DNR to Consider Raising Bag Limits on More Lakes

May 28, 2014

A few more lakes could still see higher bag limits for walleye. 

The state Natural Resources Board has approved an emergency rule that gives the DNR slightly more leeway in adjusting bag limits for nontribal anglers. 

The DNR typically sets bag limits for nontribal anglers based on what the state’s Chippewa tribes declare, and adjusts them based on what the tribes actually harvest.  The emergency rule approved Wednesday allows officials to also look at what anglers have taken so far and what they’re projected to take.  The DNR says it just allows them to look at more information.   

The rule applies only to this year and may only affect a small number of lakes.  Chris McGeshick, chairman of the Sokaogon Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, spoke against the proposal, saying the tribe had not been part of the conversation.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp says having the rule will boost tourism and help alleviate angler anxiety about very small bag limits. 

“The unpredict ability and instability of swinging bag limits – what that does to tourism in the northern third of the state, and it is devastating.  People don’t plan their vacations to plan to come up and fish for one fish.” 

But bag limits have already been increased on almost 450 northern lakes, because the Chippewa spearing season is coming to an end.  And the emergency rule only applies to this year, so it's unclear what effect it will have.