So they are not shutting down the bass season anymore. Catch and release only for march thru may. I have nailed smallies in may pulling spinners in the past after season opened. I'm wondering if i can pull spinners around end of april for smallies or will DNR think i'm fishing for walleye. Obviously, I would release whatever I caught anyways. What do you all think?
New Smallmouth season
It will feel weird going out there fishing for bass in April, no doubt about it.
FWIW, I've been driving around to many NE Wisconsin lakes and boat launches and many don't even have the docks in yet. There are no trailers in the parking lots and no boats visible out on the water. So I'm not seeing any evidence of a wholesale slaughter going on out there, at least up by me.
If I catch a walleye or a pike on my 3" Mr. Twister, oh well, I'll let it go. Maybe I'll catch a 14" perch like I did last year. Or a crappie.
Not really a fan of this "continuous open season" on LMB and SMB, but now that I'm retired, it does provide additional fishing opportunity. I always release LMB and SMB anyway, and have pretty much perfected means of catching them without needlessly hurting them.
But you never know when a bass will snarf the Mr. Twister down to its hinder.
Very few people still realize that bass catch and release exists. Ask around. Maybe it's more known in Southern Wi. in northern Wi, it feels like I'm doing something illegal. Not that anyones harassing me about it. Just not many know about the rule change yet.
tailsneyes - yeah may as well include musky also...
Why musky if you want catch and release one all be all . Can't have a shoot and release mallard season. If you are throwing a spinner bait you can catch a perch up to a musky
Master_Piker - I agree. I'm not arguing for barbless hooks necessarily. They may as well make it a catch and release for all species (except Musky) from March thru May.
Although on some bodies of water, it would be good to protect spawning walleyes in my opinion.
Study after study has shown very little to almost zero correlation between barbed hooks and fish mortality during catch and release seasons. So much so, in fact, that the DNR has gotten rid of the requirement for the catch and release trout season. Trout are probably the easiest fish to kill while practicing catch and release and they no longer require barbless hooks. I think the bass, pike and walleye will be just fine. They are all heartier than a brook trout.
Very few people fish before the opener outside of river fishing for walleye and early trout season. I think those fisheries will be fine. Heck, the fishing opener doesn't even protect largemouth in the southern part of Wisconsin anyway as the spawn is usually just kicking off around that time and those big females are shallow and vulnerable. More and more states are going toward catch and release outside of the harvest season. It simplifies fishing enforcement . As long as game fish season is closed, you cannot possess game fish, but a warden doesn't have to decide if your 3" twister tail is being used to target pre-spawn feeding crappie or shallow, spawning walleye. As long as you are not in possession of walleyes, you're legal. Catch and release mortality has far more to do with hook DEPTH and fish handling than barbless hooks. The DNR is realizing that and adjusting the fishing regulations accordingly. Tight lines.
I think what will eventually happen is a catch and release season for all species from the closed season to the opener. Which would eliminate any confusion. The percentage of people who want to fish in March and April is pretty minimal anyways. Just my opinion.
I'm not crazy about this catch and release season for bass. What's to stop a guy from pitching a jig and plastic for "bass" when one can easily catch pike and walleyes on the same setup.
There should be more restrictions on bait/lures that can be used. Like maybe no live bait and barbless hooks while even a "finesse tackle only" restriction would not solve this problem either...
A couple years ago, I was perch fishing the last day of game season. Was jigging and had 2 tip downs out with small fatheads on. I could only catch one perch. The bass fishing was incredible tho. Fishing all day by myself, caught 32 smallie and 5 largemouth. I even had a tripple- fish on the jig rod while 2 tip downs both got hit!
I kept 5 bass 14 to 15 inch for the pan. Let several 15 to 17 inch smallie go. Got checked by the warden, he actually complemented me for keeping the bass, since the lake is so overpopulated with them.
I am seriously hoping for lure fishing (not ice fishing) in late April in northern Wisconsin. And hope to catch crappie or bass, whatever I can find. Nice to know it's not illegal and properly documented.