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Wisconsin DNR Approves Trout and Panfish Regulation Changes

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There are new trout and panfish regulations coming to the waters of Wisconsin.

On May 27, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved proposals to simplify trout rules and boost the panfish population in state waters.

Here’s what you need to know:

Trout

The new regulations, designed to protect and enhance fish populations, also create more uniformity for anglers who fish on different trout streams and within small geographic areas.

Under the new system:

  •     Green means go fish, with no length limit, a bag limit of five fish and no bait restrictions.
  •     Yellow means caution, with an 8-inch length limit, a bag limit of three fish and no bait restrictions.
  •     Red means special regulations are in place. Anglers are advised to stop and understand the regulations before fishing.

The new rules also extend the opening of the early catch and release season in waters where it currently exists to the first Saturday in January and runs to the day before the regular fishing opener with no five-day closure period. The fall season extends from the current Sept. 30 to Oct. 15.

Panfish

One of three panfish regulations will be applied to 94 lakes and evaluated for effectiveness. The best regulation to address underperforming lakes will be selected and applied to these and other similar lakes in the future.

The daily limits on the high potential lakes will take one of the following forms:

  •     25/10. Under this rule, a total of 25 panfish may be kept per day but no more than 10 of any one species.
  •     Spawning season 15/5. Under this rule, a total of 25 panfish may be kept per day except during May and June when a total of 15 panfish may be kept but no more than five of any one species.
  •     15/5. Under this rule, a total of 15 panfish may be kept per day but no more than five of any one species.

The rules are set to end in 10 years (2026) unless permanent changes are made.

The new rules will go into effect prior to the 2016-17 fishing season.

Wisconsin DNR Approves Trout and Panfish Regulation Changes