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Urge ‘no’ vote on trolling issue PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor:

At your county’s upcoming spring fish and wildlife public hearing and Conservation Congress meeting on April 8, one of the questions asks if the people would favor motor trolling on all Wisconsin waters with up to three lures per angler.

I urge you to vote “no” on this proposal as it is likely to pose a serious risk to the muskie population of many of our state’s prime waters.

To allow motor trolling for muskie during the hot summer months — when water temperatures, more often than ever before, commonly exceed 80 degrees — would pressure an untapped population of suspended muskies that casters seldom reach.

A significant percentage of these muskies, if caught by trolling, would likely not survive the stress of being caught and released during those warm conditions when oxygen levels are dangerously low. Right now, Mother Nature, protects this vulnerable population of muskies because they are not easily accessible to casters.

When trolling was expanded in Wisconsin in 1970, recognizing the conflicts and pressure that it could bring, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wisely exempted the smaller lakes and many muskie waters. Currently, trolling is already allowed on numerous waters across the state, giving trollers a variety of places to fish. Let’s keep some waters set aside for those who like to cast and not expand trolling where it will negatively impact muskie populations.

Proponents of this proposal state that it will simplify regulations and eliminate enforcement issues for anglers who like to drag suckers in the fall. First off, Wisconsin’s waters are far too diverse to have blanket “one size fits all regulations.” The uniqueness of our waters requires tailor-made regulations that will bring out the best in our resources.

Secondly, if the state wants to fine-tune live bait regulations by considering a trolling season after Oct. 1, then at least it wouldn’t threaten our fisheries by allowing additional summertime trolling when the water temperatures are dangerously warm.

Yes, trolling would no doubt produce more muskie catches, but at what cost.

Trolling would also help facilitate a more rapid spread of Eurasian milfoil on waters where it is an issue, introduce increased amounts of pollution into the ecosystem, and create many boater conflict situations on our pristine North Woods waters. As a muskie fisherman (and guide) for 39 years, I urge you to vote “no” on trolling on April 8.

John Dettloff

Muskie guide and

resort owner


Tuesday, April 02, 2013 2:07 PM

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