Statewide panfish meetings
Anglers and others are invited to share their expectations for fishing for panfish in Wisconsin at more than two dozen meetings across the state in February and March.
“We want to hear from the public on what they want from their panfishing experience to help guide us in developing a statewide plan for managing panfish populations,” says Joanna Griffin, the DNR fisheries specialist coordinating the effort.
The public meetings mark the opening phases of statewide outreach efforts by Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries management to better connect with anglers in Wisconsin. These first meetings will focus on panfish management although other local fishery concerns may be covered at the meetings, she says.
Attendees at the meetings will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire to help DNR understand their concerns, issues and priorities for panfish. The questionnaire and background materials presented at the meeting will be available online in coming weeks.
DNR has long had management plans in place for game fish species such as walleye, bass, musky and northern pike, and biologists and some anglers believe such attention is necessary for panfish.
“We know there have been proposals from the Conservation Congress in recent years and again this year to reduce the daily 25 fish limit on panfish on select lakes. Their concerns, along with our data analyses and modeling efforts, lead us to believe we need to take the next step and develop a management plan.”
As a category, panfish are by far the most common fish caught by anglers in Wisconsin although anglers report walleye as their favorite target. Wisconsin anglers reported catching 88 million fish in the 2006-7 license year, of which 57.7 million were panfish, according to a statewide mail survey done that year. About 25.7 million of those panfish were kept.
“We hope the feedback we get from anglers can help us understand whether to stay the course, or if they want changes in their panfishing experience that could require us to do something different, depending on the particular waterbody and its capabilities.”
Info for panfish meetings closest to Foto New Country follows:
March 6, Medford, Frances L Simek Memorial Library, 7 p.m., 400 N Main St.
March 11, Merrill, MHS large conference room, 6 p.m. 1201 N. Sales St.
March 13, Rhinelander, Rhinelander Service Center, 7 p.m. 107 Sutliff Ave.