Two public meetings, set for April 4 and 6, are being held in Vilas County to get public input on a multi-agency plan to address declining walleye numbers in Lac Vieux Desert. on the Michigan-Wisconsin border near Land O' Lakes.
The 4,300 acre flowage has experienced a dramatic decline in walleye abundance and recruitment over the past decade.
DNR fisheries supervisor in Woodruff, Steve Gilbert, says little natural reproduction has occurred in the last 10 years, leaving adult walleye densities at the lowest level since recent record keeping began in 1990. He says the public meetings will discus increasing the minimum size of 18 inches from the current 15 with a daily bag limit of three..."
"...historically the walleye fishery in Lac Vieux Desert has been a naturally sustaining fishery and there's been some poor years of natural recruitment for about 10 years now. We're at the point where there's only about half of one adult walleye per acre in the lake. That's despite the stocking efforts of both the state and the local lake associations...."
Gilbert says they've reached an agreement with area Chippewa tribes on a near term management plan... "...there's actually a management plan we've been working on in conjunction with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and and both the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa as well as the Mole Lake Band Of Lake Superior Chippewa.
"...The goal is that during this time frame when we have special regulation on anglers, that there would be no tribal spearing or netting of walleyes through 2022....."
Gilbert says when the next stocking cycle for larger walleye fingerlings comes around for the flowage...likely 2018.
The public meetings will be held Tuesday, April 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Land O'Lakes Elementary School, and Thursday, April 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Phelps High School.
There's more information on the DNR website.