[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                        April 24, 2009

Fort McCoy fishing season 
to open Saturday, May 2

The Fort McCoy fishing season will begin Saturday, May 2, and runs concurrent with the Wisconsin general inland fishing season. 

"Fishing expectations are high again this year. Anglers enjoyed some great ice fishing. Some have had some good days this spring, as well, for the early catch-and-release season. With this, we believe fishing experiences to be good as the regular season begins May 2," said John Noble, installation fisheries biologist. "Based on some sampling surveys, we expect to hear reports of anglers harvesting big fish so it should be exciting."

Photo: Steve Rood (without hat) and Brad Betthauser, contracted fisheries technicians for the Fort McCoy Fisheries Program, collect bluegills at Stillwell Lake as part of a fish-population survey. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Steve Rood (without hat) and Brad Betthauser, contracted fisheries technicians for the Fort McCoy Fisheries Program, collect bluegills at Stillwell Lake as part of a fish-population survey. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Many anglers are aware of the requirements in place to fish Fort McCoy; however, they are reminded to have their fishing licenses prior to fishing. Noble said anglers should be sure to purchase the necessary state licenses and Fort McCoy fishing permits early. Fort McCoy no longer sells fishing or hunting permits at the Permit Sales Office.

Permits must be purchased from one of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Automated License Issuance System (ALIS) agents. Anglers are advised to make sure they ask the ALIS agent for Fort McCoy fishing approval to be added to their Wisconsin License purchase so they meet legal requirements to fish at Fort McCoy.

People who aren’t sure they want to invest in a fishing permit for Fort McCoy or even would like to fish at Fort McCoy can fish for free during Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend, Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7.

According to Noble, "This is a great time to fish Fort McCoy without a fee and a reason to fish more often!"

Fort McCoy Fishing Regulations, along with lake information, are available at the Fort McCoy Welcome Center (building 35) located adjacent to the Fort McCoy Main Gate and at Pine View Recreation Area (building 8053). Fishing regulations (not including the fishing map) may be printed out at http://www.mccoy.army.mil under Recreation Opportunities. The Pine View Recreation Area (Campground building 8053) is an authorized ALIS agent and can provide anglers with "one-stop" shopping for their Wisconsin and Fort McCoy fishing license, approvals and regulations.

Fort McCoy has unique regulations in place to avoid training conflicts and to provide quality recreational opportunities while military training is conducted. If training is occurring at one of the lakes, anglers are requested to respect the military exercise and select another one of the installation’s fine fishing locations, Noble said. One location anglers may encounter increased military training is at Big Sandy Lake, which has been upgraded to support Army’s water-training mission.

With the exception of a few situations, Fort McCoy usually follows the Wisconsin laws, such as the requirement for anglers to have state licenses and trout stamps (when fishing for trout). Fort McCoy has several unique regulations designed to enhance their fishing experience. Anglers should read the Fort McCoy Fishing Regulations to be aware of special regulations in place at the North Flowage, West Sandy Lake, and at Silver Creek near the Sparta-Fort McCoy airport.

In addition to having the proper fishing license and permits, Fort McCoy regulations require anglers to display an activity card for security and safety. Anglers fishing on Fort McCoy are required to have a five-inch by eight-inch index-type card or equivalent posted on the dashboard of their vehicles which contains the names of everyone in the vehicle, activity (fishing), and emergency phone contact.

Noble asked 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.

Customers who need more information about fishing can call the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337. The Permit Sales Office can answer questions from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information about the ALIS process, contact the closest Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 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 using these two options and must be purchased in person at a DNR Service Center or ALIS agent.

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.

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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