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Progress In Changing Trout Rules & Regulations

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Wisconsin Conservation Congress

Trout Committee



Jordan Weeks WDNR Fish Manager from La Crosse gave a review of the upcoming report on Trout Fishing Participation Survey. He explained that the survey shows drop in participation is due mostly to busy lives, and other hobbies. Not because of regulations and limits. A full report is due out very soon.

DNR liaison Jordan Weeks gave a briefing on DNR Trout Committee and the review of the possible trout regulation changes. He also commented on contacts from the public about changes in the regulations. He feels people are bypassing the Conservation Congress and going straight to their legislators. May be due to lack of knowledge of the Congress and its purpose. Also may be due to the time involved in getting changes done due to ACT 21.

Weeks gave a report on the DNR Trout Committee review of the current fishing regulations, and possible changes. Some of the proposed changes being looked at are;

Longer season, earlier start, and later close

Some of regulations changes are in the categories.

Category 1: no size limit, 5 fish bag limit

Category 2: 8” or 9” size limit, 3 fish bag limit

Category 3 special regulations (catch and release, trophy, ETC,)

Eliminate Category 4: Minimum length limit: Brown and rainbow trout

12"; brook trout 8" Daily bag limit: 3 in total

Eliminate Fly Fishing only regulations, convert to artificial only.

He stressed all of these are only proposals as of now, no changes have been agreed to as of yet.

A proposal was also floated out there to increase the Trout Stamp fee from $10.00 to $15.00

Fisheries Biologist (608) 785-9002 [email protected]



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Recent email I received from the head of WI Fisheries

The current Wisconsin seasons have evolved over many decades of public debate and actions by the Natural Resources Board and Legislature. They are intended to be a compromise between people who want expanded harvest and fishing opportunities and those who have concerns about hurting the populations (eg wading disturbance to redds, or increased harvest). Also, like the deer season, there is a lot of long term tradition mixed in. Some people want to fish during their traditional (eg warmer weather) seasons and don’t like the idea of fish being taken or disturbed during “non traditional” periods (eg winter). In recent years, this debate was had when the current early season framework was instituted (many argued for a Jan 1 opening at the time) and in recent Conservation Congress advisory questions to extend the season (not advanced by the Congress). I expect we will revisit the issue again when the trout committee completes its review of the trout management program and makes recommendations on regulation changes but I also expect the issue to remain controversial.

Michael Staggs

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Bureau of Fisheries Management

PO Box 7921, 101 S. Webster

Madison, WI 53707-7921


608-266-2244 (fax)

[email protected]

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