ASHLAND, Wis. – An emergency rule reducing daily bag limits to protect the lake trout population in the Apostle Islands region of Lake Superior has been extended for 60 days, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The emergency rule, first approved by the Natural Resources Board at its December 2014 meeting, reduces the daily bag limit for lake trout in waters east of Bark Point so that only one lake trout between 20 and 25 inches and one lake trout longer than 35 inches can be harvested per day. For waters west of Bark Point, regulations for lake trout remain unchanged and anglers may take three lake trout, of which all lake trout must be greater than 15 inches and only one lake trout can be longer than 25 inches.
The goal of the new regulations is to reduce the overall harvest. The recreational and commercial lake trout fishing seasons run through Sept. 30, 2015. DNR anticipates meeting with stakeholders this fall to discuss alternative regulations for the future.
Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, said the rule was developed based on population assessments over the last six to eight years indicating a decline in the lake trout population tied to harvest levels. Lake trout are a slow-growing species and the emergency rule is designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery as well as the welfare of state-licensed commercial fishers, Chippewa commercial fishers, recreational anglers and associated businesses that depend on lake trout and the associated tourism the fishery supports.
In addition to developing the emergency rule, DNR held a public meeting in December and has sought public input to identify Lake Superior fisheries priorities and guide long-term management of the resource. For more information about the management of the Lake Superior fishery, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for “Lake Superior fisheries management.”