The future of Wisconsin trout fishingThe end of September marks the beginning of the fall color changes. It also marks the close of inland trout fishing in Wisconsin.
By: By Mike Reiter, New Richmond News
The end of September marks the beginning of the fall color changes. It also marks the close of inland trout fishing in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s cold water trout fishery ranks among the best in quality and quantity when compared to just about any other state in the Union, or for that matter in the world. This is due to a number of reasons which includes sound management practices and water quality improvements.
Locally, we only have to travel a short distance to experience quality angling on the Willow, Apple, Rush or Kinni.
Each September the Trout Committee of the Conservation Congress meets to review the trout fishing regulations and develop potential new regulations which will maintain our quality cold water fishery. The meetings are held on a Friday night in late September and are attended by trout fishing enthusiasts from around the state that make up that committee.
The next day, following the official meeting, a tour of the local area is arranged by the fish manager to allow the committee members to view first hand both new and old methods of trout habitat improvements and address other trout related issues. The members can then take this information back to share with their local organizations and clubs.
The meetings are scheduled in late September to allow the committee members the opportunity to sample the quality fishing available in the meeting location as a last hurrah before the close of the inland trout fishing season. These meetings are moved around the state and over the last 25 years have been held in every part of Wisconsin.
This year was no exception with the 2011 meeting being held in Baldwin. The meeting and tour were arranged by our area fish manager Marty Engel. Fisheries Biologists Scot Stewart from Madison and Jordan Weeks from La Crosse helped in advising the group. Conservation Supervisor Dave Hausman attended as the committee law enforcement liaison and was available to clarify any potential enforcement issues with regulations under discussion. The minutes of the meeting are available on the DNR website.
During the meeting former long-time Trout Committee member Arby Linder from Pierce County was presented with an award plaque thanking him for his almost four decades of service to the Conservation Congress Trout Committee and his dedication to the protection and enhancement of the cold water resources of Wisconsin.
The next day following the meeting a tour was arranged that included a visit to the Rush River to view recently constructed handicapped fishing pads and habitat work ongoing on Pine Creek near Maiden Rock. Marty and his crew led this very informative outing which was highlighted by sample shocking demonstrations showing brook and brown trout densities which numbered 8,000 to 10,000 fish per mile.
A presentation by Trout Crew Leader John Sours highlighted the work that can be accomplished when a variety of partners are banded together in a common cause. Trout stamp money can be multiplied by a factor of 10 when organizations like Trout Unlimited and local clubs provide volunteer labor, other governmental agencies contribute time and resources to a project that benefit all. In the Pine Creek work, a local sand mining business requests their workers to help on these projects, paying them their normal wages including overtime. What a great contribution to a very worthwhile project. With these partnerships a $50,000.00 trout stamp project can be turned into one valued at more than half a million dollars.
Fishers can be assured that quality trout fishing in Wisconsin will continue well into the future as partnership like these become the rule and not the exception!
By Tom Kerr
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
As the grasses begin to brown with the shortening days of fall, the Fish and Wildlife Service will be using controlled burns to continue to restore and manage local Waterfowl Production Areas. Our goal for the units that we will burn is to continue the restoration work we started several years ago on oak savannas and grasslands.
We have already removed many of the invasive plants such as buckthorn, Siberian elm and box elder that have slowly taken over these fire dependent savanna and grassland restoration sites. We have also chemically treated many of the saplings that have grown up from the roots. Unfortunately, these invasive species are very persistent, re-sprouting from seeds that may have been in the soil for several years.
Fall controlled burns can be effective at setting back these seedlings but fall burns also blacken the ground, providing an ideal seed bed for our local ecotype native grass and flower seeds. These native seeds that are adapted for local conditions will be spread over the snow this winter, where they will get a head start against non-native plants that may want to take over the savanna again.
Once the native grasses and flowers become established, controlled burns can be used less frequently to maintain these areas. Although these burns may temporarily displace wildlife, many of these grassland and savanna dependent species such as mallards, meadowlarks, bobolinks, northern harriers and many others evolved with fire.
Historically, wildfires ignited by lightning or other natural causes helped maintain large portions of St. Croix and southern Polk County as open prairie. With European settlement, wildfires were suppressed, towns and agricultural fields became more common and trees began to overtake the remaining prairie. We safely use controlled burns to simulate some of the positive benefits of naturally occurring fire.
Controlled burns are just one of several management techniques that we use to restore the prairie, wetlands and oak savanna historically found in the St. Croix Wetland Management District.
If you would like to stay informed about the controlled burns on area WPAs, check us out on Facebook by searching for St. Croix Wetland Management District. For more information on the St. Croix Wetland Management District, check out our website at www.fws.gov/midwest/stcroix/.
Warden Paul’s Corner
Extended Archery Deer and Fall Turkey Seasons
Turkey hunters will have additional time in the field this fall and in future years, under a permanent extension to the fall wild turkey hunting season that state legislature has approved, and that will go into effect in time for the upcoming 2011 fall turkey season.
The extended season will start on the day after the close of the nine-day gun deer season and continue through the end of December. This fall, the extended season will run from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31. The extension is limited to turkey management zones 1-5 only; zones 6 and 7 in northern Wisconsin are excluded in order to limit hunting pressure on that region’s smaller population of turkeys.
Turkey hunters are reminded to register their turkey online or by phone this fall. This fall’s wild turkey hunting season will see a big change in turkey harvest registration procedures – the previous system, which required hunters to transport their turkey to a local registration station, is being replaced by more convenient phone-in and online registration options.
Hunters will be able to register their turkey remotely through the DNR website or via the phone-in Harvest Registration Hotline. In-person registration stations will not be available. All harvested turkeys must be registered using one of the following two methods: Call the DNR’s Harvest Registration Hotline at 1-888-HUNT-WIS (1-888-486-8947). This phone-in system will accept touch-tone entries only or visit the online Harvest Registration System via the DNR website.
Hunters will be asked to record a harvest registration confirmation number on their hunting permit at the end of the call or online session. Hunters will still have until 5 p.m. on the day after harvest to register their turkey.
Part of the registration process will involve determining the age (adult or juvenile) and the sex (gobbler or hen) of the harvested turkey. In the field, hunters can refer to page 18 of the 2011 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations booklet for a graphic guiding them through the aging and sexing process. The same graphic, as well as a full-color identification guide, can be found on the turkey registration page of the DNR website.
In addition to the fall turkey hunt extension, the season for hunting deer with archery equipment has also been extended to include the nine-day November gun deer hunt.
Archery deer hunters must comply with hunter orange clothing rules during any gun deer season. The new dates for the archery deer season are now Sept. 17–Nov. 17 and Nov. 19, 2011–Jan. 8, 2012. Archery hunters should be careful to note that the archery season is closed for one day, Nov 18, the Friday before the gun deer hunt.
An archery deer hunting license and a deer carcass tag valid for tagging a deer killed with archery equipment is required to hunt deer with a bow, or with a crossbow by persons eligible to use a crossbow. As in the past, it is not legal to tag or possess a deer with an archery deer carcass tag that was shot with a firearm.
For any questions call Warden Paul Sickman at 715-684-2914, ext. 120.