Updated fishing regulations in Wauconda will reduce the number and types of fish people can carry out of Bangs Lake and other bodies of water in the village.
Wauconda trustees approved the amended regulations at their board meeting Tuesday. The new catch limits and minimum fish lengths will go into effect in the next few weeks, as soon as new signage is posted around the lake.
"It's an effort to further protect our fisheries," said Ed Lochmayer, co-chairman of the Bangs Lake Advisory Committee that recommended the changes. "We're trying to protect our smaller non-breeding fish and allow other species to continue to reproduce."
Under the new regulations, northern pike must be at least 36 inches long to carry out, up from 24 inches in the previous ordinance. The maximum daily catch was reduced from two to one.
Bass fishing is now restricted to catch and release only, compared to the previous daily limit of two bass measuring 13 to 15 inches long. Lochmayer said catch and release is the norm for sport bass fishing, but that it was important to get that rule in writing.
"We just wanted to tie things down so these species have a chance to regroup," Lochmayer said.
Black crappie now must be at least 10 inches, an 1-inch increase, and the daily limit was cut from 15 to 8.
The minimum muskie length remains the same at 36 inches, but a new limit of one daily catch was put in place.
Walleye must be between 14 and 16 inches to carry out, a narrower window than the 15 or more inches afforded in the previous ordinance. The daily limit remains two.
Perch were added to the list of protected fish, joining bluegill and sunfish with a 6-inch minimum length and daily limit of 25.
Violators can be fined up to $750.
Lochmayer, a former village trustee, said Wauconda officials have considered the changes for about two years, with input from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It's the first time fishing regulations have been adjusted in at least 15 years, according to Lochmayer.
"Bangs Lake is restocked almost every fall, but it's never a bad idea to reinforce the program," he said.
About 14 new signs will be placed along the lakefront reflecting the new fishing limits, in addition to informational pamphlets to be distributed.
DNR officials will conduct a survey of the Bangs Lake fish population later this summer.