Wisconsin Driftless Streams Public Meeting

Discussion in 'Fly Tying, Trout Fishing' started by spinner, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

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    I attended the WDNR meeting tonight at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in La Farge. The main speaker was Jordan Weeks. Jordan is the La Crosse, Wisconsin Area - Senior Inland Fisheries Biologist-Wisconsin DNR. Jordan gave a history of the Driftless Area Streams past and present. The WDNR has been doing public meetings throughout the state to update anglers on the future plans for our streams and to ask public input.

    Prior to the meeting I interviewed Jordan Weeks. There has been lots of scuttlebutt out on the internet lately about potential changes in the Trout Fishing Rules for small stream Wisconsin. Jordan is one of the key figures doing research for the WDNR on potential changes to the trout regulations.

    I came right out and asked Jordan where the order was made to review and possibly simplify the trout fishing rules. Jordan told me it came from the Governor himself. Governor Walker wants the regulations more user friendly so more people will enjoy our wonderful resources. Jordan made it very clear to me that there are NO recommendations in the works yet. Nothing has been sent to the Natural Resources Governing Board. He expects no changes in the regulation until Spring 2016. The fact finding mission Weeks and some of his colleagues are on is only in the beginning stages. After he said this he emphasized that it was the governor's call and he could expedite it at any time.

    I had read some possible rule and other changes that might happen on many internet websites so I asked about each. Jordan told me that his committee is floating around possibly extending the trout season through October and opening it early in January or possibly February. Jordan said that at first if the season is extended these seasons would be Catch and Release Only and Artificial Only. There would be no barbless mandates. Weeks told me the northern part of the state is against any extended season, but the southern area was all for it. He emphasized that this would not be a permanent type of season and it could be changed to harvest because our trout population is at an all time high. I will quote Weeks: "Many talk about the good old days of trout fishing....I am sorry to disagree with you old timers but NOW are the best days in Wisconsin's history for trout fishing."

    Jordan went on to say that his area he supervises has great natural reproduction and requires no WDNR stocking programs. He also said one of his recommendations to the governing board would be changing the bag limit from 3 daily to 5 daily with no size restrictions.

    I also asked him if the Conservation Congress would be instrumental in shaping the simplification of the trout regulations. His response was that the Congress is only an advisory entity and their recommendations or ideas were no way binding to the final decision. He also told me the Conservation Congress had the ear of the last administration and it is not so with this governor.

    I have a personal crusade I am on lately. It is the Gill Lice Infestation of my local streams. Jordan told me that Gill Lice could become a huge problem and wipe out all the brook trout in the state or not even be a big factor. He told me the jury is still out on gill lice. All COOP stocking of brook trout by Rod & Gun Clubs throughout the state would continue and streams with Gill Lice would still be stocked. I asked about stocking browns which are immune from Gill Lice and he said the WDNR's mission is for brook trout the native species and not browns. This could be revisited if the Gill Lice problem becomes an epidemic.