President’s Summer 2018 Post-Meeting Report
By Dave Neuswanger
First Published August 12, 2018
Updated August 15, 2018
Our July 29, 2018 Annual Meeting and Picnic is now in the rear view mirror, and I have several people to thank for making it a success. First and foremost, Michelle and Terry Conroy at Boulder Lodge did a wonderful job of hosting both the meeting and the picnic — often going out of their way to accommodate the needs of 40 people attending. Orlin Johnson, Steve Fiala, and several helpers arranged comfortable outdoor seating for the picnic. The pop-up tents were essential during our afternoon shower! Norm Bratteig served once again as grill master — serving up tasty burgers, brats, and dogs. Treasurer Gayle Little — always better prepared than anyone — collected dues and donations and signed up several new members. WELCOME to new members Kim and LouAnn Phelps, Al and Tina Foster, and Tom and Carol Jarzyna! And THANKS to EVERYONE who brought a covered dish, providing delightful treats after a long but productive meeting.
The EXCOM has determined that chemical treatment of Hybrid Eurasian Water Milfoil (HEWM) is no longer a viable option. After stunningly good short-term results following the June 2017 treatment with Reward herbicide, our most recent assessment (early July 2018) has revealed that HEWM has returned with a vengeance in formerly treated areas and is spreading aggressively into new areas of Lost Land Lake. Most EXCOM members have no philosophical objection to the careful use of an approved herbicide, but our best chemical option (Reward herbicide) has proven ineffective. Now our only choice is to do nothing (not acceptable to the EXCOM) or to initiate mechanical control, which will involve implementing strategies outlined in our approved 2017 Aquatic Plant Management Plan.
At the Annual Meeting, we initiated a pledge drive as the first step in raising $75,000 so we can order an Eco-Harvester aquatic plant puller in early December and place it into operation in spring of 2019. After lengthy discussion among the 40 members attending, pledge forms were made available and several people stepped up to get us started toward our fund-raising goal. As of 8/15/18, we have received pledges to donate from the following members or friends, listed chronologically in the order received:
Dave, Sandy, and Bryan Neuswanger on 7/29/18 – $1,000
Carole and Richard Dujmovic on 7/29/18 – $1,000
Fred and Peggy Haueter on 7/29/18 – $1,000
Orlin Johnson and Gail Nicholson on 7/29/18 – $1,000
Wish to Remain Anonymous on 7/29/18 – $1,000
Bob and Sue Dale on 8/2/18 – $1,000
Lynn and Donna Wulf on 8/10/18 – $500
Brenda Brueske Kolve (Cable Chiropractic) on 8/15/18 – $100
TOTAL PLEDGES TO DATE = $6,600. Thanks so much to these early birds! It’s a start!
Need to know more about Eco-Harvester technology before contributing significant personal resources to its acquisition? Please click on this link to read about the EXCOM’s investigation of this product, see photos and video, and download the brochure. One of the best parts of this deal is that QLIA Vice-President and Aquatic Invasive Species Program Leader Norm Bratteig has offered to coordinate operations, maintenance, and storage of this machine based at his own dock and storage facility on Lost Land Lake. Thanks Norm!
To join the pledge drive, please download, print, and complete the following form. You may mail it to our post office box in Hayward, or scan and e-mail it to email@example.com.
Anyone who thinks $75,000 is too much for our organization to spend in order to maintain control over Hybrid Eurasian Water Milfoil (HEWM) should click on this link and read the research reports documenting declines in property values from 13% in Vilas County, Wisconsin to 19% in King County, Washington if HEWM continues to spread unabated. Considering the alternative, a $1,000 pledge and donation now is a highly cost-effective investment in maintaining the value of our lakeshore properties on Lost Land and Teal lakes. Please don’t wait for the State, County, Township, or your neighbors to attack this problem. Be part of the solution and make your pledge today!
IMPORTANT NOTE: No actual Eco-Harvester donations will be accepted until we have secured at least $75,000 in pledges. The pledge drive ends on November 1, 2018. In the meantime, I will be contacting leaders of potential organizational donors in order to see who else may be willing to help us reach our pledge drive goal.
WDNR Fishery Biologist Max Wolter has shared preliminary results of the 2018 fish surveys and hatchery operations on Teal and Lost Land lakes. Final reports (survey summaries) will be posted here on the Fish Surveys page upon WDNR supervisory approval. WDNR’s Thompson Hatchery crew from Spooner captured good numbers of adult muskellunge and successfully acquired all the fertilized eggs they will need for 2018 production. All 10-12″ muskies stocked in northwestern Wisconsin lakes in fall of 2018 will have originated in Lost Land and Teal lakes. Adult muskellunge populations looked good in both Lost Land and Teal, and there continues to be evidence of natural reproduction and recruitment (survival to first birthday).
It looks like 2017 stockings of large walleye fingerlings (6-8 inches) resulted in high capture rates of juvenile walleyes in spring electrofishing samples at Lost Land and Teal lakes. (We’re getting good observational reports about Ghost Lake as well.) Capture rates were similar to lakes in which natural reproduction sustains the fishery, so we know we have a strong 2017 year-class that survived its first winter. The adult walleye population is looking pretty healthy in both lakes too.
Teal Lake had more adult walleyes, but Lost Land Lake had bigger adult walleyes, on average, than Teal. These lakes produced similar fyke-net capture rates of walleyes in the “harvest-size slot” range of 15-20 inches. Anglers are encouraged to follow the rules and immediately release all walleyes less than 15 inches long and all walleyes in the 20-24 inch protected length range. I’ll admit it can be a little painful to release the first decent fish of the year when it measures 20.5 inches (see photo below), but it’s a small sacrifice for better fishing!
Largemouth bass numbers were down from previous surveys, thanks to selective harvest by anglers who are trying to help restore a walleye-dominated fish community. Largemouth bass numbers in Teal were way down compared with 2010 and 2014. In Lost Land, though numbers have been reduced, we still have more largemouth bass than would allow natural reproduction and recruitment of walleyes to occur. Anglers are encouraged to harvest and consume delicious largemouth bass (not kidding, TRY them before you judge) in BOTH lakes, and to continue releasing smallmouth bass, which are great sport fish that rarely eat or compete with walleyes. Fewer largemouths will result in more smallmouths going forward, because the former eat the latter.
Panfish numbers were still high, and average size of black crappies, bluegills, and yellow perch left a lot to be desired. Panfish size structure will not improve until we have even more walleyes to eat young panfish and thin their numbers sufficiently to stimulate faster growth. It will also help if anglers abide by the new panfish bag limit that allows 25 fish daily, but no more than 10 of any one species (crappies, sunfish, or perch). When black crappies, sunfish, or perch do reach desirable sizes, we cannot have them coming out of these lakes 25 at a time and expect average size to improve.
Several QLIA members helped our WDNR crews with spring fishery operations. Thanks so much to the responses (often on short notice) and capable assistance of Jim Dooley, Steve Fiala, John Gouze, John Grady, and Bryan Neuswanger. Dan Richards from Lac Courte Oreilles even left his home lake to help out on ours. Max REALLY appreciated your help, guys!
We are gearing up to resume water quality monitoring, with an emphasis on Teal Lake for 2018. Thanks to Jack Wellauer and others for past efforts, and thanks to Bryan Neuswanger for taking on the Water Quality Program Leader role going forward. As Jack will tell you, this is not a simple assignment. There is much to be learned about collecting, handling, and recording quality data that can be used to make important decisions about a lake’s status. Samantha Smith (The Retreat at Lost Land Lake) has agreed to help, and Bryan may seek other volunteers after he organizes all available materials and decides on a game plan. Check out our new “Water Quality” page and sub-pages (main menu bar above) to learn more about water quality monitoring, wastewater management, and drinking water quality.
Speaking of volunteers, I greatly appreciate John Grady stepping up to serve as our Shoreland Habitat Enhancement Program Leader. Adding more large woody cover to the near-shore waters of Lost Land, Teal, and Ghost lakes will be no small task and will likely continue for many years. We will seek a “pool” of prospective volunteers to help John on an as-needed basis when there is work to be done on this important project. More on this at our upcoming Annual Meeting on July 29, but prospective volunteers can become more familiar with near-shore habitat needs by reviewing the new sub-page on Fish Habitat on our Fisheries page (click on main menu bar above).
One final thought going into the Annual Meeting on July 29. Let’s “Keep the Quiet Lakes Quiet.” Let’s take the 10 mph speed limit seriously, and let’s respect our neighbors’ desire to listen to the sounds of the North Woods — not roaring motors or fireworks — late in the evening and early in the morning. “The Quiet Lakes” is our brand. It’s touted on every resort brochure and website. It’s why most of us bought property here. It’s a special and rare place for people to disconnect with technology and reconnect with the natural processes that make us human. We don’t begrudge anyone a quicker-than-usual boat ride home in a medical emergency, or ahead of an threatening storm. And we don’t want to nitpick over a couple MPH in speed. But flagrant violations have become a little too frequent lately. We also face the looming threat of “wake boarding” in which large boats specially designed to create over-sized wakes are used to tow people “surfing” on wake boards. To read the EXCOM’s position on this activity, read my recent letter to the Sawyer County Board (click on bold blue link below). We will discuss this issue at the Annual Meeting.
7/20/18 UPDATE: A front-page article in the July 18, 2018 issue of the Sawyer County Record reported the proposed ordinance to set limits on wake boat operation was tentatively approved, pending legal review, for advancement to the Sawyer County Board of Supervisors by the County’s Land, Water and Forest Resources Committee following their public hearing on July 11. The Sawyer County Lakes Forum, of which QLIA is a member organization, supported the ordinance.
If you’re looking for a little light reading on a hot, humid, buggy summer day, check out some of the postings on our new History & Archives page. Our out-of-print 50-year Golden Jubilee History (1947-1997), written by Past-President Charlie Baumann, is posted there also.