Fort McCoy News April 26, 2013

Inland fishing season begins May 4 at Fort McCoy

The 2013 Fort McCoy inland fishing season begins at 5 a.m. Saturday, May 4. John Noble, Fort McCoy installation fisheries biologist, said McCoy will follow the same dates and times as the state stream trout fishing season, which runs from May 4 through Monday, Sept. 30. The lakes are open for game fish harvest from May 4 until March 2, 2014.

Fishing at Fort McCoy is open to the public. Anglers at the installation will need valid Fort McCoy and state fishing permits/licenses.

Fishing licenses and permits can be purchased through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Automated License Issuance System (ALIS).

PHOTO for fishing article
Contracted Colorado State University employees who work for the Fort McCoy fisheries program conduct fish survey population studies at Stillwell Lake at Fort McCoy.
File photo

ALIS locations are available at retail and/or sporting goods stores throughout the state.

Anglers also can purchase licenses, permits and stamps at Fort McCoy's Pine View Campground, which is open to the public, and at the Fort McCoy Exchange, building 1538, which is open to authorized military personnel.

Fort McCoy also follows State of Wisconsin fishing laws, such as the requirement for anglers to have state fishing licenses and trout stamps if they plan to fish for trout.

Regulations are available online at the Fort McCoy website, by clicking on the hunting and fishing information button on the front page. Fishing area maps are available at Permit Sales, building 1668; the Visitor Control Center, building 35; and Pine View Campground, building 8053.

For those interested in fishing streams, the early catch-and-release trout season ends at midnight Sunday, April 28. No fishing will be allowed after then until May 4.

New anglers who haven't fished at Fort McCoy are encouraged to obtain and read the Fort McCoy fishing regulation before going fishing.

The installation has specific regulations designed to enhance fishing experiences, Noble said. Special regulations are in place at the North Flowage, West Sandy Lake and Clear Creek. These regulations, rules and bag limits help ensure everyone has a chance to catch fish. Lost Lake and the North Flowage are the only lakes open from March until the May fishing season opener, for panfishing only.

The bag limit for Ranch Creek, a tributary of Clear Creek on North Post, is three trout with a minimum 9-inch length. For the section of Silver Creek from the West Silver Wetland to the western boundary of Fort McCoy, the bag limit is three trout with a minimum 7-inch length.

At all other lakes and streams, anglers can keep five trout, with a minimum 7-inch length, he said. Additionally, gear use on the Silver Creek stretch is restricted to artificial lures to target brook and brown trout, Noble said.

Noble said the installation also will participate in the State of Wisconsin "Free Fishing Weekend" June 1-2. Anglers will not need licenses or permits those days but must follow all Fort McCoy and Wisconsin regulations, rules, bag limits, etc.

Fishing conditions for the 2013 season are expected to be good, however water conditions are going to be colder than other years with most area lakes still having ice into late April, Noble said.

Noble said rainbow trout stocking is planned for Sandy, Big Sandy, Stillwell, and Squaw Lakes and at the Sparta and Swamp Ponds.

As a U.S. Army installation, Noble reminds all anglers that military training has priority for land/water use on Fort McCoy. Big Sandy, in particular, is used for a variety of water training exercises, such as water-purification and bridge-crossing operations.

To check an area's availability, call the Fort McCoy Game Line at 608-388-4263 (GAME).

Even if a particular fishing area is open, troops may be training on or near that location, so anglers must respect all training missions and move to another Fort McCoy fishing area, if necessary, he said. Anglers need to follow good safety practices.

For more information about fishing opportunities or for questions about fishing regulations at Fort McCoy, call the Fort McCoy Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337.

(Submitted by the Fort McCoy Fisheries Branch.)