Lake Trout Fishing In Apostle Islands to Close

From the WIsconsin DNR:

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the lake trout recreational harvest trigger in the Apostle Islands region (WI-2) of Lake Superior has been reached. As a result, lake trout season for sport and charter anglers will close at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 15, 2021.

“As more people have participated in the fishing opportunities available in Lake Superior, lake trout harvest has increased,” said Brad Ray, DNR Lake Superior Fisheries Supervisor. “To continue the excellent lake trout fishing opportunities, we need to make sure we do not exceed the safe harvest limit.”

Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior are divided into two management units: WI-1, including all waters from Superior to Bark Point (the Western Arm), and WI-2 waters, including waters from Bark Point to the Michigan border (the Apostle Islands region). Lake trout harvest and trophy opportunities will still be available west of Bark Point until Sept. 30, 2021.

Lake trout in Lake Superior are managed 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.

Since 2016, lake trout regulations in WI-2 have included a trigger set at 75% of the total allowable harvest. This trigger, implemented in response to angler concerns about overly restrictive bag limits, allows data to be compiled and analyzed with enough time to close the fishery before exceeding safe harvest limits.

Sustainable harvest levels are determined based on the most up-to-date lake trout population information. 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 and mandatory charter reports.

The current quota was revised for the 2021 fishing season and the current recreational fishing allotment in WI-2 is 12,670 with a trigger at 9,500.

“Although the lake trout season in WI-2 will close, there are numerous cold and cool water fishing opportunities still available in Lake Superior,” said Dray Carl, DNR Lake Superior Fisheries Biologist.

Nearshore fishing opportunities for coho salmon, brown trout and splake will increase as we move into mid- to late-summer, with coho salmon fishing projected to be above average this summer and fall. Walleye continue to provide excellent fishing opportunities along the western arm, Long Island and within Chequamegon Bay. Chequamegon Bay also features a world-class smallmouth bass fishery, which can still bring fast-paced action during late summer and fall. Lake whitefish jigging has also become more prevalent in recent years. 

For more information on Lake Superior fisheries management, visit the DNR website.

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