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Lee Fahrney: Carting out the extra carp
Photo courtesy of Greg Stamm The carp removal program at Yellowstone Lake has resulted in the elimination of more than 500,000 pounds of rough fish from the lake. Here, Ben Stamm of Argyle works the nets to help protect the lake from an overabundance of carp.

Raffle Information

Fishing enthusiasts and other Yellowstone Lake supporters can purchase raffle tickets at the following locations:

• The Chalet Campground;

• Four Season Resort;

•The Nixon House, Gratiot;

• The Silver Dollar Saloon, Blanchardville;

• Whitetail Valley Sports in Blanchardville;

• The Squeaky Wheel in Hollandale;

• The Fayette Saloon in Fayette;

• Any area Lafayette County Sportsmen's Alliance club member.

Promoters have accumulated a hefty list of raffle prizes up for grabs:

• Nine firearms include shotguns, rifles, pistols and a .50 caliber muzzleloader;

• Turkey calls by Gene Upward of Hazel Green, Steve Kundert of Monroe and DNR fisheries biologist Bradd Sims;

• A designer quilt crafted by award-winning area artisan Brenda Syvrud:

• A Minnkota 30 lb. thrust trolling motor;

Lucky Tree Game Farm 10-bird pheasant hunt;

• $100 Gift Certificate from Whitetail Valley Sports;

• $100 Gift Certificate from Zwicker Taxidermy in Argyle;

• Additional door prizes will be awarded on the day of the drawings.

YELLOWSTONE LAKE STATE PARK - Carp removal activity on Yellowstone Lake is in full swing as local sportsmen's organizations and Department of Natural Resources staff seek to protect the lake from degradation caused by massive numbers of the rough fish. And a fund raiser is under way to ensure that the program continues.

Carp will follow their natural inclination to root out beneficial vegetation, increase oxygen-destroying turbidity and destroy game fish spawning areas, experts say, leaving diminished habitat for more desirable species.

"The lake will only support so many fish per acre," said fisheries biologist Bradd Sims at the DNR Service Center in Dodgeville. "It (carp removal) opens up the biomass for more game fish."

Of all the management practices implemented to improve the Yellowstone Lake fishery, the carp removal program ranks as perhaps the most beneficial, albeit costly, smelly and time consuming.

Previous attempts to control the carp have achieved only limited success - including a couple of drawdowns when the lake was drained completely.

"That won't work," said retired DNR fish hatchery manager Don Dodge. "They spawn upstream in the river and eventually travel back into the lake in huge numbers."

DNR fish managers, sportsmen's clubs, area businesses and fishing enthusiasts have all contributed to this success story. Since the removal program began, workers have removed more than 500,000 pounds of the bottom-feeding rough fish from the lake.

Now, populations of muskies are in the 40- and 50-inch range, walleyes up to 30 inches, sizable bass, and lots of take home-size pan fish all pay tribute to the remarkable recovery of Yellowstone Lake as one of the premier fishing destinations in southern Wisconsin.

The goal is to remove approximately 30,000 pounds of carp from the lake annually, Sims said.

The cost of this endeavor was borne by the state until DNR funding was cut a few years ago. While the DNR has chipped in with high quality gill and hoop nets and extensive technical support, fundraisers have covered the cost of workers, supplies, fuel and other equipment.


Stakeholders are currently sponsoring a raffle to raise money to keep the program alive. Organizers will conduct the drawing at Four Seasons Resort at noon, Saturday, July 5.

Winning ticket holders need not be present to win. Additional door prizes will be distributed at the time of the drawing, however, which will require the winner to be present.

Contact Don Dodge at (608) 921-9601 or Randy Steiner at (608) 523-1543 for more information or to donate additional raffle or door prizes.