Wisconsin fishing report 2019 - WI DNR - Wisconsin.gov

2019 SEASON DATES

                                                                                                                                              Early Inland Trout
                                                                                                                                              January 5 (5 a.m.) to May 3

                                                                                                                                              General Hook and Line Inland
                                                                                                                                              May 4 to March 1, 2020

                                                                                                                                              General Inland Trout
                                                                                                                                              May 4 (5 a.m.) to Oct. 15

                                                                                                                                              Largemouth Bass
                                                                                                                                              Northern Zone Harvest
                                                                                                                                              May 4 to March 1, 2020

                                                                                                                                              Smallmouth Bass
                                                                                                                                              Northern Zone Catch-and-Release
                                                                                                                                              May 4 to June 14

                                                                                                                                              Smallmouth Bass
                                                                                                                                              Northern Zone Harvest
                                                                                                                                              June 15 to March 1, 2020

                 Dear                   Catch and Release... Responsibly                                                                      Large and Smallmouth Bass
                                                                                                                                              Southern Zone
                 WISCONSIN              Catch and release has become pop-
                                        ular with many anglers, but it only
                                                                                         Please follow these guidelines to
                                                                                         improve the health of your released                  May 4 to March 1, 2020
                  ANGLER                works if the fish is around for the
                                        next hook set.
                                                                                         fish:
                                                                                                                                              Musky – Northern Zone
                                                                                                                                              May 25 to Nov. 30

W     elcome to the 2019 Wiscon-
      sn Fishing Report. Please
                                        Catch-and-release fishing has been
                                        an important part of recreational                 1    Fishing Conditions: Please
                                                                                               consider                                       Musky – Southern Zone
spend a few minutes and review          fishing for quite some time, and                       The stress extreme water tem-                  May 4 to Dec. 31
this publication. You’ll learn how      the practice continues to increase in                  peratures have on fish if you
the men and women in the fisher-        popularity with many state anglers.
ies program take pride in making                                                               plan on releasing your catch.                  Northern Pike
your fishing better. The fabulous       As anglers have come to value many
                                                                                                                                              May 4 to March 1, 2020
fisheries projects highlight many
of the interesting and lesser known
projects that our staff work on and
                                        fish species more for their sporting
                                        qualities than as table fare - includ-
                                        ing trout, bass and muskellunge -
                                                                                          2    Reeling in the Fish
                                                                                               Fish should be retrieved as
                                                                                                                                              Walleye
many of these are in partnerships       catch-and-release fishing has grown                    quickly as possible.
with external groups that are in-
                                                                                                                                              May 4 to March 1, 2020
                                        immensely.
strumental in completing this criti-
cal work around the State.
                                        There are waters that are managed
                                                                                          3    Handling the Fish
                                                                                               Keep the fish in the water as                  Lake Sturgeon (hook and line)
                                                                                                                                              Sept. 7 to Sept. 30
In 2019, the fisheries program will     with catch and release regulations                     much as possible.
be focusing on enhanced communi-        to improve the fishery, but, for the                   Use wet hands or wet gloves
cations to you, our stakeholders. So-   most part, fisheries programs don’t                    to handle the fish.                            Free Fishing Weekend
cial media has become an important      actively promote catch and release                                                                    June 1 - 2, 2019 summer
tool in distributing our messages.
You can tune in to Facebook and
watch our staff in real time as they
work and you can learn more about
                                        fishing. They leave that decision to
                                        the angler. Of course, there are oc-
                                        casions – such as during a closed
                                                                                          4    Unhooking the Fish
                                                                                               If the fish is deeply hooked, cut
                                                                                                                                              January 18 -19, 2020 winter

the resources you use. You can fol-     season or with fish that do not meet                   the line and release the fish.
low our tweets to get up to date in-    the minimum length required – the
formation on events and activities.
We’ll also be adding some podcast
materials.
                                        release decision is made for them.                5    Reviving the Fish
                                                                                               Gently rock the fish from side
                                        Fish responsibly. Alter your method                    to side until it can maintain its
Finally we will be embarking on a       or your gear to minimize hooking                       balance. When the fish begins
new Fish On...Wisconsin! initia-        mortality. That may mean going to                      to struggle, let it swim away.
tive that has been developed to         different hook or setting the hook a
build participation in the sport by     little sooner. Apply deeply hooked
engaging new and existing anglers
and to increase public awareness of     fish to your bag limit and release               Following the above guidelines
the fisheries program and available     the fish that have a good survivable             will help improve the fish’s chance
fishing opportunities. Look for it!     hookup.                                          of survival after release and allow
                                                                                         another angler to enjoy the thrill
Good luck with your 2019 fishing!       In some cases, if fish are badly                 of catching a quality Wisconsin fish.
                                        hooked (for instance, in the gills) or
                                        are obviously stressed, you may not
                                        be able to successfully release them.              For more information, visit dnr.
      Director,
      Bureau of Fisheries Managment     However, every attempt should be                   wi.gov and search “responsible                  https://www.instagram.com/wi_dnr/
                                        made for a positive release.                                  release”


F     Find links to fishing licenses,               Find us on Facebook (facebook.com/
                                                                                                    SIGN UP for Fisheries Updates. Go to                      Follow us on Twitter.
Y
      season dates, regulations,                    WIDNR)
      where to fish and more at:                                                              fishingwisconsin. org to sign up and stay                       https://twitter.com/
                                                    Watch us on YouTube (youtube.com/
I                                                                                             informed on fisheries issues.                                   DNR
      fishingwisconsin.org                          user/ WIDNRTV)
Fabulous Fisheries Projects
Evaluation of the Oconomowoc River                                                                                                       er creel surveys that were conducted
electrical barrier using acoustic                                                                                                        in Wisconsin from 1965-2015 where
telemetry                                                                                                                                the average catch rate was 0.3 trout
Electrical fish barriers have been prov-                                                                                                 per hour for opening weekend. So, if
en effective in reducing the spread of                                                                                                   you want an opening weekend trout fish-
invasive species including Silver and                                                                                                    ing spot that is not too crowded, and your
Bighead carp. Acoustic telemetry tech-                                                                                                   chances of catching trout are 4 times better
nology enables fisheries researchers to                                                                                                  than the average stream, consider a stream
track migration of individually num-                                                                                                     stocked with catchable-sized trout! A list
bered fish. In June of 2018, 17 common                                                                                                   of these streams is published on the
carp were collected, implanted with                                                                                                      DNR website https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/
ultrasonic acoustic transmitters and                                                                                                     fishing/trout/catchabletrout.html.
released back into the Oconomowoc
River. Acoustic receivers were strategi-
cally placed in the Oconomowoc River                                                                                                     Musky tagging project provides a better
upstream of the confluence of the Rock                                                                                                   understanding of fish behavior
River. The goal of the study is to deter-                                                                                                Hayward is known for big muskies,
mine the effectiveness the DNR electri-                                                                                                  so it’s appropriate that they are the fo-
cal fish barrier located on Northside                                                                                                    cus of several research projects in the
Drive in the Ixonia Township. Objec-                                                                                                     area. Over 24,000 muskellunge have
tives include preventing the upstream       Nate Anderson places a LUNKER structure on an outside bend in Sand Creek which will          been implanted with small micro-
migration of common carp in spring          provide overhead cover for trout.                                                            chip tags called PIT tags (these are the
and promoting downstream migra-                                                                                                          same tags used to track lost pets). DNR
tion in fall. Common carp are a highly
                                            glers can access the stream at a park-         Catchable-sized trout are stocked in
                                            ing lot off 1342nd Ave. and fish along         some streams that are unable to sup-
                                            the 4,700 ft of continuous easement that       port trout populations throughout the
                                            provides fishing access to the public.         year because they get too warm in the
                                            Sand Creek is well known locally for           summer, and in some streams to in-
                                            the potential to produce trophy brown          crease the trout abundance for open-
                                            trout and has some the best inland size        ing day. We wanted to measure the
                                            structure in the state for brown trout.        amount of angler use of these stocked
                                            Joseph Gerbyshak – fisheries biologist, Eau    fish and answer the question does
                                            Claire                                         catchable sized trout stocking increase
                                                                                           the chance of having a successful fish-
                                                                                           ing trip. We conducted angler creel

                                            Woody habitat and shoreline fishing
                                            improved on Lake Winnebago
                                            DNR fisheries staff recently completed
Researchers implant an acoustic transmit-   a fish sticks project to improve woody
ter into an adult common carp. Photo:Mark   habitat and increase shoreline fishing
                                            opportunities at Asylum Bay on Lake                                                          An angler fishing with a guide on a Saw-
Baldock, fisheries technician, Horicon.                                                                                                  yer County lake shows off his catch. This
                                            Winnebago. The project included con-
                                            structing 15 fish stick complexes along                                                      musky, along with thousands of others, was
invasive, non-native fish species that      Asylum Bay Point Park. The park is                                                           tagged so information can be collected on
is detrimental to water quality, native     one of the most heavily used shoreline                                                       it in the future. Guides and anglers have
aquatic plants and native fish species.     fishing areas and provides some of the
This project is a cooperative partner-                                                                                                   teamed up with the DNR to increase num-
                                            best shoreline angling opportunities                                                         bers of tagged fish and tag return data.
ship with the DNR, the Lac La Belle         around Lake Winnebago. The DNR
Lake Management District and the            and Winnebago County have main-
University of Wisconsin Stevens Point,                                                                                                   crews have been using these tags for
                                            tained a cooperative agreement to en-                                                        decades, but in recent years anglers
Cooperative Fisheries Unit. The elec-       sure that the property is open to the
trical barrier has been maintained and                                                                                                   and guides in the Hayward area had a
                                            public and provides adequate access to                                                       chance to be involved as well. Muskies
operated by the DNR fisheries staff for     Lake Winnebago. The fish sticks proj-
over 30 years. Annual survey data in-                                                                                                    Inc. members, guides, and other an-
                                            ect should provide valuable spawning                                                         glers were given scanners to check for
dicates a long term downward trend          habitat and refuge for various fish spe-
in common carp abundance in Lac La                                                         Fishing waters stocked with catchable-        tags in muskies they captured while
                                            cies, particularly largemouth bass and         sized trout can increase your catch rate by   angling. To date, those anglers have
Belle. Contact Information; Benjamin        panfish. Wood will also serve as habi-
Heussner, benjamin.heussner@wiscon-                                                        over 4 times more than an average trout       been responsible for 10% of the over
                                            tat for a variety of wildlife species such                                                   900 captures of tagged muskellunge in
sin.gov (414) 303-0109                      turtles, waterfowl, and herons that use        stream.
                                                                                                                                         Hayward area lakes. Starting in 2018,
                                            exposed logs for feeding, sunning, and                                                       several guides were also permitted to
                                            resting areas. Therefore, this fish sticks     surveys on 1 stream in Rock County, 4
                                                                                           streams in Green County and 5 streams         start tagging fish they caught with their
                                            project will provide better fish and                                                         clients. Guides tagged enough muskies
Lake Superior nearshore fishery             wildlife habitat, increase educational         in Columbia County. We made counts
evaluation                                                                                 of anglers and vehicles in parking lots       last year to supplement DNR tagging
                                            awareness for habitat projects, and cre-                                                     efforts by 48%. Already, the project has
The Lake Superior fisheries team            ate better fishing opportunities for an-       and then interviewed people fishing
gained a new project biologist to aid                                                      to see what they caught. For all of the       yielded interesting information on fish
                                            glers of all age classes. The project was                                                    movement, growth, and catch and re-
ongoing projects and begin leading          funded by the Lower Fox River/Green            streams combined we measured open-
monitoring and research efforts of the                                                     ing weekend effort at 5 angler hours/         lease effects. For example, one guide
                                            Bay Natural Resource Damage Assess-                                                          caught the same fish twice in the span
nearshore, cool-water fishery of Lake       ment Program - Adam Nickel, fisheries bi-      mile of stream per day. That is rela-
Superior. Specifically, we will be col-                                                    tively low compared to opening day            of three days with different clients.
                                            ologist, Oshkosh                                                                             That stands as testimony that proper
lecting information on walleye, small-                                                     efforts on some of our more famous
mouth bass, yellow perch, northern                                                         trout streams but is about average for        handling of musky can make the expe-
pike, and brown trout. This project is                                                                                                   rience of being caught easy on the fish
largely focused around the Chequa-                                                                                                       since it started feeding again almost
megon Bay area, and during 2018 sam-                                                                                                     immediately. It’s also a nice reminder
pling efforts, we tagged over 2,200 fish                                                                                                 that catch and release provides oppor-
of these species and intend to tag even
more in 2019. We ask anglers fishing
the Chequamegon Bay area to be on
the lookout for tags, record the tag
color and code, and report it to staff at
the Bayfield office. This information is
extremely valuable to us and will be in-
strumental in developing and carrying
out our new Lake Superior Fisheries
Management Plan. = Dray Carl, fisheries
biologist - Bayfield


Sand Creek trout habitat improvement
project
Phase II of the Sand Creek trout habitat
improvement project was completed
upstream of the town of Sand Creek
in the summer of 2018. Sand Creek
is a coldwater stream that originates
in Chippewa County flows west into
Dunn County prior to emptying into
the Red Cedar River 9.5 miles later.        Habitat crew anchoring down a fish stick complex. Inset, completed fish stick complex.
Phase II, led by Trout Habitat Special-
ist, Nate Anderson, consisted of two,
1000-ft sections of bank stabilization                                                                                                   Fisheries technician Mara Duke with one
with the addition of trout habitat to the   Put and take trout stocking creel project      the rest of the season. The catch rate,       of several Chinook Salmon captured and
stream such root wads, plunge pools,        In the Spring of 2018, ten streams             on the other hand, was very high. We          released in Fall of 2018 immediately down-
boulder clusters and riffles. This proj-    where the DNR stocks catchable-sized           estimated from our angler interviews          stream of the failing South Shore Grade
ect connects with a project done in the     rainbow trout were evaluated for an-           that the total catch rate was 1.25 trout      crossing on Nebagamon Creek. Photo:
1980s making for 4,700 ft of continuous     gler participation, catch and harvest.         per hour. These streams had very high
                                                                                           catch rates when compared to 16 oth-          Paul Piszczek
trout habitat improvement work. An-




2               Fish Wisconsin! fishingwisconsin.org
tunities for the next angler Continuing    ing up 27 kilometers to migrating fish.
to partner with Muskies Inc. and an-
glers to tag more muskies will inevita-
                                           DNR staff conducted electrofishing
                                           surveys to mark fish with PIT tags in          Records are meant to be broken - many in 2018
bly lead to more interesting results and   the Menomonee River downstream
a better management of our state fish.     of the former barrier. DNR staff then          The Wisconsin record fish program               that bettered the 2015 record by al-
                                           constructed a PIT antenna on the river         saw considerable action in 2018.                most half a pound.
                                           to assess passage through the recon-           Twenty-two records were either bro-
South Shore grade culvert removal          structed section. Fish detected moving         ken or found their way on the list for
The DNR has partnered with local           about included northern pike, white            the first time. Four fish records were          Records ARE meant to be
groups and agencies to pursue removal      sucker, smallmouth bass, and golden            from the traditional “by weight” cat-           broken
of the 45-foot high South Shore Rail-      redhorse. - Laura Schmidt, fisheries biolo-    egory, 6 fish records were from the
road grade over Nebagamon Creek,           gist – Milwaukee                               recently created “live release” cat-                Record duration: 2-1/2 months
a classified trout stream and major                                                       egory and 12 fish records were from
tributary to the Bois Brule River. Due                                                    the alternate method category (most             Jason Behrens of Arcadia shot a 56-
to declining demand for rail service to                                                   of those by bow and arrow or spear              1/8”, 19 lbs. 5.4 oz. longnose gar on
the area, this rail line was abandoned                                                    gun).                                           May 24 from the Mississippi River in
and stopped receiving maintenance,                                                                                                        Trempealeau County. The fish broke
leading to deterioration of the concrete                                                  There is usually some kind of story             the current record by almost a pound.
culvert and earthen embankment of the                                                     to tell with a record fish. For some
                                                                                          of the more interesting stories from            Noah Renner of Mauston shot a 54-
                                                                                          2018, read on...                                1/2”, 22 lbs. 12.8 oz. longnose gar on
                                                                                                                                          August 4 from the Mississippi River
                                                                                                                                          in Vernon County. The fish broke the
                                                                                          All in the Family                               record set by Behrens only two and
                                                                                                                                          half months earlier by over 3 pounds.
                                                                                           Erika Carter of De Pere bettered the
                                                                                           pumpkinseed sunfish record with a
                                                                                           8.75-inch fish caught and released
                                                                                           on July 4, 2017 from Lake Noquebay
                                                                                           in Marinette County. Not to be out-
                                                                                           done, Brenda Carter (Erika’s moth-
                                                                                           er) from DePere caught and released
                                                                                           a 9-inch pumpkinseed on July 3 of
                                                                                           this year from Lake Noquebay in
                                                                                           Marinette County




                                           Trimbelle River trout habitat improve-
                                           ment project
                                            The Trimbelle River is a Class II trout
Fisheries technician Brandon Wambach       stream originating in northern Pierce
holds two smallmouth bass that were        County with over 20 miles of classified
tagged for the study.                      trout water. Because of its proximity to
                                           the twin cities, exceptional fishery and                                                       Mahnke grass carp and Hill grass carp
                                           lack of in-stream habitat and erosion is-                                                      (inset)
crossing. Failure of the downstream        sues, the Trimbelle River has been the
wing-walls has created a pile of con-      focus of over 3 miles of trout habitat
crete debris in the culvert outlet that    improvement work within the past de-
blocks upstream fish migration and         cade. Prior to this project, banks were                                                             Record duration: 2-1/2 hours
could potentially lead to a catastrophic   high, vertical and heavily eroded with
failure of the embankment that would       very little in-stream habitat present in                                                       Michael Mahnke of Waukesha shot
compromise downstream habitat in           this shallow, sandy bottomed stretch                                                           a 38-1/4”, 34 lbs. 7.2 oz grass carp on
                                                                                          Brenda Carter with the fish - a 9” pump-        August 5 from the Mississippi River
Nebagamon Creek and the Brule River.       of stream. This project, completed by          kinseed - that bettered her daughter’s
– Aaron Nelson, fisheries technician       Trout Habitat Specialist Nate Ander-                                                           in Grant County. The fish broke the
                                                                                          record from the previous year.                  existing record by over a pound and
                                           son and crew, included 4,000 feet of in-
                                           tense habitat improvement work locat-                                                          a half.
Menomonee River fish passage               ed 2,000 feet above and below a bridge
The Menomonee River was histori-           making fishing access much easier.             Déjà vu all over again                          Tim Hill of Lancaster shot a 40-3/4”,
cally modified by dredging and the         Work began with invasive box elder                                                             39 lbs. grass carp on August 5 from
construction of concrete-lined channels    tree removal in the winter of 2017 and         Dale Fahrni of Arena, WI enjoyed the            the Mississippi River in Grant Coun-
for flood management and navigation.       followed with bank grading, bank rock          holiday season in 2015 when he used             ty. Hill’s record bested Mahnke’s re-
Concrete-lined channels functioned         installation and instream habitat in-          a bow and arrow to take a 20-1/2”,              cord, set 2-1/2 hours earlier, by about
as barriers to riverine and wetland        cluding in-stream boulders, root wads          4 lbs. 8.6 oz spotted sucker on De-             four and half pounds.
fish spawning and nursery habitats.        and spawning riffles. This was a col-          cember 26 from the Wisconsin River
In 2016, the Milwaukee Metropolitan        laborative project with partners includ-       in Richland County. Fast forward to
Sewerage District completed a total        ing NRCS and Kiaptuwish Chapter of             2018...Fahrni shot a 22”, 5 lbs. 6.7 oz.        For more information on record
of 1.5 kilometers of concrete channel      Trout Unlimited contributing funds             spotted sucker on April 21 from the             fish, visit dnr.wi.gov/topic/fish-
removal and river naturalization proj-     and many hours of volunteer work.              Wisconsin River in Richland County              ing/recordfish/
ects on the Menomonee River, open-         -Kasey Yallaly-Fisheries biologist, Baldwin




                                           Natural recruitment in some walleye           Beavers and their associated dams and             LEAVE NO LINE
                                           populations in northern Wisconsin has
                                           declined over time. The Walleye Com-
                                                                                         lodges may influence trout populations
                                                                                         in Wisconsin streams by altering habi-            BEHIND
                                           parative Recruitment Study is a col-          tat, stream flow, and water tempera-
                                           laborative effort between Fisheries Re-       ture regimes. The Trout-Beaver-Water              When monofila-
                                           search and the Great Lakes Indian Fish        Temperature Interactions Study will               ment fishing line
                                           and Wildlife Commission comparing             experimentally test for the effects of            is disposed of
                                           within-lake and watershed characteris-        beaver presence/absence on trout pop-             improperly, it
                                           tics of walleye populations with long-        ulations and their habitats throughout            can cause serious
                                           term, sustainable natural recruitment         Wisconsin (Project Lead, Dr. Matthew              problems for
                                           versus populations where natural re-          Mitro, Madison).                                  wildlife, people,
                                           cruitment has declined over time (Proj-
                                           ect Lead, Dr. Stephanie Shaw, Boulder         The food web of Lake Michigan has                 boat propellers
                                           Junction).                                    likely changed over time due to intro-            and the environ-
                                                                                         ductions of invasive species. There-              ment. The DNR
Fisheries Research Initiates Four          Recreational angling for lake sturgeon        fore, the diets of native and stocked fish        is coordinating
New Research Projects in 2018-             has increased in popularity over time         species may have also changed, which              a pilot project to
2019                                       in Wisconsin; however, potential hook-        has the potential to influence fish car-          collect this fish-
                                           ing mortality of lake sturgeon has nev-       rying capacity. The Lake Michigan                 ing line and re-
The Fisheries Research Team in the         er been evaluated. The Lake Sturgeon          Predator:Prey Ratio Study is examin-              cycle it into new
Office of Applied Science began four       Hooking Mortality Study will test for         ing current salmonid diets, which will            products such
new studies focused on high priority       hooking mortality rates and stress as-        be used in a predator-prey model to in-
                                           sociated with angling for this ancient        form salmonid stocking quotas based               as tackle boxes
research needs of the fisheries man-                                                                                                       and fish habitat
agement program in 2018-2019. The          sportfish in Wisconsin (Project Lead,         on the abundance of available forage
new studies focus on 1) walleye, 2) lake   Dr. Stephanie Shaw, Boulder Junction).        within the lake (Project Lead, Dr. Iyob           structures.        PVC monofilament
sturgeon, 3) trout, and 4) the fisheries                                                 Tsehaye, Madison). - Greg G. Sass, Ph.D.,                            collection bin
of Lake Michigan.                                                                        Fisheries Research Team Leader
                                                                                                                                           Fishing line causes problems
                                                                                                                                           when left in the water or put in the
                                                                                                                                           trash.
                                                                                                                                               For more information:
                                                                                                                                            http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Recy-
                                                                                                                                               cling/FishingLine. html




                                                                                                                                      Wisconsin Fishing Report - 2019             3
Catch memories that you’ll never release!
Find your fish and water in 2019.
          Interested in a water? Want more information? Contact the local fisheries biologist dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/people/fisheriesbiologist.html

                                                                                           at age 4; 82% by age 5; and 99% by age        of 15”+ size fish was 2/mile and maxi-
             WALLEYE                           access information. www.dnr.wi.gov/
                                               topic/fishing/lakemichigan/Tributary-       6). Therefore, it will take a few more
                                                                                           years for the 2016 cohort of females to
                                                                                                                                         mum length captured was 26”. Regula-
                                                                                                                                         tion: Black River upstream of CTH OO
                                               Access.html. Since 2007 the only poor
                                               year class was the 2012 year class. Re-     make their first spawning runs. Lastly,       (T26NR2W Sections 20 and 21 – Clark
                                               cruitment in the 2010’s has been excep-     the annual Lake Winnebago trawling            County) walleye from 15 inches but
                                               tional with good year classes produced      assessment revealed measurable 2017           less than 20 inches may be kept, except
                                               regularly providing anglers the oppor-      and 2018 walleye year classes which           1 fish may be over 24 inches/ daily bag
                                               tunity to catch good numbers of Wall-       should help contribute to the adult           limit 3 fish (Ceded Territory standard
                                               eye from Green Bay and its tributaries.     population in future years. The trawl-        walleye regulation). For the Black River
                                                                                           ing survey also revealed a weak year          downstream of CTH OO, Clark Coun-
                                                                                           class of gizzard shad (0.4/ YOY trawl).       ty, and Arbutus Lake minimum length
                                                                                           Gizzard shad can often drive walleye          is 15 inches and daily bag limit is 5 fish.
                                               n             BURNETT/WASHBURN              fishing success on the system and this
                                                                                           year’s weak hatch could set up for a
n BROWN, MARINETTE and                         COUNTIES                                    productive 2019 walleye bite. The sys-
OCONTO COUNTY                                  Middle McKenzie Lake. Middle McK-
                                                                                           tem is open year round for walleye and
                                                                                           sauger. There is a combined daily bag
Fox River, Oconto River, Peshtigo River,       enzie Lake on the Washburn/Burnett          limit of 5 fish, of which only 1 may be a
                                               County line is a low-density walleye        sauger. There is no minimum size limit
Menominee River and Green Bay Since            lake (~1 fish/acre). However, lower
2012, the DNR has assessed the magni-                                                      for either species. There are numerous
                                               numbers typically mean greater size.        access points around the Winnebago
tude of Walleye spawning migrations            This is the case with Middle McKenzie
into the Fox River located in southern                                                     system. Consult a map of the system to
                                               lake. The average length of adult wall-     see what access is near where you want
Green Bay and into the Oconto, Peshti-         eye was 20 inches and 55% of walleye
go and Menominee Rivers found along                                                        to launch, or go to the DNR’s Boat and
                                               sampled were greater than 18 inches.        Shore Fishing Access Website to search
the west shore of Green Bay by using           No minimum length limit, five fish
daytime electroshocking. Electrofish-                                                      for access information (http://dnr.
                                               daily bag limit. Access: Concrete boat      wi.gov/topic/lands/boataccess). DNR
ing is conducted just below the dams in        launch located off of Racine Drive on
these rivers to capture fish. During 2018                                                  fisheries staff has tagged 173,707 wall-
                                               the Northwest side of the lake.             eye on the Winnebago System since
electroshocking runs, DNR captured
1,828 Walleye that ranged in length                                                        1993. The program relies on anglers           Jennifer Bergman, Fisheries biologist out
from 14” to 31”. In 2018, the spring run                                                   to report any tagged fish they catch by       of Wisconsin Rapids, with a walleye from
was later than normal and was very                                                         mailing them to the Oshkosh DNR of-           New Lisbon Lake, Juneau County.
short in length likely due an unusually                                                    fice (625 East County Road, Y Oshkosh
cold spring with a fast warm-up. Look                                                      WI 54901) or emailing them to dnrwin-
for Walleye in these rivers shortly after      n      CALUMET, FOND DU LAC,                nebagosystemtagreturns@wisconsin.             Access Information: Arbutus – West
ice-out through the spring until water         GREEN LAKE, OUTAGAMIE, SHA-                 gov. Anglers are encouraged to check          Arbutus Landing near the Hatfield
temperatures are consistently above            WANO, WAUSHARA, WAUPACA,                    their walleye catch for tags and report       dam, Arnolds Creek Boat Landing,
50F. DNR also assesses the Walleye             and WINNEBAGO COUNTIES                      them properly. Anglers that return            and North Arbutus Boat Landing. Up-
population during the fall to look at                                                      tags can expect a mailed certificate that     per Black River – Halls Creek Canoe
young of year (YOY) production and             The Winnebago System includes the           provides information about the tagged         Landing and Black River State Forest
year class strength. In 2018, during our       four lakes (Lakes Winnebago, Butte          fish they caught. -Adam Nickel, Fisheries     unimproved landings off Palm and
nighttime YOY Walleye electroshock-            des Morts, Winneconne, and Poygan)          Biologist, Oshkosh                            Brickyard Roads (Jackson County), and
ing surveys on the lower Fox River and         along with all their tributaries from                                                     DNR boat landing off Opelt Avenue
on lower Green Bay, Walleye from 7”            their mouths upstream to the first dam                                                    (Clark County). Lower Black River –
                                                                                                                                         3rd Street Canoe Landing (City of Black
to 26” were captured. The majority of
captured Walleye were YOY walleye
                                               including the upper Fox and Wolf Riv-
                                               ers. Acres and River Length: 165,246
                                                                                           n CHIPPEWA COUNTY                             River Falls), Perry Creek Landing, Ma-
indicating that 2018 was a very good           acres for the lakes and roughly 142                                                       son’s Landing, Irving Township Canoe
                                                                                           Otter Lake – 661 acres. The walleye           Landing, Highway 108 Landing near
year for Walleye production. Early in-         river miles. The Winnebago System           population in Otter Lake in eastern
dications are that the 2018 year class         continues to produce some of the best                                                     Melrose, WI, North Bend Landing off
                                                                                           Chippewa County is booming in part            CTH VV, and Highway 35 landing in
will surpass the record 2013 year class        walleye fishing opportunities in the        thanks to the Wisconsin Walleye Initia-
as measured in the fall of their first year    Midwest. Annual surveys conducted                                                         Van Loon Bottoms. The lower Black
                                                                                           tive. Otter Lake has been stocked with        River (downstream of the Black River
for the most YOY captured. Walleye             by DNR staff and local volunteers con-      6,600 extended growth walleye (6”-8”)         Falls dam) has a continuous (year-
                                                                                           bi-annually. A walleye population es-         round) fishing season for walleyes.
                                                                                           timate was conducted in the spring of
                                                                                           2018 and it was calculated that there
                                                                                           were 7.3 adult walleye per acre, which
                                                                                           is about double the statewide average         n GREEN LAKE COUNTY
                                                                                           for lakes containing walleye. Since
                                                                                           there is no documentation of natural          Little Green Lake - 466 acres. 2018 –
                                                                                           reproduction, stocking is the main rea-       Relative abundance was up from 2013,
                                                                                           son for the robust walleye population.        though average size was down at 14.9”
                                                                                           The walleye fishery here flies under the      (20” in 2013). 79% of fish sampled were
                                                                                           radar as bluegill and largemouth bass         > 15”. Current regulation: 15” length
                                                                                           are the primary target on Otter Lake.         limit, bag of 5. Three public developed
                                                                                           Most the walleye were between 17”             access sites and one private
                                                                                           and 21”, which is a great eating size.
                                                                                           The walleye regulation on Otter Lake is
                                                                                           a three fish bag limit and they must be
                                                                                           between 15-20 inches except one may           n JEFFERSON COUNTY
                                                                                           be over 24 inches. Joseph Gerbyshak – fish-
                                                                                           eries biologist, Eau Claire                   Lake Koshkonong/Rock River - 10,000
                                                                                                                                         lake acres and 27+ river miles. 2018
                                                                                                                                         spring electrofishing surveys yielded
                                                                                                                                         high quality adult walleye catches. A
                                                                                           n        CLARK, JACKSON, LA                   total of 802 walleye were captured with
                                                                                           CROSSE, MONROE and TREMPEA-                   a length range of 11.5 to 22 inches and
                                                                                                                                         an average length of 14.7 inches. With
                                                                                           LEAU COUNTIES                                 the current 15-inch minimum length
                                                                                                                                         limit 25% of the catch was legal. There
                                                                                           Arbutus Lake - 840 acres and the upper        is a year-round open season on the
                                                                                           Black River (above the Black River Falls      Rock River and Lake Koshkonong for
A tank of Otter Lake walleye captured during a 2018 fisheries survey.                      dam), and lower Black River (below the        all gamefish except muskellunge. 15-
                                                                                           Black River Falls dam). Catch rates are       inch minimum length and 5 fish daily
                                                                                           based on 2018 electrofishing results          bag limit on walleye. Access informa-
                                                                                           Arbutus: Total catch rate was 41.5/mile,      tion: Dalman County Park, Groeler
from the exceptionally large 2013 year         tinue to reveal a healthy self-sustaining                                                 Road, Klement Park, City of Jefferson
class are now in the 20” to 24” range          walleye population. There were 2,784        catch rate of 15”+ fish was 4.7/mile and
                                                                                           maximum length captured was 28”.              below Jefferson Dam. With assistance
and were commonly caught by anglers            male walleye and 1,216 female walleye                                                     of local cooperative groups, the DNR’s
and seen in DNR surveys in 2018. It            tagged during the 2018 spring electro-      The last comparable survey was con-
                                                                                           ducted in 2014. Total catch rate was          Bark River Hatchery stocked 4.9 mil-
is likely that this year class and oth-        fishing assessment. The strong 2008,                                                      lion walleye fry into Lake Koshkonong/
ers produced from 2014 through 2018            2011, and 2013 year classes continue        15.5/mile, catch rate of 15”+ fish was
                                                                                           0.4/mile and maximum length cap-              Rock River in 2018.
will carry the fishery in the near future.     to dominate the adult walleye popu-
The rules vary by location and anglers         lation. In fact, walleyes from the 2013     tured was 24”. Black River, upper: To-
should check for walleye fishing rules         year class ranging from 18-20 inches        tal catch rate was 21.3/mile, catch rate
in the Wisconsin-Michigan Boundary,            were commonly caught by anglers in          of 15”+ fish was 5.2/mile and maximum
Tributary Stream to Lake Michigan
and the Lake Michigan sections of the
                                               2018. A strong year class produced in
                                               2016 (ranged 12-14 inches during 2018
                                                                                           length captured was 24”. In 2017, total
                                                                                           catch rate was 9/mile, catch rate of 15”+
                                                                                                                                         n LA CROSSE COUNTY
regulation pamphlet for season and             October trawling) is also poised to con-    fish was 2.6/mile and maximum length
                                                                                           captured was 24”. Black River, lower:
                                                                                                                                         Mississippi River, Pool 8 ― 22,656 acres.
harvest rules. There are many good             tribute to the population. In fact, the                                                   Fall Sampling of adult walleye dur-
boat launches in the area. Good shore          majority of males will mature and make      Total catch rate was 18.2/mile, catch         ing 2016 through 2018 in the tailwater
fishing opportunities exist on the Fox,        their first spawning run in 2019. Fe-       rate of 15”+ fish was 3.1/mile and maxi-      of Pool 8 near La Crosse shows some
Menominee, Oconto and Peshtigo Riv-            male walleye typically reach maturity       mum length captured was 26”. In 2017,         improvement from the previous years.
ers. Check the Lake Michigan page for          between 4-6 years of age (~30% mature       total catch rate was 7.7/mile, catch rate     During the last three years, we’ve av-




4            Fish Wisconsin! fishingwisconsin.org
eraged 79 walleye per hour of electro         able. There is also a bait shop with boat    fishing via boats, where trolling tends
fishing. From 2010 through 2015, we           rental located lakeside. - Bradd Sims        to work well. Both waters consistently          n PRICE COUNTY
saw an average of 35 per hour; about          Fisheries Biologist - Dodgeville             produce moderately strong year class-
half of later years. This recent increase                                                  es, annually, whereas stronger year             Pike Lake Chain of Lakes —1905 acres.
is likely due to an above average repro-                                                   strong year classes are produced incon-         Adult walleye density fell short of the
duction year in 2015 when we saw our                                                       sistently every 1-7 years when optimal          goals that stakeholders helped to de-
fourth largest reproductive event since                                                    environmental conditions arise. Ad-             velop in the 2015 Fishery Management
1983. These walleyes should mostly be                                                      ditionally, both systems have the high          Plan for the Pike Lake Chain, located
                                                                                           productive capacity and can have algal          just north of State Highway 70 mid-
                                                                                           blooms during parts of the year.                way between Fifield and Minocqua.
                                                                                                                                           Our targets were 4–6 adults per acre
                                                                                                                                           in Round Lake, 2–4 adults per acre in
                                                                                           n OCONTO COUNTY                                 Pike and Turner lakes, and 1–3 adults
                                                                                                                                           per acre in Amik Lake. By comparison,
                                                                                           White Potato Lake - 978 acres. During           estimated population density in spring
                                                                                           the last survey, 1,005 walleye were col-        2018 was 2.1 adults per acre in Round
                                                                                           lected. Walleye ranged in length from           Lake and about 1 adult per acre in the
                                                                                           7.9 to 24.5 in and averaged 15.9 inches.        other lakes. Annual fall electrofish-
                                                                                           Walleye were reaching legal size (15            ing surveys suggest that lower-than
                                                                                           in) by age 4. Compared to other lakes
                                                                                           in the area, walleye growth and abun-
                                                                                           dance was good. 15-inch minimum
                                                                                           length / 5 fish per day . Anglers can
                                                                                           choose from 6 boat landings to access
                                                                                           White Potato Lake. The average depth
                                                                                           of White Potato Lake is less than 5 feet.
                                                                                           The walleye fishery has been primar-
                                                                                           ily maintained through stocking by the
                                                                                           White Potato Lake Sportsman’s’ Club.
                                                                                           Anglers have good success in May and
                                                                                           early June before the water warms and
                                                                                           aquatic vegetation makes trolling diffi-
                                                                                           cult. The ice fishing jamboree in Janu-
Kimberly Kuber, Fisheries technician, Dodgeville holds a trophy walleye from Yellowstone   ary draws a very large crowd.
Lake. Anglers can expect more walleye over 24 inches this year over previous seasons.

larger than the 15-inch legal minimum
                                                                                           n ONEIDA COUNTY
length limit during 2019. Beyond 2019,        n MARATHON COUNTY                            Manson Lake - 236 acres. A recent spring
there may be fewer harvestable wall-                                                       survey shows a relatively low-density
eye in pool 8. Surveys in 2016 through        Lake Wausau and Big Eau Pleine Reser-        walleye population. The majority of
2018 that measure production of young         voir Lake Wausau: 1851 acres which is        walleye sampled were of legal size
fish, showed a decline of 39 percent          product of 3 major tailwaters which          with the largest measuring just over
from the long-term average. Despite           includes the Wisconsin River, Big Rib        27 inches. Manson Lake does have its
this recent decline, there is no 1983 to      River, and the Eau Claire River. Big Eau     fair share of rock hazards to be aware
2018 long-term trend in production of         Pleine Reservoir: 6348 acres which is        of, most are depicted on the lake map
young fish. Catchable sauger numbers          product of the Big Eau Pleine River and      in the kiosk at the public boat launch.
were a bit below average in 2016-2018.        eventually feeds into the Wisconsin          The public boat launch is located just          Hayward fisheries biologist, Max Wolter
We caught 43 sauger per hour while the        River Flowage system via Lake DuBay          off Hwy 8.                                      displays a nice-sized Whitefish Lake wall-
long-term average was 59. The good            Lake Wausau: In Spring of 2018, 60% if
news is the 2015-2018 combined abun-                                                                                                       eye.
                                              the 119 stock sized fish netted were 15”     North Nokomis Lake – 476 acres. A 2018
dance estimates were near the long-           or greater. The average length of wall-      walleye population estimate shows a
term average. These fish will continue        eye was 16.8” and a maximum length           relatively low adult walleye density.           average production and/or survival
to be in the population in 2019. Gener-       observed was 27”. Big Eau Pleine Res-        The naturally reproducing walleye               of young walleyes in 2013, 2014, and
ally, Mississippi River walleye and sau-      ervoir: In 2018 DNR cooperators col-         population is supplemented by alter-            2015 did not contribute enough young
ger numbers are associated with spring                                                     nate year small fingerling stocking.            recruits to replace the adults that died
and summer climate conditions. Thus,                                                       Larger walleye feed on cisco found              from angling and natural causes. That
reproduction or survival of young fish                                                     within the lake which helps to produce          3-year gap in walleye recruitment is
during their first year of life fluctuates                                                 some hefty fish. The largest walleye            now affecting adult numbers. In Round
annually. Presently, the Mississippi                                                       sampled in 2018 measured over 28                Lake 28% of walleyes in fyke nets were
River walleye and sauger bag limit is                                                      inches. A special walleye length regula-        ≥ 15 inches, meeting our goal to have
six fish in combination, with a 15-inch                                                    tion is in place which consists of a mini-      20–40% at least that long. Higher pro-
minimum length limit on walleye and                                                        mum length of 18 inches. A public boat          portions of large fish (63-80%) in Amik,
no length limit on sauger. The season is                                                   ramp is located off Hwy D. Zach Woiak,          Pike, and Turner lakes at first glance
open year-round. Wisconsin and Min-                                                        fisheries biologist, Rhinelander                would seem good, but in this case ex-
nesota fishing regulations may signifi-                                                                                                    ceeding our size objective reflects a
cantly change starting in 2020. Please                                                                                                     shortage of young fish coming into the
attend the April 8, 2019 Spring Conser-                                                                                                    adult population. Stronger year classes
vation Hearing in your county to reg-                                                      n POLK COUNTY                                   produced in 2016 and 2018 offer prom-
ister your opinion on these proposed                                                                                                       ising signs for improvement. With
changes. The best way to find a boat                                                       Big Butternut Lake - 384 acres. In a 2018       walleye populations sustained without
landing is to go to the DNR’s Boat and                                                     fisheries survey, the density of adult          stocking, Pike and Round lakes serve
Shore Fishing Access Website to search                                                     (≥15 in) walleye was estimated to be            as “experimental controls” to measure
for access information          http://dnr.                                                2.6 fish/acre, which is considered very         year-to-year variation in natural wall-
wi.gov/topic/lands/boataccess/ or the                                                      good for a stocked population. The size         eye recruitment in the ongoing evalu-
US Fish and Wildlife Service website          Fisheries technician Chelsea Barnaby with
                                                                                           structure of the walleye population was         ation of stocking under the Wisconsin
and download the pool maps https://           a 29-inch walleye captured in Amacoy         also good. Of the 322 walleye handled
                                              Lake fyke nets in May 2018.                                                                  Walleye Initiative. A creel survey will
www.fws.gov/refuge/Upper_Missis-                                                           in the survey, 60% were 18 inches or            estimate fishing pressure and harvest
sippi_River/map.html.        Increasingly,                                                 larger. The Big Butternut Lake walleye          in the 2018-2019 season. Anglers may
river municipalities are charging boat        lected 224 walleyes in fyke nets. Ap-        fishery is managed with an 18-in mini-          keep walleye of any size, but only one
access fees. - David Heath, La Crosse.        proximately 25% of these fish were 20”       mum length limit, 3 fish daily bag limit.       may be over 14” in their daily bag limit
                                              or greater, and ~64% of the fish were        There is one public boat landing on the         of 3 walleye from Pike, Round, Turner,
                                              from 15-20”. Lake Wausau: The mini-          southwest shoreline of Big Butternut            and Amik lakes combined. The U.S.
                                              mum length is 15”, but walleye from          Lake off South Shore Dr. There is also a
n LAFAYETTE COUNTY                            20” to 28” may not be kept, and only 1       fishing pier west of the boat landing for
                                                                                                                                           Forest Service maintains a landing suit-
                                                                                                                                           able for most boats on the west shore
                                              fish over 28” is allowed. The daily bag      shore anglers. Big Butternut is a fertile       of Round Lake. DNR offers a shallow-
Yellowstone Lake - 450 acres . The wall-      limit is 5. Big Eau Pleine Reservoir: The    lake with quality populations of other          water access landing on the east side of
eye population in Yellowstone has been        minimum length is 15”, but walleye           gamefish and panfish species.
stable over the last 15 years. It still of-                                                                                                Round Lake and an unimproved carry-
                                              from 20” to 24” may not be kept, and                                                         in access on the east side of Pike Lake.
fers anglers an opportunity to catch          only 1 fish over 24” is allowed. The dai-
trophy sized walleye as well as table                                                                                                      Boaters can access Amik and Turner
                                              ly bag limit is 3. Lake Wausau: Shore                                                        lakes only by connected waters, and
fare. Spring netting surveys in 2018          fishing opportunities are numerous
revealed a good adult fishery. Eight-                                                                                                      municipal ordinances regulate boat
                                              with vast amount of public parks and                                                         speed in certain hours and areas.
hundred and forty adult walleye were          bridges throughout the system Boat ac-                                                       —Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist
sampled. They ranged in size 11.0 to          cess can be taken advantage of at nu-
29.0 inches with an average size of 16.8      merous locations, including landings at
inches. Eleven percent were within the        Bluegill Bay Park, Oak Park, Memorial
15 to 18 inch slot available for harvest.     Park, DC Everest County Park, near the
Forty percent were greater than 18            Schofield Dam, and near Kort Street.
inches and 20% were greater than 21           Big Eau Pleine: Boat access can be tak-                                                      n RACINE COUNTY
inches. Yellowstone supports a trophy         en advantage of at 12 locations, includ-
walleye fishery with 10 percent of the        ing Lisa’s Landing, George’s landing,                                                        Tichigan Lake/Fox River - 280 lake acres
fish greater than 24 inches. Large wall-      and landings nead CTH O, CTH S, and                                                          and 7 river miles. Recent surveys have
eye are protected to help prey upon the       CTH C. Walleye fishing on Wisconsin                                                          shown the positive results of ongoing
carp, bigmouth buffalo, and bullheads.        River flowages yields different oppor-                                                       DNR and private stocking efforts, with
Only walleye between 15 and 18 inch-          tunities depending on where you fish.                                                        a 17.8” average length and maximum
es may be harvested. Daily Bag Limit          On Lake Wausau, many folks tend to                                                           of 25.7”. Catch rates during recent
is 2 game fish in total. There are two        target tailwaters at dams various times                                                      monitoring surveys indicate a strong
boat launches available and one canoe         of year. Also, fishing in the tailwaters     Austin Fischer, wildlife LTE technician,        population of walleye utilizing Tichi-
launch. There are multiple fishing pads       of Lake Wausau provides ample op-            with a Walleye from Random Lake                 gan Lake and the connected reaches of
for disabled anglers. Shore fishing op-       portunity to catch quality sized small-                                                      the Fox River. Multiple boat launches
portunities are ample. Yellowstone            mouth bass as well several species of                                                        on the river and a small carry-in access
Lake is located in Yellowstone Lake           sucker and redhorse, including the                                                           on the lake make Tichigan an attractive
State Park. Camping, swimming beach,          rare black redhorse. Fishing on the Big                                                      destination for walleye and many other
pet area and picnic areas are all avail-      Eau Pleine tends to be more focused on                                                       species. 18” minimum length limit, 3




                                                                                                                                        Wisconsin Fishing Report - 2019            5
daily bag. Access information: A public
boat launch at Bridge Road on the Fox          n TAYLOR COUNTY
River and two launches in the Village of
Waterford provide boating access to the        Chequamegon Waters Flowage (also
river and Tichigan Lake. A small carry-        called Miller Dam Flowage)—2714
in access on the lake near Fir Lane pro-       acres. Though we typically gauge the
vides access for non-motorized users           abundance and size structure of walleye
and ice anglers.                               populations by early spring netting at
                                               ice-out, we gained some insight about
                                               walleye stocking success in Miller Dam
                                               Flowage from the incidental catch in
                                               fyke nets targeting black crappies there
n RUSK COUNTY                                  in fall 2017. To establish and maintain
                                               a bonus fishery for walleye in an im-
Amacoy Lake—287 acres. From netting            poundment with habitat better suited
and electrofishing surveys at ice-out in       for other species, the Miller Dam Lake
                                               Association has purchased and stocked
                                               walleyes at a rate of 0.5 large fingerling
                                               per acre annually since 2007—nearly
                                               16,200 fingerlings in total. The walleye
                                               bycatch included fish in many length
                                               and age classes, suggesting that fish
                                               stocked as fingerlings are surviving and
                                               growing to the sizes that anglers like to
                                               catch and release or keep. The 40 wall-
                                               eyes in our crappie sample ranged from
                                               14.5 to 26.5 inches and averaged 21.3
                                               inches long. Additional predation from
                                               walleyes will help control panfish abun-
                                               dance and keep bluegills and crappies
                                               growing at satisfactory rates. Anglers          Dan Hatleli, Fisheries biologist Black River Falls, holds a 49.9 inch Muskellunge captured
                                               may take 3 walleyes per day from 15”            during an April 2018 electrofishing survey of the lower Black River. This fish is one of
                                               but less than 20”, except one fish may be       several 40”+ Muskies collected within a 4 mile segment below the Black River Falls dam.
                                               over 24”. —Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist   Photo taken by Eric Kramer, Fisheries technician, Black River Falls.

                                                                                               in length and 35 pounds in weight.
                                               n VILAS COUNTY                                  The largest female Musky was 55.9” in         n COLUMBIA and SAUK
                                                                                               length and weighed 42.5 pounds. Male          COUNTIES
                                               Twin Chain (North & South Twin Lakes)           Musky averaged 44.1” in length and
Fisheries technician, Joelle Underwood,        3,430 acres. A spring 2017 DNR survey           20.9 pounds in weight. The largest male       Lower Wisconsin River. 92.3 miles The
with a beautiful Oneida County walleye         estimated the Twin Chain is home to ap-         was 49.6” in length and 33.7 pounds in        Lower Wisconsin River supports a tro-
captured during a recent netting survey.       proximately 3.7 adult walleye per acre.         weight. Fall electroshocking surveys on       phy musky fishery from the Prairie du
                                               Of those adult walleye 39% were 15              the Fox River captured many Musky in          Sac Dam downstream 6 miles. Anglers
May 2018 we estimated walleye density          inches or larger; adult walleye ranged in       2018 that were between 40” and 50” in         can expect to see above average size
was 6 adults per acre in Amacoy Lake—          length from 11 to 29 inches. Future fish-       length. Musky anglers have reported           and weight for muskies in this stretch
more than most populations sustained           ing should be ensured with recruitment          catching legal size Musky greater than        of river. Electrofishing surveys during
primarily by stocking. Staff at Gov-           of walleye from the above average 2016          54” in length from the waters of Green        October and November of 2017 & 2018
ernor Thompson State Fish Hatchery             & 2017 year classes. Current regulation:        Bay this past summer and into fall. The       sampled a good adult population with
grow walleye to 6–8 inches long and            Combined daily bag limit of three (3)           regulation for musky on the Fox River,        an average size of 37.2 inches. Twenty
stock 15 large fingerlings per acre into       where walleye from 15” but less than            Green Bay tributaries and the Wiscon-         seven percent of the adults were 40
Amacoy Lake in fall of odd-numbered            20” may be kept, except one fish may            sin waters of Green Bay is one fish with      inches or greater. 50-inch minimum
years. Walleye size structure in Amacoy        be over 24”. Excellent public access is         a 54 inch minimum size. Most musky            length limit with a daily bag limit of 1.
Lake should satisfy most anglers—35%           available at 3 landings: In the Town of         anglers launch their boat from the Fox        Public boat launch and accessible bank
of walleye captured in fyke nets were 15       Phelps, located off Millerville Lane, off       Point Landing or the Metro Ramp on the        fishing opportunities are located thru
inches or longer, 9.4% were ≥ 20 inches,       Highway 17; Town of Conover, Lakota             Fox River, the Suamico Boat Launch on         out the Lower Wisconsin River way.
and 8.4% were at least 25 inches long.         Road, off Highway K; Town of Conover,           the Suamico River, Carmody Ramp on
Three walleyes between 15 and 20 inch-         Twin Lake Road, off Highway K.                  Little Sturgeon Bay, the ramp at Geano
es may be kept, except one fish may be                                                         Beach or the Menominee River Ramp.
over 24”.—Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist                                                   During 2018, DNR stocked 1,600 finger-
                                                                                               ling Great Lakes Strain Musky into the
                                                                                               Fox River and Green Bay from eggs that
                                               n WAUKESHA COUNTY                               were collected from Musky captured in
n SAWYER COUNTY                                                                                the Fox River in May 2018. Since stock-
                                               Oconomowoc Lake - 818 surface acres             ing resumed in 2010, DNR has stocked
Whitefish Lake is known locally for its        Average Length – 16 inches. Popula-             33,852 fingerling and 16,121 yearling
unique bathymetry (it’s 110 feet deep!)        tion estimate – 2 adults per acre. 18-          Musky into Green Bay making the fu-
and rare fish species (it has lake white-      inch minimum length, daily bag limit            ture of Musky fishing on the bay bright.
fish!). A 2018 DNR fyke netting survey         of 3. The public boat launch is located
found that the walleye population is           upstream of Oconomowoc Lake on the
doing quite well too. Crews captured           Oconomowoc River, downstream of
an average of 32 adult walleye per net,        Upper Oconomowoc Lake on the north
a higher relative abundance than what          side of Wisconsin Avenue. Depending             n CLARK, JACKSON, LA CROSSE,
is observed on most other lakes in the         upon the size of your vessel, navigat-
                                               ing the Oconomowoc River can be chal-
                                                                                               MONROE and              TREMPEALEAU
area. But more impressive than the
abundance was the size. Of all walleye         lenging during low flow conditions. A           COUNTIES
captured, 93% were over 15 inches and          healthy adult walleye population and
34% were over 20 inches. Even with the         excellent habitat continues to support
                                               limited natural reproduction of walleye         Upper Black River (above the Black River
more restrictive 18-inch length limit that                                                     Falls dam), Clark and Jackson Counties,
is currently in place on the lake, a large     in Oconomowoc Lake. Supplemental
                                               stocking of small fingerling walleyes           and lower Black River (below the Black
portion of the walleye are legal-sized.                                                        River Falls dam), Jackson, Monroe, La
Despite the strong survey numbers,             from Lake Mills State Fish Hatchery
                                               has boosted recruitment as indicated            Crosse, and Trempealeau Counties.
catching walleye in Whitefish can still                                                        Catch rates are based on 2018 electro-
be challenging. The lake is also home to       by continued fall electrofishing surveys.                                                     Fisheries technician Mara Duke with a
                                               Clear water, cisco, rocky shores and            fishing results. Black River, upper: To-      49.5” St. Louis River musky captured and
one of the densest cisco populations in                                                        tal catch rate was 4.8/mile, catch rate of
northwest Wisconsin. Walleye keying in         steep drop-offs make Oconomowoc                                                               released during the 2018 survey.
                                               Lake a quality fishing destination for          40”+ fish was 0.4/mile and maximum
on those cisco may behave differently                                                          size captured was 40”. In 2017, total
than walleye in non-cisco lakes. Anglers       multiple species.                                                                             There is a public boat launch close to
                                                                                               catch rate was 3/mile, catch rate of 40”+
willing to put in the time to solve White-                                                     fish was 0.4/mile, and maximum size           the dam at Veterans Memorial Park. A
fish’s puzzle can be rewarded greatly!                                                         was 43”. Black River, lower: Total catch      fee is required to use the launch at this
There is a town boat ramp on Maiden                                                            rate was 2.6/mile, catch rate of 40”+ fish    park. Boaters should use caution near
Lane off of State Highway 27.                                                                                                                the dam as many rock bars, wing dams,
                                                         MUSKELLUNGE                           was 0.7/mile and maximum size cap-
                                                                                               tured was 49”. In 2017, total catch rate      and shallow sand breaks are present in
                                                                                               was 1.4/mile, catch rate of 40”+ size fish    the river channel. Geologist have found
n SHEBOYGAN COUNTY                                                                             was 0.3/mile and maximum size cap-            that over a million year ago the Wis-
                                                                                                                                             consin River flowed east to the Atlantic
                                                                                               tured was 49”.40 inch minimum length-
Random Lake - 209 acres. During 2018                                                           limit / 1 fish daily bag limit. Upper Black   Ocean Drainage. This east flowing ver-
spring fyke netting and boom electro-                                                          River – Halls Creek Canoe Landing and         sion of the Wisconsin was named the
fishing surveys a total of 328 Walleye                                                         Black River State Forest unimproved           Wyalusing River. It is believed that gla-
were captured and marked. The mark                                                             landings off Palm and Brickyard Roads         ciers dammed the Wyalusing River in
and recapture samples yielded an adult                                                         (Jackson County), and DNR boat land-          the Prairie du Chien area diverting the
Walleye population estimate of 2.0 Wall-                                                       ing off Opelt Avenue (Clark County).          flow to the west and south as we know
eye/acre. Lengths ranged from 7.5 inch-                                                        Lower Black River – 3rd Street Canoe          it today. The Lower Wisconsin River
es to 26.5 inches with an average length       n    BROWN, DOOR, MARINETTE                     Landing (City of Black River Falls),
                                                                                               Perry Creek Landing, Mason’s Land-
                                                                                                                                             includes 92.3 miles from the Prairie du
                                                                                                                                             Sac dam to the Mississippi River. - Bradd
of 20.4 inches. The large size of Walleye
in Random Lake allows anglers the op-          and OCONTO COUNTIES                             ing, Irving Township Canoe Landing,           Sims, fisheries biologist – Dodgeville
portunity to catch many fish of harvest-                                                       Highway 108 Landing near Melrose,
able size. 77% of all Walleye sampled          Green Bay, Green Bay tributaries and bays       WI, North Bend Landing off CTH VV,
were of legal harvestable size! 18 inch        and the Fox River. Annual assessments           and Highway 35 landing in Van Loon
minimum length limit and 3 fish daily
bag. There is a public boat launch and
                                               to determine the status of the Green
                                               Bay Muskellunge population have been
                                                                                               Bottoms. The 4 mile stretch of the Black
                                                                                               River downstream of the Black River
                                                                                                                                             n DOUGLAS COUNTY
shorefishing opportunity at Lake View          conducted on the Fox River using fyke           Falls Dam consistently yields one of the
                                               nets and fall electroshocking for many          highest densities of 40”+ muskellunge
                                                                                                                                             St. Louis River and Estuary - 12,000 acres.
Park, Random Lake, WI.                                                                                                                       230 muskellunge captured and released
                                               years. Fyke nets set in the Fox River this      found in annual surveys.
                                               past May were filled with many large                                                          in 2018 fyke net survey; average length
                                               Musky. Female Musky averaged 50.7”                                                            of 40.3 inches, with a range of 20.4 inches
                                                                                                                                             to 52.5 inches. 45 individuals (20%) were




6             Fish Wisconsin! fishingwisconsin.org
45-inches or longer, 9 individuals (4%)                                                     of fish in the mid-30” range, and a few          Cisco are part of the forage base and
exceeded the 50-inch minimum length                                                         larger fish are present. The smaller lake        help to add on the pounds for produc-
limit. Open May 26 through November                                                         size helps shorten the learning curve for        ing heavy fish. The regulation is the
30; 50-inch minimum length with a dai-                                                      new anglers and can be a good choice             statewide 1 fish over 40 inches. A public
ly limit of one fish. Arrowhead Landing                                                     for windy days. Currently, there is a 40”        boat ramp is located off Hwy D.
and Fishing Pier: Located in the City of                                                    minimum length limit, 1 fish daily bag
Superior where Belknap Street joins the                                                     limit.
river. Features paved parking, an ADA
accessible picnic area, and portable re-                                                                                                     n POLK COUNTY
strooms. Go to http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/
lands/boataccess/ for complete informa-                                                     n LANGLADE COUNTY                                Bone Lake - 1,781 acres. In the 2017-2018
tion. Oliver Landing: Located in the Vil-                                                                                                    survey, the adult (≥30”) musky popu-
lage of Oliver, just south of Superior, at                                                  Summit Lake – 282 acres with a high              lation for Bone Lake was estimated to
end of East Detroit Street. Paved park-                                                     density stocked fishery; 40” minimum             be 0.36 fish/acre. This is considered
ing and portable restrooms. Barker’s                                                        length limit, 1 daily; Most fish are in          a moderate density. Size structure of
Island Landing: Located in the City of                                                      the 30-40 inch range with some females           Bone Lake musky was good. Of the 354
Superior at the end of Marina Drive.                                                        reaching the mid to upper 40’s; The
Features restrooms and paved parking.                                                       shallow water boat landings on the east
Loon’s Foot Landing: Located in the                                                         shore probably keep the bigger boats
City of Superior just west of the Nem-                                                      away; It would be a good place to try
adji River. Restrooms and paved park-                                                       out that new fishing kayak and land a
ing. A cooperative study with Min-                                                          nice muskie while sitting on the water!
nesota DNR, Wisconsin DNR and the
University of Minnesota was started in
2017 to determine non-spawning habi-
tat use and seasonal movement by mus-
kellunge throughout the St. Louis River       A muskellunge collected during a 2018 fyke
                                                                                            n LINCOLN COUNTY
and near shore areas of Lake Superior.        net survey on Twin Valley Lake.               Squaw Lake – 79 acres; The adult popu-
60 muskies were surgically implanted          Photo: Lloyd Meng                             lation is high density but fish tend to top
with hydro-acoustic transmitter “tags”                                                      out in the mid 40-inch range; 40” mini-
and their movements were monitored            trophy potential, but the riverine por-       mum length limit, 1 daily; Good boat
by a network of 40 acoustic receivers         tion (downstream of Eau Claire) does          landing with parking on the northeast
throughout the St. Louis River and Estu-      not get the credit it deserves for produc-    shore; Don’t let he small size of the lake
ary from Fond du Lac dam downstream           ing big musky. The forage base in the         discourage you, it fishes much larger
to the entries of the Duluth-Superior         riverine portion of the lower Chippewa        with lots of aquatic vegetation, several
Harbor. In the first year of monitor-         River is second-to-none with moon-            points with deep rock, an inlet and an
ing, 40 percent of the tagged muskies         eye, shad and numerous sucker species         outlet, and other structure to fish
ventured into Lake Superior; 25 percent       readily abundant. It is no surprise that
remained there for more than a month.         stocking efforts are paying off and the
Receivers used by U.S. Fish and Wild-         lower Chippewa River is producing
life Service for lake sturgeon research       very nice musky. Stocking on the river
in Lake Superior recorded one musky           in Eau Claire has been so successful that     n MARINETTE COUNTY
in Bark Bay of Lake Superior near Cor-        it has been expanded to Caryville and
nucopia and another musky was docu-           Durand. Check the river level prior to        Caldron and High Falls. The musky fish-           Fisheries technician, Kristina Pechacek,
mented swimming all the way over to           embarking to ensure it is at a safe level.    eries are maintained through a combi-             with a tank Oneida County musky captured
Chequamegon Bay near Washburn.                The daily bag limit is one fish and it        nation of stocking and natural repro-             during a spring fyke net survey.
Lake Superior Chapter of Muskies, Inc         must be at least 40”. - Joseph Gerbyshak –    duction. The density (fish / acre) of
has provided volunteers to assist with        fisheries biologist, Eau Claire               musky is higher in Caldron Falls than in
field work through the duration of the                                                      High Falls but large fish are present in
study. – Aaron Nelson, Fisheries Technician                                                 both flowages. 50-inch minimum length            musky handled ≥ 30 inches, 26% were
                                                                                            / 1 fish per day. There are 5 boat land-         ≥ 40 inches, with fish up to 48.5” pres-
                                                                                            ings on Caldron Falls and 6 on High              ent. Bone Lake musky are managed the
                                              n GREEN LAKE COUNTY                           Falls. Shore fishing opportunities are           50-inch minimum length limit; 1 fish
                                                                                                                                             daily bag limit. There are two public
n DOUGLAS COUNTY                              Little Green Lake - 466 acres. This stocked
                                                                                            excellent. Musky were stocked in High
                                                                                            Falls for the first time in 2017. A 50-inch      boat landings. The north landing is off
                                              Musky fishery is one of the few in this       minimum length limit went into effect            250th Avenue and is the better of the
Lower Eau Calire Lake - 784 acres. Lower      part of the state. Survey results from        in 2018.                                         two landings. The north landing also
Eau Claire Lake offers a low-density tro-     2018 showed relative abundance stable                                                          has a fishing pier, picnic shelter, and
phy muskie fishery. Seventeen muskie          compared to past surveys. Mean length                                                          restroom. The south boat landing is
were sampled netting in the spring of         of fish handled was just under 39” with                                                        off Dueholm Drive. Muskellunge were
2018. They ranged in length from 31 to        the largest fish sampled at 45.5” and all                                                      initially stocked into Bone Lake in 1935,
48 inches and averaged 38 inches. The         fish > 34”. 40” minimum, with a bag of                                                         and the lake has been managed for mus-
largest musky surveyed weighed 38             1. Good access with 3 developed, public                                                        kellunge since then.
pounds. Thirty eight percent of the fish      landings and one private resort landing.
sampled were greater than 40 inches in        Some access sites require a fee.
length. Muskie anglers willing to put
in many hours could be rewarded with                                                                                                         n RUSK COUNTY
a rare trophy. 40 inch minimum length
limit, one fish daily bag limit. Concrete                                                                                                    Amacoy Lake, ― Our higher-than-aver-
launch located on the southern end of         n IOWA COUNTY                                                                                  age capture rate of muskellunge in early
lake at Mooney Dam County Park                                                                                                               spring 2018 fyke nets suggests that an-
                                                                                                                                             glers should find fast fishing action in
                                              Twin Valley Lake - 136 acres. The Muskel-                                                      278-acre Amacoy Lake, located between
                                              lunge population in Twin Valley Lake is                                                        State Highway 40 and the Chippewa
                                              classified as an A2 fishery and anglers                                                        River about 4½ miles south of Bruce,
                                              can expect higher catch rates of fish in                                                       WI. In moderately high abundance
                                              this classification. Spring surveys yield-                                                     the population appears to have enough
                                              ed a total catch of 71 fish with a mean                                                        food to grow at a satisfactory rate and
                                              length approaching 37 inches. In fact,                                                         produce plenty of large fish. Among 86
                                              18% of Muskies surveyed were over 40”                                                          adult muskies 30 inches or longer, 59%
                                              with a maximum length of 43”. With the                                                         were at least 38 inches and 23% were at
                                              yearly stocking of Muskies in Twin Val-                                                        least 42 inches. Only one fish in our nets
                                              ley Lake, anglers can be sure that excit-                                                      attained 45 inches, but Amacoy Lake
                                              ing musky angling will continue in 2019                                                        anglers have reported their encounters
                                              and beyond. Minimum length limit of                                                            with bigger fish. We injected a unique-
                                              40 inches with a daily bag limit of 1.                                                         ly-coded microchip into the cheek of
                                              Twin Valley Lake is located in Governor                                                        each musky captured in 2018 to measure
                                              Dodge state park. A state park sticker or                                                      their growth and estimate their density,
                                              daily pass is required, and one public                                                         if we can sample the population again in
                                              boat launch is available. Only electric       The lower Chippewa River, from Eau Claire        spring 2019. To avoid crowding and in-
                                              trolling motors are permitted on Twin                                                          tense food competition that can impair
                                              Valley Lake. Governor Dodge is the            to the Mississippie River, has the potential
                                                                                                                                             growth, we’ll continue to stock 12-inch
                                              third largest state park in Wisconsin.        to produce trophy caliber musky.                 muskies in odd-numbered years, but
                                              Camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, and                                                         at a reduced rate of 0.5 fingerling per
                                              horseback riding are permitted within                                                          acre. Rusk County maintains a public
                                              the state park and a public beach and                                                          boat landing and shorefishing access on
                                              picnic area are provided. - Justin Ha-                                                         the west side. Though most anglers re-
                                              glund, fisheries biologist – Dodgeville       n ONEIDA COUNTY                                  lease their catch, Amacoy Lake has the
                                                                                                                                             standard Northern Zone musky har-
                                                                                            Hasbrook Lake – 307 acres. 2018 Spring           vest regulation (1 fish at least 40” may
                                                                                            surveys showed a healthy naturally               be kept daily from the last Saturday in
                                                                                            reproducing muskellunge population
                                              n IRON COUNTY                                 with an average size near 40 inches. The
                                                                                                                                             May to November 30). –Jeff Scheirer, fish-
                                                                                                                                             eries biologist
                                                                                            largest muskellunge sampled stretched
Fisheries biologist Scott Toshner holds a     Pine Lake: Those who are looking to           to 48 inches. The regulation is the state-
48-inch muskellunge captured in Lower         tangle with their first musky or are          wide 1 fish over 40 inches. A public boat
Eau Claire Lake.                              seeking a good musky action lake in the       launch with good access is located on
                                              Northwoods might consider Pine Lake.          the southwest end of the lake off Has-           n SHAWANO COUNTY
                                              Located a few miles north of Mercer,          brook Road.
n EAU CLAIRE, DUNN and                        Pine Lake sizes up at 312 acres and has
                                              a nice boat launch just off of Hwy G.
                                                                                                                                             Shawano Lake and Washington Lake.
                                                                                                                                             Shawano Lake = 6,215 acres; Washing-
PEPIN COUNTIES                                Recent surveys indicate strong natural
                                                                                            North Nokomis Lake – 476 acres. Recent
                                                                                            spring surveys captured 44 muskel-               ton Lake = 75 acres. The DNR conduct-
                                              reproduction and above average adult          lunge and showed good size structure.            ed a comprehensive fisheries survey of
                                              muskellunge densities. While only 4%                                                           Shawano and Washington lakes using
Lower Chippewa River. The reservoirs          of the adults surveyed in 2018 were
                                                                                            The average length of adult muskel-
                                                                                                                                             fyke nets and electrofishing in spring
on the lower Chippewa River are well                                                        lunge sampled was 38.5 inches with the
                                              larger than 38”, there are good numbers       largest measuring just over 47 inches.           2018. A total of 39 different muskies
known for their musky populations and




                                                                                                                                           Wisconsin Fishing Report - 2019           7
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