Over the past 20 years, the Wisconsin Driftless Area in western Wisconsin has evolved into one of the best trout fishing areas in America. This occurred as a result of changing land use that improved water quality, habitat projects and wild trout stocking. The trout resource in this area is now at least 25 times greater than it was in 1990.
What has been the Department of Natural Resources’ regulatory response to this remarkable transformation? There has been no response.
In 1975, nine counties in the southern part of the Driftless Area were opened for trout fishing on Jan. 1. Intensive monitoring showed that nine-month fishing had no impact on wild trout in these counties. However, Wisconsin Conservation Congress members demanded that nine-month trout fishing be closed in this area because early fishing never expanded beyond these nine counties. This season ended in 1995 solely for “political reasons.” There was no biological basis to terminate early fishing in these nine counties.
Iowa also has a Driftless Area. The trout resource in this area is identical to the trout resource in the Wisconsin Driftless Area, but is much, much smaller. Iowa has year-round trout fishing. Iowa fish managers have not documented any negative impacts on their trout resource due to year around fishing. This strongly suggests that the Wisconsin Driftless Area also could have year-round trout fishing.
Trout rules will be revised in 2015. The Wisconsin Driftless Area should be separated from the rest of Wisconsin and be given a no-closed season with a 10-bag limit. The east boundary of this zone could be Interstate 39/90 from Beloit to Madison, Interstate 39/90/94 from Madison to Portage, Interstate 90/94 from Portage to Tomah, and Interstate 94 from Tomah to Hudson. To remove the “fear factor” (fear of making a mistake and getting fined), all special trout rules in this zone should be terminated.
Many trout angler creel censuses in the 1970s and 1980s showed that the harvest of trout was always less than one trout per angler trip even when the bag limit was 10. Moving the bag limit from three or five to 10 is incentive to get anglers to start trout fishing again or start trout fishing.
Roger A. Kerr
Save Fourth Street trees
The Platteville Common Council plans to make changes to Fourth Street between Sylvia Street and Ridge Avenue that will result in a straighter, narrower street with less parking. It is likely that this will result in the elimination of six mature, healthy trees.
This link — http://126.96.36.1998080/City%20Council/2013-3-26/VI.H.%20Award%20Project%203-13%20Fourth%20Street.pdf — will take you to a City of Platteville document that is called a Staff Report and Fiscal Note. It describes, among other things, the reason that six trees must be cut down in Smith Park.
That reason (as appears in the Staff Report) is “The street will be narrowed and straightened such that the driver will not have to ‘move over’ to be in the proper lane. The unfortunate result is that 6 large trees next to the curb in Smith Park ... will need to be removed. Even if we put the street in the same place, Staff cannot guarantee survival of the trees.”
While the guaranteed survival of these trees cannot be provided if the roadwork is done, it is certain that the trees will not survive being cut down. All we ask is that you give the trees a chance to survive.
This project could be discussed by the Common Council on April 9. I am compelled to express my opinion and feelings.
I am not in favor of spending $440,000 to kill six beautiful trees in good health because they might die later; tear up a street that is in great condition; make Fourth Street narrower; move Fourth Street closer to the walking path; eliminate the walking path shade provided by these six trees; and replace six trees, with a combined age of more than 500 years, with 6.5-inch diameter trees.
All of that would be done to replace infrastructure that has not proved to be in need of replacement, and straighten out 1.5 blocks of one of Platteville’s many misshaped streets.
A precedent could be established here that we are going to buy into the need to straighten Platteville’s streets. In reality most of our streets are not straight. It is part of our character, and reflects our past. Indeed it reflects our values as well. It is common practice for roads to go around important and pre-existing objects. We reflect our values by going out of our way to respect and protect what is valuable to us.
Mark Hirsch and The Platteville Journal have brought to our attention that an oak tree on one of our local farms has survived for a century because a farmer was willing to work around it. I say that we work around these beautiful trees, and guarantee their survival.
The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters the Journal feels are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.