Guest Speaker - Spring 2018 Meeting

Luke S. Roffler

Senior Fisheries Biologist – Racine, Kenosha and Walworth Counties Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

I am currently writing up a northern pike regulation change proposal for Lake Beulah for the 2019 Spring Hearings. We recently received word that two new pike regulations will be available in our “toolbox” of regulation options, one of which is very suitable for Beulah. Please take a moment to read my thoughts below. I’d also be happy to come present on the topic at an upcoming meeting of yours.

We did our comprehensive spring survey on Beulah in 2016. Our pike abundance was relatively low (though we had odd spring weather and the open stream connection on the west side allows pike to leave the lake), but size structure was incredibly strong. The diversity of habitat and forage in Beulah has all the makings of a big pike factory. However, the current southern zone base regulation of a 2 daily bag and a 26” minimum length limit requires anglers to remove pike in their prime if they want to harvest. A new option available to us will be a maximum length limit, which will allow anglers to harvest smaller pike, while requiring the big ones to be released. This regulation is almost always more suitable for pike, which are typically stocked to maintain top predator pressure on rough fish and small game fish, which they do best at larger sizes. It’s especially appropriate for a system like Beulah, where top‐end pike growth is extremely strong and this change will encourage memorable to trophy pike fishing in a system that can clearly support it. My understanding is that many of the regulars on Beulah already self‐regulate in a similar way, harvesting smaller legal pike, while releasing the big ones. The specific length of the maximum length limit is TBD, but we’re thinking it’ll likely be 26” or 28”. Beulah could possibly move to the new protected slot regulation many years in the future if we see a spike in abundance from the max regulation.