More WI Knuckleheadedness?

Just in case you weren’t already thinking Wisconsin had it’s head up…you know…about tournament fishing, this:

As of this year, June through August (give or take) you can only keep (catch-hold-release) 3 fish per day in Wisconsin bass and walleye tourneys. Yeah. Three.

Click the pic below to read from a DNR letter to a tourney director:

(Click to see bigger.)

Ignoring the “new rule that is not a new rule” part, the “unreasonable waste of natural resources” – seriously?

Are the water temps 100+ degrees there?

Are Wisconsin bass unbelievably delicate for some reason? (Do they do ballet and wear tutus?)

Is the WI DNR related to the PA DNR?!

Tell me if I’m missing something here WI/MN guys. I well could be, not hailing from there. But if not, this is one big reason people stop fishing and hunting: Too many *@&#^$ regs!

[By the time you finish reading this, your fish and game regs book will be 3 pages longer. And thanks to the unidentified BassParade reader who sent it in.]



  1. Alex Voog

    February 4, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Almost better to just put a fillet knife to the fish! They ARE already, by LEGAL standard “keepers”, dead and in the fryer. From the Wisconson DNR website: Daily Bag Limit : Largemouth and Smallmouth in total – 5 Fish. So it’s better to keep, kill, and eat 5 bass, than release them alive. They are just continuing to screw themselves, and will be hard pressed to get many of my “tourist” dollars in the future. MAROONS..

  2. Alex Voog

    February 4, 2011 at 10:38 am

    That ballerina trout is a “right ripper” !!

  3. Shaggybass

    February 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Guys here is more contact info to help out.
    Here is the access portal to the Wisconsin Government Site
    Once there you can look around or just use:

    For Senators … use=senate

    For Assembly … e=assembly

  4. Bass Pundit

    February 5, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I blogged about this one in January

    In other WI news. Apparently there statehouse is considering a bill that would make culling legal.

    Details at Forums

  5. Buzz

    February 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

    The real story here is how the WI anglers are going to use this to overturn not only the restricted tournament bag, put the culling in tournament restriction. It looks like they have the right combination of support from the Governor and Legislature to make some progress.

    Now what is needed is a strong grassroots e-mail, phone call, 1-1 contact push. While things like the new restriction and all the negative publicity that the Karen Savik story brought, a possible positive outcome, might be that the pot has been stirred to the point that everyone gets active. I wonder how Karen’s story would be heard in Madison?

  6. Pat Campbell

    February 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    We need not only the Wis. guys emailing but all bourder state guys to. If you fish a tournament in Wis. you spend alot of money there. Its our job to let them know how we feel and why!! Pat C.

  7. old fishing guy

    February 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

    One of the questions that you asked was how does something this stupid get started?

    I stumbled across an article Written by Larry A. Nelson, an academic who had taken a leave of absence to work for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in 1984-1985.

    That timeframe is where the years when the tournament battle began. We as anglers really won one big victory in that go round. That victory was that tournaments were recognized as a legal and legitimate activity that needed to be regulated. It might sound strange that being regulated by a state agency is a victory but it’s not if you view it in the context of what was going one in Wisconsin at the time.

    In the early 1980’s the Lake Associations in Wisconsin started to gain a lot of power. They started along two paths that, if followed would have led to substantial roadblocks to lake use by both anglers and Tournament anglers.

    The first of these was the Ramp purchase strategy. Lake association members pooled their funds and bought up all of the launches on “their” lakes and closed them to anyone not a lake association member.

    A second ramp strategy was a fee differential strategy that allowed locals to use “their” lake ramps by paying a small fee while non-local outsider types paid a substantially higher rate. The legislature was forced to get involved and required the Wisconsin DNR (WDNR) to prepare and implement a plan to assure adequate, equitable launching capacities at all lakes based on the size of the lake.

    The second strategy, again pushed by the Lake Associations, was to push local units of government to pass laws prohibiting tournaments from using Ramps and Parks for weigh ins or meetings. That is where the being recognized and regulated became important. The result was that local entities could not prohibit a legal state recognized activity.

    In both cases the WDNR was forced to do things that they avoided. These two came hot on the heels of the WDNR being forced to allow the use of an electric motor to position a boat while casting. Wisconsin anglers were being cited for trolling while using an electric motor to position a boat. The legislature interceded in that case as well.

    Needless to say there was not a rosy relationship between the WDNR and the Tournament anglers that kept going over their heads.

    Another important factor is the Wisconsin Natural Resource Board (WNRB) which sits between the Legislature and the WDNR. The WNRB is made up of appointees that are not required to have any expertise other than knowing the right people. No natural resource experience is required to be on the seven person board and at times there is not a member of the board that possesses either a fishing or hunting license.

    The legislature may require the WDNR to change rules or take action to create rules but after the process is complete the WNRB has final say over what goes back up to the legislature for review and approval or request for changes. If requests for changes are made the WDNR has the option of presenting a case for not changing what they submitted and if approved by the WNRB it is returned to the Legislature without change where it becomes law unless the assembly committee that oversees the WDNR requests a joint session to rule on changes. That session is typically not called. For all intents and purposes the WNRB and the WDNR can slow or prevent any change to Wisconsin’s natural resource laws and rules.

    The WNRB pretty much summed up their position in the Wisconsin administrative code when they stated that “sport fishing should remain a true amateur sport which combines the pleasures and skills of angling with wildlife and scenic enjoyment, contemplation, and other subtle pleasures, not with competition.”

    Against that background the fight for culling moves forward with a few restrictions.

    No action has ever been taken to move Culling forward by a Democratic controlled legislature.

    When action is taken it is typically slow moving.

    The WDNR controls the press and information flow and is adept at making its case for studies even if they duplicate existing studies in other states. Many of those studies are conducted by University of Wisconsin Stevens Point which is a major recruitment site for employment at the WDNR.

    When completed the studies are presented in their entirety but with a WDNR summery which color the results as needed. As long as the WDNR can keep presenting “valid” study topics they can prevent culling from moving forward two years at a time. The Protectororism view of competition is a playbook that the WDNR has run to a level of perfection rivaling a 1960’s Green Bay Packers sweep.

    Since cullgate is the current hot topic part of the protectionist history is amusing in a morbid sort of way. Wisconsin and its border states have a long history of working together to prevent duel regulations on their boundary waters.

    Take the Mississippi River for example. During the late 1990’s push to legalize culling the WDNR was adamant about not allowing culling because neither Iowa nor Minnesota allowed culling and it was not the WDNR’s place to dictate rules to Border States with which they had had a long and peaceful co-existence. Somehow the no-cull agreement with them was put on hold while the 2005-2007 bass research study was conducted with very little notice, only to reappear when the studies where done.

    What is even more alarming is that when the Iowa and Minnesota Departments of natural resources changed rule to allow culling the Wisconsin DNR held fast on its no cull rule and dictated no-cull rules to the Border States with which they had such a long and peaceful co-existence.

    Now in 2011 Wisconsin is once again positioned with a Republican dominance in Madison which will hopefully lead to a finale next step. Economic is a big factor this year and the economic impact of tournaments have been documented by the WDNR’s own study. It remains to be seen if that will be enough.

  8. Alex Voog

    February 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Great article, THANKS.

  9. Tom monsoor

    April 8, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Bo, a good friend of mine Dan Thill, came on tour with me this year as a co angler. He is filming our practices, about ten minutes worth a day. It’s pretty cool. He already did beaver Lake and Hartwell Lake. We leave today for Chickamauga Lake, if you’d like to show it, it’s under “The Train Station” reality practices on the FLW Majors. I thought you might enjoy them.

  10. Alex Voog

    April 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

    The link from their website is in their “GALLERY”. (or ) But you should check out his BBQ store website, drool, and schedule a trip for the pulled pork and tackle busters. === I read some good news regarding repealing the foolish cull regs. BASSFAN has the latest poop. Let’s hope this gets pushed through ASAP. You’ve been fishing good Tom, too bad that jerkbait bite died the last day… I see you!!

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