The 2021 Sport Fishing Reports will return on air for the year Friday, May 28th 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!
Practice Responsible Catch And Release
With fishing season in full swing, please remember to release responsibly. When catch and release fishing, it’s important to reduce the stress on a fish after it has been caught. You can increase a fish’s chances for survival by keeping a few things in mind:
Land the fish as quickly as possible.
Keep the fish in the water as much as possible.
Handle the fish as little as possible. Use wet hands or gloves.
If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line and let the fish go.
Treat the fish gently throughout the release.
Never hold the fish upright by the jaw; it can hurt the fish. Instead, support the fish with two hands. By using these tips, fish appear larger in photos and you will also increase its chance of survival after release, allowing you or another angler to catch it again.
For tips on how to release a specific fish species, visit the DNR's website.
The Manitowoc Unit of Fish & Game will hold its May meeting as usual on May 6th, Lincoln Park, Cabin 1 at 7pm. This will be a business meeting and no speaker is scheduled. This will be the last monthly unit meeting until September as approved during the March meeting. It is hoped that conditions will be improved by Fall, and the group can return to its normal monthly meeting schedule from there forward.
As in the March meeting, there will be no lunch served. Members are urged to mask and social distancing will still be practiced. Members are urged to check the website for updated communications at www.mantyfg.org. It was announced that the County Fish & Game banquet is being held this October and hopes to return to normal conditions.
Manitowoc Fish & Game works to promote and protect the rights of sporting men and women in the county through a variety of projects and education programming. It is one of 25 clubs that work together in Manitowoc County. There was also a reminder that grant requests for the FORWARD Endowment will be accepted through December 28th for hunting, fishing & conservation projects.
Two Rivers/Shoto: Both the East Twin River and West Twin River had the highest fishing pressure this week even with relatively low water levels. A few steelhead were caught in the West Twin River using grey/red flies and spawn sacks. Additionally, a few northern pike were caught using yellow and silver spoons. A group of anglers in the West Twin River also caught a few white suckers using red crankbaits. In the East Twin River, a few rainbow trout were caught using spawn sacks and grey/red flies. Additionally, several white suckers were caught using spawn or grey/red flies. One group caught a northern pike using sucker minnows in the East Twin River as well. At Two Rivers harbor, one angler reported catching a few carp earlier in the week using boilies. An angler using the Manitowoc cleaning station earlier in the week stated that he caught several catfish in Two Rivers using cut bait via boat in the rivers.
Manitowoc/Branch: The only successful interview this week was at the Manitowoc ramp where a 5 lb brown trout was caught using a purple stick bait. When interviewing anglers at the Branch River there were reports of a few suckers being spotted. The morning temperature for the Branch River midweek was 46°F.
There were no routes along the Kewaunee River this week. The only routes in Kewaunee County occurred in Algoma this week. The fishing pressure along Stoney Creek was moderate to start the week, however, as the week progressed the fishing pressure decreased. One angler interviewed on Stoney Creek was able to land a rainbow trout that was 27 inches long and weighed 6 lbs. He was able to land the fish using a pink bead. Anglers also caught a few steelhead using shrimp in Stoney Creek, he mentioned that when using spawn sacs the fish would swim away. Anglers along the Ahnapee River reported catching northern pike throughout the week. On average, an angler would be able to catch two northern pike in roughly two hours of fishing. Some anglers did have better success rates than that. Anglers targeting brown trout out of Algoma reported water temps from 43°F to 45°F depending on location. The water was a little cooler up by Stoney Creek compared to the anglers who were fishing by Three Mile Creek. On average anglers were targeting 8 to 15 feet of water using various kinds of Crankbaits. The anglers that had success this week said the key was to find muddy water and work along the mud line. At the Forestville dam water levels rose due to rain events earlier in the week as well but no anglers were seen fishing.
Fishing pressure throughout Door County has increased this week. One factor that contributed to the increase was the rain, which brought more steelhead up in Heins and Hibbard Creek. The other reason was the Bailey’s Harbor Brown Trout Tournament that was held April 15-17. Anglers fishing in Heins and Hibbard reported seeing rainbow trout and suckers throughout both creeks. One rainbow from Heins creek was measured at 28 inches and weight 7.5lbs that was caught on a spawn sac. The days of the Bailey’s Harbor Brown Trout tournament the number of trailers at the city launch in Sturgeon Bay were over 20 trailers. Anglers were targeting brown trout from Gills Rock all the way to Sturgeon Bay. One interview was conducted out of Gills Rock for anglers targeting brown trout. They reported the water temp to be 37 degrees and used various types of crankbaits and spoons. There were two interviews conducted on Saturday, April 17 out of Bailey’s Harbor that resulted in anglers reporting water temps ranging from 42°F to 45°F. Anglers were trolling anywhere from 10 to 30 feet and mentioned that they could see the bottom in 25 feet of water. Another angler was interviewed out of Fish Creek who reported having one hit on a crankbait but was unable to land the fish. The anglers were targeting 10-25 feet of water.
Potawatomi Park: One boater reported success on brown trout at Potawatomi State Park. Boaters also reported catching northern pike from Potawatomi State Park and Chaudoirs Dock.
Carmody Boat Launch: Lower parking area at Robert M.
Carmody boat launch Sunday morning was full by 9:30 a.m. and the overflow lot was starting to be used.
Update On The Lake Winnebago Trawling Report And Winnebago Walleye Survey Efforts
Lake Winnebago Trawling Report
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently published the 2020 Lake Winnebago Trawling Report, which discloses the results of the trawl assessment conducted on Lake Winnebago. This assessment has been conducted annually since 1986, and the main objectives include providing critical information on year class strength of game and nongame fish species, monitoring trends in the forage base and monitoring general population trends of game and nongame fish species.
Overall, there were 15 species of young of year (YOY) fish sampled for a total of 79,835 YOY fish caught during the 2020 trawling survey. For adult fish, there were 18 different species sampled for a total of 42,480 adult fish captured. The 2020 trawling results revealed several highlights, including record catch rates of YOY freshwater drum and yellow perch, a strong crappie hatch and a measurable walleye year class. I hope you enjoy the report.
2021 Winnebago Walleye Survey Efforts
The Oshkosh fisheries work unit and Asylum Bay operations staff have completed the 2021 walleye spawning stock assessment. The objectives of the survey included tagging adult walleye to estimate annual exploitation, evaluate size structure, conduct age and growth analyses on male aging samples and evaluate spawning marsh conditions. Survey efforts began on the Wolf River on March 21 and continued through April 5.
Water level gauge height at the USGS New London site ranged from about 7 feet on March 21 to 6.2 feet on April 5. The lack of rain and snow this year led to fairly low water levels on the Wolf River during the peak walleye spawn compared to recent years. Water levels and flow in the main marshes around New London and Shiocton were marginal. Generally, a gauge height of at least 7 feet is needed to provided marginal conditions, with more ideal marsh conditions occurring when gauge height surpasses 8 feet.
In total, 3,703 adult male and 852 adult female walleye were sampled on the Wolf River. That was near the annual goal of tagging 5,000 in the Wolf River. In addition, 72 adult male and 9 adult female walleye were sampled on the upper Fox River near Princeton. Peak spawning activity was observed throughout the week of March 25 and mostly wrapped up by early April. The strong 2016 year class was well represented during survey efforts, with males ranging 13-15 inches and females ranging 15-18 inches. Tagging efforts included continuing the reward tag study and the release of 100 male and 100 female reward tagged fish. These tags are worth $100 for anglers that catch and report a pink reward tagged fish. The tag reward for this year’s tags will expire on March 31, 2022 and are being paid for by Battle on Bago. This study will continue to provide more accurate annual exploitation and angler tag reporting estimates.
DNR staff also conducted walleye electrofishing surveys on the Upriver Lake and Lake Winnebago. The objectives of the survey primarily include tagging immature (unknown male or female) and immature female walleye to estimate annual exploitation. Adult males and females sampled are also tagged. Overall, 372 immature, 243 immature female, 119 adult female and 642 male walleye were sampled. Immature walleye sampled mainly ranged 11-14 inches and immature female walleye ranged 14-17 inches.
Anglers can report the catch of a tagged walleye, yellow perch, bass, or northern pike by mailing the catch information to the Oshkosh DNR office (625 East County Road Y, Oshkosh WI 54901), emailing it to DNRWINNEBAGOSYSTEMTAGRETURNS@wisconsin.gov or calling 920-303-5429.
If you have any questions about the trawling report or this year’s survey update, please feel free to reach out.
It's coming. Will you be ready? The general fishing season opens on Saturday, May 1. As the excitement builds, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Check your fishing rods, reels, lines and lures to make sure you’re prepared for opening day
Review the Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations for regulations you'll need to know like daily bag limits and harvest restrictions
Most importantly, buy your 2021-2022 fishing license!
Find more information on the DNR’s fishing webpage
This year marks the 26th year of the FORWARD Endowment gifting cycle. The FORWARD Endowment, the Manitowoc County trust established to fund projects focused on hunting, fishing, conservation, and related education, has completed its 2020 funding cycle which began in September of 2020. FORWARD stands for Friends Of Resources, Wildlife And Recreational Development. It was founded by The Manitowoc Unit of Manitowoc County Fish & Game. It is now supported by a combination of funding from area sporting clubs, private donations, and estate gifts. Manitowoc County Fish and Game has been a major supporter of the fund and provides a percentage of their Annual Banquet proceeds each year.
The FORWARD Endowment received 6 requests totaling almost $25,000 for funding of projects from community organizations in Manitowoc County. The trust has specific parameters that must be met, and all projects must show public benefit. Only Manitowoc County groups can be considered. A total of just over $9,500 was awarded to the following organizations:
Conservation Education Incorporated – Signage Project
Manitowoc County Fish & Game – Pigeon Lake ADA Pier Project
Woodland Dunes Nature Center – Student Conservation Leaders
Larrabee Sportsman’s Club – Harpt Lake ADA Fishing Pier Project
Camp TaPaWingo – Digital Observation Technology Program
Organizations have been notified by mail of their awards and the specific requirements. Funds are dispersed by Associated Bank who manages the trust when projects document completion. Dean Halverson, Chair of the Gift Committee said, “we are thrilled to support great community projects with direct benefit to our area. We are building the fund every year through proper management and community support.” The fund is designed that only interest income is made available for grants and adjusted for inflation.
The FORWARD Endowment has now provided over $130,000 in grants awarded to projects and groups in Manitowoc County since being founded in 1993. FORWARD is a 501C3 and donations can make checks payable to The FORWARD Endowment c/o Associated Bank. Adam Grantham is the contact person at the bank. Memorial or estate planning gifts are possible with the fund.
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