Summary of Trout Regulation Change Proposal
On October 11th Kasey Yallaly Senior Fisheries Biologist with the DNR presented a tentative proposal for changing creel limits for trout. Kasey’s territory is Pierce, St Croix, and western Dunn Counties and is actively involved in managing habitat and fisheries research for the Kinnickinnic, Rush, Trimbelle rivers, as well as other smaller streams and tributaries.
Kasey’s presentation began with a brief history of fish populations and water quality over the past 30 plus years. The Rush river throughout the 1960’s through the early 2000’s was almost entirely a stocked fishery. Stocking ended in 2007 as a result of improved water quality resulting in enough natural reproduction to support a self-sustaining trout population.
As the wild trout population has grown the stream regularly rates in ithe top with fish per mile for the entire Driftless region. The Kinnickinnic as well is in the top percentile in fish per stream mile. The Trimbelle, currently a class 2 stream with some support coming from stocking, may soon be moved to class 1 with a strong naturally reproducing trout population.
This is a real success story with regard to our cold-water fisheries; however, the DNR’s concern is that due to the incredible reproductive rates we are seeing higher fish densities in the 10-12 inch range and fewer “quality” fish in the 13-17 range. For instance, in the Rush, 85% of all fish are in the 6-12 range, and that number is 75%-90% in the other Pierce County streams. The current harvest limits on the Rush, Trimbelle and others is 3 fish 12 inches or larger. The Kinni size regulations currently state 5 fish under 12 inches. Kasey’s proposal is to change these regulations to 5 fish under 12 inches, 1 over 12 inches may be kept. The intent is to increase harvest of smaller fish and protect more of the larger fish. This would apply to all streams in Pierce and St Croix counties except, Cady Creek, Pine Creek, Willow River and the upper Eau Galle River. This is an initial proposal and most likely would not occur until 2026.
A meeting of this type is a great example of Kasey’s commitment to providing quality fishing and sound habitat management for all of us and we greatly appreciate her efforts and fish management knowledge. Additional information will be forthcoming as these proposals make their way through the WDNR regulation process. If you have additional questions regarging these proposed regulation changes, Kasey can be reached at: Kasey.Yallaly@wisconsin.gov, or by phone at, 715.977.7354.