Lots of comments on this body of water! First let's admit Most people fish Walleyes to EAT!Almost ALL waters in SE Wi. Are put and take Walleye fisheries! How much natural reproduction on Kosh is a crap shoot!Since the Hatchery is back millions of fish,fry and fingerling have been stocked in the system!Anyone that fishes the system knows in the Rock the fish come up in waves,some days the river is full at certain places and catches are plentiful a day later gone! Just look at this spring! Cell phones and ( catching reports) contribute to massive number of fishermen!Many comments that they are runing the fishery,well license fees are enabling the fishery!If a 5 fish limit can't substain the stocking program the the dnr should drop it to 3 or raise stocking numbers!Slot limits seem to work,why the are not used here seem to indicate natural reproduction is not to good on this system!Closing the system in spring is NOT the answer!
Rock River And Lake Koshkonong Discussion
Well I went to the spring hearing at Janesville Craig High School on Monday, April 8, 2019. We got to question 28 and the DNR lead off by saying the growth rate in this system is very high and sometimes we don`t even know the sex of the fish until they are 18 inches long. Was anybody at the meeting last year and I told them about the growth rate? I got my info from Don Bush as sitting on the board of the Bark River Hatchery for 13 years, you do pick up a thing or two. He told of taking fish from this system to UWSP ( I think ) to meet with other DNR fish managers from around the state. The growth rate from this system was by far a head of any other system from around the state. Don would say it was from the great presents of feed and a high of metabolism. I got my chance to give my view at the meeting. I told of how I had two spread sheets from the DNR, one from the internet DNR and the other from a phone call to Madison and the DNR e-mailed to me. The one that was e-mailed to me had 27 more entries in it. I went back to 2009 with the data I`ve used. I went on to tell of the 2,500,486 fingerlings that were released in the target area of the 3/18 law. I added my numbers up again at home when the DNR said my numbers were high. I did make a mistake on three totals of 21,907 total. That brings the stocking from mostly from Lake Mills SFH and a few other non-DNR sources listed on my spread sheets. That brings the total to 2,499,479 fingerling from 1.21 inches to 1.7 inches long with 15,964 of them being 6 inches to 7 inches. I asked if the DNR had the Bark River Hatchery numbers to add to this total and that's when the DNR said my numbers were high and I must being including the Hatchery number because I said the Bark River, not the hatchery, was included in my report of the system. The numbers of fish released in Bark River are 2009-6,900 fish-1.4 inches, 2010-6,900-1.55 in. 2011-6,900-1.47 in. 2012-6,900-1.61 in. 2013-6,900-1.5 in. per DNR data. So I have the floor and the DNR said they don`t think the fish spawn in the Rock River or Lake Koshkonong. I`m thinking what the heck and a WCC delegate raises his hand to talk. I said sure. So he asked the DNR that they want keep the fish until they are 18 inches and they don`t even spawn, what`s the idea in the new law? Never really got an answer on that one. I went on about the line in the proposed law that says (During a 2008-2009 creel survey, walleye were the species most targeted by anglers.) I said really, we are using data ten years old to pass a new law??? This is the line that got me to sit down.(This exceeds the 35 % exploitation threshold for sustainable walleye populations suggested by literature.) I asked what the last three words were? What literature? This the info the DNR gives us to pass a law. I said this is a line I would have used in 6th grade when I didn`t read a book, but had to make out a book report. I was asked to sit down. Fine. So I called Travis Motl up from the DNR. He thinks the walleyes do spawn in Rock River and Lake Koshkonong. I asked him if he had any totals for the Bark River Hatchery for the last three years. He said he would get back with me. He has not, yet. I did go to FB Friends of the Bark River Hatchery and got these numbers. 2019- 2.5 million eggs, 2018-5 million fry. 2017-3.5 million fry. Thanks guys! I don`t think there is any shortage of walleyes out there to change any law. You add up the fingerlings and eggs/fry you get 13,499,479 in the last ten years, Not including the numbers of the old Bark River Hatchery.
If any of my data or what went on in Janesville the other night is wrong, please correct me! Travis all so said it was his goal as have this system have no stocking in it. This should get the attention of every angler out there. I mentioned that Scott Walker made sure the DNR was flush with money to keep walleye stocking on the top of the list. He said that has nothing to do with it???? To me, if there is no spawning like reported in Janesville, why would you cut any stocking at all. I think of it as putting pheasants out at the public hunting grounds, there their to be harvested. I sure don`t like getting half truths and different stories of we hope and we think this might happen. I truly think this system in is about the best shape it has even been since I`ve been fishing it. If it works, don`t fix it!!! T-2-T
Well I ran into Don Bush at the Bark River Hatchery Dinner. A little run down on Don. He and Gary Peterson from Edgerton had the idea of of helping out the system and hence we have the Hatchery (Thanks Guys). Don is retired from the DNR as this systems biologist. I sat next to him for 13 years on the board for the hatchery. His passion and understanding of this system has been great for us fisherman for sure. I picked up a few things along the way. Number one is the carp are the big
problem in this system. Also the 18-22 inch female walleyes are your most productive spawners. I asked him time to time about a slot or something like it and said this system didn`t need it. He had many ideas how help this system over the years. He want to go to other area lakes that had an over population of panfish. I donated my stainless insulated tank to the DNR for that project and glad to see them use it to transport fingerling perch from there secret rearing ponds. He has all ways been my go to guy. If I had a gill that specks in it`s meat, had red ulcers on it`s scales or had a stick monster swim up the hole. He all ways got back with me in a timely fashion. He was all ways humble enough to know that mother nature all ways wins. I've all ways had faith in his ideas. Now back to the talk I had with him. To be fair to Don, he took the time to explain his take on the 3/18 rule change, at the dinner. He said that they think the system is getting over fished and they 3/18 would work great as it is working in two other area lakes that were in TROUBLE. I think he said Beaver Dam and Fox, but not sure. He also said they hope was that the fish would reach 18 inches and could spawn once before getting harvested. He also said that they put the numbers in the computer and it showed it was going to be fished out. I told how I think the lakes is in about the best shape, for wanted fish, that I have ever seen. He said yea, but you know ware the fish are? OK, Here my angle. I`ve enjoyed fishing this system since the early 70`s. I think I get more goose eggs in a season then most guys get out fish. I do bring a limit of walleyes home time to time to eat. I release plenty of fish also. I look at the amount of money and time I`ve donated to the hatchery over the years. I don`t want the system to go to crap either. I really don`t think we need this 3/18 right now. I hear guys whining about no big fish in the system, Look at the results of the bounty hunt. An eight pound plus took first with many fish right on it`s heels. I looked at the results of the two spread sheets from the DNR on stocking. What I can figure out why the totals don`t match up. In ten years they off by 380,000 fish? If I ran my trucking company that way the IRS and the DOT would have had a field day with me. I wonder what numbers they are using in their computer model for the 3/18. They never had any data for 2016 and I only found one for 2018. Red Flag?I was going to get the numbers of the fish hatchery that also adds to the amount of fish out in the lake, but I think this is a done deal, not based what is happening on the lake, but what a few people want. Do I need to go and get five walleyes every time out. No, but I`m against the way this thing is being sold. The first guy I talked about this, I thought the sky was falling. I seen in the winter of 2017-2018 all the thousands of panfish and large mouth bass that were dead under the ice. That was the first year that the early winter draw down happened (late Sept) and a dry fall. Don taught me about biomass to. That ware 4 big fish and 8 little fish can live in a big bucket and 2 big fish and 4 little fish can live in a small bucket. Will this happen to the walleyes to? I have the spread sheets if anybody wants a copy. . Anyway as all ways, thank you, the Vets for my right to express my thoughts. You guys Rock! I all ways have a place in my boat if you want to ride along and go fishing. I`m also inviting any Illinois and Wisconsin State Troopers to ride along. You guys are first class and have had a tough winter. T-2-T
A correction is needed after talking to a DNR employee about the 50,000 dead fish and the standing order for 100,000 fish going in the system in the fall. I will have to talk to Don and get the numbers right. One point that should be touched on is the local weekly tourney is done at the point ware most of the big fish are taken. Now they are released in the same area, not at the other end of the lake. That might save a few big fish from leaving the lake in a live well. I`m not trying to start something with the tourney guys, just stating a fact. T-2-T
I may only spend a few days a year on the system but I know many that fish it religiously and live on or near it. I am more aware of how this whole thing works than you may think. Many of them have seen the size structure decreasing and feel a change is needed.
The need to protect the large fish is needed. I am not arguing that, but you seem to think that I am.
I also never said that there were no large fish in the system. What I have and will continue to say is that there is not enough large (mature) fish in the system to sustain natural reproduction. Put and take (Stocking) is not part of a slot limit and cannot be used in conjunction with a slot limit.
I am glad you brought up the Wisconsin River. I spent many days fishing this before and after the slot was introduced and the slot worked wonders on that stretch of the river. Many hated it for years until they were able to see the size structure change.
Here is the difference, natural reproduction. The Wisconsin River system had a naturally reproducing population. Slots work very well but only if the correct circumstances are present. The DNR feels at this point that it is not and with that the slot is out.
Maybe they should go to a 3/15, would that make you happy. Less fish leaving the lake, saves some of the larger (mature) fish in the system.
A slot system only works if natural reproduction can sustain the population. Supplemental stocking is not part of a slot limit system. Never said no mature fish, said a lack of mature fish to support a slot limit at this time. I am not a fan of the 3/18. If people want change it won't and can't happen over night. I wish they could go to a 1 over 28 for the spring spawn and then 3/15. To me this is the best option given a slot is not an option. 3/18 seems counter productive if they want to save spawning fish.
At this point a slot is not an option. The state dictates where certain tools can be used and the state made a change that does not allow it on this certain area. Also, for a slot to work effectively the system needs a large population of breeders to already be in the system and need to consistently spawn in good numbers. Both of these are an issue on the system according to the DNR.
My initial hope was to do something like they do on the Fox River in DePere. 1 over 28" until the regular opener. This would allow the breeding stock to successfully drop there eggs and provide a better spawn. Then come the regular opener got to 3/18 since that is what they are proposing. I would even think 3/15 should be an option.
My hope is they do something now and in the future a slot system can become available when the right conditions exist. I have seen the slot work and am in favor of it, but the right conditions must exist for it to work.
I got some spread sheets on stocking numbers from the internet and also the DNR office in Madison. I wish I new how to display the information, but I got the totals. The fish in the first report are all walleyes 1.21 and 1.7 inches long. 2018-13,380. 2017-543,377. 2016-N/A. 2015-458,161. 2014-14,705. 2013-407,120. 2012-261,019. 2011-260,993. 2010-307,412. 2009-246,196. In 2017- 1,500 7 in, 2013-939 6.36 in, 2011-1,250 7 in, and 2009-12,275 6 in. were released. All waters include Lake Koshkonong, Rock River, Mud Lake, Bark River And the Crawfish River. I will try to get the break down of The Bark River Hatchery of the 50 million fry that were hatched were walleyes. I`m proud to say I was a board member for 13 years. I remember the DNR said they had a standing order for 100,000 6-9 in. fish every fall. I tried to make a few calls on this to find out if this still happens. I can`t find any data on this. I know one year there was a bad wreck north of Madison and DNR`s truck got stuck in traffic and the air tank on the trailer stopped working. 50,000 dead fish went in the river that day. I hope this info helps you think about the 3 fish 18 inche rule. If ain`t broke, don`t fix it. T-2-T
On November 4, 1984 I had my 14 foot boat with a 9.9 merc all hooked up and stopped by to pick up my buddy to head up to Blackhawk Island. I was pumped as Jack Crawford from Racine gave me a handful of his custom made jigs to try and get the 28 inchers that hang out in this part of the river. My buddy talked me out of going as near gale force winds were blowing. As the day went on I had heard there was an incident on the Lake. I didn`t hear any more about it. The next day I was delivering Oscar Mayer products in the Minneapolis area. I was in the break room and read the head lines of some Wisconsin duck hunters dying. I looked at the pictures and they were my good friend Kim Hanson and his Dad on the front page of the Pioneer Press. Ever since that day I`ve had the feeling to protect Lake Koshkonong and it`s resourses. I`ve seen a guy have two coolers of walleyes on Tuesday(74) and Thursday (64) and tell me they were really biting on Wednesday. I think he got three awards over the years from the DNR. I had another guy tell me he 40 walleyes over 24 inches in his freezer. I chewed his azz out and the next time I seen him he said he had change his ways and purged his freezer. I was nose to nose with two guys at the pier as they just dropped off their second limit of walleyes and were going to head out for their third. Both guys came up to in their boats weeks later and said they were sorry and it was stupid they did that. I got a guy telling me this 3/18 thing is such a great deal. I wish he could harness one of his family members before he tells me how to fish. I`ve went to court and almost lost friends on trying to protect this Lake. I don`t know if my efforts are doing any good, but that`s they way I`m wired. I had a DNR employee want to check my freezer. I gave him my phone and keys and told him to call the warden. He never did? Now to the facts! I seen the whole agenda as a guy who was screaming there was no walleye spawn in the spring. I was messing around at the boat ramp one fall day catching a ton of 4-6 in. walleyes. I wanted to show him that was a great spawn again. He didn`t even give it a look. That was the day I knew the facts didn`t mean crap. Some one is trying to make for themself. I just know that with the lack of carp the fishing for all breeds of fish are super right now. I could go on about the old days of huge fish in the upper river and that should be a god giving right or ice fishing in the late 80`s and the huge walleyes that everybody caught and they aren`t there anymore. Look at the results of the Bounty Hunt. With out the huge numbers of carp some weeds have came back and there are plenty of huge walleyes hanging in the lake. I even tried to get some spawners for the DNR. They placed their nets out and got zip. I really don`t think we need this new law, just protect what we got. T-2-T