The annual meeting of the Chetek Lakes Protection Association, Inc., was held at Sportsmans Supper Club on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2001. A total of 81 members attended.
President Jerry Zehner opened the meeting at 2:10 p.m. by welcoming all members and introducing the CLPA officers and directors, and the new owners of Sportsmans Supper Club, Chuck and Rita Librande, were introduced. He also recognized the area town treasurers and thanked them for their assistance in inserting the annual report in the tax report envelopes each year. Those treasurers are: Pat Brewer, Prairie Lake; Jona Hanson, Chetek Township; Kathy Hofstede, City of Chetek; Arlene Hoveland, Town of Dovre; and Arlene Wetzel, Town of Stanley.
Don Freeman presented the treasurers report and explained that the current balance is $25,021.95. The report was approved as read. It was also noted that the CLPA books were audited in July, 2001, by J.D. Hepp, inc., and found to be in good order. Dues collected this year amounted to $3,780; donations totaled $4,230.
Jerry Zehner explained that the movement of the bog from the mouth of Rice Creek to an area parallel to Veterans Park has helped keep Rice Creek cleaner and the increased water flow has helped reduce summer fish kills. CLPAs donation of $3,000 toward that project was well spent.
Fish biologist Rick Cornelius was a guest speaker. He has been with the DNR for 33 years and has helped the Chetek Chain of Lakes in many ways. In August 2000, CLPA requested that the DNR conduct an in-depth survey of the fishery to help better plan the future management of the entire lake system. It had last been done in 1982. DNR personnel, under the direction of Cornelius, began working on that survey this year. Rick began his presentation with an overview of the chain in regards to aeration, fish cribs, walleye spawning areas, walleye scatter planting, and overall health of the fishery. He went through each fish species in detail and explained that his calculations were derived from electronic~shocking all shorelines of Prairie and Pokegarna Lakes. He went on to say that they also did an extensive amount of fyke netting. The results of his research follow:
WALLEYE Walleyes are stocked at a rate of 35 per acre on an alternate year basis. Some natural reproduction is occurring, but stocking appears to increase year class strength. Scatter planting stocked fingerlings may increase survival. The adult walleye population in Prairie Lake in 2001 was estimated at 2,647 or 1.7 per acre. The adult walleye population in Pokegama Lake in 2001 was estimated at 1,245 or 2.5 per acre. The average size of walleyes captured in Prairie Lake during spawning was 18.4 inches, and 25% of the captured walleyes were 20 inches or larger. The largest captured was 27.9 inches. The average size captured in Pokegama Lake during spawning was 17.1 inches in length, and 12% of those captured were 20 inches or larger. The largest was 28.4 inches. Walleye spawning areas should not be altered or degraded, as natural reproduction is very important to the fishery.
LARGEMOUTH BASS The adult largemouth bass population in Prairie Lake in 2001 was estimated at 4,722 or 3.1 per acre; in Pokegama Lake the population was estimated at 2,267 or 4.5 per acre. Comparing surveys from previous years, it appears that the present bass population is larger than in the past. The size distribution of the bass population was good. In Prairie Lake, 22% of the captured bass were 14 inches or larger; the largest bass was 21.4 inches.
SMALLMOUTH BASS The smallmouth bass population is fairly small in both lakes, hut smallmouth are more common in Pokegama Lake. Only two smallmouth bass were captured in Prairie Lake, while 46 were captured in Pokegama Lake. The largest was 18.4 inches in length.
NORTHERN PIKE A total of 278 northerns in Prairie Lake and 14 northerns in Pokegama Lake were captured during netting. A moderate northern pike population is present. The size distribution was exceptionally good in Prairie Lake, and very good in Pokegama Lake. During netting, 27% of the captured northerns in Prairie Lake were 26 inches or larger, and 17% were 30 inches or larger. In Pokegama Lake, 28% were 26 inches or larger, and 8% were 30 inches or larger. The largest captured was 42.4 inches in length.
PANFISH Bluegills and black crappies were the panfish captured in the greatest numbers. Both species would be considered common to abundant. The size distribution of the netted bluegills was good. In Prairie Lake, 46% were 7 inches or larger, and 8% were 8 inches or larger. In Pokegama Lake, 46% were 7 inches or larger, and 7% were 8 inches or larger. The size distribution of the netted crappies was also good. In Prairie Lake, 40% were 9 inches or larger, and 6% were 10 inches or larger. In Pokegama Lake, 71% were 9 inches or larger, and 11% were 10 inches or larger. Panfish captured in fewer numbers were yellow perch and pumpkinseeds. Other species captured were bowfin, golden shiners, white suckers, logperch, bluntnose minnows, Johnny darters, Iowa darters, hornyhead chubs, and yellow and black bullheads.
to sustain our fishery include to continue walleye fingerling stocking.
If possible, the scatter planting of walleyes should continue. No change
in the current fishing regulations appears to be warranted at the present
time. Although fishing pressure is considerable, both gamefish and panfish
populations appear to be in good shape in terms of density and size distribution.
In particular, continue the special northern pike regulation of 26 inches
minimum length and 2 bag. The aerator on the north end of Prairie Lake
has prevented any significant fish winterkill from occurring for almost
10 years, and the continued operation is important. Fish crib projects
can provide additional habitat. Known and probable walleye and northern
pike ~pawning areas should not be degraded. Walleyes spawn on clean gravel
and rock substrate, while northern pike spawn in shallow, heavily vegetated
The second guest speaker, Dale Hanson, Barron County Soil and Water Conservation Department, shared some very valuable management techniques. As a specialist in this field for 19 years, Hanson has helped prepare several resource documents and is currently writing a book that classifies specific types of plans based on existing conditions. His presentation dealt with resource management and lakeshore biology, to include restoration. He explained the importance of riparian (land owner) responsibilities in the sense that lakeshore buffer zones should blend in with the lakes littoral zone (the food chain area in the water). He explained how the phosphorus and sediment loading increase from runoff as cabins are modernized, more land is cleared, and lawns are manicured right down to the waterline. Shoreline restoration with a buffer zone of wild plants, grasses, and bushes greatly enhance the landscaping view, as well as serve as a filter for unwanted nutrients. Hanson also pointed out the importance of emergent vegetation along a shoreline and how undesirable vegetation like eurasian milfoil can move in if desirable lily pads and other forms of plant life are removed. He also reinforced the importance of the aquatic food chain from the bottom (microscopic organisms) to the top (predator fish). Also, how over-development of the shoreline can deplete the organic materials required for healthy frog and bird populations. Dale also stated that even though rock riprap type shoring is good for slowing land erosion, if it is too wide an area (in depth from land to water), it can cause a dead zone, detrimental to the littoral zone.
Hanson concluded by explaining that the Land and Watershed Resource Management Plan for Barron County was completed and forwarded to Madison. Of three projected sites, this area is number two. It appears that the first project, Lake Desair, is approved for 2002. If this goes as planned, the Chetek Chain will then be considered for a start date to coincide with the completion date at Desair. This, of course, all depends on the availability of state/federal funding.
Other speakers on this program included Bob August and Gary Fredrickson.
August displayed a fish crib and explained how CLPA volunteers construct them and later sink them in the water. He began with a step- by-step illustration of how pallets are modified (slats removed), sized and piled (stacks of five) and how they are banded (with plastic strapping). The team that recently constructed cribs under the supervision of Don Freeman consisted of Bob August, Jerry Zehner, Jeff Biesecker and Ron Morrison. Fifty-seven cribs have been completed out of the total goal of 150 cribs. It took nine men 56 hours to build them. August went on to explain that these cribs are important to the fishery in that they provide good habitat for all levels of the water food chain; especially in the greater depths. A DNR requirement specifies that there must be a minimum of eight feet of water over these cribs. Therefore, they must be placed in a minimum of 12 feet of water. Bob also explained how the cribs must be transported by trailer to the launch site, loaded onto a work barge, have four cement blocks of 55 lbs. each attached to each crib with aluminum wire, then transported to the water location and sunk. August said three sites have been selected and approved by the DNR for 2001 Pokegama, east shore; Chetek, east shore; and Chetek, Flynns Point. Bob concluded his presentation by thanking the following for their donations to this project: Xcel Energy for two truckloads of pallets (450); Clint Doege Construction for pallets; Image Plastics for pallets; County Concrete for cement blocks; Jeff Biesecker of Sunrise Resort for use of his property for storage and assembly; and the City of Chetek for use of the industrial park property for storage and assembly.
Gary Fredrickson spoke on several topics, including the aeration system on north Prairie Lake, its importance and how CLPA volunteers Bob August, Don Freeman, Brian Yeadon, John Hayes, and Gary assisted the DNR by removing a mile of rope fence, an annual event. This year the work was accomplished on April 18th, with the air temperature in the upper 50s. He also reported that the water clarity and secchi disc testing is in its 16th year in the Wisconsin Self Help Lake Monitoring Program. The CLPA volunteers for this project are Bob August, Chetek Lake; Jim Raddenbach, Ojaski Lake; Don Freeman, Pokegama Lake; Gene Ehlinger, Ten Mile Lake; and Gary Fredrickson, Prairie Lake. Recently retired monitors George and Stella Hunter were awarded a plaque in appreciation for their CLPA time and efforts on Pokegama Lake. This program provides the state DNR personnel with raw lake data in the form of water clarity readings every two weeks, and chemical testing results for nutrients on a monthly basis. The DNR then publishes an annual report compiling this data. This report reveals trophic status of our lakes, telling us the age of our system which is hyper eutrophic at this time. our lakes are very fertile full of nutrients which reduces water clarity.
Fredrickson also said that permits for chemical spraying this year revealed a total of 26 property owners that treated their shoreline waters.
Fish-O-Rama, now in its 15th year, tagged 515 panfish this year according to Fredrickson. This Chamber of Commerce committee, under the chairmanship of Glen Anderson, paid out $9,500 in sponsorship money in 2000. This program, obviously popular with people who catch the tagged fish, is also rewarding in respect to the fact that computerized records kept of the catch-release-catch activity by DNR designated zones benefits DNR fish biologists who track these statistics. An interesting point is that 61% of the tagged panfish were caught in a zone other than the one in which they were released. Each zone is approximately 500 acres.
Fishing tournament permits are required whenever 40 people or 20 boats participate in an event. Fredrickson said that in 2001 there were ten permits granted by the DNR.
Walleye scatter planting has been gratifying to the teams of volunteers who help transport small walleye fingerlings from the DNR tanker trucks to areas on the water where they have the best chance for survival, primarily because this technique seems to be helping in the ongoing efforts to improve the walleye population. This year, the volunteers included Bob August, Don Freeman, Gary Fredrickson, Jeff Biesecker, Bob Skrukrud, John and Karen Hoehler, and Jerry Zehner. A total of 118,000 walleye fingerlings were released at 39 different locations of the chain.
The walleye spearing overview revealed that 84 walleye were declared for 2001 on Prairie Lake. Thus far, none have been harvested.
An overview of on-water law enforcement information provided by DNR Warden Russ Fell was presented. Between May 1 and July 31, 2001, boating enforcement consisted of approximately 50 hours while fishing enforcement totaled approximately 45 hours. These were just Warden Fells hours and did not include other law enforcement officers who helped out on occasion. In his patrol log Warden Fell indicated that boating arrests are down. The 4th of July was uneventful with most boats in compliance after hours. Although numerous boats were stopped, no intoxicated drivers were detected. Five arrests have been made for over possession limit violations. One group of four was over by 51 fish; another group took several bag limits a day.
Fredrickson also read off several entries from the DNR summary of violations to give everyone an idea of what it costs to not comply with boating and fishing regulations. He also recognized Warden Fell and all other law enforcement officers who help protect these valuable resources and keep the waters safe.
Greg Jennings provided an explanation about an amendment to the CLPA by-laws. The Chetek Lakes Protection Association, Inc., operates under and is governed by State Statute 181. This statute covers all non stock, non profit corporations. Statute 181 is made up of many chapters and subchapters, each having its own number such as 181.06 or 181.171, etc. Recently the state government elected to change some of the chapter numbers within 181. For instance 181.15 is now 181.0705; 181.17 is now 181.0722 and so forth. The numbers have changed, but the language, meaning or intent remains virtually the same. Therefore, a motion carried to rewrite the CLPA by-laws encompassing the latest numbering system.
Chris Carlson conducted the elections for officers and directors. Those elected were: Secretary, Jackie Stocking; Treasurer, Don Freeman; 2nd Vice President, Bob August; and Directors, Mike McGinnis, Greg Jennings and Chris Carlson.
Jerry Zehner concluded the meeting at 3:55 p.m. by thanking all those in attendance. He also reminded everyone to notice the collages set up in the room showing CLPA projects. Special attention was pointed toward the pictorial display of the Shoreland Restoration that Don and Doris Freeman have recently completed on their property on the south shore of Chetek Lake.
Last Updated: June, 2005