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Anglers encouraged to prepare for McCoy, Wisconsin season opener May 3

      The Wisconsin general inland waters fishing season will begin Saturday, May 3 at Fort McCoy.

Photo: Members of the Wisconsin Conservation Corps conduct fish population surveys at the North Flowage to support the installation's fisheries program. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Members of the Wisconsin Conservation Corps conduct fish population surveys at the North Flowage to support the installation's fisheries program. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      "I expect there will be some great opportunities to catch fish," said John Noble, installation fisheries biologist.  "There will be some monster-sized fish swimming around out here, and they're just waiting for someone to catch them."

     Noble encourages potential anglers to get the necessary state licenses or permits and Fort McCoy permits early.

      Fort McCoy permits are on sale at the Permit Sales Office, building 103, or via mail.  Hunting and fishing applications are available by e-mailing the Permit Sales office at permitsales@emh2.mccoy.army.mil or by going to the Web site http://www.mccoy.army.mil to assist with obtaining fishing permits by mail.  Permits obtained through the mail must be paid for with money order or guaranteed bank instruments.  Personnel purchasing permits at the Permit Sales Office also can pay cash. No personal checks are accepted.

      The Permit Sales Office is open weekdays from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Questions can be directed to (608) 388-3337.

      Fort McCoy permits also are scheduled to be available for purchase at Fort McCoy's Outdoor Recreation, Building 8053 at the Pine View Campground beginning May 1.  State licenses will not yet be available on post  as the installation looks  into details related to getting "A.L.I.S." (Automated License Issuance System) at an alternate location in the future, Noble said.  State licenses or permits can be purchased in local communities or through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

      Information about state licenses or permits is available online at http://www.dnr.state.wi.us or by calling (877) 945-4236 (877-WI-LICENSE).

     Fort McCoy anglers will have two new regulations governing installation fishing policies for largemouth bass at the North Flowage and panfish at West Sandy Lake this year, Noble said. 

      The North Flowage now has a largemouth bass bag limit of two fish, where only one bass larger than 22-inches may be kept.  Fish in-between the 15 and the 22-inch slot length limit cannot be kept.  So anglers could theoretically keep two bass less than 15 inches or one under 15 inches and one longer than 22 inches if they elect to do so. 

      Largemouth bass longer than 22 inches should not be eaten due to fish health advisories.  Guidance related to fish health advisories are available at the Permit Sales Office, posted at the North Flowage lake sign and available through Wisconsin DNR Offices. 

      West Sandy will have a 10-panfish bag limit.  These fish (perch, bluegill, and/or crappie) must be a minimum length of  eight inches.  These regulation changes should help improve the overall quality of the North Flowage and West Sandy fisheries.  Details are available through handouts at the Permit Sales Office and will be available online when finalized, he said.

      The installation will have stocked approximately 14,000 rainbow trout by the start of the fishing season, he said.

      All anglers fishing on Fort McCoy are required to have a 5x8 card posted on the dashboard of their windshields and contain the names of everyone in a vehicle..

 Marked fish
     Some fish have been marked with blue, numbered tags that are being tracked for fish-management purposes.  The tag numbers can be reported 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.

      Anglers also are requested to respect soldiers' priorities in training areas, including around waterways, Noble said.  If anglers encounter soldiers training, they are encouraged to find other fishing areas.

      The game line at (608) 388-GAME (4263) will have up-to-date fishing and hunting access information.  It is important to call the game line to know if Fort McCoy  has any special operation that may effect angling opportunities for a specific location.

      Anglers are expected to abide by all Fort McCoy rules and regulations.  Noble said anyone who observes suspicious behavior or violations, for example, littering, moving fish to another location or engaging in illegal activities such as over bagging fish, should report the activities to the Directorate of Training, Mobilization and Security  Protective Services Division at (608) 388-2266.

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