Email To Cathy Stepp Today

Discussion in 'Fly Tying, Trout Fishing' started by spinner, May 10, 2011.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member



    My name is Len Harris. I am an avid trout angler in the southwest part of the state. I have been following the recent Trout Regulations Review and Simplification being done by your staff. I have fished the streams around here for 49 years and the trout fishing is the absolute best it has been in those years . Many trout streams are even over populated and could use some thinning.

    I am an old fashion angler for trout. I use mostly spinning gear and enjoy eating trout. In those 49 years I have been fishing for trout I have seen a drastic drop in the population of spin anglers. The anglers that use inline spinners, rapalas and worms are the ones I have seen the greatest decline in. The decline is for many reasons.

    Three of the major reasons are the trout regulations vary way too much on a single stream. The regulations are "not" too complicated but they are cumbersome and restrictive to the spin anglers so they are leaving the trout arena and going to other species to enjoy fishing. The biggest decline in these anglers are the children. The beginner angler that is typically taught by their relatives are worm anglers.

    Many trout streams are made strict catch and release and the data does "not" justify the need for it. A catch and release stream should "only" be used on a stream that is unhealthy and can not handle harvest. Many catch release streams now are made because the local trout unlimited clubs assisted in the structures being placed in the streams and feel an ownership almost to the stream. This in turn causes them to lobby to have those streams made catch and release like the majority of their members follow. The only problem is this practice does not allow for worm anglers and spin anglers that want to harvest trout to use the stream.

    One of the glaring reasons that many anglers are leaving trout fishing is the early catch and release season. This season is seen as preferential to the catch and release angler. "NO" other species has such a season in Wisconsin. The people like me that like harvesting fish and feel that catch and release season is blatant waste of the resources. This is done by spin all that fish that season and hook a trout that certainly is going to die. The rules dictate that trout MUST be released no matter the circumstance. My father taught me long ago that you should not injure an animal or fish for the sheer sport of it.

    I am known by your staff. The 2011/2012 Trout Regulations has a photo I took on the cover. I given many of my photos for use in presentations by your staff and on the WDNR website. I am a free lance writer and photographer. My photos and stories have appeared in many magazines and I have appeared on numerous trout fishing television shows. I have written monthly for Midwest Outdoors Magazine for three years now. My story was featured in American Angler Magazine last year in July. It was called the Driftless Heart. It is on page 64 of this link:

    I give presentations throughout the south west part of this wonderful state. They are typically at schools. I target the children because they are the future trout anglers. I speak at both elementary schools and high schools. I have just started doing my presentation at local nursing homes. Later today I am speaking in Muscoda at Golden Living Retirement Center. I call my presentation: "Trout Don't Live In Ugly Places". These seniors love the outdoors as much as I do and most can no longer get out there. I decided I would take the streams and wonders of the outdoors inside to them. May is a busy month for me. I have about 25 presentations at schools and nursing homes.

    I recently made friends with Randy Dilley. He told me that you are a good friend and you are a very good listener and I should contact you because you liked input and valued it. I also spoke to the local warden here in Richland County "Mike Nice" and he had glowing things to say about you and he also wanted me to contact you with my opinion.

    In closing I will simplify what I think needs to be done. Early catch and release season needs to be for "ALL" anglers and the mandatory requirement of release needs to be removed. Trout streams need to have one regulation the entire length. Only the sick and under populated streams need to be catch and release streams. The bag limit on streams that are healthy needs to be increased from 3 to 5 trout.
  2. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    Response From Cathy Stepp

    Hi Len! Thanks for writing! You are not the first nor only trout angler to write me about this issue. We are working diligently to streamline and simplify as many of our regulations as we can throughout our agency. I think you have valid concerns and suggestions, here, and I would encourage you to get involved--if you aren't already--in your local conservation congress to put some of your suggestions out for public comment around our state. We've seen many great ideas come from the local angler/hunter that became rule over many years, now. It's a great process that allows direct input without heavy lobbying! How about that?! It can be done!
    I encourage you to stay engaged, although I doubt I need to do that! Your love for our trout fishery is evident, and I know with some tweaks you'd be even more satisfied, as well as being able to get others re-engaged. I appreciate your input. I am sending copy of this to our Water Division Administrator so he knows of your feelings as well.
    Thanks again!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2015