Week of May 26, 2008



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NMMA applauds Senate committee move on Clean Boating Act 

The National Marine Manufacturers Association last week praised the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for unanimously approving the Clean Boating Act of 2008.


Since its introduction in March, the Clean Boating Act has accumulated 34 bipartisan sponsors. The Senate committee’s approval follows last week’s passage of the Clean Boating Act in the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.


The Clean Boating Act would fully and permanently restore a longstanding regulation that excludes recreational boaters

and anglers from the federal and state permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act designed for land-based industrial facilities and ocean-bound commercial ships.  This exemption was overturned by a federal court in 2006 in a case focused exclusively on ballast water from commercial vessels.


"While this is excellent progress, if the Clean Boating Act is not passed into law by September, America's 59 million boaters will be subject to unreasonable permitting requirements, bureaucratic red tape and potentially costly fees, and excessive legal jeopardy through citizen suits," said Scott Gudes, vice president of government relations for the NMMA, in a statement

DHS delays TWIC compliance date to April 2009

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that the final compliance date for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program will be April 15, 2009, which reflects a realignment of the Sept. 25, 2008 compliance date set in the final rule.  The seven month extension is a direct result of collaboration with port officials and industry, and realigns the enrollment period with the original intent of the TWIC final rule. 


TWIC was established in the Maritime Transportation Security Act and the SAFE Port Act to serve as an identification program for all Coast Guard credentialed mariners and personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas within a port.  The program is on track to complete enrollment for a substantial number of jurisdictions by the end of 2008, and several ports will be required to comply with TWIC regulations this year. 


Owners and operators of facilities located within Captain of the Port Zones Boston, Northern New England, and Southeastern New England will need to comply by October 15, 2008.  These three ports were selected based on favorable conditions that facilitate near-term implementation.  These ports are ideal for initial compliance based upon geographic proximity, the size of their TWIC enrollment population, and

respective enrollment efforts to date.  Additional ports will be announced in the coming weeks, and the Coast Guard will provide at least 90 days notice prior to enforcement. 


The TWIC program is progressing steadily and has opened more than 100 fixed enrollment centers and dozens of mobile sites nationwide.  More than 250,000 workers have enrolled to date and thousands more are processed each week.  Enrollment began at the Port of Wilmington, Del. in October 2007.


Workers can pre-enroll online at www.tsa.gov/twic. Pre-enrollment can accelerate credentialing by allowing workers to provide biographic information and schedule a time to complete the application process in person.  This eliminates delays at enrollment centers and reduces total enrollment time for each worker.


Although the compliance date has been extended seven months, workers are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible.  Additional information can be found on the U.S. Coast Guard's Homeport site, http://homeport.uscg.mil, and on the Transportation Security Administration’s web site at www.tsa.gov/twic.


Florida man to fish for $$ One Million May 31

Jeffrey Abbott Will Fish with Pro Angler Kevin Wirth for Big Money

Louisville, KY – Jeffrey Abbott of Winter Springs, FL has been selected as the winner of the Early Times Kentucky Whisky “Reel in a Million” contest. Abbott, 51, was randomly selected out of thousands of contestants to reel in a tagged bass that could change his life forever. He will travel to Tennessee’s J. Percy Priest Lake on May 31 for a chance to catch a tagged bass worth one million dollars.


Early Times will lend the help of Kevin Wirth, one of the world’s top-ranked anglers, as his fishing partner for the day. Together they will try to reel in 25 tagged bass connected to great prizes including the Big Cash Bass worth one million dollars. In addition to the million-dollar tagged bass, Abbott is eligible to pull in the other 24 tagged fish which are connected to prizes including a Triton bass boat and fishing gear from Pure Fishing. Regardless of who catches the tagged bass, all money and prizes will go to Abbott.


“Everyone at Early Times is thrilled to have Jeffrey as our sweepstakes winner and hope there is a happy ending to his million dollar day on the water,” said Joe Murray, Brand Manager for Early Times Kentucky Whisky.


Along with the chance to fish with Wirth for the tagged bass,

Abbott will receive a custom fishing rod and reel along with a

tackle box from Early Times for his day on the lake.


“I want to thank Early Times for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity to fish with a professional angler and have the chance to win a million dollars,” said Abbott. “I am really looking forward to spending the day on the lake with Kevin and bringing home the million dollar fish.”


Wirth and Abbott will launch Saturday morning, May 31, at approximately 7:00 a.m. from Elm Hill Marina on J. Percy Priest Lake. They will have eight hours total on the lake to catch a tagged bass before returning to the Marina.


Starting February 1, 2008, consumers 21 years of age and older were able to enter Early Times’ “Reel in a Million” contest on-line (www.teamearlytimes.com/million), by mail or in-store. The winner and one guest were provided with travel and accommodations to J. Percy Priest Lake. For full contest details visit www.teamearlytimes.com/million.


About Team Early Times

Team Early Times consists of Kevin Wirth and two semi-pro teams based in Kentucky and Texas.

The best TIMES are enjoyed responsibly. Get Reel.  Don’t drink & drive.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 23, 2008

Weather Conditions

A dominant high pressure system over Canada led to cool conditions across the Great Lakes basin this week.  At times, temperatures ranged from 10 – 15 degrees below average readings.  Scattered showers also occurred as several small disturbances pushed through the region.  Precipitation across the Great Lakes basin as a whole to date in May is near average.  Warmer weather is on tap for the upcoming holiday weekend.  Temperatures Sunday should reach well into the 70s.

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior is 14 inches higher than it was at this time last year.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are similar to last year’s level, while Lake Ontario is 9 inches higher than last year’s level.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to rise 4 and 3 inches, respectively, over the next month.  Lake St. Clair is projected to climb an inch during the next 30 days, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are predicted to fall 2 inches.  Lake Superior is forecasted to stay above last year’s water levels through October.  Lake Michigan-Huron is at its level of a year ago and is expected to remain so over the next few months. Lakes St. Clair and Erie will remain at around last year’s level, while Lake Ontario is predicted to remain higher than last year’s levels over the next several months.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflows from the St. Marys, St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average for May while outflows from the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are forecasted to be above average.


Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.





St. Clair



Level for May 23






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr







House Democrats Block Republican Efforts to Lower Gas Prices

Springfield...Illinois House Democrats voted with their party leadership on May 19 to oppose a Republican-led effort to suspend the state sales tax on gasoline.


House Republicans attempted to discharge House Bill 6318 from the Democrat-controlled Rules Committee. House Democrats blocked the effort, essentially killing the legislation and any hope to lower gas prices by reducing taxes. Had the measure been approved by the House, the suspension of the state sales tax on gasoline would begin immediately following

approval by the Senate and Governor.


According to a legislative analysis, suspending the sales tax on gasoline would provide immediate relief to consumers by reducing the cost per gallon by at least 17 cents.  A similar suspension of the sales tax on gas was enacted in 2000 and achieved results for consumers, according to the AAA.


Illinois is only one of ten states in the nation that has a sales tax on gasoline and it is the only state in the Midwest that allows local municipalities to enact taxes on gas purchases.

Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Harvest Totals 15,792

Second Largest Harvest for Illinois Turkey Season SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois bagged a preliminary statewide total of 15,792 wild turkeys during the 2008 Spring Turkey Season, the second-largest spring turkey harvest ever in the state.


Hunters harvested a statewide preliminary total of 15,159 wild turkeys during the regular seasons conducted April 7-May 8 in the South Zone and April 14-May 15 in the North Zone.  An additional 633 turkeys were harvested during the Youth Turkey Seasons conducted March 29-30 in the south and April 5-6 in the north.


“We are very pleased with this year’s spring turkey harvest,” said Paul Shelton, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Forest Wildlife Program Manager. “The South Zone started out slowly in cool, rainy weather, but improved over the course of the seasons and finished with the largest fifth-season harvest

ever.  In the North Zone, conditions were generally favorable for turkey hunting, although cool weather and heavy rain on the final Sunday during the fifth season dampened results slightly.”


This spring’s preliminary wild turkey harvest in the South Zone was 6,287, compared with 6,125 last year. In the North Zone, the preliminary wild turkey harvest was 9,505, compared with 8,641 last year. The total statewide spring turkey harvest in 2007 was 14,766.  Illinois’ largest spring turkey harvest was the statewide total of 16,605 in 2006.  Hunters in Illinois took 15,422 turkeys during the spring of 2005 and 15,538 in 2004.


The top five South Zone counties for spring turkey harvest in 2008 were Marion (347), Randolph (344), Pope (329), Wayne (303), and Jefferson (299).  The top five counties in the North Zone for spring turkey harvest in 2008 were Jo Daviess (568), Pike (552), Adams (507), Fulton (415), and Macoupin (399).


Big largemouth bass lurk at two lakes, thanks to regulation

Ball Lake in Steuben County and Robinson Lake in Whitley County offer anglers an increased shot at landing bigger largemouth bass, thanks to the results of a special regulation requiring the release of largemouth bass less than 18" long.  The regulation also restricts anglers to keeping only two largemouth bass that are more than 18” long.


According to the DNR, the number of 14" and larger largemouth bass increased at Ball Lake in Steuben County from an average of less than 1 per acre to over 3 per acre after the special regulation was imposed in 1996. The number of 18" and larger largemouth bass doubled from 1 per 10 acres to 1 per 5 acres.


At Robinson, numbers of 14" and larger largemouth bass rose from 8 per acre to nearly 14 per acre, although the number of 18" and larger largemouth bass dropped slightly below 2 per acre.  Biologists have periodically monitored largemouth bass populations in both lakes to study the long-term impacts of the special regulation. The most recent sampling took place over a three-week period in April and May.


Using electro-fishing boats that temporarily stun fish, DFW biologists captured 809 largemouth bass more than 8 inches long at Ball Lake and 848 such bass at Robinson Lake. Of these, 36 percent were 14 inches and larger at Ball Lake. The figure at Robinson Lake was 33 %.

At Ball Lake, the number of 14" and larger largemouth bass captured per hour of electro-fishing increased five-fold from an average of 11 before the limit to 51 after the limit. The catch rate at Robinson Lake increased from 26 per hour before to 67 after the limit. The catch rate of 18" and-larger largemouth bass more than tripled at Ball Lake and increased 11 % at Robinson Lake.


Current bass fishing rules at most Indiana lakes allow anglers to keep up to five bass that are 14 inches and larger per day. “Questions we now need to answer are whether special regulations would benefit other lakes and whether fishermen would support them,” said biologist Jed Pearson.


When the same regulation was imposed at three lakes on the Tri-County Fish and Wildlife Area near North Webster, the results were less dramatic even though anglers supported it. The Tri-County lakes, however, had been under a 14-inch limit from 1973 until 1996, while Ball and Robinson had no size limit until 1990, and a 12-inch limit until 1996. Pearson said the reason is that bass grow faster in Ball and Robinson lakes.


Biologists say they need to better understand when and where special bass regulations can be used to determine which other lakes could benefit.  “We are not going to impose an 18" size limit everywhere, but there could be more lakes where we would like to try it,” Pearson said.

Fishing regs relaxed at Starve Hollow Lake

Plan to drain lake after Labor Day provides angling opportunity now

Selected fishing regulations at 145-acre Starve Hollow Lake in Jackson County are now relaxed to encourage fishing and enhance sport-fishing opportunities during the summer.


All size limits for fish in the lake, which is located in Starve Hollow State Recreation Area, were waived and bag limits are doubled, effective May 23 The changes will help prepare the lake for draining after Labor Day weekend to restore the fishery and repair and improve the spillway and water control structure.


After the lake is drained, work is scheduled to start in late September or early October and is expected to be completed

within two months. Refilling should begin in November, after the repairs are completed. Use of the two boat-launching ramps will likely be affected during the draining. Boaters should take necessary precautions to avoid launching problems or new navigation problems that may not have existed when the lake was full.


The lake will be restocked with fingerling fish once the water reaches an adequate level for their survival. With sufficient rainfall, stocking would occur in late November. Provided that conditions allow the project to stay on schedule, bluegills of a size fit for catching should be available by 2009. Some small bass should be available the next year. A 14-inch minimum size limit and a five-fish daily bag limit for bass will be take effect after the lake is restocked.

Free Fishing Weekend is June 7-8

Kids and adults can celebrate Free Fishing Weekend, June 7-8, at recreation areas located across Indiana that are planning fun fishing derbies, casting clinics, fish-cleaning demonstrations and cooking classes.  Hoosier adults do not need a license to fish Indiana's public waters during Free Fishing Weekend. Children under the age of 17 do not need a fishing license at any time.

Check out a new lake or river, or introduce friends and family to a favorite fishing spot. Call your favorite property for details. Some properties require registration.  Although no fishing license is needed to fish public waters on Free Fishing Weekend, all other fishing regulations are still in effect.




DNR Offers Fly Fishing Workshop for Women

The Michigan DNR Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program announced a few slots remain for a fly fishing workshop for women 18 and older, June 6-8, at the Pere Marquette River Lodge near Baldwin.


Activities begin with a meet-the-guides party Friday night. Saturday morning instruction includes in-depth information on equipment, aquatic habitat, "match the hatch" and fly casting. Plenty of time also will be allowed for actual fishing on the river. Saturday night activities include fly-tying instruction.


"The guides at the Orvis-endorsed Pere Marquette River

Lodge are some of the finest in the business," said Lynn Marla, DNR BOW coordinator. "This is one workshop you will not want to miss."


The $360 registration fee includes first-class accommodations, all meals and instruction. All fishing equipment and waders will be provided, but women are encouraged to bring their own equipment if they have it. The registration form is available online at www.michigan.gov/bow.  For more information, contact Lynn Marla, [email protected]   or call (517) 241-2225.



McQuade access to open in July

A grand opening for the McQuade Road access to Lake Superior is planned for Friday, July 18 from 2-4 p.m. The public is invited to join the festivities and celebrate the opening of the long awaited facility.


"The facility may look like it is ready to use, but it is still a work-in-progress," said DNR Harbor Coordinator Larry Killien.  "We are asking the public to please wait just a little longer until it is complete and open to the public".

The McQuade facility has been under construction for the past two years. Finishing work includes a pedestrian walk and tunnel under Highway 61 and along the harbor, completion of the restroom facilities, boat ramps and docks, parking lot, fishing pier and landscaping.  


The McQuade access promises to be an attractive and well-used facility that will provide access to Lake Superior for boaters, area residents and visitors alike, Killien said.


Two student archers in DNR-sponsored program take national honors

Mitchel Monforton of Mound finished as the national champion male archer in the elementary division and Chantelle Skarda of White Bear Lake finished fourth in the female high school division at the “National Archery In The Schools” (NASP) National Tournament May 10 in Louisville, Ky.


Minnesota had the third-largest number of students participating in the 24-state tournament, which is the largest archery tournament in North America. A total of 152 archers from seven Minnesota schools made the trek to Kentucky. Communities represented included Osakis, Mound, Champlin Park, Grand Rapids, Sauk Rapids, Mountain Iron, Buhl and White Bear Lake.


Monforton, who attends Grandview Middle School, received the gold medal in the elementary male division and set a new state record for all archers with a score of 289 and 21 bullseyes out of a possible score of 300. Skarda, who attends

North Campus High School, improved on her fifth-place finish in 2007 by scoring 286 and 19 bullseyes out of a possible score of 300. Teammate Stephanie Mullin scored eight fewer points and finished in 18th place.


White Bear Lake's archery team also placed eighth out of the 53 high school teams participating in their first-ever NASP national tournament, the highest a Minnesota team ever has placed.


Coaches from all the Minnesota teams credited their successes to the support provided by the DNR in sponsoring the NASP two-week physical education curriculum, which teaches target-style archery to youth in grades four through 12 during regularly scheduled physical education classes. An estimated 85,000 students from 250 Minnesota school districts participate in the program.


For more info contact Kiger at (218) 327-0583 or [email protected].


New York

NY to hold roundtable on Great Lakes issues - June 5

On June 5th, 2-4:30 in Buffalo, the Office of the Attorney General is holding a roundtable meeting on Great Lakes environmental issues.


The goal of this meeting is to convene leaders in the Great Lakes community to discuss the various environmental challenges facing the Great Lakes, to update the community on the Attorney General's Office related efforts, and to help our Office identify possible additional areas for involvement. 


The meeting will be hosted by Kit Kennedy, Special Deputy

Attorney General for Environmental Protection, and held in Part 6 (on the first floor), Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, 65 Court Street in Buffalo.


That same evening from 7 to 9 PM at the Woodlawn Nature Center, Woodlawn Beach State Park, the Attorney General's Office will be holding a "Community Forum on Priorities for Great Lakes Protection.”  This forum, which will also be hosted by Kit Kennedy, is an opportunity for the public to discuss their priorities for protecting the Great Lakes with the Attorney General's Office.  Woodlawn Beach State Park is located at S-3580 Lakeshore Road in Blasdell (Hamburg)


Ninth Coast Guard District transfers command

CLEVELAND - Rear Adm. Peter V. Neffenger relieved Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., of command of the Ninth Coast Guard District in a change-of-command ceremony, Thursday, May 22, 2008.


Crowley assumed command of the Ninth Coast Guard District in April 2006, and will retire after more than 33 years of service.  As District Commander, Crowley was in charge of more than 6,000 active duty, reserve duty, civilian and Auxiliary men and women; whom conducted more than 8,700 search-and-rescue missions, executed more than 25,400 law enforcement boardings, and inspected more than 6,650 vessels.


Neffenger is coming from Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he was the Chief of the Office of Budget and Programs.  His responsibilities included reviewing Coast Guard programs and developing and defending the Coast Guard's $9 billion budget before the Administration and Congress.  Prior to that assignment, he served as the Captain of the Port, Federal Maritime Security

Coordinator and Commander of Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles - Long Beach, Calif.


Neffenger is a native of Elyria, Ohio, and was commissioned in 1982 at Coast Guard Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, Va.  He earned three Master's degrees: National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College; Public Administration from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government; and Business Management from Central Michigan University.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio.


Adm. Thad W. Allen, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, presided over the ceremony.


The change of command is a time-honored tradition and deeply rooted in Coast Guard and Naval history. The event signifies a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability for the command. The ceremony is witnessed by all members so that they all know exactly when the transfer of leadership takes place.

Construction resumes on Harbor and Marina at Middle Island St. Park

COLUMBUS, OH - Springtime brought the return of construction workers to the harbor basin at Middle Bass Island State Park in Lake Erie. Closed since October 1, the harbor is slated to undergo $4 million in renovations before reopening to boaters in the 2009 recreational season.


"There's a lot of work to be done," said Dan West, chief of Ohio State Parks. "But we are doing our best to minimize the time the marina basin is closed to the public."


Currently, workers are clearing brush and constructing a fence around the site to keep local populations of the federally protected Lake Erie water snake out of harm's way. Snakes trapped within the construction area will be relocated before any earthwork begins.


A master plan for redeveloping the area includes an expanded and reconfigured harbor with up to 340 boat slips, a boat launch ramp, a new entrance channel from the lake and other recreational amenities. Both state and federal money will fund the project.

"All projects have a budget," West said. "And projects of this magnitude can only be completed in phases. We're taking it a step at a time as we build this marina."


About 250 docks are expected to be operation sometime in the 2009 season. Periodic construction "open houses" will be scheduled for island residents and others through the upcoming summer. A Web site will be available beginning June 15 at www.ohiostateparks.org . that will allow users to follow the progress of the Middle Bass Island project. Visitors are encouraged to check the Web site or call the park office at 419-797-4530 for information.


The Ohio DNR purchased 124 acres at the southern tip of Middle Bass Island in 2001 for $6.75 million and announced plans to construct a state park on the site. The property included a mile of natural shoreline, a protected marina, important geological and natural features and buildings that once housed the Lonz Winery. The state purchased an additional 17.5 acres adjoining the harbor area in 2004.



Young Ohio archers succeed at National tournament

Meigs County elementary is first Ohio school to score a first in the national competition

COLUMBUS, OH - A Meigs County elementary recently became the first Ohio school to place first in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) championship tournament.


Meigs Intermediate School Elementary scored 3,178 points to take the national title in the elementary school division at the 2008 NASP National Championship Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. The team's effort topped the performances of 31 other elementary schools from across the U.S.  Maysville Elementary School from Muskingum County finished third in the division.


Maysville Middle School took third place in the middle school

team division.  Maysville High School placed second in the high school team division.  In all, Ohio teams occupied four of nine podium positions at the NASP national championships.


"In all, 309 Ohio students displayed their team spirit, sportsmanship and represented Ohio with integrity and pride," said Kevin Dixon, shooting sports coordinator and administrator of Ohio's NASP effort.  "All of the students earned their way to the event through their dedication to improving on the skills they learned in their school's physical education program."


Twenty-four states, including Alaska, were represented in the championship tournament. A total of 2,856 students participated. Ohio sent 14 teams and 2 individual archers from 16 schools to the event. Thirteen Ohio students finished in the top 10 of their divisions in the individual archer competitions. 


Musky waters teeming with trophy and action potential for May 24 northern Opener

MADISON – Whether you’re hoping for a trophy musky or just some musky action, anglers anticipating the May 24 northern zone musky season opener have plenty of waters to choose from.


The northern zone musky season opened May 24 with plenty of big fish. “Wisconsin has 711 lakes and more than 1,600 river miles that support musky,” says Tim Simonson, the DNR fisheries biologist who chairs the agency’s musky team. “And about 90 % of those waters are in the northern region.”


On top of that, nearly 50 % of the northern waters are Class A or premier musky waters which can provide some of the best trophy or action musky fishing in the nation.


Trophy or Class A1 waters are best known for their ability to produce musky 48 inches and longer. “The waters that are known trophy producers will often have lower musky populations, resulting in less angling action, but in return, they also have a higher potential to put out that big fish,” says Simonson. “Your best bet is to look for the larger and deeper, clear-water lakes or large flowages.”


Action or Class A2 waters are best known for providing the most consistent angling.  “Action waters will provide faster fishing, but the chances of reeling in a big fish are lower, although it does happen,” says Simonson. “Action waters are normally smaller, shallower lakes with abundant vegetation.”


Classified musky waters aren’t set in stone and you still could

find yourself with a trophy fish in action waters. A list of Wisconsin’s musky waters and their classification is available on the DNR Web site.  Water temperatures in most of the lakes are in the low 50s which is fairly cool for this time of the year.  Some muskies are still finishing up spawning in the largest and deepest lakes. The best action will likely be seen using smaller baits fished fairly slowly. Concentrate on shallower areas such as bays and flats where the water is a little warmer.


The northern zone musky fishing season is open from May 24 to Nov. 30 and includes inland waters north of Highway 10. Current regulations for most waters are a daily bag limit of one and a minimum length limit of 34”.


DNR fisheries supervisors predict the following statewide waters may hold some of the best trophy and action potential for 2008:


Top five waters with trophy potential

Green Bay - Marinette, Oconto, Brown and Door counties

Lake Monona - Dane County

Chippewa Flowage - Sawyer County

Okauchee - Waukesha County

Petenwell and Castle Rock lakes – Adams County


Top five waters for musky action

Little Green Lake - Green Lake County

Lake Wingra - Dane County

Eagle River Chain of Lakes - Vilas County

Pewaukee - Waukesha County

Biron Flowage - Wood County

Free Fishing Weekend June 7-8

Check your home state for specific dates and activities

MADISON – Anglers can grab their friends and family and head out June 7-8 to cast a line into any of Wisconsin’s 15,000 lakes and 42,000 miles of rivers and streams fish without a license during Free Fishing Weekend.


The first Saturday and Sunday each June, residents and non-residents of all ages can fish without a fishing license or trout or salmon stamps as the state celebrates Free Fishing Weekend. All the waters of the state are open, including state waters of the Great Lakes and rivers bordering Wisconsin. All other regulations such as length and bag limits do apply.


“Free Fishing Weekend is an invitation for all anglers, whether new or seasoned, to gather friends and family and go fishing,” says Theresa Stabo, DNR aquatic education specialist. “It’s a chance to take a day or two to re-experience how much fun it is to fish.”


A variety of events will be taking place at state parks and other locations throughout Wisconsin, with activities for all ages, including fishing, picnic lunches, demonstrations, games and

many hands-on learning opportunities for adults and children. A list of activities including fishing clinics is available on the Free Fishing Weekend page of the DNR Web site.


While rods and reels are usually provided at many of these fishing events, people can also borrow fishing equipment from one of DNR’s nearly 50 tackle loaner locations.


Recently, Wisconsin teamed up with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and 29 other states in a national campaign called “Take Me Fishing,” designed to get more people out onto the water and fishing.


“Take me fishing” complements Free Fishing Weekend, along with other angler education programs, fishing clinics, outdoor expos and other efforts the states and fishing clubs have long made to introduce new people to the sport.


“Free fishing weekend is an ideal to time to take someone fishing,” says Stabo. “It’s the perfect atmosphere to renew the fishing passion in an angler who hasn’t been out in awhile, or hook someone new onto a pastime that creates lifelong memories.”

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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