We prepare to bid farewell to Dave Bartz, longtime DNR fish biologist for the Green Lake area, as he prepares for retirement later
in 2020. Dave has graciously agreed to let me include in this newsletter the following thoughts he had about working on Green Lake.

Spring 1992. I had just begun my career as a Fish Biologist, stationed in Montello and decided to attend a fish crib building day over on Green Lake. I figured it would be a good way to make acquaintances and get to know a few of the people from the area with an interest in Green Lake. It was the beginning of my nearly 30 years of working on and helping to manage Big Green Lake. I remember building fish cribs in the parking lot at the Cty A boat ramp, that would later be placed out into the lake. We ended the day over at Cleetus Alsteen’s house for a few brats, snacks and a refreshing beverage or two. I also met Joel Baranowski, Dennis Walker and Mike Norton that day; people that I would continue to know and work with throughout my career.

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and work with many
talented and dedicated people over the years. I’ve worked with
3 different DNR Fisheries Technicians and numerous LTE’s along with many talented DNR staff from other departments, Sanitary District Chairmen and board members, Lake Association Presidents and representatives, County and City employees, Educators and numerous Sportsmen’s groups. It has been, and continues to be, a privilege and an honor to work with each one of them.

Most of us get into this business because we care about the resource and would like to do our best to improve or enhance it. It is an honor to work with so many people that are dedicated to this cause. Field sampling has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of this job. Working on one of the largest and deepest lakes in the state has had its challenges. It was during spring fyke netting (in frigid spring temperatures) that I saw some of my most impressive fish while sampling Big Green; numerous 10+ pound walleye including a 14 pounder, 16” Black Crappie, 10” Bluegill and a 52” musky. Gill netting for Lake Trout and Cisco on a beautiful October day, we saw Lake Trout that were so large and old that we joked about them being stocked by Vern Hacker [The late Vern Hacker was a fisheries biologist who published the classic DNR cookbook, “A Fine Kettle of Fish”].

Years ago, we use to fin clip all the Lake Trout that were stocked in Green Lake to document any possible natural reproduction. Staff from the Wild Rose Hatchery, Green Lake Sanitary District, Green Lake Association and numerous volunteers would show up to help. There was always plenty of good conversation and food available that would make the day and job go smoothly.

Pontoon Classroom was always an enjoyable event. We would spend the better part of a Saturday showing kids some of the methods that we used for sampling fish and then taking them back to the dock for hands on analysis of some of the samples. I remember bringing my kids along to one of the events when they were young.

I’ve attended numerous meetings and banquets over the years and always enjoyed interacting with people that truly care about Green Lake. I believe that the lake’s fishery is in as good of shape now as it’s ever been. Much work has been done over the last 20+ years to make this happen. The health of the fishery reflects the health of the lake and I believe that things are headed in the right direction. – Dave Bartz, April, 2020