No human virus is going to keep the fish from biting or summer from coming our way. However, due to Covid-19 Wisconsin’s annual summer campaign that reminds anglers and boaters to drain all lake and river water from their catches and equipment is undergoing a slight change in 2020. The annual Drain Campaign, normally held in early June, is being merged with the 4th of July week Landing Blitz. Better yet, the combined campaigns run from June 28 to July 5, the same week as the Great Lakes Regional Landing Blitz that includes launches in every state and Canadian province in the Great Lakes Basin.
During the week, the Clean Boats, Clean Waters staff and volunteers will be giving away hard-sided ice packs to anglers. Each ice pack is stamped with the reminder to Drain Your Catch. Draining includes the water in fishing buckets and live wells. Any lake water added to your catch or water that comes in contact with the fish potentially carries disease or microscopic invasive animals, such as the larvae of zebra mussels. Draining your catch as well as your boat and any other gear that takes on water is important for keeping our waters healthy.
The Clean Boats, Clean Waters staff and volunteers will also be giving away the very popular boat towels carrying the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! message. The towels are used to help clean the boat and remove any easily seen plants from it and the trailer before leaving a launch.
One ice pack or towel is given to each boat owner while supplies last. Wisconsin has approximately 300 launches participating. Lakes and rivers participating in Polk County’s Drain Campaign and/or Landing Blitz are Lake Wapogasset, Big Round Lake, Balsam Lake, Bone Lake, Amery Lakes, Magnor Lake, Ward Lake, Deer Lake, Big Blake Lake, Long Lake, Pipe Lakes, Half Moon Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Big, Round, and Church Pine Lakes, the Apple River Flowage, Cedar Lake, Long Trade Lake and the St. Croix River.
No matter where you launch, always remember before you leave the launch to:
Inspect boats, trailers and equipment for attached aquatic plants or animals.
Remove all attached plants or animals
Drain all water from boats, motors, live wells and other equipment
Never move live fish away from a water body
Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash
Buy minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer
Only use leftover minnows when either 1) fishing with them on the same body of water or 2) on other waters if no lake/river water or other fish have been added to the container.
Following these steps also helps boaters comply with Wisconsin state law, which prohibits the transport of aquatic invasive species.
To learn more about invasive species and their impacts to Wisconsin’s waters and economy, visit DNR.wi.gov and search “Invasive Species.”