Lake Trout Season To Close Aug. 16 For Apostle Islands Region

As a result of the increased pressure and overall good fishing success, the lake trout recreational harvest limit in the Apostle Islands region (WI-2) of Lake Superior has been reached. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will close the lake trout season for sport and charter anglers at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 15, 2021.

Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior are divided into two management units: WI-1 which includes all waters from Superior to Bark Point (the Western Arm), and WI-2 waters, including waters from Bark Point to the Michigan border (the Apostle Islands region). Lake trout fishing will still be available west of Bark Point with excellent harvest and trophy opportunities until September 30, 2021.

Although the lake trout season in WI-2 will close, there are numerous cold and cool water fishing opportunities still available in Lake Superior. Nearshore fishing opportunities for coho salmon, brown trout and splake will increase as we move into mid to late summer, with coho salmon fishing projecting to be above average this summer and fall. Walleye continue to provide excellent fishing opportunities along the western arm, Long Island and within Chequamegon Bay. Chequamegon Bay also features a world-class smallmouth bass fishery, which can still bring fast-paced action during late summer and fall. Lake whitefish jigging has also become more popular in recent years and provides another great fishing opportunity.

Lake Superior Lake Trout Management

Lake trout in Lake Superior are managed using a quota system where various user groups are allocated an allowable catch. These user groups include sport and charter fishers, state-licensed commercial fishers, and tribal home use and commercial fishers.

Since 2016, lake trout regulations in WI-2 have included a trigger set at 75% of the total allowable harvest. Implemented in response to anglers concerns about overly restrictive bag limits, this trigger allows data to be compiled and analyzed with enough time to close the fishery before exceeding safe harvest limits.

Sustainable harvest levels are determined based on the most up-to-date lake trout population information. While commercial fishers are given their allotment in the form of tags at the beginning of the season, sport harvest is monitored by using a creel survey and mandatory charter reports.

The current quota was revised for the 2021 fishing season and the current recreational fishing allotment in WI-2 is 12,670 with a trigger at 9,500.