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DNR Proposes Several Changes To Fishing Regulations And Limits

Agency Says Aim Is To Give Anglers Fewer But Larger Catches

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (CC-BY-ND)

Lawmakers heard from anglers Tuesday about new proposed fishing regulations, including changes to the size and number of certain fish that can be caught.

During a public hearing of the Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry, state fisheries biologist Jon Hansen explained the driving force behind a lower bag limit on panfish.

“We’re trying to increase average size. We’re trying to bring bigger bluegills to your table,” said Hansen.

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The panfish rules would be tried for a decade on nearly 100 lakes. Rules for trout would apply statewide.

Henry Colts, a former chair of Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, said the proposed rules are easy to understand and “couldn’t be more reasonable.”

“That package will allow anglers a longer season and it will open season earlier,” Colts said. “The longer people have to fish, the more money they’re going to spend in Wisconsin.”

Under the Department of Natural Resources trout proposal, special trout regulations would decrease from more than 40 to 12. DNR officials said it would also create more uniformity of regulations of trout streams within small geographic areas.

The bag limit for panfish would allow 25 fish per day but no more than 10 of any one species.

Another proposal would limit that to 15 panfish, no more than five of any one species. A third proposal would use the lower limit only during May and June.

If approved, any new regulations would take effect next spring.