Trout anglers are finding this spring’s cool, rainy weather to
Anglers in southern and western Wisconsin in particular report
having an outstanding start to the 2011 trout fishing season, say
state fisheries management and stream monitoring officials.
“The cool spring has kept both stream-side and in-stream
vegetation down, allowing good access to most streams,” says Mike
Miller, a stream ecologist who helps coordinate stream monitoring
for the Department of Natural Resources and is an avid trout
“Continued above average stream-flows have created more habitat
for trout allowing for higher fish reproduction and greater trout
densities. And there have been good hatches of mayflies and
caddisflies throughout the early season as well,” he says.
Heath Benike, senior fisheries biologist for Chippewa and Eau
Claire counties, reports that trout fishing has been very good in
western Wisconsin. “Streams are in good condition and no major
flooding has occurred this spring,” he says.
“With the cool spring trout were very active and water temps are
lower than normal for this time of the year. This is good news for
trout anglers, since trout are a coldwater fish they generally bite
best when water temperatures are in the 55-65 degree range and most
streams are in that temperature window at this time.”
With a few weeks left before spring officially ends, Miller
passes on these tips to help trout anglers maximize their time on
Fly patterns that imitate terrestrial insects such as ants,
beetles, and crickets will become increasingly more effective as
the fishing season progresses.
Spinfishers anglers using small marabou jigs that imitate crayfish,
or minnow imitations such as Rapalas are very effective
Brown trout avoid bright sunlight so fishing on overcast days, when
rainfall has colored the water, or fishing at dawn or towards dusk
can often increase angling success.
Consider limiting your catch on heavily fished waters, pinching
down barbs (particularly on treble hooks). Keep a pair of needle
nose pliers or hemostats in your pocket and handle the fish gently
with wet hands if you intend to release it.
Holding the fish “belly-up” will cause it to stop struggling,
making it easier to remove hooks and release the fish unharmed.
More good news for trout anglers
The total 10,651 miles of classified trout water used on older
DNR web pages and publications were derived from using a ruler or
map wheel to estimate stream lengths on a paper map. DNR staff
updated that figure using a geographic information system (GIS)
line feature with many more bends and meanders than a person could
accurately measure, according to Matt Rehwald, a DNR surface water
The result? There are 13,175.82 trout miles in the state based
on these improved mapping techniques and updated trout waters work.
Of that new total, 5,400 miles are Class 1 waters, high quality
trout waters that have sufficient natural reproduction to sustain
populations of wild trout, at or near carrying capacity.
Slightly more waters, 5,911.6 miles are Class 2, which may have
some natural reproduction, but not enough and stocking is required
to maintain a desirable sport fishery. These more nutrient-enriched
streams often produce larger trout since they often have higher
densities of minnows and other trout food. The remaining 1,864
miles are Class 3, where there is marginal trout habitat with no
natural reproduction occurring. These waters require annual
stocking of trout to provide trout fishing.