All hands on deck to stop aquatic invasive species

MADISON, WI - Thousands of Wisconsinites will take to the water this fourth-of-July weekend for the state's busiest boating holiday, and many will be greeted at boat landings by volunteers sharing a simple but powerful message: You have the power to protect lakes and rivers from aquatic invasive species.
The weekend will be host to the ninth annual Landing Blitz, a statewide effort to remind boaters and other water lovers to take action to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, which pose great risks to the health of our lakes and fisheries.
"This campaign has become a mainstay of our prevention efforts, since the holiday draws both frequent and infrequent boaters to the water, allowing us to empower a lot of people," saID Bob Wakeman, statewide aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Volunteer inspectors will be on hand at landings around the state from June 30 through July 4 to give demonstrations of the prevention steps or answer questions about invasive species. Their efforts will build on the success of last year's campaign, when volunteers inspected over 14,000 boats and spoke with over 32,000 people.
"One of the most exciting things about this campaign is the strong volunteer effort. Every year hundreds of concerned citizens participate as volunteers to help us raise awareness and empower boaters," Wakeman said.
New this year is a coordinated way for boaters to share the campaign's message. For those who use social media, they can help spread the word about the importance of aquatic invasive species prevention by posting photos and messages using the hashtag #CleanBoatsCleanWaters.
Boaters can also contribute to a crowd sourced Story Map that will showcase their photos and messages about how they protect Wisconsin's waters from aquatic invasive species. Contributions can be made at this link:
Invasive plants and animals, like Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny water fleas and zebra mussels, can spread easily by hitching a ride on boats and other equipment, including trailers, anchors, livewells, buckets and bilges. But boaters can also easily prevent this by taking the following simple steps before they leave a boat landing:
* Inspect your boat, trailer and equipment.
* Remove all attached plants or animals.
* Drain all water from boats, motors, livewells and other equipment.
* Never move live fish away from a water body.
* Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
* Buy minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer, and use leftover minnows only if you will be using them on that same water body or if no lake or river water or other fish have been added to the container.
Following these steps also helps boaters comply with Wisconsin state law, which prohibits the transport of aquatic invasive species.
To learn more about invasive species and their impacts to Wisconsin's waters and economy, visit and search "invasive species."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Get hooked on fun over July 4th holiday

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin's $5 first-time buyer resident fishing license or a reduced price one-day fishing license may be just the ticket for fun for family, friends and visitors getting together for the coming July 4th holiday, state fisheries official say.
"Wisconsin fishing licenses are always a great value and these introductory licenses make it even easier to get your family, friends and visitors out on the water to give fishing a try," said Justine Hasz, Wisconsin's fisheries director.
A $5 first-time buyer's license is available for Wisconsin residents who have never purchased a fishing license before or who haven't purchased a Wisconsin fishing license in at least 10 years. Nonresident first-time licenses are $25.75. This license is good for the entire fishing year, which runs through March 31, 2018.
A one-day fishing license costs $8 for residents and $10 for nonresidents. The purchase price of that one-day license can be credited toward purchase of an annual license.
Wisconsin residents and nonresidents 15 and under always fish free in Wisconsin, as do residents born before Jan. 1, 1927. Wisconsin resident members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty and on furlough or leave may obtain a free fishing/small game license at any license agent by providing proof of active service and presenting their furlough/leave papers.
People 16 to 89 years old need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state and Wisconsin has a variety of licenses to suit all needs, including the one-day and first-time buyer's license. If a person is eligible for the first-time buyer's license, that license will be the first listing on his or her computer screen after logging into GO WILD, and it's also what the license agent will see when an eligible buyer comes in seeking to purchase a license.
People can buy fishing licenses in two convenient ways: over the Internet through GO WILD or at any authorized license agent.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Monsoor retains slim lead entering final day of FLW Tour Qualifier

Tom Monsoor could be headed for the biggest payday of his life.
The La Crosse native has a tiny 2-ounce lead after the third round of the FLW Tour Qualifier presented by Costa Sunglasses on the Potomac River on Saturday.
Monsoor was in second place in the 161-angler field after Day 1. He took the lead on Friday and kept it on Saturday despite his lightest bag of the week. Yet, the 68-year-old Monsoor continues to top the leaderboard.
Saturday's semifinal field was cut to the top 20. Sunday's field is reserved for the elite 10 and Monsoor is right there at the top of the totem pole.
Collecting 15 pounds, 5 ounces on Saturday, Monsoor’s total is 51-9, just two ounces more than Brandon McMillan and 12 ounces more than Chad Warren. Monsoor’s weights have fallen each day, and McMillan has weighed two straight bags over 19 pounds.
"My second best spot was dead today," Monsoor said during his weigh-in on FLW Tour live internet video. "Brandon is going up and everyone else is going down, but anytime I get to fish four days, I'm a happy camper."
Monsoor will certainly be camping in his hotel room one more night in Marbury, MD, but who knows how much sleep he will get realizing a first-place, $125,000 paycheck could be awaiting him late Sunday.
"Oh yeah, I'll sleep," Monsoor said in an exclusive interview with early Saturday evening. "But, right now I have to get my boat fixed."
In between his interview and answering questions from a friend who was trying to find out what problems there were with his battery and livewell, Monsoor had little time.
"Tomorrow's the big day for sure, but I have to get this boat fixed first," he said.
"Yes, I caught a limit at my first spot from 6:30 to 8:30 this morning. Then I went to my second spot at 9 and that was dead," Monsoor added. "I got two good ones, but the spot wasn't as good as it has been."
Monsoor caught all of his fish on his patented swim jog.
"I have no idea what's going to happen at all on Sunday, absolutely none at all," he said. "Sorry, but I have to run."

1. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 51-9 (15)
2. Brandon McMillan – Clewiston, Fla. – 51-7 (15)
3. Chad Warren – Sand Springs, Okla. – 50-13 (15)
4. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ont. – 49-13 (15)
5. Jeff Sprague – Point, Texas – 48-15 (15)
6. Cody Meyer – Auburn, Calif. – 48-2 (15)
7. Michael Neal – Dayton, Tenn. – 48-1 (15)
8. Andy Young – Mound, Minn. – 47-8 (15)
9. Brandon Cobb – Greenwood, S.C. – 47-2 (15)
10. Mike Surman – Boca Raton, Fla. – 47-2 (15)


4 anglers set Wisconsin catch and release records

MADISON, WI - Four Wisconsin anglers have reeled in their place in fishing history by establishing the first state records for fish caught and released live.
Rod Eberly of Appleton submitted the first ever application under the new live release state record fish program launched earlier this year by the Department of Natural Resources. Eberly's historic catch was a 17.75-inch white bass caught and released May 8 from the Fox River in Brown County.
Eric Amenda from Germantown caught and released an 8.25-inch pumpkinseed sunfish on May 28 from Pleasant Lake in Waushara County.
Dennis Wilkerson of Twin Lakes caught and released a 10.5-inch rock bass on June 10 from Powers Lake in Kenosha County.
Ben Halfen of Prairie du Sac caught and released a 10.5-inch bluegill on June 16 from Reynard Lake in Bayfield County, establishing the first live release state record for bluegill.
"We've heard from anglers over the years that they wanted an opportunity to get recognized for catching and releasing trophy fish, so we're happy to say we have our first live release records on the books and look forward to many more," said Justine Hasz, DNR fisheries director.
DNR recognizes live release records by length for specific fish species meeting qualifying lengths. The angler is required to submit an official record application and photos showing the fish beside a ruler or other measuring device, and with the angler. The photos and application are reviewed and certified by DNR fish biologists. New live release records must exceed the existing record by at least 1/4 inch.
The new live release records program is part of a larger effort to promote quality fishing and encourage the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species. Similar efforts have found success in other states and among some national record-keeping organizations.
Anglers in the traditional state fish record categories landed six new records - and some even better fish tales - in the first half of 2017. The DNR recognizes anglers who have legally taken the largest fish on record by hook and line, as well as those fish that have been taken by alternate methods including spearing or bowfishing.
Among the record setters is a pair of brothers, a Madison teenager who set his second state fish record after a frenetic race for the golden shiner record in 2011, and a Denmark angler who broke his own record. Traditional categories are determined by fish weight, with anglers needed to have the fish weighed on a certified scale. DNR recognizes anglers who have legally taken the largest fish on record by hook and line, as well as those fish that have been taken by alternate methods including spearing or bowfishing.
Tanner Derusha of Odanah submitted the initial record for a 10.5-inch, 5-ounce rainbow smelt caught on March 5 from Chequamegon Bay in Ashland County.
Brad Geisthardt of Germantown bettered the existing common shiner record with an 8-inch, 4 ounce fish caught on April 23 from the Mukwonago River in Waukesha County.
Keeping it in the Geisthardt family, brother Eric of Milwaukee set the initial record for an alewife with an 8 1/8-inch, 2.4 oz. fish caught May 19 from Lake Michigan in Milwaukee County.
MaxField JonasKrueger of Madison notched his second state fish record with the 19-inch, 2-pound 13.4 ounce golden redhorse he caught May 29 from the Rock River in Jefferson County. As a 13-year-old, JonasKrueger a new record for golden shiner with a 9.75-inch, 4.8 ounce fish from Fowler Lake in Waukesha County. His record was eclipsed 10 days later, and then that record was broken again in successive days a month later by a Watertown woman and then by her fiance.
Xavier Vang of Milwaukee erased an almost 20-year shovelnose sturgeon record with a 37.5- inch, 7-pound, 13.1 ounce fish caught May 28 from the Mississippi River in Vernon County.
Shawn Schmidt of Denmark bettered his own record with a 9.5-inch, 13-ounce pumpkinseed speared on May 13 from Silver Lake in Washington County.
For more information on state record fish and the process anglers should take if they have caught a fish that might be a state record by weight or under the new live release program, visit and search "record fish."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

La Crosse's Monsoor grabs 1st place in FLW Qualifier

Tom Monsoor has a simple reason why he is leading the FLW Tour Qualifier on the Potomac River in Marbury, MD.
With a possible $125,000 paycheck within in his grasp, the veteran La Crosse professional bass fisherman says the reason for success so far is, "I'm just catching fish in a tourney rather than in practice. I haven't made any changes. I'm just fishing."
Monsoor may downplay his first two days of competition, but he is not "just fishing." He's fishing really well.
Monsoor is known for two things - his patented swim jigs and river fishing after growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River. Both may finally be coming together for him after two days of the FLW Tour on the Potomac River presented by Costa Sunglasses.
He's fished the Potomac many times, but has had trouble figuring out the tides. However, tied haven't been a problem so far this week.
On Day 1, Monsoor thought it finally clicked, as he utilized a pattern he felt was tide dependent. Helping the matter was his boat position of 149, which allowed him to capitalize on both key feeding windows brought on by the tide changes in the morning and afternoon.
However, being in the first flight Friday, and with the tides backing up an hour, he knew he really only had the morning window. He made the most of it, cracking 16 pounds, 14 ounces to take over the lead with 36 pounds, 4 ounces. Robert Behrle of Hoover, AL, is in second place with 35-2.
“I had a limit by 8 a.m. on the first spot, and then I culled out four of them in the second spot,” Monsoor told FLW officials. “I was done fishing by noon and just went looking after that.”
It was a good thing Monsoor was done so early, as his batteries went dead and his livewell began leaking, forcing him to stop and refill his livewell any time he ran so much as a mile.
He got both problems fixed late Friday.
"Yup, I'm ready to go," he said from his hotel room Friday night.
The 156-pro field was cut to the top 20 for Saturday's round. Only the top 20 advance to Sunday's final round.
"We'll found out tomorrow," Monsoor said after exiting a late night FLW meeting for semifinalists. "I'm just taking it one day at a time and see what happens."
Monsoor has won almost $750,000 during a 14-year career on the FLW Tour. However, he has failed to cash in any qualifier this year. A six-figure payday on Sunday would certainly fill his wallet.
"I'm just a fisherman, he chuckled. "I've led FLW tourneys after Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, but never after Day 4. "We're not even close to that yet."


La Crosse's Monsoor captures first FLW Tour Qualifier

Tom Monsoor reeled in his first FLW Tour professional bass tournament title on Sunday and it was a whopper as in $100,200.
The La Crosse native won the FLW Tour Qualifier presented by Costa Sunglasses on the Potomac River in Marbury, MD, by the slimmest of margins. Monsoor’s winning weight of 66-11 bested tour rookie Chad Warren of Sand Springs, OK, by a mere 5 ounces.
"They said I need 14-11 to win the title,"Monsoor said early this morning. When I saw 15 flash on the screen, I flipped. Man, am I every happy."
Monsoor led the 165 pro angler starting field on Thursday when he cracked 19-6 for second place. He moved into first place on Friday with 16-14. Monsoor's retained the lead by 2 ounces after Saturday's semifinal round with a three-day total 51-9.
Sunday was the longest day of his 15-year FLW career, but it was well worth it.
"I used my swim jigs, especially the black-and-blue," Monsoor said, in an exclusive interview with early today.
He also tried a Yamamoto Swim Senko and a Yamamoto Senko the final two days, but he never weighed in a fish on either.
"I used some other stuff, but I didn't catch any keepers," he said. "I also caught some catfish and perch, but my swim jigs worked the best."
Monsoor said he caught another quick limit early Sunday, but with high winds causing significant waves on the main river, Monsoor’s only option was heading back to Quantico for one last attempt
“At around 1:30, I caught two keepers - bang, bang," he said, reliving the moments for the umpteenth time to the media.
One of those was close to 4 pounds and one around 3 pounds, according to the Greater La Crosse Area's top pro angler. After culling two smaller fish, Monsoor was just over the 15-pound mark, just enough to nip Warren.
Monsoor has fished the tour since 2002, yet never won an event. The closest he came was in 2004 when he finished second at the Atchafalaya Basin.
"During Sunday's weigh-in, Monsoor said he figured he would maybe finish third or fourth.
"But I was hoping for second or third," he said, laughing.
However, he'll take the $100,200 and first place. It would have been $125,000 because Ranger donates that much to each tournament, he said. Anglers must be piloting Ranger boats no more than 4 years old. Unfortunately, Monsoor's Ranger boat is 6 years old.
"That's OK. I'm happy," he said, laughing again. "This is by far the biggest victory of my life."
Monsoor admits it has been an experience of a lifetime, but it continued into Sunday night and then again early Monday morning.
"I had over 70 calls, and I don't know how many TV and radio interviews. I finally shut off my phone at 9 o'clock and went to bed," he said. "Then I had to get up at 5 o'clock this morning for a film shoot."
Monsoor, one of the most popular pros on the granddaddy of all bass fishing tournaments in the world, also had to drive to a bait shop before the filming crew showed up.
"I gave away all my lures to some kids and I didn't have any left," he said. "Unreal!"
He was leaving for La Crosse by 10 a.m., on Monday, hoping to return home sometime Tuesday.
"I'm going home and play with my dog," he said. "This is a trophy I didn't have. That's all that changed. Nothing else has changed about me. Nothing else... never will."  
1. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 66-11 (20) – $100,200
2. Chad Warren – Sand Springs, Okla. – 66-6 (20) – $30,100
3. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 65-8 (20) – $25,000
4. Cody Meyer – Auburn, Calif. – 64-11 (20) – $20,000
5. Michael Neal – Dayton, Tenn. – 64-3 (20) – $19,000
6. Brandon McMillian – Clewiston, Fla. – 63-2 (20) – $18,000
7. Jeff Sprague – Point, Texas – 59-8 (20) – $17,000
8. Mike Surman – Boca Raton, Fla. – 59-1 (20) – $16,000
9. Brandon Cobb – Greenwood, S.C. – 57-11 (20) – $15,000
10. Andy Young – Mound, Minn. – 52-8 (17) – $14,000


La Crosse's Monsoor 2nd in FLW Tour Qualifier

It was only Day 1, but La Crosse veteran bass pro Tom Monsoor is only 5 ounces away from leading the FLW Tour Qualifier on the Potomac River in Marbury, MD on Thursday.
Clark Wendlandt, from Leander, TX, claimed the lead thanks to a healthy 19-pound, 11-ounce limit. Though his lead is a mere 5 ounces ahead of Tom Monsoor, Wendlandt has reinforced the notion that he’s in tune with this tidal system.
“I have fished the Potomac for a long time, since 1996,” Wendlandt said. “My first three tournaments here were terrible. I couldn’t catch a bass. Then I just figured out how to catch them here and it’s hard to describe but I get a warm, fuzzy feeling fishing out here. Not that I think I am going to catch them, but I feel very confident."
Monsoor also caught a five fish limit, but it weighed 19-6.
Monsoor, born and raised in La Crosse, has won almost $750,000 during a 14-year career on the FLW Tour. However, he has failed to cash in any qualifier this year.
The field is cut to the top 20 anglers after Friday's second round. Sunday's final round is reserved for only the top 10 anglers.