Northern bass zone fishing season opens to harvest on June 15

WOODRUFF, WI - Smallmouth bass anglers in the northern bass zone will be able to bring home their catch beginning on June 15, with the opening of the regular harvest season.
The northern bass zone encompasses the area north of highways 77, 27, 64 and 29. The smallmouth bass season in this zone was restricted to catch-and-release fishing only, while largemouth bass could be taken as part of the daily bag.
The statewide regulations for bass harvest consist of a 14-inch minimum length limit and a daily bag limit of five bass in total. However, anglers should check the 2019-20 Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations for exceptions to these size and bag limits on certain lakes and streams.
"Anglers looking for good bass fishing opportunities should check out the regulations pamphlet and seek out those waters boasting 18-inch minimum size limits," said Mike Vogelsang, north district fisheries supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "These waters have all the right characteristics to grow respectable numbers of large fish."
Anglers can learn more about what to expect for bass fishing on waters across the state by reading the 2019 Wisconsin Fishing Report. The report contains information on fishing local waters, general fishing regulations, scientific updates and more.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Walleye fishing opportunities abound on Lake Superior

ASHLAND, WI - When anglers think of fishing the big water of Lake Superior, walleye is rarely the first species that comes to their minds.
However, a recent Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources walleye assessment in Chequamegon Bay showed bountiful numbers of walleye along the Ashland shoreline this spring, all ready to fill the livewells of lucky anglers.
Four fyke nets were deployed along the Ashland shoreline on April 27, to target spawning walleye as part of the department's monitoring efforts.
"The first day of lifting showed the abundance of walleye near Ashland and demonstrates that our management is producing an abundant walleye population," according to Dray Carl, DNR fisheries biologist.
Out of the four nets on that first day, 905 walleye were captured, processed, and released back into the water. Carl indicated that during the 8-day assessment, 3,560 walleye were sampled, and the nets contained a large number of female walleye between 19 and 22 inches. The largest walleye captured was a 31.9-inch female.
Each walleye was measured and given a unique numbered yellow tag. In addition, a dorsal spine was taken from a subsample of fish to obtain age estimates.
"The yellow floy tag placed just below the dorsal fin will allow us to gather information on walleye growth and mortality rates, which will increase our information on this important fishery in the Bay," Carl said.
"Anglers can further help improve our management by taking the time to contact the Bayfield Fisheries Office at 715-779-5051 with information including the tag color and letter-number combination, species, date, relative location and whether the fish was harvested," Carl said.
This information will be used to aid management of Lake Superior fisheries, and in return, anglers will receive all information the department has collected about that tagged fish. Also, anglers are asked to leave the tag in the fish that are released.
The regulations for walleye in Chequamegon Bay include a daily bag limit of 5 with a minimum length limit of 15 inches with only one over 20 inches.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Partners collaborate to improve survival of fish release

MADISON - Anglers who choose to release their hooked fish now have additional resources at their disposal to increase the fish's chances of survival thanks to a collaborative effort between state agencies and partners.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board, the governing body for the DNR, partnered with natural resources agencies and environmental groups over the past six months to form a Responsible Catch and Release Team and develop the education and outreach tools. Partnering agencies and groups included the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Walleyes for Tomorrow, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Muskies Inc., BASS Nation and Trout Unlimited. The tools to help anglers responsibly release their catch are available by searching the DNR website,, for keywords "responsible release."
"The impacts of catch and release mortality have been well documented," said Gary Zimmer, Natural Resources Board member and chair of the Responsible Catch and Release team. "Catch and release mortality is often estimated at 5-20% for inland waters and as high as 40-76% for species such as lake trout in the Great Lakes when water temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit."
Anglers release their catch for a variety of reasons. It may not meet minimum length limits or anglers might voluntarily release it to allow an opportunity for someone else to catch it.
"Not every angler chooses to release their catch, and it is perfectly OK for them to keep their fish as long as it is consistent with length and bag limits," said Ryan Hoffmann of BASS Nation. "However, if anglers choose to release their catch, there are proven methods to increase its chances of survival and live to create a new memory for another angler."
The Responsible Catch and Release page of the DNR website webpage contains a sharable responsible catch and release presentation, a tackle box wild card, and stories of fish caught, released and caught again. It also includes comprehensive responsible release best management practices for a variety of fish species and different fishing seasons. The team will continue to highlight responsible release techniques and will be adding information and outreach materials to the webpage over the course of the fishing season.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Trout management plan available for public comment

MADISON - A draft plan that will provide direction for inland trout management in Wisconsin is now available for review and comment on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.
The public will also have opportunities to review and comment on the plan at a series of public meetings that will be held around the state.
The DRAFT Inland Trout Management Plan, 2020-2029 covers brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and lake trout in inland lakes, ponds and streams of Wisconsin. This includes tributaries of the Great Lakes upstream from the first impassable barrier such as a dam and naturally occurring falls.
The plan communicates the direction and focus of the DNR Fisheries Program on inland trout management for the next 10 years. Specifically, it guides the allocation of resources, identifies constraints and prioritizes management activities. This plan addresses many important fisheries management activities such as monitoring and research, habitat improvement, stocking, fishing regulations, land management and land/easement acquisition.
"We invite all interested members of the public to attend one of these meetings to learn about trout management in Wisconsin and this 10-year statewide management plan," said Joanna Griffin, DNR trout coordinator.
The DNR will be accepting public comments until July 5. People who are unable to attend a meeting, can submit comments using the Trout Plan public input survey form found on the trout management plan web page.
DNR staff will host four public meetings to review the draft statewide Inland Trout Management Plan. The meetings will be held:
* May 29, La Crosse - 6-8 p.m., La Crosse DNR Service Center, B19-20 (basement conference room), 3550 Mormon Coulee Road. Contact: Kirk Olson 608-785-9017.
* June 3, Wausau - 6-8 p.m. Marathon County Public Library, Wausau Community Room, 300 North First St. There is a 3-hour parking limit in the library's main lot. There are nearby parking ramps. Contact: Dave Seibel 715-623-4190 x3112 Note: this meeting is not sponsored by the Wausau County Public Library.
* June 4, Fitchburg - 7-9 p.m. Fitchburg DNR Service Center, Glacier's Edge/Gathering Waters room, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road Contact: Justin Haglund 608-341-9465.
* June 5, Spooner - 6-8 p.m. Spooner DNR Service Center, Community Room, RM 112, 810 West Maple St. Contact: Craig Roberts 715-416-0351.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR crews preparing launches for fishing opener

Crews with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are confident they will have the majority of DNR public water accesses ready in time for the May 11, fishing opener.
"DNR crews statewide are making good progress preparing public water accesses for the upcoming fishing season,” said Nancy Stewart, the DNR’s water recreation program consultant. “Once the ice is off, they inspect boat ramps, repair them if needed, and put the docks in the water.”
There are about 3,000 public water access sites statewide, and the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division manages about half of them. “Boaters will find good launch conditions at most public accesses for the fishing opener,” Stewart said.
Access facilities on some rivers may not be usable due to high water or flood damage, and on the larger northern lakes if ice persists.
Stewart offers these suggestions for a safe and successful fishing opener:
* Call ahead to get the latest report on the lake and access you intend to use.
* From shore or dock, inspect the ramp above and below the water to ensure it is in good condition.
* Wear a life jacket when inspecting an access while in the water.
* Have a plan B if a particular fishing opener lake access is unusable, try another public water access.
There are helpful resources on the DNR’s Public Water Access website. Boaters and anglers can also get questions answered by calling the DNR Information Center: 888-646-6367 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday).

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Waterville fisheries crew completes yearly northern pike egg take

As the sun came up over Le Sueur County’s Steele Lake, Peter Muggli and Sky Wigen slipped their boat into the frigid waters.
Never mind that it was a Saturday, the Waterville area fisheries crew was on Mother Nature’s timeline – the ice was out and the northern pike spawn was imminent. They were just one of several teams fanning out across their work area.
The duo worked together to pull up nets they had set just 24 hours earlier before sorting out the northern pike and placing them in the boat’s on-board tank. Those fish were headed to the Waterville State Fish Hatchery just a few miles away, where they would contribute to the DNR’s statewide stocking program, which is especially critical in the shallow lakes of southern Minnesota according to fisheries biologists.
“Northern pike require shallow areas with vegetation for natural reproduction,” said Waterville area fisheries supervisor Craig Soupir. “This type of habitat has disappeared over the years on many of our lakes.”
After all of the nets have been pulled from Steele Lake and the northern pike placed in the tank, Muggli and Wigen load up the boat and drive through the muddy and rutted gravel roads between that lake and the fish hatchery.
They are the first crew back, but before long, the other crews pull in and the place becomes abuzz with activity. An assembly line of sorts comes together as fisheries staff go through the task of stripping eggs and milt before combining them and activating them with water, beginning the process of producing young fish.
The Waterville hatchery is just one of 15 hatcheries in the state. In Waterville alone, 40 million walleye fry are produced each year, and another 1.5 million northern pike are hatched each year. Muskellunge was added in the last decade, and 300,000 muskies are hatched annually at the facility.
Following the fertilization process, the hatchery’s rearing ponds are the next stage in producing fish for the DNR’s stocking effforts. Waterville’s 50 acres of rearing ponds produce 225,000 walleye fingerlings, 70,000 muskellunge fingerlings and 20,000 catfish fingerlings. Those fish, depending on the species, can range from one to 12 inches.
It’s all in a day’s work for the Waterville fisheries crew. They’re proud of their role in the area’s angling fortunes.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

La Crosse bass pro Monsoor wins $10,000

DAYTON, TN – La Crosse's Tom Monsoor (pictured) picked up a $10,000 check after finishing in 46th place in the FLW Tour Qualifier on Lake Chickamauga presented by Evinrude on Thursday in Dayton, TN.
Monsoor, 70, dropped 20 spots from Day 1. After collecting a five bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces on Thursday, he managed another five bag limit on Friday, but it totaled only 12-15 for a 30-2 total, ending his week.
Matt Greenblatt of Port St. Lucie, FL, leads the tourney with a two-day catch of 43-2.     
The field of 165 of the best bass fishing professionals in the world began its four-day competition for the $125,000 first-place prize. Only the top 30 compete in Saturday's semifinal round with the top 10 anglers advancing to Sunday's championship round.