Those bigger stocked walleyes are nearing 'keep' stage.
The DNR stocked a record number of extended growth walleye fingerlings in key Wisconsin waters in 2016. Fish from the initial year of the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative are expected to begin reaching harvest size this year. The legislature allocated extra money beginning in 2013 to stock larger walleye fingerlings with an eye toward higher survivability in waters where walleye populations had dropped.
DNR fisheries culture section chief, Dave Giehtbrock says large numbers of fish are being stocked...
".....the DNR got a significant increase in funding from the legislature to increase production from its own facilities as well as purchase fish from the private sector and our tribal partners. That money combined allowed us to get to the number of 797, 815 fish last year. We should be in the same neighborhood into the future...."
The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative is a strategy to help restore naturally reproducing populations in lakes that formerly supported native populations and improve walleye numbers in lakes that need regular stocking to maintain good fisheries. DNR also stocks approximately 1.4 million small fingerlings each year.
DNR fisheries biologists develop stocking plans for the different sized fish based on specific lake conditions. It costs less to stock smaller fish, but their chances of survival also are less, say experts.