Draft changes to fishing tournament rules aimed at increasing tournament angler satisfaction while addressing concerns about crowding at boat ramps and fish mortality potentially associated with tournaments are the topic of public hearings in late October and early November.
The current fishing tournament rules have been in effect for more than three years and the Department of Natural Resources has taken a critical look at the rule to identify areas for improvement, says DNR Fisheries Director Mike Staggs.
“The rules have generally worked well since they went into effect in 2011, but we’ve learned that some aren’t needed and found ways we can streamline others to make them work even better in the future,” he says. “We thank the various tournament organizers who have provided input the past several years.”
Jonathan Hansen, the DNR tournament program coordinator, says the changes include defining new permit exceptions and participant limits, streamlining tournament permit application procedures, and clarifying boat and live well requirements.
“Many resorts and bars have season-long tournaments where fishing is dispersed over many weeks. The new rule would allow these tournaments without a permit because they have little chance of adding to typical tournament crowding or fish mortality,” he says.
Kate Strom Hiorns, DNR fisheries policy specialist, says the rule also would replace the current permit application open period with a first-come first-serve application process. “Overall, the rule should make the permit process more transparent and less confusing for tournament organizers,” she says.
In addition, DNR worked with tournament anglers to develop a standard approach for when and where bag limits will be reduced in hot summer months and to standardize boundaries on Green Bay to help prevent fish dying after tournaments with a catch-hold-release format, she says.
Public hearings will be held in three locations around the state that typically hold large numbers of fishing tournaments:
- Oct. 30, La Crosse – 6:30 p.m. at the South Side Neighborhood Center, 1300 S. 6th St.
- Nov.4, Fitchburg – 6 p.m., Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Road, Meeting Room A&B.
- Nov. 6, Oshkosh – 6 p.m., at the James P. Coughlin Center/DNR Service Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Main Conference Room.
To view a copy of the proposed rules, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and search for “proposed administrative rules” and click on the button for “View proposed permanent natural resources rules.” The fishing tournament rule can be found under FH-01-12.
For more information or to submit written comments, contact Kate Strom Hiorns, DNR Headquarters, 101 S. Webster, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, or via email at: email@example.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Strom Hiorns, 608-266-0828; Jon Hansen, 608-266-6883