Two separate measures regarding lake trout harvests in lakes Superior and Michigan gained approval by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board on Dec. 14.
The separate measures reflect the difference in lake trout abundance between the two Great Lakes. Next steps will involve stakeholder meetings in both regions.
For Lake Michigan: The board approved a scope statement for development of an emergency rule and a permanent rule. Changes to the current lake trout rules could include an increase in the lake trout daily bag limit from the current level of two lake trout per day; allowing a year-round open season in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, except for the Mid Lake Reef Complex; and allowing fishing on the Mid Lake Reef Complex from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30.
The scoping statement and rule development effort follow a series of stakeholder meetings in 2016 during which anglers expressed interest in expanded fishing opportunities for lake trout. Comments received also favored changing the regulations for lake trout.
Brad Eggold, Great Lakes District fisheries supervisor, said the department anticipates holding a public meeting in January or February as part of the rule development effort. For more on Lake Michigan fisheries management, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “Fishing Lake Michigan.”
For Lake Superior: The Natural Resources Board approved an emergency rule to amend lake trout harvest limits for the 2016-17 harvest season to reflect continued challenges to the population. Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, said the recreational season runs from Dec. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017. The commercial fishing season is open from Nov. 28, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017.
The emergency rule separates lake trout from the current five total daily bag limit for trout on Lake Superior. Under the rule, anglers will be able to take up to two (WI-2) or three (WI-1) lake trout per day as well as up to five other trout per day.