Freshwater salmon could be stocked in Green Lake

Landlocked Atlantic Salmon could be stocked in Green Lake

GREEN LAKE - A new sport fish may be coming to the cold waters of Wisconsin's deepest lake.

Big Green Lake is west of Ripon, and could be home to the Landlocked Atlantic Salmon.

It's a proposal that would stock the lake with thousands of fish.

Mike Norton is a fourth-generation fishing guide on Big Green Lake in Green Lake County. Over the years, he has seen plenty of big lake trout. And recently too.

"On June 20th, we caught a 28-pound lake trout, which by any standards, that's a huge lake trout," said Mike Norton, Norton's Fishing and Hunting Adventures Owner.

Norton says fishermen want more.

"We're looking for a different species that could possibly help us have great fishing here," said Norton.

Over the decades, hundreds of thousands of lake trout, and other trout have been stocked in the 7,920 acre lake. The idea of introducing the Landlocked Atlantic Salmon has been tossed around for years. Area fishermen got together to make the plan reality.

The Green Lake Cold Water Fish Advisory Committee is asking the Department of Natural Resources for a permit to stock 15,000 fingerlings each year for the next four years. The landlocked salmon are freshwater fish, and can grow to about four pounds and 18 inches long.

The committee submitted an environmental impact study to the Department of Natural Resources this week. Fish biologists say bringing in a new species, raises concerns.

"If these things do survive well, they're going to need a food source. We're not certain what that's going to be. That's why this is a four-year trial. And we want to make sure whatever happens isn't detrimental to the current fishery. If it is, you know, we would pull the plug," said David Bartz, DNR Fisheries Biologist.

The committee plans to raise the money to pay for the stocking effort. Steve Siders says he estimates that could cost up to $40,000 per year.

"Which would include the purchase of disease-free eggs. Bringing those to the state of Wisconsin, having them hatched, and reared to about the 15-month old age. Then we would stock them in the lake," said Steve Siders, Green Lake Cold Water Advisory Committee.

Siders says bringing a second cold water fish to the lake will give anglers more options. Mike Norton agrees.

"Good fishing is good for everybody, it isn't just me. It's a quality of life thing. Who wouldn't want to be someplace where it's great fishing," he said.

The DNR will take comments at a public meeting in Green Lake next month. It is scheduled for September 9th The state's fish management board will make the final decision whether to issue the stocking permit.