Lake Trout season closure in Apostle Islands region

BAYFIELD, Wis. — Lake Trout fishing in Lake Superior has been exceptionally good this season. So good that harvest quotas have been reached requiring the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to close the lake trout season for sport and charter anglers at 11:59 p.m. on August 20, 2017 in the Apostle Island region (WI-2) of Lake Superior.

Lake Superior lake trout zones
Lake Superior lake trout zones

“Following a slow start to the season, July lake trout fishing has been very good, nearly equaling harvest the prior seven months” said Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor.

The recreational season for lake trout started Dec. 1, 2016 and typically runs through Sept. 30, 2017. However, the Natural Resources Board approved an emergency rule last December that included conditions where the season would close prior to September 30 if the recreational lake trout harvest reaches 7,350 fish or 75 percent of the total allowable recreational lake trout harvest of 9,800 fish for WI-2

According to Darryl Fenner, owner of D’s Superior Fishing Charters, fishing has been outstanding in the Apostle Islands area in the past couple months. However, he added, “We as charter fishermen support protection of the resource however that needs to be done.”

Lake trout are managed in Lake Superior using a quota system where various user groups are allocated an allowable catch. These user groups include: sport and charter fishers, state licensed commercial fishers, and tribal home use and commercial fishers. While commercial fishers are given their allotment in the form of tags at the beginning of the season, sport harvest is monitored by using a creel survey.

The emergency rule was approved by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board at its December meeting following a series of public meetings and an online survey where anglers were given the opportunity to select their preferred regulation.

Margenau said “we provided anglers with four regulation options last fall and the associated risk of reaching the quota with each regulation. The current regulation was the most preferred by those responding to the poll”.

Even though the lake trout season will end early, there are still plenty of other fish in the lake for recreational anglers to enjoy. Shortly there will be opportunities for fishing coho salmon and brown trout as they return nearshore.

Chequamegon Bay offers great fishing for numerous species including walleye, northern pike, perch, and even sturgeon. Lake trout fishing will continue to provide a recreational fishery in WI-1, from Superior to Bark Point.