Dateline: Hayward Wisconsin - April 27, 2005
Hayward Lakes Visitorís and Convention Bureau
Asks DNR to Stop Stocking Inferior Muskie Strain


To: Frank Pratt
Area Fisheries Biologist
Wisconsin DNR
10220 N. State Hwy. 27
Hayward, WI 54843

Dear Mr. Pratt:

Due to the apparent sad state of the hatchery brood stock that has contributed to the continuous decline of the trophy musky fisheries in northwestern Wisconsin, and particularly the Sawyer County area over the past half-century, as pointed out by the tremendous amount of research work done by the Wisconsin Muskellunge Restoration Project, we, the Hayward Lakes Visitorís and Convention Bureau, hereby request that NO FURTHER STOCKING be done in Sawyer County lakes with fish taken from the current Bone Lake brood stock, beginning immediately.

We endorse the suggestion of the WMRP to selectively take eggs from the larger remaining large river strain of muskies native to this area, i.e., Lac Court Oreilles, the Chippewa Flowage or Grindstone Lake, to further enhance our trophy musky fishery, rather than the continuation of stocking the small and mixed strain of muskies currently being used from the Bone Lake brood stock. By following the WMRP suggestion of taking eggs from numbers of only the larger specimenís, we would be more confident that our native trophy musky fishery can and will rebound and allow us to compete with what is currently happening in Minnesota.

In addition, we do not feel that the current proposed plan to transfer 500 adult muskies from Butternut Lake in Price County, that has been diluted with small Minocqua Lake stain muskies from the Wisconsin River drainage, to Lac Court Oreilles (LCO) here in Sawyer County, in the Chippewa River drainage is a good idea. The high 50 inch size limit on LCO will likely protect these potentially small growth potential fish for their entire lifetime, allowing them to eat the available forage without contributing to a harvestable trophy fishery. Proposed genetic testing of a small sample of the fish to be transferred will only identify those particular fish, not the balance being transferred. We feel that this risk is too great to take.

We are aware of the DNR's current plan to "study" the current brood stock situation that provides no guarantee that things would change, as stated by DNR Fisheries Supervisor, Mike Staggs. We simply cannot afford to wait until 2016, to find out that changes made did or did not work. Positive change can and should happen immediately. We are also aware of the proposed genetic study that simply cannot determine beyond what musky stocks now exist other than what has been "created" by the Wisconsin hatchery system over the past 100+ years, as was determined by the recent (1997) genetic study by the Illinois History Survey, and even then after this proposed 2-4 year study is completed, it will NOT answer the most important questions of growth and reproduction.

The constant drain of our tourism dollars being lost to Minnesota must cease. The losses from musky anglers now going to Minnesota is staggering. In addition, restoration of our trophy fisheries would give this area a much needed boost in the "shoulder season" of late fall, October and November. "Build it and they will come!"

Sincerely,

Cheryl Treland, President
Hayward Lakes Visitorís and Convention Bureau

cc:

  • David J. Neuswanger, Upper Chippewa Basin Fisheries Supervisor

  • Scott Hassett, DNR Secretary

  • Michael D. Staggs, Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection

  • James Doyle, Governor

  • Jim Holperin, Secretary, Dept. of Tourism

  • Mark Marotta, Office of the Secretary, Administrative Office, Dept. of Administration

  • Wisconsin Muskellunge Restoration Project Team

  • Terrell Boetcher, Sawyer County Record

  • Robert Jauch, State Senator


Editor's Note: As you may notice, the list of CC is no longer current. Frank Pratt is no longer working at the WDNR and government officials have been replaced...But the problem persists. The WDNR continues to ignore the basic science of good fishery management in favor of cronyism. Wisconsin fisheries are showing the result of unrealistic size limits and the depletion of the forage base as the result of a lack of a policy of intelligent harvesting.