Navigation

Wild Things: Get the Lead Out

Fishing-tournament pros disqualified

by KEVIN NAZE, gofishwi[email protected], Peninsula Pulse contributor

Anyone with a finger on the pulse of fishing has likely heard about, seen video of, or read about the professional anglers who were allegedly caught lead-handed with fishing weights stuffed into the bellies of walleyes during a recent high-stakes Lake Erie tournament.

Considering that the duo would have easily won without the eight-plus pounds of added weights, fish fillets and miscellaneous items found in the walleyes’ body cavities, one has to wonder just what these guys were thinking.

A felony conviction was made after a lead ball was found in a salmon-fishing tournament here years ago, but whether or not that happens in the current case, the suspected walleye-tournament cheaters have been absolutely deep fried on social media. And almost certainly, their professional fishing careers are over. 

But are they the first bass or walleye pros to cheat in a tourney? Not even close. Violators have been caught fishing out of bounds, using too many rods, sneaking live bait into artificial-only contests, pooling big fish to one boat, and even catching fish early and leaving them in special cages secured miles from any suspecting eye.

Locally, there have been a few complaints about individuals allegedly keeping jumbo perch alive for days prior to ice-fishing tournaments. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been caught doing so. 

The latest black eye for fishing tournaments may, in the long run, be good for the sport as new rules are implemented and cheaters feel the heat.

A young white-tailed deer crossed County J west of Forestville while its mother watched from the grassy ditch. Vehicle/deer collisions spike from about mid-October to mid-November as the annual deer breeding season heats up. Photo by Kevin Naze.

Pheasants and Deer 

Oct. 15 brings another round of hunting-season openers, most notably for stocked and wild ring-necked pheasants. Others that day are the Open Water Duck Zone, Southern Zone duck (reopens after a five-day break), Zone B ruffed grouse, Southern Zone cottontail rabbit, Hungarian partridge, fox, raccoon (residents) and bobcat (with permit). 

Goose, wild turkey and bow and crossbow deer hunts are ongoing, and many success stories were made during the Oct. 8-9 youth gun deer hunt.

Wisconsin hunters were already closing in on 30,000 whitetails taken through the first month of the fall seasons, including 324 (186 bucks) in Door County and 246 (144 bucks) in Kewaunee County (KC). 

As of Tuesday, the totals reported include 110 youth gun deer in Door, and 104 youth gun deer in KC. Just under half of the youth deer were bucks. 

Meanwhile, archers had reported 82 deer in Door (57 bucks) and 53 in KC (38 bucks), and crossbow users 132 in Door (79 bucks) and 89 in KC (55 bucks).

Stocking Meeting Oct. 24

Another public meeting to gather feedback on a three-year plan for salmon and trout stocking on Lake Michigan and Green Bay will be held Oct. 24, 6 pm, at Lakeshore Technical College’s Centennial Hall West in Cleveland, Wisconsin. There’s also a Zoom option. DNR staff will share management options, and stakeholders will be able to present ideas and input.

Find out more information about this meeting, including handouts and presentations from the Aug. 30 meeting, at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/lakemichigan/LakeMichiganSalmonandTroutMeetings.html.

Hunt Webinar Oct. 19

The fourth in a series of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) educational hunting webinars will be held at Oct. 19, 7 pm, at youtu.be/Rj6bQjcJWUs. All four will be archived on the DNR’s YouTube channel page.

Each episode features guests sharing their experiences of getting started with hunting and includes discussions addressing challenges that are common for those who are new to hunting, fishing or trapping. 

Lake Levels Drop

Lake Michigan water levels have dropped about four inches during the past month, 10 inches during the past year and more than two feet since 2020. As of Oct. 7, the lake was 34 inches below the monthly high, set in 1986, but still seven inches above the 100-year average and 37 inches higher than the October low, set in 1964.

Shot-placement Guides

The National Bowhunter Education Foundation has a number of educational tools available to increase success and safety for hunters. The products include anatomy and shot-placement training aids that feature transparent overlays for deer, turkey, bear and elk. Check them out at shop.nbef.org.

Trout-stream Closure

Saturday, Oct. 15, is the last day to fish for inland trout in streams, springs and spring ponds, but many inland lakes and ponds will remain open. Check the Guide to Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations booklet for exceptions by county. 

DNR Trees and Shrubs

See what’s left for spring tree and shrub orders from Department of Natural Resources (DNR) nurseries at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/treeplanting/order. Phone orders will be accepted beginning Oct. 17.