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March 12, 2010

Outdoors

Early catch-and-release trout fishing season under way

Trout anglers will find new maps, fewer tackle regulations, and dozens of new trout waters in the early trout season, which is under way and runs through April 25.

John Noble, Fort McCoy fisheries biologist, said Fort McCoy will participate in the season. Anglers must follow state and Fort McCoy regulations/restrictions.

Anglers must have a license from the last inland fishing season, which is valid through March 31, or purchase a new one. Effective April 1, all anglers will be required to purchase a new license.

“One of the bigger changes during this season is that anglers will not be required to use barbless hooks, although they still must use artificial lures and flies,” Noble said. “They can catch any type of trout, but they must release it back to the stream.”

The catch-and-release season is confined to stream fishing. Noble said the major streams at Fort McCoy are Tarr Creek, Silver Creek and the La Crosse River. Maps of state waters, including Monroe County and Fort McCoy streams, are available at http://www.dnr.wi.gov/fish/species/trout/streammaps.html.

Noble said the Fort McCoy fishing regulation and related information is available at http://www.mccoy.army.mil by clicking on Recreation Opportunities, Fishing and Hunting, and Overview and Permit Information. Printed copies of regulations are available at the Welcome Center, building 35.

Fishing permits and licenses, including Fort McCoy trout permits, can be bought at any facility that has an Automatic License Issuance System (ALIS), Noble said.

At Fort McCoy, these are located at Pine View Recreation Area, building 8053, and the Main Post Exchange (for military personnel only), building 1538.

If the snow covering remains, access to some streams may be more difficult. Noble said access to Fort McCoy streams is good.

The cold, snowy winter has been good for the trout, replenishing the groundwater that feeds the streams with the cold, clean water the trout need, added Larry Claggett, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) trout specialist.

Improved habitat leads to increased natural reproduction, said Dave Vetrano, WDNR Fisheries Team supervisor.

“Better land use — more hillside vegetation and better cropping practices — allows more rain water and snowmelt to seep into the groundwater. These increase flows, which result in colder summer temperatures and warmer winter temperatures. This gives the wild trout we stock a much better chance to begin to reproduce on their own,” he said.

Noble said anglers are encouraged to use the early trout season to prepare for the 2010 Inland Fishing Season, which will begin May 1.

For more information about fishing or fishing regulations at Fort McCoy, contact the Fort McCoy Permit Sales Office, building 2168, at 608-388-3337.

(Some information in this story is from a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources news release.)

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