walleye

 

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.

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The state Natural Resources Board has implemented  a plan supporting a five year catch-and-release only walleye fishery on the Minocqua and Tomahawk chain of lakes. The plan was brought forward by Northwoods angling groups, community leaders and Chippewa tribal leaders with support from DNR as part of a plan to restore natural walleye reproduction. The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa  agreed not to harvest these lakes during the rehabilitation plan.

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The Minocqua and Tomahawk Chain of Lakes are likely to have a catch-and-release only season for five years under a proposal going to the Natural Resources Board next month. But as part of the same proposal, all waters in the Ceded Territories in Wisconsin would have a standard three-walleye daily bag limit.

DNR spokesperson Joe Hennessy says bad walleye reproduction in the last couple of years has also led to the change on the Oneida county chains. He says the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa have also agreed not to harvest on those waters during the five years.

Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board has again laid the groundwork for giving more flexibility to the DNR, when it set bag limits for walleye later this spring.

The agency adjusts harvest regulations on northern lakes in the ceded territory, after the state’s Chippewa tribes declare how many fish they plan to harvest. 

As Fisheries Management Section Chief Steve Hewett explains, a scope statement passed Wednesday means DNR could later decide to use size limits or season restrictions to help control angler walleye harvest.    

Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Researchers at the Wisconsin DNR are looking for answers as to why walleye populations are declining in the state.

DNR Research Scientist Gretchen Hansen says adult walleye numbers are declining statewide by an average of two percent per year. 

“So there’s a lot of variability.  So in some lakes, populations are going up, but in the majority of lakes populations are going down.  And a lot of that is driven by failed recruitment, so failed reproduction.” 

Oakley Originals-Flickr

14 of 21 lakes named yesterday receiving higher daily walleye bag limits are in Oneida, Vilas and Price counties.

The DNR announced changes Monday increasing daily limits from one to two on 21 lakes. May 28, Governor Walker approved an emergency rule adopted by the Natural Resources Board allowing the increases.

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. 

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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. 

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