Oconto River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited
NOCTA and DNR stock streams in Oconto County
Northern Oconto County Trout Alliance (NOCTA) and the DNR stocked Brook Trout and Brown in several streams from the Lakewood Trout Rearing Station on October 23, 2017. This is the third year of operation of NOCTA and it appears to be very successful one again. In mid-June, they received shipment of approximately 23,100 fish consisting of 18,900 Brook Trout fingerling and 4,200 Brown from the DNR. The mortality rate of fish deaths in tanks were lot less at the Lakewood hatchery than the DNR average. Trout over 7” in length were stocked in the 1st South Branch Oconto, various North Branch locations, McCaslin Creek and the Waupee River.
The operation of the hatchery consisted of 30 some volunteers. Money was raised to support operation and volunteers were trained by a Fish Specialist from the DNR.
Students in Wabeno get hands-on learning experience with trout aquarium
RHINELANDER - When you think of a classroom pet, a goldfish or hamster comes to mind. Wabeno Elementary School has a few unusual class pets.
Ninety trout fingerlings live in the school's library. In November, the nonprofit organization Trout Unlimited donated eggs to the school. When the students came back from Christmas break, the eggs had hatched.
"They started transforming into the Alevin stage, which was interesting for the kids and for me because I thought eggs and they hatch and little fish came out, is not actually what happens, so I learned a lot from that process," said fourth-grade teacher Sherry Christianson.
When students go to the library, they learn more about the fish and their environment. Some teachers are incorporating the trout into their curriculum.
"We want to restore the stream behind the school so the trout can freely swim up and down it where they can't right now, so I'll incorporate it into my science curriculum that way. At school, here we can kind of just give them more background on the wildlife right in our own backyard here," said Christianson.
Every grade has library class, so all students get to see the fish. They enjoy watching the trout grow and develop.
"It was really cool because there were a bunch of little eggs, and then to come back from break and just see these little things swimming around in the tank, it's kind of funny watching them," said sixth-grader Zoie Cayan.
Right now, the fish are small, but they won't stay that way.
“I’m very excited to see them grow up because I want to see how big they’ll get in the tank because I know there are a lot of them,” said Cayan.
These trout will be released into a private pond in May. They cannot be released into the wild because of bacteria from the aquarium. Until then, students will keep watching the trout enter each new stage of life.
Story by Rose McBride 1-12-17
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Congress has voted to reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has been a vital source of funding for restoration and protection projects for Trout Unlimited and many other conservation organizations.
The GLRI is included in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act), which passed on Dec. 10 with bi-partisan support, and authorizes the GLRI through 2021.
Since 2010, the GLRI has supported more than 2,000 projects in the Great Lakes region, including Trout Unlimited projects improving stream connectivity, restoring riverbanks, combating invasive species and increasing habitat protection. Projects to improve fisheries have been completed in places like the Little Manistee (below), Menominee and Rogue River watersheds. Reauthorization and future funding will also allow Trout Unlimited to increase its efforts in the region, including planned restoration projects in Wisconsin's Nicolet National Forest.
Great Lakes Stream Restoration - Wisconsin
In 2017, Trout Unlimited staff and volunteers helped to reconnect 42 miles of coldwater habitat within the Peshtigo River watershed in Northern Wisconsin, as part of TU's Great Lakes Restoration Program.
In collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 10 inadequate culverts were replaced with fish-friendly structures. An additional road crossing located on private industrial forest land was removed.
In all, the projects eliminated 11 aquatic organism passage barriers and improved instream habitat. As a result brook trout can once again migrate between critical spawning and rearing habitat and deeper, forage-rich winter habitat. The work generated a great TV news story that aired during a Green Bay Packers game this past fall.
Thanks to a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the ongoing support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), we will be continuing our efforts here in northern Wisconsin. Our objective for 2018 is to reconnect an additional 25 miles within the Peshtigo system through the replacement of five more culverts.
In addition to our culvert work, we are very excited to be a part of the North Branch Oconto Restoration Partnership. In 2018, we will be assisting in the restoration of 2.6 miles of wild brook trout habitat through the heart of Wabeno. This will entail the removal of mill dams, a culvert replacement and instream habitat improvements.
Ongoing support from the Wisconsin Council and chapters, in the form of generous financial contributions and letters of support, have been critically important in this effort.
For more information on TU's WI Great Lakes Stream Restoration Program, contact program manager Laura MacFarland at email@example.com. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/TUGreatLakes/.
College Scholarships Available
A $500 college scholarship is still available to college student enrolled in environmental science or aquaculture fields. Scholarship is available to anyone who has completed first year of college and are continuing their education. This Scholarship is sponsored by the Don Wagner Family. Students may contact an officer or mail educational resume to Chapter address.
The Chapter has been awarding a $500 college scholarship at UWSP for many years, We’ve set criteria for selection but have always given priority to students from the Oconto River Watershed Area (especially members). Typically, we’ve looked for students that are in a fisheries program but have stretched that criteria to other environmental fields for “in area” students. We’ve asked that the scholarship be given to a Junior or Senior thinking that it is a more critical time in their college career and a time when money may be tighter. We also believe that a student that has achieved this class ranking is more apt to graduate and start to work in his field of endeavor. Students interested in applying for this scholarship should mail an educational resume to Oconto River Trout Unlimited, 5473 Cardinal Road, Gillett, WI 54124.
Cooperative Trout Stocking
Our Chapter partnered with the Oconto County Sportsmen’s Alliance, Underhill Sportsmen’s Club, Kelly Lake Sportsmen’s Club, Breed Sportsmen’s Club and Suring Sportsmen’s Club to stock over 1100 rainbow and brown trout (10-14 inches) into the Main Oconto. The fish were delivered on Friday May 17, 2019 and were scattered at the landings in Suring, Hintz, Underhill, and Pulcifer. Funding for this project totaled $3,600. Our Chapter is grateful for the support on the other conservation clubs in the area. Already, we’ve heard that fisherman are out there enjoying this endeavor. Reports have it that the trout were biting..
Tom Klatt, project coordinator, for this year’s stocking, wanted to thank the other clubs for their financial support. He also wanted to thank members that came out to help by transporting fish from the truck to the stream. Thanks to these helpers: Eddie, Ron, Dan, Thomas, Bruce, Jane, and Tom.
2019 DNR CATCHABLE TROUT STOCKING
BROOK TROUT 6,000 NORTH BRANCH PEMEBONWON RIVER, BROOK TROUT 2,024 PESHTIGO RIVER, BROWN TROUT 3,015 PESHTIGO RIVER, RAINBOW TROUT 1,072 PESHTIGO RIVER, BROWN TROUT 2,074 PIKE RIVER, BROWN TROUT 2,010 SOUTH BRANCH PIKE RIVER, BROOK TROUT 300 SPIKEHORN CREEK, RAINBOW TROUT 2,679 THUNDER LAKE, BROWN TROUT 670 THUNDER RIVER.
RAINBOW TROUT 536 NELLIGAN LAKE, BROOK TROUT 1,619 OCONTO RIVER SB, BROWN TROUT 1,675 SB OCONTO RIVER, BROOK TROUT 202 TOWN CREEK, SB OCONTO RAINBOW TROUT 536.
RAINBOW TROUT 969 HOMME POND, RAINBOW TROUT 589 KORTH LAKE, RAINBOW TROUT 1,929 MIDDLE BR EMBARRASS RIVER, BROWN TROUT 236 NORTH BRANCH EMBARRASS RIVER, BROWN TROUT 2,160 OCONTO RIVER LARGE FINGERLINGS & 804 RAINBOW TROUT.
BROOK TROUT 2,854 CROOKED LAKE, LAKE TROUT 2,800 GOTO LAKE, BROWN TROUT 7,000 PENCE LAKE, BROOK TROUT 1,615 Remington Pond, RAINBOW TROUT 1,200 Remington Pond, RAINBOW TROUT 576 SHADICK SPRING, RAINBOW TROUT 2,183 TOWNLINE LAKE & BROWN TROUT 15,567.
BROOK TROUT 1,012 LITTLE CUB LAKE, RAINBOW TROUT 1,607 LOGGER LAKE, RAINBOW TROUT 1,068 NORTH BRANCH OCONTO RIVER, BROOK TROUT 20,600 Peshtigo River.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO DNR WEB SITE AND SEARCH CATCHABLE TROUT STOCKING.