Proposed Trout Season Changes

The Wisconsin DNR wants your input on the proposed changes to the Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations/Season. 

About the current review process:

  • Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations last changed  in 2003.
  • DNR plans to revisit regulations roughly every 10 years
  • DNR launched the review of current regulations in 2011 with a series of public meetings, surveys, stakeholder working sessions, and follow up meetings of the State's Trout Committee and interaction with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress

The State's Trout Committee is comprised primarily of Fisheries Biologists from across the state but there are also four citizen members and I serve as one of those members. I participated in the original 2011 meetings as well as the stakeholder working sessions and the Trout Committee meetings, and thus have an insider's view of the activities to date.

About the Proposed Changes

I am NOT trying to bias your views.  Rather, I encourage you to explore the changes and offer your input.  What  I can tell you is that the proposed changes:

  • Are based on biological facts (meaning the biologists strongly feel the changes will NOT harm the State's fishery).
  • Will significantly simplify regulations and make them more consistent across river systems and tributaries.
  • Will provide more fishing opportunities for those who desire them in the time period both before and after the current season opening and close.

I can also state that I support the proposed changes even though they are not exactly what I would define in a perfect world. The proposed changes represent a compromise that incorporates feedback from all stakeholder groups. Though it may not be perfectly aligned with my own personal opinions, I believe the overall package will be a step forward for our members and the public at large.

Some of the key proposed changes are:

  • Extend the early season Catch and Release season to January 1 (from first Saturday in March) Only where an early catch and release season currently exists
  • Extend the trout season to October 15 from the current September 30 close
  • Eliminate the 5 day closure between the end of the current Catch and Release season and the opening of the regular season
  • Significantly simplify regulations and tie special regulations to specific trout management goals that are much easier to understand and consistent across the state

I encourage you to check out and search the "trout review" postings.

What Comes Next

After the series of ten public meetings, the State's Trout Committee will meet several more times and a series of questions related to the proposed changes will be drafted to be included in the Spring Hearings booklet and voted on at the Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings in April, 2015. If the public responds favorably, we could see changes in the 2016 season. 


Tight lines, 

Jim Wierzba