Grass carp record changes hands in less than 3 hours

MADISON - State fish records have been falling fast this summer but none faster than for an invasive species shot with a bow and arrow and hauled from the Mississippi River.
Michael Mahnke of Waukesha shot a 38-1/4 inch, 34-pound, 7.2-ounce grass carp on Aug. 5 from the Mississippi River in Grant County. The fish broke the existing record by over a pound and a half.
The ink was barely dry on his record when two-and-a-half hours later Tim Hill of Lancaster shot a 40-3/4 inch, 39 pound grass carp the same day from the Mississippi River in Grant County. Hill's record bested Mahnke's record by about 4 1/2 pounds.
"I thought two and a half months was a short time to hold a record," says Karl Scheidegger, the fisheries biologist who has coordinated the state record fish program for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 1995, referring to a longnose gar record change from earlier this year. "But two-and-a-half hours? It's the shortest held record on record in Wisconsin."
Grass carp are an invasive species that were first introduced into southern states in the 1960s to control aquatic vegetation in fish farms and have since spread through accidental and illegal, intentional releases. Grass carp have the potential to seriously disrupt the food web, as they can consume considerable amounts of aquatic vegetation that other organisms rely on for food and cover.
The other state fish record was set in August, also in the alternate methods category and also eclipsing a recent state record. Jason Behrens of Arcadia shot a 56-1/8 inch, 19-pound, 5.4-ounce longnose gar on May 24 from the Mississippi River in Trempealeau County. The fish broke the current record by almost a pound.
But Behrens' record was short-lived. Noah Renner of Mauston shot a 54-1/2 inch, 22-pound 12.8-ounce longnose gar on Aug. 4 from the Mississippi River in Vernon County. The fish broke Behrens's record by over three pounds.
See what other state fish records have been set in 2018 in DNR's three record categories: traditional, by weight category; alternative method; and live release.
Learn what steps to take if you think you have a state record catch. Go to and search "record fish."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

La Crosse's Maglio wins BFL Great Lakes finale

TJ Maglio enjoyed a little home cooking on Sunday, winning the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division season finale on the Mississippi River in La Crosse.
Magio's two-day weight in the Angler Division was 31 pounds, 3 ounces, good enough for the $6,295 winner's check. Cade Laufenberg of Goodview, MN, finished second with 30-6 and $3,348.
La Crosse's Tom Monsoor, a 15-year veteran on the FLW Tour, finished sixth with 28-0. He collected $1,154.
Tom Rothering of Cochrane, WI, captured the Co-Angler Division with 24-4, collecting $3,148.


1. TJ MAGLIO, LA CROSSE, 15-14 (5), 15-5 (5) 31-3 (10) $6,295
2. CADE LAUFENBERG, GOODVIEW, MN, 14-2 (5), 16-4 (5), 30-6 (10) $3,348
3. CURTIS SAMO, ROCHELLE, IL, 15-0 (5), 14-5 (5), 29-5 (10) $2,096
4. MIKE BRUEGGEN, LA CROSSE, 16-1 (5), 13-3 (5), 29-4 (10) $1,469
5. JEFF RITTER, PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI, 15-15 (5), 12-2 (5), 28 - 1 (10) $1,359
6. TOM MONSOOR, LA CROSSE, 15-14 (5), 12-2 (5), 28-0 (10), $1,154
7. DEVIN TEIGEN, EAU CLAIRE, WI, 15-3 (5), 12-4 (5), 27-7 (10) $1,049
8. MARK MYERS, CEDAR FALLS, IA, 13-1 (5), 14-3 (5), 27-4 (10) $944
9. KYLE VON RUDEN, STODDARD, WI, 13-2 (5), 13-12 (5), 26-14 (10) $839
10. JOHN ENGLER, VINTON, IA, 12-5 (5), 14-5 (5), 26-10 (10) $734

1. TOM ROTHERING, COCHRANE, WI, 11-13 (4), 12-7 (5), 24-4 (9) $3,148
2. NATHAN HUSS, ELKHART LAKE, WI, 13-1 (5), 9-13 (3), 22-14 (8) $1,574
3. PELLI LEE, LA CROSSE, 14-8 (5), 7-0 (4), 21-8 (9) $1,050
4. JASON SWANSON, WATERLOO, IA,    9-13 (5), 10-11 (5), 20-8 (10) $934
5. JOSH MOHN, LANSING, IA, 11-8 (5), 8-13 (4), 20-5 (9) $630
6. MATT KNOX, METAMORA, IL, 13-6 (5),    6-9 (3), 19-15 (8) $577
7. ALAN BERNICKY, JOLIET, IL, 14-4 (5), 3-13 (2), 18-1 (7) $575
8. RICK RAGNER, LA CROSSE, 13-13 (5), 3-4 (1), 17-1 (6) $472
9. ARDEN DAMBERG, WHEATLAND, IA, 11-10 (5), 4-5 (2), 15-15 (7) $420
10. KRISTIAN DUS, CHICAGO, IL, 9-10 (4), 6-1 (3), 15-11 (7) $367

DNR seeks input on Leech Lake proposed walleye regulation change

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will seek public input this fall on a proposed walleye regulation change on Leech Lake that would take effect at the start of the 2019 open water fishing season.
Public comments will be solicited at an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Walker Area Community Center, Monday, Sept. 24.
The current walleye regulation on Leech Lake is four fish, requiring the immediate release of any walleye that are within a 20 to 26-inch protected slot limit. Only one fish over 26 inches allowed in possession. The four-fish walleye possession limit on Leech Lake has been in effect since 2005.
“The regulation was initially put in place to help protect spawning fish,” said Doug Schultz, DNR Walker area fisheries supervisor. “Regulation goals have been exceeded, prompting the DNR to propose increased harvest opportunity at this time.”
The proposed regulation change would remove the 20 to 26-inch protected slot and replace it with a regulation similar to the statewide regulation, but with a four fish walleye limit, only one of which can be over 20 inches.
According to Carl Pedersen, the DNR large lake specialist on Leech Lake, the walleye population is in excellent condition at this time and can afford some additional harvest.
“We have an abundant population of spawning age fish with a wide distribution of sizes, and multiple year classes of smaller fish entering the fishery,” said Pedersen. “Protective fishing regulations combined with very consistent production of year classes over the past 10 years have put us in a very good position.”
When future fisheries assessments indicate harvest should be reduced, the DNR anticipates revisiting the protected slot limit at that time.
Following the meeting, comments will be accepted through Oct. 5. Those unable to attend the meeting can provide comments by calling the Walker area fisheries office at 218-547-1683 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Metro anglers can also provide comments in person to Al Stevens at the DNR Office in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road, on Sept. 26.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Lake sturgeon hook and line season opens Sept. 1

MADISON - The hook and line season for lake sturgeon opens Sept. 1, and runs through Sept 30, on several major river stretches, giving anglers a chance to catch the fish of a lifetime.
Lake sturgeon can grow to more than 6 feet long and exceed 150 pounds, and the state record sturgeon taken by hook and line was a 170-pound, 10-ounce fish pulled from Yellow Lake in Burnett County in 1979.
All anglers fishing for lake sturgeon must have a valid Wisconsin hook and line fishing license, along with a sturgeon hook and line harvest tag if they intend to keep a sturgeon. The harvest tag is available throughout the season and costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents.
Licenses and harvest tags are available for purchase online through and at any one of over 1,000 sales locations.
Find a list of harvest waters, harvest registration stations and instructions for properly tagging a harvested fish on the Lake Sturgeon Hook and Line Season web pages. Anglers also will find a list of other waters where catch and release seasons are underway, including on sections of the Mississippi, St. Croix, and St. Louis rivers.
Fisheries biologists report exciting opportunities on major river stretches open to harvest
Fisheries biologists who manage river stretches open for the hook and line harvest season say there will be exciting opportunities for both harvest and catch and release of lake sturgeon.
"Most anglers will continue to enjoy a mostly catch and release experience of undersized lake sturgeon on the Menominee River with a rare adult sturgeon over 60 inches," says Mike Donofrio, fisheries supervisor in Peshtigo.
Nate Nye, fisheries biologist stationed in Poynette, reports that populations of lake sturgeon in both Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River below Prairie du Sac Dam remain strong.
"Lake sturgeon smaller than 60 inches are relatively common (catch and release only). Fish larger than 60 inches are not uncommon, and anglers may even encounter the occasional fish larger than 70 inches in either population," he says.
Nye advises that anglers may experience greater success later in the season when water temperatures are cooler."
Joseph Gerbyshak, fisheries biologist based in Eau Claire, says that anglers will find a healthy sturgeon population to challenge them on the lower Chippewa River.
"The DNR fisheries crew out of Eau Claire handled 218 lake sturgeon during surveys this spring with the biggest being 68 inches and 81 pounds. Lake sturgeon harvest on the lower Chippewa River in 2017 was 17 fish, which is the second highest since the 60-inch minimum length limit was put in place a decade earlier."
Gerbyshak says the majority of fish harvested during the 2017 season were caught between Chippewa Falls Flowage Dam and the Dells Pond Dam. Anglers also reported catching numerous sublegal fish, a sign of a healthy sturgeon population. Night crawlers or cut bait presented in deep holes where there is current is a good combination for a successful sturgeon fishing trip, he says.
Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist based in Park Falls, reports that lake sturgeon populations in the Chippewa and Flambeau rivers are healthy and produce a good hook-and-line fishery. Sturgeon often congregate in the impoundments and tailwaters of the dams along these systems, where anglers can enjoy fast-action, catch-and-release fishing, or wait for an opportunity to harvest a legal-size fish.
In September 2017, anglers registered 12 sturgeon that measured at least 60 inches long, matching 2014 as the highest annual harvest in the Upper Chippewa Basin since more restrictive regulations took effect statewide in 2007, Scheirer says. Last season 10 sturgeon were taken from Flambeau River, one from the North Fork Flambeau, and one from the Chippewa River. The heaviest sturgeon weighed 58 pounds, and the longest sturgeon measured 65 inches. An average of about seven sturgeon are kept each season under the 60-inch limit, compared to about 72 sturgeon per year under the former 50-inch limit. As intended, the new rules dramatically reduced the harvest of females, allowing these late-maturing fish to reproduce more than once before reaching harvestable size.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Try these bassin' basics for success during dog days of summer

ALMA, WI - While longtime Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Brian Brecka takes pride in being a multispecies angler, he typically finds time to catch a bass or two on each of his angling outings.
"Wisconsin boasts largemouth and smallmouth bass fisheries that are passionately supported by droves of today's anglers," says Brecka.
A recent Wisconsin angler diary study found bass fishing to be similar in popularity compared to walleye fishing during the spring and summer months. The study found only panfishing, the pursuit of bluegill, crappie and perch, to be more popular during the May-September period.
"There's good reason for the popularity of largemouth and smallmouth bass," Brecka says. Bucketmouths and smallies together are the most widely distributed recreational fish in the state - found within inland lakes, cool and warm water streams, large rivers and the Great Lakes.
"No matter where you live in Wisconsin, you're within a short drive of quality bass fishing," Brecka says. "While many of our higher quality bass fisheries are smaller in size and don't reach national notoriety, waterbodies such as Sturgeon Bay and the Mississippi River are consistently highly ranked as top bass fisheries in the nation."
One more reason bass are boss are their accessibility from the shore.
"If you're thinking you can't fish bass without a fancy boat and a dozen rods, think again," Brecka says. "They can be caught from shore, by wading, by canoe or kayak, or from a float tube or your grandfather's 14-foot flat bottom boat."
No matter how you plan to fish, Brecka shares his bass fishing basics, updated from a 2002 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine article he wrote with Ken Snow.
He encourages anglers to learning more about bass life history, behavior, seasonal movements and fishing patterns to increase their chances of success.
"But book learning cannot replace the benefits of spending time on the water 'reading' the situation, adapting to changing conditions, getting in tune with your quarry and enjoying some time outdoors," he says.
For a line on places to fish for bass, check out the 2018 Wisconsin Fishing Report forecasts for largemouth bass [PDF] and smallmouth bass.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR seeks citizen input on Lake of the Woods, Rainy River regulation changes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will seek public input this fall on two proposed regulation changes on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River that would take effect on March 1, 2019. Public comments will be solicited at an open house held from 6 to 9 p.m. at Lake of the Woods School Monday, Oct. 8.
The current winter regulation on Lake of the Woods allows anglers to keep eight walleye and sauger, with no more than four walleye. There is a protected slot limit requiring anglers to immediately release any walleye between 19.5 and 28 inches, with only one fish over 28 inches allowed in possession.
The proposed winter regulations would match the current summer regulations on Lake of the Woods, reducing the aggregate walleye and sauger limit to six, with no more than four walleye. The protected slot limited would remain in effect.
“Expanding winter pressure has resulted in sauger harvest exceeding management objectives with 80 percent of the sauger harvest coming in the winter season,” said Phil Talmage, DNR Baudette area fisheries supervisor.  
The current Rainy River spring season regulation allows anglers to keep two walleye or sauger, and requires the immediate release of walleye 19.5 inches in length or greater.
The proposed regulation change is a catch and release season that would take effect March 1 - April 14 on the Rainy River and Fourmile Bay. Increasing pressure and harvest focused on pre-spawn male Walleye have impacted the spawning population in the Rainy River.
This regulation would maintain the spring sport fishery while protecting the long-term sustainability of the Rainy River spawning population and reduce the overall harvest of walleye from the Lake of the Woods-Rainy River system.
“Walleye and sauger populations on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River are doing well, but  increasing fishing pressure has resulted in increased harvest and stress on the fishery,”  said Talmage. “These regulations are intended to be a proactive approach to ensure the high quality fishery that anglers have come to expect from the border water region.”
Following the meeting, comments will be accepted through Oct. 18. Those not attending the meeting can provide comments by calling the Baudette area fisheries office at 218-634-2522 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Metro anglers can also provide comments in person to Al Stevens at the DNR Office in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road, on Sept. 26.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR finalizes Lake Vermilion management plan

A plan that covers how fish populations will be managed in Lake Vermilion through 2022 has been finalized by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Public input resulted in slight changes to the final plan including new stocking guidelines for muskie, a planned evaluation of the current northern pike special regulation and adjustments to fish survey methods including the timing of fish sampling.
The plan retains the walleye regulation implemented in May 2017, and is more specific than the previous plan about management goals, objectives and activities for individual fish species.
“Lake Vermilion is well loved by anglers, visitors and area residents,” said Edie Evarts, Tower area fisheries supervisor. “Thank you to everyone who has contributed their time and input to the management plan for this popular, multi-species fishery.”
The plan was developed in partnership with the Lake Vermilion Fisheries Input Group comprised of a diverse group of people interested in Lake Vermilion fish management representing local, statewide and tribal perspectives. The group worked with the DNR from early stages of plan development to reviewing its final version.  
The planned evaluation of the current northern pike special regulation is underway, including a proposal to simplify pike regulations by bringing them in line with the new statewide zone regulation starting in May 2019. A public open house on that topic is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at the Tower Civic Center, 402 Pine St., in Tower. Questions or comments may be directed to the Tower area fisheries office, 650 Highway 169, Tower, MN 55790, by calling 218-300-7803, or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., through Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The plan and more information are available at

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR