Department of Natural Resources crews will be stocking more chinook salmon in Kewaunee and Door County waters than anywhere else in the state again next year.
Wisconsin’s updated strategy for stocking the “kings” in 2014 and beyond — tweaked from public input on increasing the numbers in areas with the most targeted fall fisheries — is set.
It reflects newer research showing that chinook are highly migratory fish and that where the fish are stocked doesn’t affect the main fishery in the spring and summer.
However, location does affect the fall fishery when chinooks stage off river mouths, then run upstream to spawn, so DNR focused on striking a balance between providing opportunities along the coast and responding to public concerns to provide more fish where the angler pressure, harvest and economic impact are the greatest in fall.
Research shows that more than half of the chinook salmon in Lake Michigan are wild and that the fish swim all over Lake Michigan during the spring and summer. Some even come in from Lake Huron.
DNR fisheries supervisor for northern Lake Michigan, Dave Boyarski, says that local fish managers will be working with angler organizations and others to help determine where fish go within a particular county if there is more than one port.
Strawberry Creek, the DNR’s top egg collection facility, is set to get the most fish next spring at 120,000 fingerlings.
Kewaunee County — Algoma and Kewaunee — are next with 95,142, followed by Ozaukee County (89,000), Sheboygan County (86,000), Manitowoc and Milwaukee counties (each 83,000), Kenosha County (just under 77,000), Racine County (75,000), Oconto and Marinette counties (69,000 combined) and northern Door County (30,000).
Early ice action
Anglers fishing the early ice on the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers have hooked a few brown trout, steelhead and coho salmon.
There’s also some cautious walk-on perch, walleye, whitefish and pike action inside Little Sturgeon Bay, off High Cliff Park and around Sturgeon Bay, as well as close to shore near Dyckesville. As always, check locally for the latest reports before heading out.
Windy weather throughout this Arctic blast has created a lot of shoves and has limited offshore ice development.
The muzzleloader deer hunt is done, and the four-day, antlerless-only gun deer season ends 20 minutes after sunset Sunday. The archery deer hunt continues through Jan. 5.
Zone B ruffed grouse hunting is now closed; Zone A (north of Wisconsin 29 here) is open through Jan. 31, the same closing date as squirrel.
Canada goose hunting ends Dec. 16 in the northern zone and Dec. 21 in the southern zone. Pheasant, wild turkey and Hungarian partridge hunts end Dec. 31.
Last week, several legislators were calling for the DNR to stop the antlerless gun deer season north of Wisconsin 64, but the DNR said legislative action in 2011 means it now takes six months for the department to exercise emergency closure in the hunt.
It differs from the wolf hunt or sturgeon spearing, which are based on quotas and have emergency closure language built in.
Either way, late-season archers took more than 2,300 antlerless deer north of Wisconsin 64 last year, double the four-day gun kill there.
Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoor writer. Call him at (920) 883-9792 or e-mail email@example.com