• FISHING UPDATES

The 2020 Sport Fishing Reports will return on air for the year Friday, May 22nd through Labor Day...tune in to WCUB 980 at 6:20 am, 7:20 am, 8:30 am and 9:30 am Fridays & Saturdays...and on holiday weekends we will air them also on Sundays!

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that ice shanty removal deadlines are approaching.

Permanent ice shanties, or those not removed daily, must be removed from all state waters by March 15. Early deadlines such as those for inland and boundary waters are:

  • Wisconsin – Iowa boundary waters by Feb. 20

  • Wisconsin – Minnesota boundary waters by March 1

  • Inland waters south of Highway 64 by the first Sunday following March 1

  • Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Lake Superior and inland waters north of Highway 64 by the first Sunday following March 12

  • Wisconsin – Michigan boundary waters by March 15

 

Anglers can continue to use portable ice shanties after these dates, so long as they are removed from the ice when they are not actively in use and at the end of each day.

As these deadlines approach, it’s important to remember that no ice is ever 100% safe. The DNR does not monitor ice conditions, so anglers should check with local fishing clubs and bait shops for current ice conditions.

Owners having difficulties removing their shanty should seek help from their local fishing club, vendors and other anglers.

The public should report any shanty owners not taking responsibility for removing their shanty to the DNR Violation Hotline by calling or texting 1-800-TIP-WNDR or 1-800-847-9367.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a virtual public meeting at 6 p.m. on Feb. 17 to gather input on the proposed new rules for guides operating on the Great Lakes.

Members of the public may access the meeting beginning at 5:45 p.m. via Zoom or by dialing 1-929-205-6099 and using meeting ID: 85289533642#.

The DNR will discuss new rule developments to help clarify reporting requirements, including who must report and when reports need to be filed, as well as proposed changes to the reporting method.

“These data are vital to our management of the expanding lake whitefish fishery in Green Bay, of which both the recreational and the commercial fisheries are a key component,” said Scott Hansen, a DNR Fisheries Biologist who manages whitefish populations. “With the concurrent ongoing stakeholder engagement process working toward an expanded commercial fishery for whitefish in Green Bay, now is the time to complete our work with Great Lakes guides to ensure the sustainability of this important resource.”

Similar to charter reporting, guided trip information is an important supplement to creel survey data. Guided trip data are often difficult to capture with standard creel methods and guided trips generally have a greater success rate when compared to non-guided angler trips.

“We look forward to discussing this information with stakeholders and gathering their comments and suggestions to help us complete this important work,” said Tom Meronek, the DNR’s Northern Lake Michigan Fisheries Supervisor.

More information on guide reporting can be found on the DNR’s Green Bay Guide Page.

Wisconsin’s annual sturgeon spearing season begins Feb. 13 and runs for 16 days, or until any of the pre-determined harvest caps are met. This year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) predicts that harvest caps will be met prior to the 16-day season limit.

System-wide harvest caps for the 2021 Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season are 430 juvenile females, 950 adult females and 1,200 males.

Sturgeon spearing in Wisconsin is a sport rich in tradition and culture. Photos are a great way to preserve highlights of the season. The DNR encourages spearers to share their stories using this photo submission form. Photos of spearers with their catch, cutting in, shanty life, scenic views observed during the season or any other captivating spearing traditions are encouraged. Please include a brief description for use in future outreach efforts.

Clear Waters Will Likely Result In High Harvests

This year, with more snow cover and less runoff leading up to the season kickoff, the DNR anticipates better water clarity than seen in recent years. Since water clarity is crucial in spearing success, the DNR expects higher harvests from Lake Winnebago in 2021 and for harvest caps to be met before the 16-day season cutoff.

Spearers who have already scouted for the best areas for fish activity have reported clearer water, which was confirmed by DNR staff during a preliminary clarity check showing between 10 to 16 feet of clear water. Historical harvest data shows that an average lake-wide clarity of 12 feet or greater typically results in a shortened season with harvest caps being met more quickly. As the season approaches, the DNR will monitor water clarity since conditions can change rapidly.

Additional season forecasts and daily season harvest reports will be available throughout the season on the Winnebago system sturgeon spearing webpage.

Important Season Changes

Spearers should review the 2021 sturgeon spearing regulations for essential changes to the registration process, including new spear size and tine arrangement restrictions.

For the 2021 season, all DNR registration stations will be contactless. Spearers should place harvested sturgeon on tailgates or in an easily accessible location before entering the registration area and then remain in their vehicles throughout the registration process. The 2021 season will also be the first year that spear size and tine arrangement will be restricted. The maximum spear head width is now limited to 18 inches and tines can only be arranged in a single plane.

2021 Ice Safety Measures  

Although recent cold weather has strengthened ice conditions throughout the Winnebago system, the DNR reminds spearers that no ice is ever 100% safe. The DNR does not monitor ice conditions, so spearers should check with local fishing clubs and conservation groups near the area they plan to spear. These groups monitor conditions and maintain access points and ice roads around the lake system.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the DNR urges spearers and spectators to practice social distancing, wash their hands, use hand sanitizer and wear masks. Visit the DNR’s website for more information on the DNR’s response to COVID-19.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a public meeting to discuss updating the Wisconsin Walleye Management Plan for Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.

The meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in walleye management for Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties and who would like to participate should contact Max Wolter at Max.Wolter@wisconsin.gov or 715-634-7429. Pre-registration is required.

The current walleye management plan serves as a guide for one of the most sought-after fish species in Wisconsin and outlines seven goals and strategies for walleye management. The updating process will include a review of the existing plan, an analysis of available data and trends and significant public input on angling and management preferences.

The DNR is seeking public feedback on stocking priorities, regulation acceptance and agency resource allocation. The public is invited to give input on the process through:

  • Comments on walleye management preferences and issues via this public input form

  • Detailed random mail/online surveys of fishing license holders (both resident and non-resident) to scientifically gauge angler attitudes about management options

  • Regional virtual meetings with stakeholder groups and individuals to discuss local management issues and partnership opportunities

Future walleye meetings for other counties are available on the DNR’s public meetings calendar.

Based on recent sampling results, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) are recommending a PFAS-based fish consumption advisory for Lake Superior.

Due to the high levels of PFOS found in the samples, the DNR and DHS are updating the recommended rainbow smelt consumption advisory from an unrestricted amount to one meal per month for Lake Superior.

The sampling completed by the DNR found elevated levels of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), particularly the compound PFOS, in rainbow smelt in Lake Superior. PFAS are a group of over 5,000 human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers and stain-resistant sprays.

These legacy contaminants have made their way into the environment in a variety of ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

These legacy contaminants have made their way into the environment in a variety of ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

The risk of health problems increases with the amount of contaminated fish you eat. Following this advisory will help protect you from excess PFAS exposure found in fish. The advisory could change in the future as the DNR and DHS continue to learn more about the health risks from eating fish caught from this area and more fish data become available.

As part of the DNR’s statewide PFAS monitoring efforts to monitor fish tissue and water chemistry at select sites around the state, smelt were collected from two locations in Lake Superior in 2019 approximately 30 miles apart at sites near the Apostle Islands and off Port Wing. PFAS was detected in samples from both locations.  

Rainbow smelt are a small, silver fish that are non-native to Lake Superior. Some anglers will catch smelt through the ice, but the majority of smelt harvest occurs in the springtime as the fish migrate into nearshore areas to spawn.

“The smelt migration run starts as spring arrives and winter ice cover dissipates which creates a popular local tradition of harvesting smelt for fish fries,” said Brad Ray, Lake Superior Fisheries Unit Supervisor. “It’s important for consumers to understand the potential risks associated with this new advisory.”

Fish Tissue Results

In mid-December, the DNR received results from the contaminant samples taken from Lake Superior. Rainbow smelt, a popular sport fish and prey species for many predator fish and various bird species, had a high level of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), one of the many types of PFAS contaminants.

“Eating fish that have high levels of PFAS may increase your risk for certain health effects,” said Dr. Jonathan Meiman, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Occupational and Environmental Health at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. “Limiting your exposure by choosing fish that are low in PFAS is the best way to reduce your risk while still maintaining the health benefits of fish consumption.”

Some health risks associated with PFOS, one of the thousands of PFAS compounds, include lower birth weight, possible links to increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer, harm to the immune and reproductive systems, increased cholesterol levels, and altered hormone regulation and thyroid hormones.

The DNR also received sample results from bloater chub, cisco/lake herring, lake whitefish, lake trout, and siscowet lake trout in Lake Superior and crappie, yellow perch, channel catfish, carp, northern pike, walleye, and musky from the St. Louis River. The PFOS levels found in those fish do not warrant a consumption advisory change at this time.

Currently, the DNR and DHS are unaware of any other PFAS-based consumption advisories for other fish species in the Great Lakes.

For consumption advice for other Great Lakes fish species based on toxic substances, such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or mercury, please refer to the statewide safe-eating guidelines. Additional consumption advice can be found on the DNR’s fish consumption webpage.

To learn more about PFAS and fish, visit the DNR’s PFAS webpage. For more information on PFAS and associated human health effects, visit the DHS’s PFAS webpage.

Wisconsin Walleye Management Plan For Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc And Sheboygan Counties Virtual Public Meeting Feb. 2

The DNR will host a virtual public meeting to discuss updating the Wisconsin Walleye Management Plan for Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties on Feb. 2. / Photo Credit: iStock/SteveOehlenschlager

MADISON, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a public meeting to discuss updating the Wisconsin Walleye Management Plan for Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties.

The meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in walleye management for Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties and who would like to participate should contact Max Wolter at Max.Wolter@wisconsin.gov or 715-634-7429. Pre-registration is required.

The current walleye management plan serves as a guide for one of the most sought-after fish species in Wisconsin and outlines seven goals and strategies for walleye management. The updating process will include a review of the existing plan, an analysis of available data and trends and significant public input on angling and management preferences.

The DNR is seeking public feedback on stocking priorities, regulation acceptance and agency resource allocation. The public is invited to give input on the process through:

  • Comments on walleye management preferences and issues via this public input form

  • Detailed random mail/online surveys of fishing license holders (both resident and non-resident) to scientifically gauge angler attitudes about management options

  • Regional virtual meetings with stakeholder groups and individuals to discuss local management issues and partnership opportunities

Future walleye meetings for other counties are available on the DNR’s public meetings calendar.

Based on recent sampling results, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) are recommending a PFAS-based fish consumption advisory for Lake Superior.

Due to the high levels of PFOS found in the samples, the DNR and DHS are updating the recommended rainbow smelt consumption advisory from an unrestricted amount to one meal per month for Lake Superior.

The sampling completed by the DNR found elevated levels of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), particularly the compound PFOS, in rainbow smelt in Lake Superior. PFAS are a group of over 5,000 human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers and stain-resistant sprays.

These legacy contaminants have made their way into the environment in a variety of ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

These legacy contaminants have made their way into the environment in a variety of ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

The risk of health problems increases with the amount of contaminated fish you eat. Following this advisory will help protect you from excess PFAS exposure found in fish. The advisory could change in the future as the DNR and DHS continue to learn more about the health risks from eating fish caught from this area and more fish data become available.

As part of the DNR’s statewide PFAS monitoring efforts to monitor fish tissue and water chemistry at select sites around the state, smelt were collected from two locations in Lake Superior in 2019 approximately 30 miles apart at sites near the Apostle Islands and off Port Wing. PFAS was detected in samples from both locations.  

Rainbow smelt are a small, silver fish that are non-native to Lake Superior. Some anglers will catch smelt through the ice, but the majority of smelt harvest occurs in the springtime as the fish migrate into nearshore areas to spawn.

“The smelt migration run starts as spring arrives and winter ice cover dissipates which creates a popular local tradition of harvesting smelt for fish fries,” said Brad Ray, Lake Superior Fisheries Unit Supervisor. “It’s important for consumers to understand the potential risks associated with this new advisory.”

Fish Tissue Results

In mid-December, the DNR received results from the contaminant samples taken from Lake Superior. Rainbow smelt, a popular sport fish and prey species for many predator fish and various bird species, had a high level of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), one of the many types of PFAS contaminants.

“Eating fish that have high levels of PFAS may increase your risk for certain health effects,” said Dr. Jonathan Meiman, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Occupational and Environmental Health at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. “Limiting your exposure by choosing fish that are low in PFAS is the best way to reduce your risk while still maintaining the health benefits of fish consumption.”

Some health risks associated with PFOS, one of the thousands of PFAS compounds, include lower birth weight, possible links to increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer, harm to the immune and reproductive systems, increased cholesterol levels, and altered hormone regulation and thyroid hormones.

The DNR also received sample results from bloater chub, cisco/lake herring, lake whitefish, lake trout, and siscowet lake trout in Lake Superior and crappie, yellow perch, channel catfish, carp, northern pike, walleye, and musky from the St. Louis River. The PFOS levels found in those fish do not warrant a consumption advisory change at this time.

Currently, the DNR and DHS are unaware of any other PFAS-based consumption advisories for other fish species in the Great Lakes.

For consumption advice for other Great Lakes fish species based on toxic substances, such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or mercury, please refer to the statewide safe-eating guidelines. Additional consumption advice can be found on the DNR’s fish consumption webpage.

To learn more about PFAS and fish, visit the DNR’s PFAS webpage. For more information on PFAS and associated human health effects, visit the DHS’s PFAS webpage.

LAKE MICHIGAN OUTDOOR FISHING REPORT - JANUARY 11, 2021

FISHING WISCONSIN

In general, fishing reports will be updated once per week, usually on Tuesdays.  This may change based on availability of reports and work schedules of field staff.  This fishing report information comes from our creel survey clerks, who work in the lakeshore areas from March through October, and in the tributary rivers seasonally in spring and fall.  Creel clerk schedules are random and vary in the days and times they are scheduled to be in a specific location, which allows us to generate statistically valid fishing effort and harvest information.  Information for these reports are only based on days and times of the week that creel clerks are present. Additional fishing information can be found by contacting local bait shops, charter captains, marinas, etc.

DNR does not verify or guarantee the reported ice conditions, and anglers should proceed at their own risk. Please use extreme caution as conditions can change rapidly.

ICE SAFETY

  • There is no such thing as safe ice. You cannot judge the strength of ice by one factor like its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether the ice is covered with snow. Ice seldom freezes uniformly and can vary greatly in different areas of the same waterbody. It is important to know before you go. The DNR does not monitor local ice conditions or the thickness of the ice. Local bait shops, fishing clubs, and resorts serve winter anglers every day and often have the most up to date information. If you’re heading out onto a frozen lake for the first time, check the ice yourself and check it often.

  • Ice Safety Tips:

    • Carry some basic safety gear: ice claws or picks, a cellphone in a waterproof case, a life jacket, and a length of rope.

    • Dress warm in layers

    • Don’t go alone. Head out with friends or family. Carry a cell phone with you and make sure someone knows where you are and when you are expected to return.

    • Know before you go. Don’t travel in areas you are not familiar with and don’t travel at night during reduced visibility.

    • Avoid inlets, outlets, or narrows that may have current that can cause thin ice.

REMINDER - Anglers must carry a paper copy of their license/stamps while fishing on the waters of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and the WI/MI, WI/MN and WI/IA boundary waters.

JANUARY 11, 2021: WEST SHORE GREEN BAY ICE CREEL REPORT

MARINETTE COUNTY

  • Menominee River:  Activity was high on the Menominee River at Six Street and behind Mystery Ship boat launch.  A few walleyes were caught off Six Street and a few panfish were caught by Mystery Ship landing.  Overall anglers were having a tough time finding fish.  There was still some open water opportunities below Hattie St dam and off the bridge but activity was low here.

  • Red Arrow:  Red Arrow had low numbers of anglers this week with the perch bite being slow.  Only a few small perch were reported caught.

  • Peshtigo River:  Peshtigo River mouth and bay area was mostly open water this week with piles of ice seen by shore.  No activity seen here.

OCONTO COUNTY

  • Oconto Parks:  Oconto Park II was a bit lower on numbers of anglers this week.  Most reports were of lots of perch seen under the ice but nothing biting.  There was only a little ice out in the bay outside the rock piers with open water present still further out.

  • Oconto Harbor:  Oconto Harbor area lost some ice this week on both sides of the river in the bay.  Lots of open water could be seen with ice being piled up at the mouth of the river.  Most activity was seen off the boat launch and by the city docks fishing for perch and northern pike.  Anglers reported marking fish but not catching any.  A few anglers were trying for northern along the pier on the bay side with a few fish caught in the mid 20 inch range along with one large walleye.

  • Geano’s Beach:  Geano’s Beach had a hand full of anglers out fishing for northern pike and whitefish.  No luck with northerns but the whitefish were providing action.  Anglers were out not far from shore as the ice only goes out about 200 yards with open water out from there.

BROWN COUNTY

  • Hook Rd:  Hook Rd. was busy all week with perch and northern pike anglers.  A few atv’s were seen out this week but most are still walking out.  Tip downs with minnows were popular for the perch with the occasional northern caught also.

  • Suamico:  Suamico area had no activity during the week with numbers greatly increasing over the weekend.  Anglers reported they did very well on perch there with 8 to 10 inch perch being common on Saturday.

  • Long Tail Point:  Longtail Point was high in numbers of anglers especially over the weekend.  Most were fishing off Lineville Rd. and north.  A few atv’s and snowmobiles were seen out along with a few permanent shacks.  Perch were the main fish caught with fairly steady action reported by most anglers.  Most perch caught were keeper size with very few small ones.

  • Duck Creek:  Duck Creek had lower activity than last week with no reports of fish caught.

  • Fox River:  Fox River had higher numbers of ice anglers this week with Voyageur Park seeing most of the activity.  Fox Point boat launch and across the river at the fairgrounds was being used over the weekend also.  Most anglers were after walleyes with small fish being caught in the 9 to 12 inch range with the occasional larger fish caught around 15 to 18 inches.

JANUARY 11, 2021: EAST SHORE GREEN BAY ICE CREEL REPORT

***Beware of shifting/changing ice conditions.  Lots of open water on the Bay can move things around.  Accesses with decent ice have been seeing heavy pressure.

LITTLE STURGEON BAY AREA (JAN. 5TH, 2021)

  • Carmody Park:  Soft Spots of ice by the landing and open water near shore. A few shacks farther inside the bay.

  • Clafins and Big Rock Place:  Open water farther out rough/soft ice near shore. No anglers

  • Lime Kiln:  Open water farther out, 3 anglers fishing close to the landing. No fish seen caught.

  • Sand Bay and Rileys Bay:  Soft ice near shore, open water farther out.

  • Wood Lane:  A few anglers out far inside the bays

SHERWOOD AREA (JAN 8TH, 2020)

  • Pot Park:  Soft ice with open water cracks no anglers, 2-3ft of open water along shoreline

  • Bullhead Point:  Soft ice, open water spots, Far side of canal completely open

  • Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club:  It looks like anglers were getting out here earlier in the week with some holes drilled close to the docks.

  • Cabots Point:  Open Water at access

  • Oak Ave:  Completely Open water, Zero Ice

  • High Cliff:  Open Water

BAYSHORE AREA (JAN 9TH, 2020)

  • Sugar Creek:  Heavy fishing pressure south of the landing, open water and ice shoves to the north. Anglers report 4”-5” of ice south of the landing. Anglers report catching an average of 2 whitefish for a half days effort. Standard whitefish rigs tipped with waxworms or minnow heads were getting a few fish.

  • Rites Cove:  One angler fishing close to access, Ice looked unstable farther out.

  • Volks Landing:  Ice was broken up but refreezing, no anglers out and no recent activity noted

  • Bayshore Park:  Heavy fishing pressure, a few whitefish were reported caught in  15’-18’ of water. Anglers report 5”-6” of ice.

  • Dyckesville:  A few anglers were venturing out from Dyckesville to the north. Soft ice south of the landing near the springs

  • Red River:  Red River was extremely busy with cars parked all along the county hwy. Anglers report 5”-6” of ice. Catches of 1-3 whitefish per angler for an all-day effort seemed to be the consensus. Fish were averaging around 17” in  length. Jigs and Jigging Raps tipped with minnow heads and wax worms were getting the majority of fish.

  • Chaudoirs:  A large ice shove is at the entrance of the harbor area making access to the bay almost impossible. No anglers seen.

BIG CREEK AREA (JAN 10TH, 2020)

  • Birmingham’s, Stone Quarry, Pebble Beach, Murphy Park, Sunset Park:  All these areas are either completely open water, broken up ice starting to re-freeze, or has soft ice with areas of open water.  Creel routes will be suspended in this area until we become aware of ice fishing activity.

Every year, thousands flock to Lake Winnebago and Upriver Lakes to participate in the sturgeon spearing tradition. With the 2021 sturgeon spearing season fast approaching, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds both seasoned pros and first-timers that there are some important changes to this year’s registration process.

The 2021 season on the Winnebago system begins Feb. 13 and runs a maximum of 16 days or until any pre-determined harvest caps are met.

For the upcoming sturgeon spearing season, the DNR is implementing a contactless registration process at registration stations. To ensure the safety for the public and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, all DNR registration stations are now drive-thru only and have been relocated to boat landings, city parks and government building parking lots for the 2021 season.

To help with the new registration process, the DNR is asking spearers to place harvested sturgeon on tailgates or in an easily accessible location and remain in their vehicles throughout the registration process. This change allows the DNR to collect the critical data necessary to effectively manage the Winnebago system sturgeon fishery while keeping spearers, spectators and staff safe.

Data collected from harvested fish help implement the harvest cap system and set caps for future seasons. The DNR remains committed to returning registration station locations to local businesses for future seasons following the pandemic.

The 2021 season will also be the first year where spear size and tine arrangement will be restricted. A new regulation limits the maximum spearhead width to 18 inches, and tines can only be arranged in a single plane. Additional information can be found in the 2021 sturgeon spearing regulations.

Home to one of the world’s largest, self-sustaining lake sturgeon populations, Wisconsin’s Winnebago system has an estimated 42,000 adult lake sturgeon. Approximately 12,200 sturgeon spearing licenses were sold for the 2021 season. Harvest caps for the 2021 Winnebago system spearing season are set at 430 juvenile females, 950 adult females and 1,200 males.

The deadline to apply for an Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing permit was Aug. 1, 2020. Spearing licenses for the fishery on Lake Winnebago needed to be purchased before Oct. 31, 2020.

Spearers must carry a paper copy of their sturgeon spearing license while spearing. A receipt of purchase, driver’s license or GoWild card will not be accepted as proof of a spearing license. Any harvested sturgeon must be presented by the spearer at a DNR-operated registration station by 2 p.m. on the day the fish was speared.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe and healthy, spearers and spectators are reminded to wear a mask, wash their hands, carry hand sanitizer, and staying 6 feet apart.

More information on the 2021 Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season is available here. Learn more about the DNR’s response to COVID-19 here.

For specific information regarding COVID-19, we encourage the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a public meeting to discuss updating the Wisconsin Walleye Management Plan for Calumet, Fond du Lac, Outagamie and Winnebago counties.

The meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in walleye management for Calumet, Fond du Lac, Outagamie and Winnebago counties and who would like to participate should contact Max Wolter at Max.Wolter@wisconsin.gov or 715-634-7429. Pre-registration is required.

The current walleye management plan serves as a guide for one of the most sought-after fish species in Wisconsin and outlines seven goals and strategies for walleye management. The updating process will include a review of the existing plan, an analysis of available data and trends and significant public input on angling and management preferences.

The DNR is seeking public feedback on stocking priorities, regulation acceptance and agency resource allocation. The public is invited to give input on the process through:

  • Comments on walleye management preferences and issues via this public input form

  • Detailed random mail/online surveys of fishing license holders (both resident and non-resident) to scientifically gauge angler attitudes about management options

  • Regional virtual meetings with stakeholder groups and individuals to discuss local management issues and partnership opportunities

Future walleye meetings for other counties are available on the DNR’s public meetings calendar.

Get Ready For Free Fishing Weekend!

Join Us Jan. 16-17, 2021

 

Interested in giving fishing a try? Next weekend is the perfect time to do so. Anglers of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to explore the outdoors during Free Fishing Weekend. You can fish almost anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp Jan. 16-17, 2021.

Most Wisconsin waters are included in this event, except for spring ponds. Before you go, review information about the early trout season and the trout regulations. If you see a season date listed for a specific body of water, you're free to fish there, although some waters may be catch-and-release only.

All other inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River are open for you to test your skills and try your luck. Remember: All regulations and seasonal restrictions are still in force.

Looking for kid-friendly fishing locations? Check out our guide.

Tread Carefully: No Ice Is Safe Ice

Please exercise caution on the ice and be aware of the "honeycomb effect," which occurs after freeze-thaw-freeze conditions and weakens ice.

The DNR does not monitor local ice conditions or the thickness of the ice. Local bait shops, fishing clubs and resorts serve winter anglers every day and often have the most up-to-date information about ice thickness on local lakes and rivers, as well as areas that are especially dangerous.

Be sure to stay safely on shore if ice conditions are questionable, and if open water is within casting distance, give that a try. Always tell someone where you are going and when you’ll return.

Dress for winter comfort and bring safety gear:

  • Warm layers that are water-resistant

  • Sturdy waterproof boots with spike-style creepers for traction

  • Extra hat and gloves

  • Rescue throw rope

  • Ice claws

Stay safe with more ice safety information here.

Keep COVID-19 Safety In Mind

This year, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, there will be no scheduled events to coincide with Free Fishing Weekend. But that doesn't mean you and your family or roommates can't still venture out for a local adventure and drop a line.

Please remember to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from those who do not live with you. Have a mask handy in case you need it; it will also keep your face warm.

Ready For More Adventures? Get A License Now!

The DNR offers a variety of fishing license options so you can get out on the water quickly, easily and at a bargain price.

New to fishing or haven’t bought a fishing license in 10 years? Get a first-time buyer resident license for $5.

Buy your license today!

WISCONSIN PROVIDES CHINOOK EGGS FOR INDIANA STOCKING PROGRAM

 

The Indiana DNR recently received 168,000 Chinook salmon eggs thanks to a partnership with the Wisconsin DNR.

Chinook salmon are highly prized by anglers, and the species makes up a significant portion of the fish stocked into Indiana’s Lake Michigan waters. Indiana does not have the infrastructure to spawn Chinook salmon, so the DNR relies on partners in other states for eggs.

Kept at Mixsawbah State Fish Hatchery, the Chinook eggs will be hatched and raised until spring 2021, when fingerlings will be stocked.

“Partnerships are crucial for our Lake Michigan program, and we’re very grateful to Wisconsin DNR for going above and beyond to get these eyed eggs,” said Rob Ackerson, hatchery manager at Mixsawbah State Fish Hatchery.

Hatchery managers refer to newly fertilized eggs as green eggs. Several weeks after fertilization, the eyes of the salmon embryo become visible, signaling the egg is viable. At that point, the eggs are referred to as eyed eggs.

Although Wisconsin harvested enough green eggs to meet Indiana’s egg request, an unusually low number of viable eggs has resulted in shortages. Wisconsin was only able to provide Indiana with enough eyed eggs to meet just over half of Indiana’s production goal of 225,000 Chinook salmon. By the time the poor eye-up was determined, it was too late to obtain more eggs from any source,

because the Chinook spawning run had ended.

“While we’re disappointed to not have our full complement of Chinooks for the 2021 stocking year, we’ll continue to roll with the punches this unpredictable year has delivered,” said Ben Dickinson, Lake Michigan biologist for Indiana DNR. “We will make Indiana’s Lake Michigan fishery the best we can with the cards we’re dealt.”

ICE FISHING SAFETY RULES THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO FOLLOW

 

Be especially careful on any lake that has moving water in it. Water movement hinders freezing, often leaving hard-to-detect thin spots.

• Materials imbedded in the ice, such as weeds or logs weaken ice. Large objects on the ice, such as duck blinds or ice shacks, can absorb the sun’s heat and weaken ice. Ice near shore may be weakened by heat from the ground.

• Use an ice chisel or spud bar to strike the ice and evaluate conditions as you venture out.

• Wear ice picks around your neck in case the worst happens and you need something to grip the ice to pull yourself out of the water.

• Wear ice cleats on your boots for traction.

• Have a long throw rope with you in case of emergency.

Drowning is one immediate danger from falling through the ice, but hypothermia, a rapid, drastic lowering of body temperature that causes loss of the use of limbs, disorientation, unconsciousness, and heart failure, is the real threat.

Dress warm, be safe and have fun on the ice this winter.

For more on ice-fishing safety, watch a video at outdoornebraska.gov/howtofish.

Thank you to the Nebraska DNR for the message.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a public meeting to discuss updating the Wisconsin Walleye Management Plan for Oneida, Price and Vilas counties.

The meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in walleye management for Oneida, Price and Vilas counties and who would like to participate should contact Max Wolter at Max.Wolter@wisconsin.gov or 715-634-7429. Pre-registration is required.

The current walleye management plan serves as a guide for one of the most sought-after fish species in Wisconsin and outlines seven goals and strategies for walleye management. The updating process will include a review of the existing plan, an analysis of available data and trends and significant public input on angling and management preferences.

The DNR is seeking public feedback on stocking priorities, regulation acceptance and agency resource allocation. The public is invited to give input on the process through:

  • Comments on walleye management preferences and issues via this public input form

  • Detailed random mail/online surveys of fishing license holders (both resident and non-resident) to scientifically gauge angler attitudes about management options

  • Regional virtual meetings with stakeholder groups and individuals to discuss local management issues and partnership opportunities

Future walleye meetings for other counties are available on the DNR’s public meetings calendar.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will reimplement a lake trout bag limit and season for Lake Michigan beginning Jan. 1, 2021. The new bag limit and season will mirror previous lake trout regulations. The open season will now run from Mar. 1 to Oct. 31 with a new daily bag limit of two lake trout

.

In 2017, the DNR implemented temporary Lake Michigan lake trout regulations in response to stakeholder input requesting additional harvest opportunities. These temporary regulations included a year-round season with a daily bag limit of five lake trout.

These regulations were made permanent in 2018 by the Natural Resources Board and expire on Jan. 1, 2021. This sunset clause allowed the DNR to appropriately assess the regulations and ensure they did not negatively impact Lake Michigan lake trout restoration efforts.

Based on the positive Lake Michigan lake trout data and continued stakeholder support for revised lake trout regulations, the DNR will be pursuing permanent regulations for lake trout, including a continuous year-round open season and a daily bag limit of five lake trout.

The pursuit of revised Lake Michigan lake trout regulations will occur in early 2021, and if approved, would be implemented by the summer of 2021.

However, until permanent regulations are developed, an open season from Mar. 1 to Oct. 31 and a daily bag limit of two lake trout will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2021.

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