Fishery & Water Quality Committee Update, Summer 2020

Submitted by: Jim Zach MD, Chair F&WQ Committee

Fish Stick Project

I am preparing the application to be submitted to the WI DNR for our fish stick project permit. The application can take 3-4 months to work its way through the DNR, we will likely have a response this autumn. We have worked closely with DNR Fishery Biologist Greg Matzke, and he is one of several reviewers. Once we have our permit, we can order supplies such as anchors and cables and hope for suitable ice conditions. Acouple challenges at this point include the recent warmer winters with heavy snow on thin ice followed by rain-on-snow and now COVID 19. Apermit remains open for 5 years, and is renewable. If we get suitable ice conditions for the Novak family to access the island for tree cutting, and for our committee to remove and position trees, we’ll probably have one winter to accomplish what we can. We are still looking for potential fish stick host sites, volunteer labor for connecting trees to tractors and cabling, additional tractors and operators, and vehicles with winches such as tractors or UTVs to position clusters of trees at the fish stick sites. DNR Fishery staff will help with final positioning, cabling, and anchoring the following spring.

If you would like more information about this project, please refer to the LLAA website ( under the Fish Habitat Committee tab. You are also welcome to contact me at or

Lake Level

One of the charges of the F&WQ committee is lake water level issues. Our lake water level was quite low for several years due to prolonged drought. The water level has risen since then, and has continued to rise due to heavier precipitation. There is a long history of multi-year cycles of rising and falling levels, however now there is an additional factor. County W was redone several years ago and a new Swamp Creek culvert was placed about 9” higher than it should have been, when the lake level was low. Some preliminary engineering survey work by Trout Unlimited has confirmed this. The Lincoln Town Board recognizes this and has spent many months working toward a solution. It has been recommended to remove the two culverts under Harbor Lane to allow the stream to flow freely. The study will continue to analyze results by the WI DNR and Trout Unlimited to determine the next step.

There is a relationship between surface water level and surrounding ground water. Climate change predictions include for our annual precipitation to increase and for heavier precipitation events. I am interested in learning from lake property owners if the current high lake level is creating any problems for shorelines or basements. I am offering to collect comments and pass on to the Town of Lincoln and County Highway Department, it would be useful to know approximately where you are on the lake. You are also welcome to contact me at or