributaries, including the Wolf and upper Fox rivers, from their mouths upstream to the first dam.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Monsoor wins $10,000 in chilly FLW Qualifier
Tom Monsoor of La Crosse cashed in for the first time on the FLW Tour this season. Monsoor finished 59th in the FLW Tour Qualifier on Lake Lanier in Gainesville GA, on Friday. His 25-pound, 14-ounce total was just enough to get him a $10,000 check. "Finally... I got a check," he said. "And I just made it, too." Only the top 60 finishers earn paychecks in each of the seven qualifiers featuring 184 of the world's top professionals. The 31st through 60th finishers in the Pro Division earn $10,000 each, while the top 30 advance to Saturday's final round with a chance to win more. Sunday's field is reduced to the top 10 anglers with more than $100,000 going to the winner. Monsoor said the weather remains cold in Georgia with temperatures in the 40s. However, it was below freezing for the Friday morning takeoff. "I had ice in my reel guide the first couple of hours, it was that cold," he said. "It was freezing, but within the first couple hours I had a limit. Thursday it took me until about 10 or 11 to catch a limit." Monsoor caught his limit both days, with 12-12 on Thursday and 13-2 on Friday. All 10 fish were spotted bass. His 25-14 total weight was 2 ounces more that 61st place. It was by far Monsoor's best finish this year. He finished in 73rd place in the tour opener in January. However, he slumped to 155th in the second event in February. Monsoor's girlfriend, Karen Savik of Minnetonka, MN, earned $1,000 competing in the Co-Angler Division, which is only a two-day event. Savik caught four fish weighing 9-12 on Thursday, then caught three on Friday (9-13) for a 19-9 total and 35th place finish. Both Monsoor's fish and Savik's fish were all caught on Monsoor's patented white swimming jig. "That's the only swim jigs we'd use, and we went through enough of them," he said. "We took about two dozen with us and we only have two left. "You just lose so many on rocks and brushpiles," he added. So, guess what Monsoor will be doing when he returns to La Crosse Sunday morning? As for Saturday's plans, Monsoor and Savik and his yellow lab, Jigs, were headed out fishing on Lake Lanier one more time before packing up and heading north.
Deadline approaching to remove fish houses in Minnesota
The deadline for anglers to remove fish houses from lakes in Minnesota is approaching quickly, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Removal dates are determined by an east-west line formed by U.S. Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. The removal deadline south of that line is the end of the day Monday, March 5. The deadline north of that line is the end of the day Monday, March 19. “With the recent snow and a forecast that calls for warmer weather, travel conditions on lakes may be difficult,” said DNR Conservation Officer Brent Grewe, who patrols the Minnetonka area. “But anglers are responsible for removing their shelters by the deadline, so they should plan ahead and make sure they’re able to do so.” Fish house owners also should be cognizant of taking trash off the lake, whether it’s theirs or was left by someone else. “Minnesota’s lakes are among the best in the nation and it’s up to each one of us to do our part to keep them clean,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. If shelters aren’t removed by the deadline, owners will be prosecuted and structures may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer. After the deadline, shelters may be on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied. They may not be left or stored at public accesses. As they venture out, anglers always should keep in mind that ice conditions may vary widely and that ice is never 100 percent safe. Exceptions to the removal deadlines are Minnesota-Canada border waters (March 31), Minnesota-South Dakota and North Dakota border waters (March 5), Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters (March 1) and Minnesota-Iowa border waters (Feb. 20).
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Weather a concern for third stop on FLW Tour
Tom Monsoor, a veteran FLW Tour pro from La Crosse, believes weather will play a big role in this week's FLW Tour Qualifier on Lake Lanier in Gainesville GA. "It's cold and it's going to get colder," said Monsoor on Wednesday. Anglers practicing on Tuesday faced poor conditions as a huge front gained strength before Thursday's first round. "After highs of 80 degrees last week, temperatures dropped to 60 on Tuesday. "It was miserable out there yesterday," Monsoor said. "We got cold and rain soaked. It was just miserable." Not for Jimmy Houston, though. Houston, a close friend of Monsoor, stopped by Monsoor's hotel room to show him a photo of the 8-pound bass he caught during Tuesday's practice. "Spinnerbait is what he caught it on. That's what he's famous for. About like me and my swimming' jig," Monsoor said. Monsoor is currently in 123rd place on the tour with 174 points. He finished in 73rd place in the tour opener in January. However, he slumped to a 155th place finish in the second event in February. Monsoor was in 65th place after the opening round, but had a terrible second day ending his week. Lake Lanier is known for its huge largemouth bass. However, the exploding population of huge spotted bass is another reason for the heavy limits during practice. FLW tournament Qualifiers are usually held in summer on Lake Lanier, but with the Tour event this week during the pre-spawn stage, fishing could be super, according to anglers and tournament officials alike if the weather cooperates. The tournament kicks off at Laurel Park in Gainesville on Thursday, but practice has already produced heavy weights. Considering the time of year and the pre-spawn stage, tourney officials believe one or more 20-pound limits of spotted bass hit the scale this week. "I've heard 33 pounds or 36 pounds to make it to Saturday," Monsoor said. "It's hard to say. Maybe 30 pounds for sure. But it all depends on the weather. It's been getting up to 60, but I think the high is supposed to be 40 the next couple of days."
2018 Wisconsin spearing season closes on low note
BY RYAN KOENIGS Wisconsin DNR Senior Fisheries Biologist/ Winnebago System Sturgeon Biologist
Sunday, Feb. 25, was the 16th and final day of the 2018 sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago. The season concluded with the lowest daily harvest of the season, 14 fish. Five of the fish were registered at Calumet Harbor, four at Stockbridge Harbor, three at Payne’s Point, and two at Wendt’s. The largest fish of today’s harvest was 131.0 pounds, 76.4 inches and registered at Calumet Harbor by Kristine Halbach of St. Cloud. There were 654 sturgeon harvested from Lake Winnebago this season. An additional 297 fish were harvested from the Upriver Lakes, bringing the system-wide total to 951 sturgeon harvested during the 2018 spearing season. This season’s harvest from Lake Winnebago ranks 42nd out of the 78 seasons dating back to 1941.
New northern pike fishing regulations coming for fishing opener
New regulations for catching and keeping northern pike will be the most significant change anglers will see when they open up the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Booklet being distributed throughout the state. “Anyone who wants to keep pike in Minnesota’s inland waters needs to take a close look at these regulations and be prepared to measure the pike they want to keep starting on the Saturday, May 12, fishing opener,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The new fishing regulations have three distinct zones to address the different characteristics of pike populations in Minnesota. While not designed to manage for trophy pike, the new regulations are meant to restore pike populations for better harvest opportunities across the state for sizes that make good table fare, up to around 28 inches or so. “It’s almost go-time and we’re happy to be at this point after years of discussion on these issues with pike,” Stevens said. “This has been a long-running topic of conversation and is becoming reality in the 2018 fishing season.” The move toward new regulations was a response to anglers’ concerns about the over-abundance of hammer-handle pike in much of central to north-central Minnesota, the low numbers of pike present in southern waters, and a desire to protect large pike in the northeastern part of the state. The new pike harvest regulations apply to inland waters of the state. * North-central: Limit of 10 northern pike, but not more than two pike longer than 26 inches; all from 22 to 26 inches must be released. * Northeast:Two pike; anglers must release all from 30 to 40 inches, with only one over 40 inches allowed in possession. * South: Two fish; minimum size 24 inches. Darkhouse spearing regulations for pike change slightly and those regulations are listed in the spearing section of the regulations booklet. Meanwhile, the new pike regulations do not affect border waters fishing regulations and special regulations that cover individual lakes, rivers and streams. For more information on the new zone regulations, visit mndnr.gov/pike or contact a local area fisheries office. Contact information can be found in the fishing regulations booklet, available online at mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Wisconsin sturgeon spearing enters final day
BY RYAN KOENIGS Wisconsin DNR Senior Fisheries Biologist/ Winnebago System Sturgeon Biologist There were 43 sturgeon harvested from Lake Winnebago on Saturday,Feb. 24, including 2 fish that were 100-plus pounds. Calumet Harbor continued to lead the way with 17 fish registered today, followed by Stockbridge Harbor (12 fish), Wendt’s (11 fish) and Payne’s Point (3 fish). The largest fish of the day was 137.4 pounds, 76.1 inches and registered at Calumet Harbor by John Pickart of Malone. Sunday,Feb. 25, will be the last day of the 2018 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System. Good luck to all spearers taking to the ice, and congratulations to all of the spearers that have already tagged out this season!