Group to develop management plan
Anglers and others interested in Wisconsin’s trout resources are invited to apply to serve on an advisory team.
The team will help the state Department of Natural Resources start developing a plan to guide trout management over the next decade.
The plan will address trout habitat, stocking and other management issues in Wisconsin.
The advisory team will meet on three Saturdays this winter and help the DNR brainstorm issues, set broad goals and define needs, according to Joanna Griffin, the agency’s trout coordinator.
“We’re looking for people who are not members of organizations like the Conservation Congress and Trout Unlimited that will already have representatives on the advisory team,” Griffin said. “People do not need to be trout anglers, but have an interest in the future of Wisconsin’s trout resources.”
Anyone interested in serving on the advisory team can fill out an online form through Thursday, Nov. 30. The DNR’s trout team will select four people to serve on the advisory team as at-large members, one from each of four regions. Forms can be found on the DNR website – dnr.wi.gov – and entering search words “trout management.”
The four at-large members will serve alongside anglers, landowners, tourism officials, Conservation Congress members and tribal representatives to represent diverse interests in Wisconsin’s trout resources, Griffin said.
“We’re already going to have a diverse group represented on our stakeholder advisory team, but adding at-large members is another way we’re trying to be proactive and capture all interests out there,” she said.
Wisconsin has more than 13,000 miles of trout streams, including more than 5,300 miles – or 40 percent – that are Class 1 streams with naturally self-sustaining populations of wild trout. Another 46 percent – 6,120 miles – are Class 2 streams that have some natural reproduction, but require stocking to maintain a desirable sport fishery.
A 2017 study by a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse economics professor shows the impact trout resources can have on local communities.
The study estimates trout fishing and trout restoration work generates a $1.6 billion annual impact in the nationally renowned Driftless Area, which encompasses 24,000 square miles in southwestern and western Wisconsin along with portions of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
The DNR has been creating or updating management plans for different fish species and major waters in recent years. Management plans have recently been created for panfish, bass and the Lake Michigan fishery.
“Wisconsin’s trout resources are important recreational, environmental and economic assets,” Griffin said. “We need a plan to help us sustainably manage them so future generations can enjoy them and the benefits they bring local communities.”