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DNR proposes rules changes on how they handle fishing tournaments

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MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - The Department Of Natural Resources is asking for your comment on a set of proposed rules changes to how the agency handles fishing tournament applications.

The changes come after concerns were raised over crowding at boat ramps and fish mortality potentially associated with tournaments at hearings in late October and early November. DNR fisheries policy specialist Kate Strom Hiorns says the DNR has listened to the stakeholders that run and participate in the tournaments and made some changes to streamline and normalize the application process. "What we've tried to do is make it more clear how and when people can apply for tournaments and for what we're looking for from them."

Strom Hiorns says they'd like to make one full set of standards for the application process. "A lot of these permits have been approved regionally and by individual biologists, now we're putting that all into the rules and saying 'here's what it is' upfront." In addition, the applications would now be approved on a first come, first served basis rather than by a lottery.

But smaller establishments won't have to worry about not getting a permit. Strom Hiorns says they'll be dropping the permit requirement for long term general tournaments from smaller venues like bars or fishing clubs. "...we're making that easier, they don't have to get a permit to run these kinds of tournaments. Because this doesn't have the same type of crowding issues where there's everyone there at one lake on the same day."

In addition, DNR worked with tournament anglers to develop a standard approach for when and where bag limits will be reduced in hot summer months and to standardize boundaries on Green Bay to help prevent fish dying after tournaments with a catch-hold-release format.

A series of public hearings will take place at the end of October and into November in La Crosse, Fitchburg and Green Bay. You can send in calls or written comments now on the DNR's website or call center.

ON THE WEB: http://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/ProposedPermanent.html The fishing tournament rule can be found under FH-01-12.

CONTACT: Kate Strom Hiorns - 608-266-0828 or Jon Hansen - 608-266-6883

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