Expanded lake trout harvest opportunities are now in effect in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan thanks to an emergency rule approved by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB).
The rule takes into account current lake trout populations including the re-establishment of natural reproduction in some refuge areas and is not expected to affect long-term restoration efforts, said Brad Eggold, Great Lakes district fisheries supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The new five fish daily bag limit was developed following an extensive angler engagement process that included seven public meetings with total attendance of 500.
“Based on the comments from our stakeholders, we believe increasing the daily bag limit from two to five lake trout will create welcome new recreational opportunities while also addressing concerns about the ratio of predators to prey in the lake,” Eggold said. Other provisions of the new rule:
- Count the five fish daily lake trout limit as part of the overall five trout and salmon combined daily bag limit.
- Maintain closure of refuges, which are supporting some natural reproduction.
- Offer a continuous open season in 2017.
- Maintain the commitment to lake-wide lake trout restoration and promotion of a diverse salmon and trout fishery through continued assessment of lake trout restoration goals and management actions.
DNR will hold a combined public hearing on the emergency rule and gather additional information for a permanent rule at a public hearing set for June 22, 6 to 8 pm, in the ballroom at UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204. Written comments can be sent to [email protected] or mailed to: Brad Eggold, Department of Natural Resources, Great Lakes Water Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204. The deadline for comments is July 7, 2017.
To view a recent presentation on Lake Michigan lake trout that informed development of the rule, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum.”