Ask an Official: DNR warden, Forestry director discuss boating regulations
This week;s featured question was asked of Lincoln County Forestry, Land and Parks Director Kevin Kleinschmidt and local DNR Warden Curt Butler.
The question reads:
Answer as given Warden Butler:
“When it comes to motors on small lakes in Wisconsin, there are a few things to keep in mind. There is an all-encompassing rule that any body of water that is 50 acres or smaller has a slow-no-wake restriction on the whole body of water. It does not prohibit motor use, and there is no distinction between gas and electric motors. However, you do have to be aware that some bodies of water within a certain county or select state-owned parks/forests/properties can have a restriction on the use of motors (gas and electric) through ordinances, or Wisconsin Administrative Code Natural Resources Chapter 45.
“If that is the case there will likely be a sign at the boat launch to make users aware. There also are a handful of exceptions throughout the state. The law being referenced reads: “Motorboat prohibition. On lakes 50 acres or less having public access, motorboats may not be operated in excess of slow-no-wake speed, except when such lakes serve as thoroughfares between 2 or more navigable lakes. The department by rule may modify or waive the requirements of this section as to particular lakes, if it finds that public safety is not impaired by such modification or waiver.” Wisconsin State Statute 30.635. As far as Lake Alexander and Tug lake specifically, they are both over larger than 50 acres and you are allowed to use motors.
“For the trolling/fishing part of your question, trolling is permitted state wide on all inland waters with either; 3 hooks, baits or lures/person with no maximum number of lines trolled per boat; or 1 hook, bait or lure/person with a maximum of 3 hooks, baits or lures trolled per boat. To figure out what set of limitations the body of water you are fishing has, consult the WDNR fishing regulations, or search “trolling” on the WDNR website. For Lincoln County, every body of water is under the “1 hook, bait or lure/person with a maximum of 3 hooks, baits or lures trolled per boat” restriction.”
Answer as given by Kleinschmidt:
“Regarding Otter Lake which comes out of our County Parks and Recreation Ordinance-Chapter 19: No person shall operate any motor driven boat in waters of Otter Lake by order of the Towns of Harrison and Skanawan and in accordance with §30.77, Wis. Stats.
“In addition, these statements are from our County Forest and Recreational Trails Ordinance-Chapter 16: No person shall cause destruction to any natural growth (unless authorized), cause erosion, rutting, damage a stream, lake bed or wetland or do any other type of environmental degradation and No person shall operate any unregistered or unlicensed motor vehicle on any County Forest road, route, trail or lake.”
Have a question or concern you would like to address? Simply send your question or concern to firstname.lastname@example.org along with an indication of which entity your question or concern pertains to. Current participants are the Merrill Police Department, Merrill Fire Department, Tomahawk Police Department, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson, Merrill Area Housing Authority Director Paul Russell, Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe, Lincoln County Forestry, Land and Parks Director Kevin Kleinschmidt, local DNR conservation Warden Curt Butler and Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) Superintendent Dr. John Sample. Please note: Those who submit to the ‘Ask an Official’ feature remain anonymous.