On April 26, 2022 Ben Huessner of the Wisconsin DNR was able to oversee a program regarding muskellunge migration within the Oconomowoc River system.
The goal of the program is to see how muskies move throughout the entire system. This is a five year project and we look forward to studying the data. As a byproduct of this program, the Lac Labelle management district is going to work on putting in a physical barrier that will keep the fish in the lake and not allow them easy access to the outflowing river. As we receive updates on this program, we will share them with everyone. Many thanks need to go out to Ben Huessner and the Wisconsin DNR for undergoing this study which will impact our musky fishing waters.
With the help of the Milwaukee Chapter Muskies Inc and the Musky Club of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin DNR is conducting a study in Oconomowoc System to determine the movement patterns of musky.
The information will show whether muskies leave the LaBelle system or if they are staying in the lake. The DNR would like to manage LaBelle as an “Action” musky lake. The DNR did stock LaBelle with about 1,200 muskies this past fall due to having a surplus of fish. This study will help lead to future stocking recommendations. If fish are leaving the system the money spent on stocking could be potentially used on another system instead.
A monitoring system would be installed just below the LaBelle Dam (the outflow) and potentially at the Oconomowoc Dam as well. Sonar transponders would be placed into 12 muskies within the system. The monitoring systems would register when a musky swims past them. The monitoring system records information such as: time, date, the fish which swims past it. This information can lead to future stocking recommendations as the DNR will be able to determine where the muskies are going.
The DNR wishes to work with Oconomowoc and get the grate installed back on the outflowing dam. Possibly the DNR can modify the grate with a gate that would be open at times to allow migrating muskies back into Labelle from the Rock River system.