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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! The schedule is subject to change (as of November 7, 2018). Please check back for updates. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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Monday, January 28 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
(SYMPOSIA-01) Wisconsin's Northern Highland Fishery Research Area: A Long-term Comprehensive Program for Evaluating Fisheries Regulations

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AUTHORS: Stephanie L. Shaw, Greg G. Sass – Wisconsin Department Natural Resources, Office of Applied Science, Escanaba Lake Research Station

ABSTRACT: The Northern Highland Fishery Research Area (NHFRA) includes five lakes in north central Wisconsin that were designated for experimental fisheries research purposes in the 1940s by the Wisconsin Conservation Commission. The five lakes were selected to encompass the diversity of lake types and fish communities present in Wisconsin. The NHFRA has maintained the longest running compulsory creel census in the world (1946-present), has monitored fish community, aquatic ecosystem, and climatic variables through standardized surveys, and has conducted directed research to evaluate unrestricted fisheries (no closed season, bag limits, or length limits), harvest regulations, gear restrictions, and the influences of stocking over time. Key species evaluated in the context of fisheries regulations or stocking have included walleye Sander vitreus, smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomeiu, northern pike Esox lucius, muskellunge Esox masquinongy, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush. The creel census and standardized fish surveys have afforded valuable information to WDNR biologists regarding angler and fish responses (single-species and fish community) to a given regulation change. We will summarize the history of the Northern Highland Fishery Research Area and discuss several case studies of walleye, muskellunge, and smallmouth bass responses to harvest regulations or the lack thereof that have been directly applied to fisheries management in Wisconsin. By combining long-term creel survey information with standardized fish population surveys, Wisconsin has been able to make sound, science-based decisions to manage its diversity of fishery opportunities and has also been able to rapidly respond to emerging fisheries issues.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm
HOPE BALLROOM A