DNR Stocks Trout in WI Waters

In preparation for May 7th, opening day of the regular inland fishing season, the DNR has been making special deliveries of trout to local waters. Catchable size trout are being placed in waters where there would normally not be. These are areas where natural reproduction is not occurring, mainly because of reduced habitat.

Since trout numbers are up in other areas, it does no damage to relocate some of the trout for the benefit of the fishing season. Other trout for these drops have been farm raised at Lakewood State Fish Hatchery, Nevin State Fish Hatchery, Osceola State Fish Hatchery and St. Croix Falls State Fish Hatchery.

Photo credit: infotrek.er.usgs.gov

Proposed: Fish Feed for Lake Wazee

On what was previously the site of the Jackson County Iron Mine, Lake Wazee formed after the quarry’s 1983 closure and is now the deepest inland lake in Wisconsin. The hole simply filled with water as time passed and the lake currently has no inlets or outlets. Lake Wazee, part of the surrounding recreation area, is fed by springs and spans approximately 154 acres with a maximum depth of about 355 feet. While the lake currently holds some trout, bass and walleye (previously stocked by the DNR), fishing has been lower than expected due to lake of food for the fish.

The DNR has proposed to stock cisco, a smaller fish that is generally eaten by the more popular game fish, in the lake to improve the fishing overall. If approved, this study would introduce the fish into the lake and then monitor their survival over a three to four year time period. The cisco are not seen as a threat to surrounding waters because they require coldwater habitats to survive. Comments are being accepted by the public on the matter.

For more information about the study, read the WDNR release. For more information about Lake Wazee, see this page. Browse our recommended reading list for book suggestions on fish and fishing in Wisconsin.

Photo credit: Cisco by Cornell University DNR

VHS: The Fish Disease, Not Your Old Videotapes

Imagine a type of Ebola, just for fish. Bulging eyes, hemorrhaging in the muscle tissue and internal organs, and pale organs are some of the clinical symptoms of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), a deadly fish virus, which was confirmed to be present in Milwaukee waters last month. Since the virus affected thousands of gizzard shad in Lake Michigan, the DNR has been taking steps to prevent the spread of VHS. In addition to restricting bait which may be carriers of the virus, they are also requiring gear to be drained by boaters and anglers upon leaving the water or before entering the state. While VHS hadn’t been an issue in Lake Michigan since 2008, assertive steps are being taken to combat it in Wisconsin waters.

This fact page put together by the WDNR has a wealth of information about VHS, and suggestions for preventing its spread are available here. For more information, read the detailed WDNR release, or the Journal Sentinel release. For books on fish and fishing, see our recommended reading list.

Photo credit: news.medill.northwestern.edu

Milwaukee: Waterways without Asian Carp

In November of 2010, researchers from the University of Notre Dame collected water samples from several Milwaukee waterways including the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic rivers among others. These water samples were then analyzed to see if they contained Asian carp DNA. The good news is that they do not.

While DNA was found in southern parts of Lake Michigan earlier last year near the Illinois-Indiana border, it seems that the measures taken to block the carp from progressing northward have been successful, at least in keeping the invaders out of Milwaukee’s waters. According to a brief article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “only one actual fish has been found above the barrier.” Current focuses are on making sure that the carp are blocked from making it further north up the Mississippi River.

More information about this research can be found in this DNR news release. View our previous blog posts on Asian carp here. There are also several books dealing with Asian carp in our invasive species recommended reading list.

Photo credit: Michael D-L Jordan for nd.edu.

Sturgeon Spearing Season Starts Big

Primary Wisconsin DNR reports coming out of Winnebago and Oshkosh are in. The third and fifth largest sturgeons have been added to the record books, which were started in 1941. Weighing 185 and 172.7 pounds respectively, these two female record fish are among seven sturgeon that have been added to the books in the last three years. A list of the top ten fish can be seen here.

Overall, 881 fish were caught during the first three days of the season. Out of those fish, 52 weighed over 100 pounds. Big fish are being caught because of DNR regulations that went into effect to protect the larger fish and increase their presence in WI lakes. The total maximum number of days the season could stay open is 16, and official are saying this is very likely. The final day of the open season will then be this Sunday, February 27th at 12:30pm. Read the full DNR release for more information.

Photo from the WDNR news release.

Shortage of Fish Fry Favorite: Yellow Perch

Sad news for the crew of the Barney Devine, a sea vessel being retired and replaced by a newer, more technologically advanced ship, Coregonus. The Barney Devine set out to record the number of yellow perch in Lake Michigan, but returned with a hole in her hull and a remarkably smaller number of recorded fish than previous years. Since the survey area was the same as previous years some researchers are unsure of the cause of the fishy decline. Some blame quagga, a mussel inhabiting the bottom of the lake, known to consume plankton, a valuable feeding resource for young perch. The DNR will not be changing bag limit (number of fish that can be caught) on yellow perch for the time being. For further information, see the WDNR news release.

Photo credit: WDNR website

That’s One Big Fish!

In Winnebago, February 12th will bring the first day of a new season of sturgeon spearing. Since the fish population has increased, the DNR has been able to raise the catch limit this season and it is expected to break even last year’s hearty records. One record catch last season was a 212 pound sturgeon speared by a Wisconsinite. The DNR is confident that the sturgeon management system they have in place helps to pro-actively involve the public while increasing the sturgeon population and fishing opportunities.

For further reading on fish and fishing in general, see our recommended reading list. We have also recently added to our ice fishing reading list. For fish identification, try our section of field guides on Great Lakes fish.
Photo credit: WDNR by Rachel Piacenza