|Relocating fish from Fort McCoy waters will support
re-stocking efforts for Lake Tomah while also improving the number of
larger fish available for Fort McCoy anglers, said John Noble.
Steven Rood, a Colorado State
University contractor for Fort McCoy Fisheries, displays two big
bass which he caught, measured, tagged and released into the
North Flowage. The fish were caught during a survey to identify
fish to remove and take to Lake Tomah. The biggest bass released
during the fish survey was about 22.5 inches long.
(Photo by Ryan Ennis)
Noble, Fort McCoy Fisheries biologist, said the fish currently are
being held in a holding pond at Fort McCoy’s Whitetail Ridge Ski Area.
Largemouth bass were removed from the North Flowage and bluegills were
collected from Stillwell Pond in a coordinated effort between Fort
McCoy, contracted Colorado State University employees, the Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
“The fish will be tested by FWS to certify their health before the WDNR
moves them to Lake Tomah,” Noble said. “Testing for fish viruses like
VHS (viral hemorrhagic septicemia) takes up to 45 days so we expect to
hear if the fish are disease free and okay to stock in November.”
These fish will support WDNR efforts to repopulate Lake Tomah following
a 2009 fish population project that was used to eradicate carp.
Noble said the largemouth bass removed from the North Flowage typically
were less than 15 inches in length. The smaller bass were targeted
because they are overabundant and exhibit slow growth patterns. Anglers
were encouraged to take more bass under 15 inches to help reduce numbers
of small largemouth, which was expected to reduce competition for food
and improve growth, he said.
Anglers interviewed at Fort McCoy said they generally release the
smaller bass and did not express interest in having larger bag limits
for the smaller-sized largemouth, Noble said.
“So we decided to remove the smaller bass for WDNR fish-stocking
projects, and even though smaller, these mature bass will be great as
brood stock to raise young bass for other Wisconsin lake-stocking
requirements,” he said. “We kept the bigger bass in the North Flowage,
as they are capable of eating larger forage/prey like bluegills, which
will, in turn, help improve or maintain the balance of the bluegill
population. Therefore, we have a quality bluegill fishery — essentially
keeping the bluegill numbers lower — so they, too, can grow to a larger
size because we reduced the competition for food.”
“We expect about 100 largemouth bass and at least 1,000 bluegill will be
donated to Lake Tomah as a result of the fish-removal projects,” Noble
The donation of fish will help support the Army Community Covenant by
providing more recreational opportunities in Tomah, Noble said.
Fort McCoy had provided bluegills to Lake Tomah about 11 years ago to
help increase fish population, as well.