DNR Wardens are heightening their presence on the Minocqua-Tomahawk chain of lakes this summer to enforce catch-and-release rules for walleye newly in place this year.  

As DNR Warden Dave Walz explains, a collaborative plan with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission calls for extra monitoring to ensure no fish are taken.  

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

People have until June 30th to submit written comments to the state DNR on how walleye are being managed in northern Wisconsin’s ceded territory.  That includes feedback how specific lakes should be regulated.

A public hearing held Friday on the topic drew few participants, with just four members of the public attending.  

Hearings on Walleye Three-Bag Limit

Jun 12, 2015

A series of public hearings around the state, including one in Minocqua today, have been gathering input on an emergency rule concerning walleye. The emergency rule, instated this year, gives a 3-bag limit for walleye within the Ceded Territory.

Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Fish from the Sugar Camp Chain of Lakes are now safer to eat than they were a few years ago.  That’s one of the findings of the DNR’s annual review of fish consumption advisories.   

The agency also says Lake Michigan brown trout are now deemed safe to eat once a month.

Meanwhile some other waters now have more stringent fish consumption advisories.  For example Virgin Lake in Oneida County has a new exception…that discourages people from eating walleye over 22 inches. 

Ken Thomas

Deer hunting season will be buck-only this fall for many northern counties.  

The state Natural Resources Board has approved DNR staff recommendations for a zero quota antlerless deer hunt in 19 counties and four tribal reservations.  State officials say the restrictions are necessary to let population levels in the northern forest recover…after a harsh winter took its toll on the deer herd.

Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Musky season opens tomorrow. State officials are predicting a normal opener, despite the late spring. 

Tim Simonson from the DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management says spawning for muskies has generally already happened. 

 “Yeah one of the reason that we open the season later in May is to allow the fish to spawn.  Usually about 50-55 degrees water temperature, they’re peaking.” 

David de la Luz /

Heading into the second weekend of fishing season, conditions look slightly more favorable than they did for the opener.

Mel’s Trading Post Owner Mitch Mode says more and more lakes are opening up.    

“Well things are looking better, we’ve had some warm weather this week, we’ve had some rain.  Rain certainly helps break up the ice.  Warm weather starts to drive the water temperature up, and everything comes around water temperature.”

That temperature affects fish spawning cycles, and that affects what fish do and where they can be found. 

Joisey Shawaa

Intrepid ice fishermen are already hitting the frozen lakes.  But unstable conditions can make it dangerous. 

Antigo DNR Recreational safety warden Jeff Dauterman says ice thickness can vary even within the same lake…and visual checks are not reliable. 

“You got ice out there, once there’s some snow on it you don’t know if it’s once inch thick or two feet thick.  It can vary that much within a single lake. So you’ve always got to remain cautious.”

Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

The DNR is looking for public input on walleye stocking.  State officials are holding a meeting in Rhinelander next week.   

It’s one of a series of meetings where the DNR is hoping for feedback on its walleye management goals.  Steve Hewett from the DNR’s fisheries program says it’s also a chance to talk with the public about which lakes are stocked and why.