MADISON – The public will have an opportunity to provide input on proposals to simplify existing inland trout fishing regulations and provide more quality trout fishing opportunities at 10 public meetings that will be held throughout the state beginning Sept. 3.
Beyond simplifying the rules for anglers, communities that serve as home to Wisconsin’s 13,000 miles of trout streams will likely see additional economic benefits as a result of proposed extensions to the spring and fall seasons and elimination of the current five-day closure says Joanna Griffin, trout coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
“Wisconsin’s trout fishing regulations and seasons were last reviewed in 2003 and much has changed, including improved fish populations,” says Scot Stewart, DNR district fish supervisor. “Guided by public input, we’ve developed draft rules that support the continued health of our trout waters while making the fishing experience easier for anglers.”
DNR has sought public input throughout the rule review process and the next step is to bring the proposed rules to the public for final comment. Since 2011, DNR staff members have hosted 31 public meetings, developed three angler surveys, organized trout task force stakeholder meetings and developed advisory questions for spring hearings hosted by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.
The public feedback has resulted in a proposal that reduces the number of special regulations from more than 40 to 12. The proposal also creates uniformity on streams within small geographic areas.
The new system uses color-coding resembling a stoplight to guide anglers. Under the proposed rules:
Green means go fish – with no length limit, a bag limit of five fish and no bait restrictions;
Yellow means caution – with an 8 inch length limit, a bag limit of three fish and no bait restrictions; and
Red means special regulations are in place. Anglers are advised to stop and understand the regulations before fishing.
Changes also are proposed in the season dates for inland trout fishing. The current early catch and release season runs from March 1 up to five days before the regular fishing opener. The proposal would extend the early catch and release season to Jan. 1 and would run right to the regular fishing opener with no five-day closure period.
“Thanks to the participation of anglers and interested citizens throughout the state, we are ready to move forward with the next steps,” Stewart says.
Ten public meetings are scheduled for September to gather additional citizen comments. The process will conclude with spring hearings and a vote in conjunction with a meeting of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.
The fall public meetings will be held:
September 3, Waukesha – 7 p.m., room 151, DNR Satellite Center, 141 NW Barstow St.
September 4, Dodgeville – 7 p.m., DNR Satellite Center, 1500 N. Johns St.
Green Bay – 6 p.m., DNR Service Center, 2984 Shawano Ave.
La Crosse – 6:30 p.m., Room B19-20 (lower level), DNR Satellite Center, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road.
Wausau – 6:30 p.m., DNR Satellite Center, 5301 Rib Mountain Road.
Hayward – 7 p.m. DNR Satellite Center, 10220 State Highway 27.
Waupaca – 6 p.m., Rm. B, Waupaca Public Library, 107 S. Main St.
Eau Claire – 6:30 p.m., Room 158/185, DNR Service Center, 1300 W. Clairemont Ave.
Fitchburg – 7-9 p.m., Gathering Waters and Glaciers Edge meeting rooms, DNR Service Center, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road.
September 16, Ashland – 7 p.m., DNR Satellite Center, 2501 Golf Course Road.
For more information about the proposed trout regulations, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for “trout review.” In addition to the public meetings, comments may be submitted to Joanna Griffin by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scot Stewart, District Fisheries Supervisor, email@example.com, 608-273-5967, Joanna Griffin, DNR trout specialist, Joanna.Griffin@Wisconsin.gov, 608-264-8953; or Jennifer Sereno, communications, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov, 608-770-8084
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