April 24, 2014

Walleye fishery receives budget boost

An increase in funding for Wisconsin fish hatcheries means more walleyes for anglers to catch in the future. The Department of Natural Resources will be releasing 400,000 large fingerlings this year, up from 70,000 last year.

Fisheries director Mike Staggs says they previously didn’t have the funds to produce a lot of the larger fish. “They cost ten to twenty times more to produce,” he says. “So they’re relatively expensive, and we’ve just never had the funds to produce very many. So we’re reserved them for certain situations where nothing else works, and it’s really important to have a walleye fishery.”

The DNR expects to quadruple hatchery output of large walleye fingerlings thanks to changes in the state budget. Staggs says the funding boost will pay out in the long run. “Given that they survive maybe ten, fifteen or twenty times more than the small ones, that really ought to translate a few years from now into a lot more adult fish for people to catch.”

The state’s four hatcheries just completed a release of 2.3 million walleye, 560,000 more than originally expected.

Thanks to WSAU