Chairs Column - April 2023 WisTrout

Two amorous teenage brook trout were swimming downstream in search of adventure when they crossed current with an old brown trout. The sage elder asks “where are you kids headed? There’s some dangerous water downstream, you know.” To that, the young trout responded in unison “what’s water?”


Somewhere in Sawyer County, Wisconsin within a recycling bin, is a number bib for the Birkebeiner ski race with my name on it. In my corner of the state the snow dried up many weeks before the event, and with it my anticipation of the coming day. With similarity to my two naïve young trout, water was something I felt I could take for granted when registering for a ski race in June. Whether enduring drought or inundation, bare ground or blizzard, pristine or polluted, we are too often reminded of the centrality of water and our unwillingness (as a society) to confront it.  It is now March and I’m skiing, and fishing, again. When the well runs dry you know the worth of water. 


The worth of water. What price do we place on clean cold water in Wisconsin? That’s anyone’s estimate, but for certain money plays a pivotal role in maintaining and protecting our coldwater heritage.


I was invited by Governor Evers to submit inclusions to his executive budget. I requested a $5 increase to the trout stamp fee which was accepted and is now included in Governor Evers’ 2023-2025 budget. This 50-percent increase will insure long overdue funding of trout habitat, DNR hatcheries and stocking programs. This single line in a budget is not something we can take for granted, as we need to contact our legislators to request their support of the fee increase. That one line in a budget is our water.


After a two-year pandemic pause, the Wisconsin Council Awards and Fundraising Banquet returned with vigor. Attendance was near capacity and thanks entirely to the enthusiasm of the attendees we set a fundraising record of $26,000.  And of greatest importance was the recognition of Gary Stoychoff for his 50 years of service to the Council and Green Bay Chapter. Please take a little time to read about this year’s award winners in this issue. They are priceless, they are the worth of water.