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 April 23, 2010

Outdoors

General inland fishing season
begins May 1 at Fort McCoy

The Fort McCoy fishing season begins Saturday, May 1, and runs concurrent with the Wisconsin general inland fishing season.

“Fishing expectations are high for this year,” said John Noble, installation fisheries biologist. “Anglers enjoyed some great ice fishing. Some have had great days this spring, as well, for the early catch-and-release (trout) season.”
PHOTO:PHOTO: A brown trout that was caught in Fort McCoy waters by Trenton Wilder earlier this month during the early catch-and-release trout season was tagged. Tagging helps installation Fisheries Program personnel track the installation’s fish population.Contributed photo
A brown trout that was caught in Fort McCoy waters by Trenton Wilder earlier this month during the early catch-and-release trout season was tagged. Tagging helps installation Fisheries Program personnel track the installation’s fish population. Contributed photo

The early data indicates that installation fishing experiences will be good.

“Based on the sampling surveys, we expect to hear reports of anglers harvesting big fish. It is always exciting to learn how an angler’s fishing experience ended,” he said.

Fort McCoy Fishing Regulations, along with lake information, are available at the Fort McCoy Welcome Center (building 35), located adjacent to the Main Gate, and at Pine View Recreation Area (building 8053). Fishing regulations (not including the fishing map) may be printed from the Web site at http://www.mccoy.army.mil under Recreation Opportunities.

Noble said a new Fort McCoy fishing regulation is expected to be out in May. No major changes are expected, but the new regulation will allow anglers to use barbed hooks when fishing for trout, he said. The new regulation will be available at all locations where the current regulation is available.

Fort McCoy usually follows the Wisconsin fishing laws, such as the requirement for anglers to have state licenses and trout stamps (when fishing for trout).

Fort McCoy also has several unique regulations designed to enhance fishing experiences. Special regulations are in place at the North Flowage, West Sandy Lake, and at Silver Creek near the Sparta-Fort McCoy airport.
Anglers also must display an activity card on their vehicle for security and safety.

The activity card is a five-inch by eight-inch index-type card or equivalent posted on the dashboard of their vehicles. The card will list the names of everyone in the fishing party, the activity (fishing), and emergency phone contact.

Tagging enhances fish population

Fort McCoy will continue fish tagging in an effort to maintain and enhance its fish population.

Tagging fish allows fisheries program personnel to collect information on growth rates, harvest rates, and fish movements used in the lake and stream population estimates. The more information Fort McCoy has, the better these fish populations can be managed.

Anglers are encouraged to help by reporting the fish length, tag number and location caught by calling 608-388-2252 or by recording the length and tag number on fish harvest cards, which are located at several of the Fort McCoy lake signs. Interested anglers can provide their name and telephone numbers with this information if they wish to learn more about the life history of the fish.
 

Licenses and permits must be purchased prior to fishing. Permits can be purchased from a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Automated License Issuance System (ALIS) agent. Anglers should ask the ALIS agent for Fort McCoy fishing approval to be added to their Wisconsin License purchase to meet requirements to fish for trout.

Because the fishing licenses/permits are sold by the ALIS system, the Fort McCoy Permit Sales Office no longer sells fishing or hunting permits. Customers who need more information about fishing can call the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337 between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The Pine View Recreation Area Campground (building 8053) is an authorized ALIS agent and can provide all anglers with “one-stop” shopping for their Wisconsin and Fort McCoy fishing license, approvals and regulations.

Military authorized personnel also can use the ALIS located at the Main Post Exchange, building 1538, to purchase their fishing licenses/permits.

For more information about the ALIS process, contact the closest Wisconsin DNR Service Center. State licenses also are available online at http://www.dnr.state.wi.us or by calling 877-945-4236 (877-WI-LICENSE).

Fort McCoy fishing approvals, however, are not available on the Web site or by calling and must be purchased in person at a DNR Service Center or ALIS agent.

No permits or licenses are necessary to fish at Fort McCoy June 5-6, during Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend.

“This is a great time to fish at Fort McCoy without a fee and a reason to fish more often,” Noble said.

The installation has unique regulations in place to avoid training conflicts and to provide quality recreational opportunities while military training is being conducted.

If training is occurring at one of the lakes, anglers should select another location, Noble said. Anglers may encounter increased military training at Big Sandy Lake, which has been upgraded to support the Army’s water-training mission.

Anglers may call the installation game line at 608-388-4263 or the Permit Sales Office to check on military closures of fishing areas. Noble cautioned that military training schedules are subject to change so advanced warning is not always possible.

Noble also requests that anyone who observes suspicious behavior or violations, related to security, theft, vandalism, littering, moving fish to another location, or engaging in illegal activities such as overbagging fish, should report the activities to the Police Department at 608-388-2266.

Fisheries management personnel will continue to conduct angler surveys to learn who uses Fort McCoy’s lakes and streams. Creel surveys inform the fisheries biologist about fishing pressure, harvest, and anglers’ opinions. “We find this to be a good opportunity for us to interact with our customers and inform them about the military training mission, too.” Noble said.

(Submitted by Fort McCoy Fisheries Program.)

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