Walleye Initiative


A lakes researcher says some impacts from a changing climate are already showing up in Northwoods fisheries.

As part of Nicolet College's "Our Changing World" presentation, UW-Madison Center For Limnology Director Jake Vander Zanden will talk Wednesday about how the weather is affecting fish populations....

Wisconsin DNR

A spokesperson says a record 882, 000 walleye were stocked in key Wisconsin waters this past year as state, private and tribal hatcheries continued with Wisconsin Walleye Initiative funding.

The Initiative began in the 2013-15 budget and will continue through 2019. It has paid to upgrade state hatcheries and provided extra operating funds needed to grow larger fish on site.

Courtesy: Wisconsin DNR

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...

Woodruff Fish Hatchery Slated For Upgrades

Mar 4, 2015
Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

A state-run fish hatchery in Woodruff is getting some major upgrades.

The state has allocated more than four million dollars for improvements to the Art Oehmke hatchery.  They include new disinfection systems for fish eggs and for the water coming into the hatchery.

As DNR Fish Cultures Section Chief Dave Giehtbrock  explains, the changes will help achieve goals set by the Walleye Initiative. 

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.    


Minocqua area anglers and business owners last night got their first look at a proposal to increase walleye numbers in the Minocqua Chain of Lakes.

Walleyes For Tomorrow and the DNR presented a study to see if there are answers for low reproductive rates on the chain.

Oakley Originals-Flickr

The DNR is out with a list of lakes  to be stocked with walleyes from the upgraded walleye stocking program.

Last year, the state funded the Walleye Initiative, designed to breed larger walleye fingerlings. The larger fish are believed to have a higher survivability rate than smaller fish.

DNR northern fisheries supervisor Steve Avelallemant says the public provided input on what bodies of water needed more stocking. The state reviewed the input and now has a listing...


Bag limits will be increasing on 447 northern Wisconsin lakes as the Chippewa bands are nearing the end of their walleye and muskie harvest.

DNR Treaty Fisheries Coordinator Joe Hennessey...

"....so these changes are being made in response to actual walleye harvest numbers accomplished by six bands of Wisconsin Chippewa...."


The six Chippewa bands harvested 27,433 walleye and 201 musky as of May 22. The average harvest of walleye since 2004 is 29,907.

Tribal Fish Hatcheries Receive Walleye Grants

Apr 2, 2014
Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Fish hatcheries in Mole Lake and Lac du Flambeau will be getting money from the DNR to raise larger walleye fingerlings.  It's part of a round of grants to nine hatcheries statewide totaling $2 million.


  The Wisconsin DNR wants to stock lakes with bigger walleye fingerlings, because they have higher survival rates.  This round of grant money will pay for infrastructure like ponds and tanks….that will allow hatcheries to raise more of those 6 to 8 inch fingerlings.


Anglers are asked to go to the DNR website and fill out a form on what waters they should consider for stocking under the new "Wisconsin Walleye Initiative".


The state has spent $8.2 million for infrastructure improvements and $1.3 million each year for annual operating costs to expand production at DNR state fish hatcheries. Production is projected to increase 60,000 to 120,000 large walleye fingerlings to well over 500,000 by 2016. The young walleye will be larger than previously in the hope of having more survivability to adulthood.

Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

While the next several days outdoors are all about things white tail, the DNR recently said the first year of the Walleye Initiative has been a success.

After the legislature came up with more funding to improve state fish hatcheries and programs earlier this year, the DNR announced the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, aimed at stocking larger fingerlings in state waters.

The DNR's fisheries director Mike Staggs talks with Ken Krall:

The larger fingerlings are in the 6 to 8 inch range, which biologists say gives  the young walleyes a better chance to grow to maturity.

A DNR Fisheries Manager says after a series of meetings on upgraded walleye stocking in Wisconsin waters, the public has reacted favorably.

Governor Walker announced in May the state would spend more than $12 million to upgrade facilities and grow walleye fingerlings to a larger size. The larger fish tend to have a higher survivability rate.

Steve Avelallemant outlines some of the feedback they've been hearing...


DNR Wants Your Thoughts on Walleye

Oct 7, 2013
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. 

Lisa Gaumnitz-DNR

The first stocking resulting from the state initiative to raise larger walleyes for Northwoods lakes began Thursday morning in Woodruff and Minocqua.

DNR crews were cornering then netting out the 8 inch fish from a rearing pond at the Art Oehmcke Hatchery in Woodruff.

It's part of an $10 million dollar state-funded effort to expand production at DNR state fish hatcheries. Production should increase five times to over 500,000 fingerlings by 2016. Sports groups have expressed concerns about the walleye population.