Input Sought for WDNR Statewide Inland Trout Management Plan

WDNR Statewide Inland Trout Management Plan

Stakeholder Group Meeting

January 27, 2018

Stevens Point, WI


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has begun the process of creating a Statewide Inland Trout Management Plan.  Currently, no inland trout management plan exists; so this new plan will support the 10-Year Strategic Plan for Fisheries Management in Wisconsin: 2015-2025.  The scope of the new plan covers inland trout waters only, excluding the Great Lakes, but including Great Lakes tributaries.  Inland brook, brown, rainbow, and lake trout will be included in the management plan.

To obtain public, private, and partner input on the creation of this new plan, WDNR has assembled a group of stakeholders from the 4 state fisheries districts (north, south, east, west).  Eight stakeholders have been selected to represent each district, with members from the following groups: 2 anglers (including 1 TU angler), 1 landowner, 1 “non-consumptive” member (not affiliated with an angler group), 1 tribal representative, 1 WI Conservation Congress member, 1 business/tourism member, and 1 member-at-large.  Kent Johnson from the Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter is the TU angler representing the West District.

The initial meeting of the stakeholder group was held on Saturday, January 27 in Stevens Point, WI.  WDNR staff were on hand to provide background information on Wisconsin’s current trout management program, including the fisheries management structure, funding, public access standards, and major program components, which include: 1) surveys and assessment; 2) stocking and wild trout management; 3) classifications and regulations; 4) habitat development; 5) beaver management; 6) angler access; 7) public education and outreach; and 8) research.  To solicit stakeholder input on these issues and more, WDNR staff asked the following questions:

  1. What do you value about WI’s coldwater trout fishery?
  2. What are your concerns about trout resources and trout management in the future (what are the risks and threats)?
  3. 10 years from now, what would you like to see accomplished via a trout management plan?

Stakeholder feedback at the January 27 meeting particularly emphasized the topics of climate change, stream restoration, public education and outreach (how to nurture the interest and support of future trout lovers), partnerships for trout management, public access, funding and prioritization of resources, and maintaining a strong science- and research-based approach to trout management.

The next stakeholder group meeting is scheduled for March 3 in Stevens Point.  Stakeholder input received by the WDNR at the January 27 and March 3 meetings (and possibly a third meeting) will provide a framework for WDNR staff to prepare a draft inland trout management plan this spring.  After internal review and approval of the draft plan, public meetings on the draft plan will be held sometime this summer.  The ultimate goal is for the WI Natural Resources Board to approve the inland trout management plan by late 2018 or early 2019.

As the West District’s TU angler representative, I am open to hearing any and all of your ideas about issues and topics that should be included in the new WI Inland Trout Management Plan.  As the stakeholder group did, feel free to use the 3 questions above if they’re helpful for your thought process.  Please e-mail your suggestions to me prior to the next stakeholder group meeting on March 3, and I’ll bring your ideas along.  Collectively, we can make this a strong plan for the future of trout management in Wisconsin.  Thanks for your input and support.

Kent Johnson

Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter, Trout Unlimited


Your Help is Requested

2016 Conservation Congress-Get out to Vote

This year’s WI Conservation Congress meetings are being held on Mon. April 11th. These meetings are important and give those who enjoy the outdoors a chance to weigh in on potential rule/regulation changes. Trout fishermen who showed up at last year’s meeting were instrumental in changing the regulation to extend the length of the trout season. The meetings are open to everyone and state residency is not required to vote on the issues being presented at the meetings. Each county has a designated meeting location which can be found by visiting the WI DNR website.

The Wisconsin State Council of Trout Unlimited has asked that we send a message out to our membership encouraging them to attend this year’s meeting and to weigh in and vote on Question 14 which pertains to trout fishing within the state.

Question 14 reads as follows:

14.  Eliminate the “artificial only” restriction from regular season trout regulations.

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress has joined the effort to make the rules regulating hunting, fishing, and trapping more understandable to the state’s sportsmen and women and thus add the their enjoyment of the outdoors. At its most recent meeting, the members of the WCC Rule Simplification Committee advanced a proposal to remove artificial only restrictions from all trout waters in the state.  The WCC Executive Council voted to forward the proposal for public input.  Surveys of trout anglers in WI show preferences for the use of both artificial and live baits and this proposal would respect the rights of both.  While some studies have shown that post-release mortality of trout caught with bait can exceed that of trout caught with artificial lures, there are no rigorous studies on population-level effects of post-release mortality of trout caught by bait in WI streams.

Do you favor eliminating the “artificial only” restriction from the regular trout season regulations?     YES_____  NO_____

The following is the Wisconsin State TU Councils’ position on this issue

Less than 2.5% of Wisconsin’s 13,175 miles of trout streams are “artificial only”

The placement of artificial only water is not widespread, and does not impact even close to a significant number of Wisconsin’s 2,989 designated trout streams.

Designation of this small percentage of water as “artificial-only” has been done by trained fisheries biologists.  Reasons for designation include, but are not limited to:

–    protecting critical headwater areas
–    protecting trout populations in marginal waters
–    encouraging various types of angling opportunities

Trout Unlimited strongly supports our fisheries biologists, and strongly supports providing them more management tools to face ever changing challenges, not less.

Wisconsin Trout Unlimited urges its members and friends to VOTE NO TO QUESTION 14.   

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