Musky Data Collection at Wingra Dam

May 11, 2022

DNR staff measuring a musky and collecting a genetic sample

Every other year, the DNR stocks and tags 100 Wisconsin muskellunge (muskies) in Lake Wingra. On May 4th, DNR staff were below the Wingra Dam, in Wingra Creek, collecting musky data for Lake Monona’s five year comprehensive fish survey.

DNR fishery survey in progress on Wingra Creek

Staff collect data on population, movement (based on tagging the fish) and fish size, as well as genetic sampling to determine whether the musky is from the Wisconsin or Minnesota strain. In Lake Monona, for example, some angler groups stock Minnesota muskies. Only the DNR stocks the muskies in Lake Wingra, and these are all from the Wisconsin strain.  

The musky are drawn from Lake Monona up Wingra Creek to the Wingra Dam for springtime spawning because of the warmer water temperatures flowing from Lake Wingra, but no natural reproduction occurs.

A musky attempting to jump the Wingra dam in springtime

Muskies are not native to southern Wisconsin waters and are stocked in Lake Wingra and other nearby lakes for angler enjoyment. 

A muskellunge being photographed for Lake Monona’s comprehensive fish survey

Every five years, the DNR conducts a comprehensive survey of Lake Wingra’s fish, the 2019 survey found 24 species of fish in the lake, you can read the report here.

The DNR also completes an annual survey of the fish in Lake Wingra.  In 2021, the results were looking good for the fish in the lake, as populations of bass and panfish were increasing, according to Dan Oele, DNR Fisheries Biologist.  Bass and bluegills are important predators in Lake Wingra’s fish community, as they keep the carp population in check, increasing Lake Wingra’s water clarity.  

Oele also emphasizes the importance of aquatic plants for the lake’s water clarity; since 2006, the number of aquatic plant species in Lake Wingra has remained stable at 19.  

If you see a crew electrofishing on Lake Wingra after sunset until midnight next week, it’s likely Oele and other DNR staff conducting Lake Wingra’s 2022 fish survey!