Alert! This chapter may be affected by an emergency rule:
NR 20.33(1)(a)3. 3. Water levels are expected to eventually return to normal.
NR 20.33(1)(a)4. 4. Continued sport fishing may result in a depletion of the game fish supply.
NR 20.33(1)(a)5. 5. Closure of the season is necessary to conserve the game fish supply until water levels are restored and to insure the citizens of this state continued opportunities for good fishing.
NR 20.33(1)(b) (b) Fish concentrated under ice. Pursuant to par. (e), the department may close the season for fishing through the ice in all or part of any inland water. The closed season shall remain in full force and effect until the water is no longer covered with ice and the season is opened pursuant to par. (e) 2. The department may close the season when it finds, after scientific investigation and study, that all of the following apply:
NR 20.33(1)(b)1. 1. The body of water is not expected to experience significant loss of its game fish population due to loss of oxygen.
NR 20.33(1)(b)2. 2. Ice cover has caused an unusual concentration of game fish, increasing their vulnerability to angler harvest.
NR 20.33(1)(b)3. 3. Continued sport fishing would deplete the supply of game fish.
NR 20.33(1)(b)4. 4. A closed season is necessary to conserve the game fish supply and insure the citizens of this state continued opportunities for good fishing;
NR 20.33(1)(c) (c) Fishery rehabilitation. Pursuant to par. (e), the department may close the season for fishing in all or part of any inland water in which fish have been removed or destroyed as a result of a rehabilitation program, to reestablish a good supply of game fish and insure the citizens of this state future opportunities for good fishing. The closed season shall remain in full force and effect until opened pursuant to par. (e) 2., scientific investigation indicates the game fish population has achieved a harvestable surplus of fish of desirable size, and reopening the season does not conflict with the closed seasons for each species specified in sub. (1).
NR 20.33(1)(d) (d) Presence of nonindigenous species. Pursuant to par. (e), the department may close the season for all bait harvest in all or part of any water that has been documented to contain detrimental species that are not indigenous to the waters of the state in order to prevent the further transport of nonindigenous species to other waters of the state. The department shall open the season pursuant to par. (e) 2., if the department determines that the nonindigenous species is no longer present or the nonindigenous species no longer poses a threat to other waters of the state.
NR 20.33(1)(e) (e) Closing and reopening seasons.
NR 20.33(1)(e)1.1. A closed season under par. (a), (b), (c) or (d) shall become effective only after one or more public informational meetings are held by the department. The closed season shall be put into effect by publication of a notice in the state newspaper, posting the notice on or in the vicinity of the shore of the water affected, and by providing any other notice which the department deems reasonable.
NR 20.33(1)(e)2. 2. A closed season under par. (a), (b), (c) or (d) shall be discontinued only after publication of a notice in the state newspaper and removal of the notices posted on or in the vicinity of the shore of the water affected.
NR 20.33(2) (2) Urban fishing program. The department may establish an urban fishing program by posting the open and closed seasons on specified waters. The department shall post notice on the affected waters that a special fishing season applies. The notice shall state the name or description of the water to which the special fishing season applies, the persons permitted to fish during the special fishing season and the time period of the special fishing season. The department may designate or remove a body of water in accordance with the requirements of s. 29.053 (2) (a), Stats.
NR 20.33(3) (3) Temporary dip netting authorization. The department shall open the season for fishing with dip nets in any waters when it finds after scientific investigation and study that the fish populations in the waters are threatened with imminent mortality because of depletion of dissolved oxygen or other adverse habitat conditions under which fish will not survive. During the open season all species of fish may be taken by means of dip nets not more than 3 feet in diameter or 3 feet square, but no person may have more than 25 pounds and one fish of any species of game fish of any size in possession. No person may fish with more than one dip net. The open season shall be put into effect by posting a notice thereof on or in the vicinity of the shore of the waters affected, the posting being deemed by the department to be the most feasible way of notifying the public that the open season for fishing with dip nets is in effect. The open season shall remain in full force and effect only so long as the waters are covered with ice and so long as the posting is continued.
NR 20.33(4) (4) Fishery rehabilitation. The department may open the season for fishing with dip nets, minnow seines or spears in waters for which a permit for treatment with a toxicant has been issued. During the open season all species of fish of any size may be taken with no bag or possession limit. The open season shall be from the date of issuance of said permit until the commencement of treatment and shall be put into effect by posting a notice thereof on or in the vicinity of the waters affected and by publication in one or more newspapers having wide circulation in the area affected.
NR 20.33(5) (5) Harvest quotas and special early closure of the sturgeon spearing season.
NR 20.33(5)(a) (a) Harvest quota. The total allowable annual harvest for the Lake Winnebago system shall be based on an average annual harvest or exploitation rate of 5% of the estimated Lake Winnebago system population of adult female sturgeon, 5% of the estimated population of juvenile female sturgeon and 5% of the estimated population of male sturgeon.
NR 20.33(5)(a)1. 1. Lake Winnebago shall be allocated 90% of the Lake Winnebago system harvest cap for adult female sturgeon, 80% of the Lake Winnebago system harvest cap for juvenile female sturgeon, and 80% of the Lake Winnebago system harvest cap for male sturgeon. For the February 2006 sturgeon spearing season, Lake Winnebago shall be allocated 100% of the harvest cap for all cohorts as there is no season on the upriver lakes that year.
NR 20.33(5)(a)2. 2. The upriver lakes shall be allocated 10% of the Lake Winnebago system harvest cap for adult female sturgeon, 20% of the Lake Winnebago system harvest cap for juvenile female sturgeon, and 20% of the Lake Winnebago system harvest cap for male sturgeon.
NR 20.33(5)(a)3. 3. The number of upriver lakes sturgeon spearing licenses or carcass tags issued annually for each upriver lakes sturgeon spearing season shall be determined by the department. The department shall base its determination for each upriver lakes sturgeon spearing season upon:
NR 20.33(5)(a)3.a. a. The total allowable annual harvest allocated to the upriver lakes in subd. 2.
NR 20.33(5)(a)3.b. b. The abundance of lake sturgeon in the Lake Winnebago system.
NR 20.33(5)(a)3.c. c. Trends in upriver lakes sturgeon spearer success rates.
NR 20.33(5)(a)3.d. d. Spearer distribution and density.
NR 20.33(5)(b) (b) Conditions for season closure. The department shall close the season for spearing sturgeon on Lake Winnebago if the actual harvest on Lake Winnebago meets or exceeds 90% of the total allowable annual harvest of adult female sturgeon, juvenile female sturgeon or male sturgeon from Lake Winnebago, as determined by the department. The department shall close the season for spearing sturgeon on the upriver lakes if the actual harvest on the upriver lakes meets or exceeds 90% of the total allowable annual harvest of adult female sturgeon, juvenile female sturgeon or male sturgeon from the upriver lakes, as determined by the department. The department shall close the season for spearing sturgeon on the Lake Winnebago system if the actual harvest on the Lake Winnebago system meets or exceeds 90% of the total allowable annual harvest of adult female sturgeon, juvenile female sturgeon or male sturgeon from the Lake Winnebago system, as determined by the department.
NR 20.33(5)(c) (c) Announcement and notice of season closure. The season closure for the lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season or the upriver lakes sturgeon spearing season or both shall be announced by a department press release to local media and to the official state newspaper on the day that actual harvest meets or exceeds 90% of the total allowable annual harvest of juvenile female sturgeon, adult female sturgeon or male sturgeon for that season, based upon the registration of harvested sturgeon pursuant to s. NR 20.07 (6). The department shall post notice of the closure in the vicinity of Lake Winnebago or the upriver lakes or both and provide other notice deemed reasonable by the department.
NR 20.33(5)(d) (d) Effective date of season closure. The season closure shall take effect at 1:00 p.m. on the day following issuance of the department press release announcing the season closure in par. (c) when the actual harvest meets or exceeds 90% but is less than 100% of the total allowable annual harvest of juvenile female sturgeon, adult female sturgeon or male sturgeon for that season, based upon the registration of harvested sturgeon pursuant to s. NR 20.07 (6). The season closure shall take effect at 7:00 a.m. on the day following issuance of the department press release announcing the season closure in par. (c) when the actual harvest meets or exceeds 100% of the total allowable annual harvest of juvenile female sturgeon, adult female sturgeon or male sturgeon for that season, based upon the registration of harvested sturgeon pursuant to s. NR 20.07 (6).
NR 20.33 History History: Cr. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; cr. (5), Register, December, 1999, No. 528, eff. 1-1-00; CR 02-014: am. (5) (c), Register September 2002 No. 561, eff. 10-1-02; emerg. r. and recr. (5) (c) eff. 2-2-05; CR 05-073: r. and recr. (5) Register January 2006 No. 601, eff. 2-1-06; CR 17-061: am. (5) (c), (d) Register February 2018 No. 746, eff. 3-1-18; CR 17-051: am. (5) (d) Register March 2018 No. 747 eff. 4-1-18; merger of (5) (d) treatments by CR 17-051 and CR 17-061 made under s. 13.92 (4) (bm) Register March 2018 No. 747.
NR 20.35 NR 20.35Alternate size and bag limits.
NR 20.35(1)(1)Purpose. Notwithstanding any provision of either ch. NR 21, 22, 23 or this chapter, for all or part of any inland, boundary or outlying water, the department may apply the alternative size limits, bag limits or both under this section for fish species identified in order to provide for better use and management of the fishery resource of the water to which the proposed alternate limit would apply.
NR 20.35(2) (2) Procedure. The department shall follow the following procedures in applying an alternate size limit or bag limit under this section:
NR 20.35(2)(a) (a) Notice. The department shall prepare and distribute a notice of its intent to apply an alternate limit under this section. The notice shall be published as a class 1 notice under ch. 985, Stats., in a general circulation newspaper in the vicinity of the water and, if the proposal has statewide significance, in the official state newspaper. A copy of the notice shall be sent to individuals and organizations which the department believes may be interested in the matter. The notice shall include a description of the water affected, the fish species affected, the alternate limit which will apply, and the date the alternate limit will take effect. The notice shall invite the public to submit written comments and indicate that a public information meeting will be held on the alternate limit if requested in writing within 10 days after the notice is published.
NR 20.35(2)(b) (b) Public information meeting. If a public information meeting is requested under par. (a), the department shall conduct the public information meeting in the vicinity of the affected water. At the meeting the department shall describe the factual basis for its intended decision and shall receive comments from the public on the matter.
NR 20.35(2)(c) (c) Determination. If, based on facts and information available to it, including comments received in response to the notice and at any public information meeting which may be held, the department concludes that a condition described in sub. (3) affects fish in a specific water, it shall apply the corresponding alternate limit. The alternate limit shall take effect upon the posting of the notice under par. (d).
NR 20.35(2)(d) (d) Posting. The department shall post notice at public access sites on the affected water that an alternate limit applies to a species of fish found in that water. The notice shall set out the name or description of the water or that part of the water to which the proposed alternate limit would apply, the species of fish affected, the corresponding alternate limit and the effective date of the alternate limit.
NR 20.35(2)(e) (e) List. The department shall maintain a current list of all waters to which an alternate limit under this section applies. The list shall be available for public inspection at the department's central office during regular office hours.
NR 20.35 Note Note: The list will be available for review at the offices of the bureau of fisheries management and habitat protection, 101 South Webster Street, Madison, WI
NR 20.35(3) (3) Alternate limit.
NR 20.35(3)(a)(a) Size limits. If the department finds under sub. (2) that one or more of the following conditions exists in a particular water, the corresponding alternate size limit shall apply to the named species of fish in that water.
NR 20.35(3)(a)1. 1. No size limit shall apply to walleye, largemouth bass or smallmouth bass if, for the particular species in a particular water, the department finds that at least one of the following conditions exist:
NR 20.35(3)(a)1.a. a. Angler exploitation of the species is less than 15% of the population of fish larger than the original size limit.
NR 20.35(3)(a)1.b. b. Total adult mortality for that species is less than 30% of the population.
NR 20.35(3)(a)1.d. d. Walleye males do not grow to a length of at least 13 inches in 4 years or largemouth bass or smallmouth bass do not grow to a length of at least 12 inches in 5 years in all inland waters lying north of a line following state highway 77 from its bridge over the St. Croix river then east on state highway 77 to its intersection with state highway 27, then south on highway 27 to its intersection with state highway 64, then east along highway 64 to its end, then continuing east to the waters of Green Bay or in inland waters of Brown, Kewaunee or Door counties north of a line beginning with the state highway 29 bridge over the Fox river, then east along state highway 29 to its end, then continuing east to Lake Michigan.
NR 20.35(3)(a)1.e. e. Largemouth bass or smallmouth bass do not grow to a length of at least 14 inches in 6 years in inland waters other than those identified in subd. 1. d.
NR 20.35(3)(a)2. 2. Alternate size limits may apply to walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, catfish, northern pike, or panfish if, for the particular species in a particular water, the department finds that at least one of the following conditions exist:
NR 20.35(3)(a)2.a. a. A lake restoration project is in place to reduce detrimental fish species that includes bio-manipulation of a waterbody through increasing the abundance and biomass of predator game fish. The department shall apply the following minimum size limits to particular species: 18-inch walleye, 18-inch largemouth or smallmouth bass, or 32-inch northern pike.
NR 20.35(3)(a)2.b. b. Fish have been removed or destroyed as a result of a rehabilitation program to reestablish a good supply of game fish. The department shall apply the following minimum size limits to particular species: 18-inch walleye, 18-inch largemouth or smallmouth bass, or 32-inch northern pike.
NR 20.35(3)(a)2.c. c. An inland water has been documented to contain detrimental species, species nonindigenous to the waters of the state, or rough fish. In order to control the population of detrimental, nonindigenous, or rough fish species and protect the native fish populations, the department shall apply the following minimum size limits to particular species: 18-inch walleye, 18-inch largemouth or smallmouth bass, or 32-inch northern pike.
NR 20.35(3)(a)2.d. d. The department finds that an evaluation of a size limit could not be completed before a sunset date listed in s. NR 20.20. The department may extend the size limit under sub. (2) and the limit shall remain the same and in full force and effect for 7 years from the date specified in s. NR 20.20 or until a permanent rule change is in place, whichever occurs first. The determination to extend a size limit sunset date under sub. (2) shall be made within two years prior to the sunset date listed in s. NR 20.20.
NR 20.35(3)(b) (b) Bag limits. If the department finds under sub. (2) that one or more of the following conditions exists in a particular water, the corresponding alternate bag limit shall apply to the named species of fish in that water. Alternate daily bag limits may apply to walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, catfish, northern pike, or panfish if, for the particular species in a particular water, the department finds that at least one of the following conditions exist:
NR 20.35(3)(b)1. 1. A lake restoration project is in place to reduce detrimental fish species that includes bio-manipulation of a waterbody through increasing the abundance and biomass of predator gamefish. The department shall apply the following daily bag limits to particular species: 3 walleye, 1 largemouth or smallmouth bass, 1 northern pike, or 10 panfish.
NR 20.35(3)(b)2. 2. Fish have been removed or destroyed as a result of a rehabilitation program to reestablish a good supply of game fish. The following daily bag limits shall apply to particular species: 3 walleye, 1 largemouth or smallmouth bass, 1 northern pike, or 10 panfish.
NR 20.35(3)(b)3. 3. An inland water has been documented to contain detrimental species, species nonindigenous to the waters of the state, or rough fish. In order to control the population of detrimental, nonindigenous, or rough fish species and protect the native fish populations, the department shall apply the following daily bag limits to particular species: 3 walleye, 1 largemouth or smallmouth bass, 1 northern pike, or 10 panfish.
NR 20.35(3)(b)4. 4. The department finds that an evaluation of a daily bag limit could not be completed before a sunset date listed in s. NR 20.20. The department may extend the daily bag limit under sub. (2) and the limit shall remain the same and in full force and effect for 7 years from the date specified in s. NR 20.20 or until a permanent rule change is in place, whichever occurs first. The determination to extend a daily bag limit sunset date under sub. (2) shall be made within two years prior to the sunset date listed in s. NR 20.20.
NR 20.35(3)(c) (c) Statewide size and bag limits. Upon making a determination under sub. (2), the department may establish that a general size and bag limit found in the statewide table under s. NR 20.20 (73) is in effect or, for inland trout and salmon, the county base regulation for “all waters not listed” in each county in s. NR 20.20 is in effect.
NR 20.35(3)(d) (d) Size and bag limits where fish consumption advisories have been established. The department may establish an alternate size or bag limit upon finding that one of the following conditions exist in fish sampled from a particular water: More than 10% of the fish tested of that species, in fillets with the skin on, contain .75 parts per million or more mercury, 2 parts per million or more PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl), 5 parts per million or more DDT (dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane), 5 parts per million or more Toxaphene, 0.3 parts per million or more Chlordane, or 0.3 parts per million or more Dieldrin. Upon making a determination under sub. (2) (c):
NR 20.35(3)(d)1. 1. The size limit shall be established so that it allows consumption of fish of sizes which may be consumed under the recommendations of a health guide for eating fish in Wisconsin as published on the department's website.
NR 20.35(3)(d)2. 2. The bag limit shall be zero where the recommendation is that no fish should be consumed.
NR 20.35 Note Note: “Choose Wisely, A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin” is a brochure that helps people plan how much fish they can safely eat. It is based on testing conducted on individual waters and also contains statewide recommendations. Printed copies may be available at department offices and the brochure is also located on the department's website. Information in Hmong and Spanish languages is available on the department's website.
NR 20.35(4) (4) Termination of alternate limits. Any time the department has reason to believe that the condition which led to the application of an alternate limit under this section no longer affects a species of fish in a particular water, it may remove the alternate limit by following the procedures under sub. (2) (a) to (c). Following its determination to remove an alternate limit the department shall remove or modify the posted notices of alternate limits and the original bag limit or size limit shall then apply.
NR 20.35 History History: Cr. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; CR 13-019: am. (3) Register December 2013 No. 696, eff. 1-1-14; correction in numbering in (3) (b) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register December 2013 No. 696; CR 17-012: r. (3) (a) 1. c., cr. (3) (c), (d) Register March 2018 No. 747 eff. 4-1-18; CR 19-091: am. (3) (c) Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20.
NR 20.36 NR 20.36Modifications in daily bag limit and minimum size limit in response to tribal harvest.
NR 20.36(1)(1)Adjustment. In order to prevent a total harvest of more than 35% of the adult walleye population or 27% of the adult muskellunge population, the secretary may lower the daily bag limit on walleye or adjust size limits for walleye or muskellunge in specific waters in response to the harvest goals or actual harvest of the Chippewa Bands for their spear, net or trap fisheries. The adjusted daily bag and size limits shall be in effect until the first Sunday in March of the year following the tribal harvest. The safe harvest levels on individual waters shall be determined by the department.
NR 20.36(1)(a) (a) Walleyes. The daily bag limit may be reduced in response to harvest by the Chippewa Bands' spear, net, or trap fisheries. The extent of the reduction depends upon the percent of the safe harvest taken and the age of the population estimate used to determine the safe harvest or if a regression model was used to determine the safe harvest. The daily bag limits to be used with the different percentages and for various basis of determining the safe harvest are as follows: - See PDF for table PDF
NR 20.36(1)(b) (b) Muskellunge. The minimum size limit will be increased when the department is notified by the Chippewa bands that their harvest goal on an individual water is 60% or more of the safe harvest. The minimum size limits to be used with different percentages of the safe harvest are as follows: - See PDF for table PDF
NR 20.36(2) (2) Readjustment. In response to actual tribal harvest, the secretary may raise the daily bag limit or reduce the minimum size limit to the limit specified as appropriate using the percent of the safe harvest level expected to be harvested through the first Sunday in March of the next year as indicated in sub. (1). If actual harvest subsequently exceeds the expected harvest level, the daily bag limit or the minimum size limit may be adjusted the following year to reflect actual harvest for that year and harvest goals of the Chippewa Bands for the next year. If a new population estimate is made, the safe harvest level shall be changed accordingly and the secretary may adjust the daily bag limit or minimum size limit according to the percentage of the new safe harvest level that is expected to be harvested as indicated in sub. (1), where deemed necessary to remain consistent with the safety factors established under Lac Courte Oreilles v. State of Wis., 707 F. Supp. 1034 (W. D. Wis. 1989). The readjusted daily bag and size limits shall be in effect until the first Sunday in March of the year following the tribal harvest.
NR 20.36(3) (3) Daily bag and possession limits.
NR 20.36(3)(a) (a) Reduced daily bag limits calculated pursuant to this section are individual lake limits and may be combined, but no person may exceed a total daily bag limit of 5 walleyes and no person may possess or have under control more than the possession limit of 10 walleyes.
NR 20.36(3)(b) (b) While fishing any waters with adjusted size or bag limits calculated pursuant to the provisions of this section, no person may possess fish in excess of the bag limit or of any size other than authorized for that water.
NR 20.36(4) (4) Notice. Adjustments and readjustments of bag limits and minimum size limits under subs. (1) and (2) shall become effective upon publication of the adjustment or readjustment in the official newspaper in the area affected.
NR 20.36 History History: Cr. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; CR 02-073: am. (3) (b), Register 2003 No. 565, eff. 2-1-03; CR 09-051: am. (1) (intro.) and (2) Register June 2010 No. 654, eff. 7-1-10; CR 13-019: am. (2) Register December 2013 No. 696, eff. 1-1-14; EmR1511 emerg. am. (1) (intro.), (a), (2), eff. 5-1-15; EmR1609 emerg. am. (1) (intro.), (a), (2), eff. 2-3-16; CR 15-042: am. (1) (intro.), (a), (2) Register March 2016 No. 723, eff. 4-1-16.
NR 20.38 NR 20.38Control of detrimental fish. The department finds, pursuant to s. 29.424 (1), Stats., that the following fish species are detrimental in the waters specified. The department may remove them from the waters specified or cause them to be removed, pursuant to ss. 29.421 and 29.417, Stats.:
NR 20.38(1) (1) Bullheads. The department finds that bullheads are detrimental in the following waters:
NR 20.38(1)(a) (a) All waters in Barron, Burnett, Chippewa, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn counties.
NR 20.38(1)(b) (b) Adams and Juneau counties. Castle Rock flowage and the Wisconsin river beginning at the Petenwell dam and extending downstream to the Castle Rock dam except for that part of the Yellow river in Castle Rock flowage locally called the Buckhorn area, upstream from the electric power transmission line across the flowage in sections 26 and 35, T17N, R4E, Juneau county.
NR 20.38(1)(c) (c) Dodge county. Beaver Dam lake and the Rock river from hwy. 49 downstream to the dam in Hustisford.
NR 20.38(1)(d) (d) Florence county. Bass, Frog, Halsey, Long (Forest county), Scout and West Bass lakes; Line and Pine river flowages.
NR 20.38(1)(e) (e) Forest county. Little Rice lake.
NR 20.38(1)(f) (f) Lafayette county. Yellowstone lake.
NR 20.38(1)(g) (g) Marinette county. Town Corner lake.
NR 20.38(1)(h) (h) Outagamie county. Fox river from the upper dam in Appleton upstream to Little Lake Butte des Morts.
NR 20.38(1)(i) (i) Sheboygan county. Sheboygan marsh.
NR 20.38(1)(j) (j) Winnebago county. Little Lake Butte des Morts from the lower dam on the Fox river at Menasha to the upper dam in Appleton, Outagamie county.
NR 20.38(1)(k) (k) Wood county. Petenwell flowage and the Wisconsin river beginning at the Nekoosa dam in Wood county extending downstream to the Petenwell dam in Adams and Juneau counties.
NR 20.38(1)(L) (L) All waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay in Marinette, Oconto, Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties.
NR 20.38(3) (3) Catfish. The department finds that catfish are detrimental in the following waters:
NR 20.38(3)(a) (a) Green Lake county. Green lake.
NR 20.38(3)(b) (b) All waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay.
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Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.