Four groups and individuals were recognized as 2012 External Partners Award winners at a Department of Natural Resources fisheries management program in late February for their commitment and dedication to Wisconsin Fishing.

“We learned a long time ago that managing Wisconsin’s outstanding fisheries is a job too big for government alone — and we rely all the time on the help from fishing and conservation organizations from across the state,” said Mike Staggs, Wisconsin fisheries director. “It’s an honor to recognize these groups and individuals.”

Galesville Volunteer Trout Club in Trempealeau County; Hayward Fly Fishing Company based in Sawyer County; Salmon Unlimited of Wisconsin, Racine County; and the Village of Cross Plains in Dane County, all received recognition for their contributions to fishing conservation and education. The award winners and a brief summary of their contributions follow:

Galesville Volunteer Trout Club was recognized for its work in angler education and raising trout in local streams. For the last six years, the Galesville Volunteer Trout Club has organized an event that draws over 250 kids a year during free fishing weekend. Each kid gets the choice of a fishing pole or a chance to win tackle boxes, tents, paddleboats or canoes through a drawing. This 100 percent nonprofit organization is able to have this successful event annually with the help of more than 60 sponsors. The club has also grown more than 70,000 trout for local streams since the clubs establishment in 1954, which has immensely taken pressure off the state hatchery system.

Hayward Fly Fishing Company was awarded for its creel survey work done in the Chippewa, Flambeau and Namekagon rivers. Husband and wife dual, owners and guides, Larry Mann and Wendy Williamson, along with the assistance of three additional staffed guides and the local DNR, were able get a first real look into the game species in the warm waters in the northwestern part of the state. The company collected the length and weight of all fish that were caught this past guiding season and look forward to collecting data for the upcoming fly fishing season.

Salmon Unlimited of Wisconsin, Racine, was recognized for their donated time, resources and financial support to the Lake Michigan fisheries over the last 30 years. The group continues to support young outdoor enthusiasts with the interest in pursuing a career in the field of natural resource management through financial scholarships. They also host fishing clinics, are active educators in angler education and supporters of the annual Root River Steelhead Facility Open House.

Jerry Gray, Director of Public Works and Warren Myers, Village Engineer from the Village of Cross Plains, were awarded for their innovative ways to protect trout fishing in Black Earth Creek. Major players in the re-meander efforts of the stream, they continue to go great lengths to protect the stream from runoff, sediment, chlorides and thermal impacts from urban development. These two men have made it their natural resource mission to preserve this world-class trout stream. From city improvements to using alternative ways to remove the village’s snow, their top priority is to keep the creek healthy and thriving with aquatic life.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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