Fort McCoy News Dec. 9, 2016

Early catch-and-release trout season opens Jan. 7

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Wisconsin's early catch-and-release trout season, which includes Fort McCoy streams and tributaries, opens Jan. 7, 2017, and continues until midnight May 5.

Only artificial lures may be used during the early catch-and-release trout season, and all fish caught must be released immediately, said Fort McCoy Fisheries Biologist John Noble with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch. The appropriate Fort McCoy permit, Wisconsin license, and trout stamp are required.

Fishing licenses and permits for 2016 are valid through March 31. A 2017 Wisconsin fishing license, trout stamp, and related Fort McCoy permit will be required April 1.

Zach Woiak, watershed-management specialist contracted through Colorado State University to support the Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch, holds a 7.6-pound brown trout caught and released during a fish survey in April.
Zach Woiak, watershed-management specialist
contracted through Colorado State University to
support the Directorate of Public Works Natural
Resources Branch, holds a 7.6-pound brown trout
caught and released during a fish survey in April.

Photo by Steve Rood

Noble said many larger trout, such as brook and brown trout, have been caught in the approximately 71 miles of installation cold-water streams and tributaries. For example, a 7.6-pound, 24.8-inch brown trout was caught and released during a fish survey in April 2016. This fish exhibited great growth since first tagged in April 2010, growing 13 inches in six years.

"Our streams are producing some nice-sized trout," Noble said. "Milder winters the last couple of years have helped trout survival. Our trout numbers are continuously improving, and they are especially good in Silver Creek, Tarr Creek, and the La Crosse River.

"Trout here at Fort McCoy will traditionally spawn well into the first week of December," Noble said. "Since the weather has been pretty mild through November, this mild weather trend should help more trout survive."

Access to Fort McCoy's trout streams and tributaries is fairly easy. "There are many great trout fishing opportunities available within close proximity of several major roadways at Fort McCoy," Noble said.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) offers these catch-and-release tips to help protect trout:

• Release trout immediately.

• Play and land trout quickly. Tired, stressed fish don't survive well when released.

• Handle trout gently, keeping it in the water as much as possible. Unhooking the trout without lifting it from the water is best.

• Remove hooks with needle-nosed pliers or forceps. Using barbless hooks makes releasing trout much easier.

• If a trout is hooked deeply, cut the line and release the fish. The hook eventually will dissolve, leaving the trout unharmed.

Fort McCoy fishing permits are sold through the WDNR Automated License Issuance System (ALIS). Permits can be purchased at any authorized WDNR ALIS vendor.

More information about inland trout fishing is available online at the WDNR website at dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/trout. For Wisconsin fishing license rates and regulations, visit dnr.wi.gov/GoWild/resident.html.

Anglers looking for more information about installation fishing regulations should go to the Fort McCoy iSportsman website at https://ftmccoy.isportsman.net, or contact the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337.