December 22, 2014

Big boost for Wisconsin walleye

wwi1The number of lakes stocked with larger walleye will skyrocket the next two years, with a $12 million funding plan to boost populations. Steve Avelallemant, Northern Fisheries Supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said populations of the popular game fish have been trending downwards on many lakes, for a variety of reasons.

“Most of those situations have developed into a fish community in which the small fingerling walleye that we can make many of, and have stocked for many, many years, don’t survive quite as well,” Avelallemant said.

Under the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, the DNR is enlisting hatcheries to produce an expected 750,000 to 800,000 extended growth, or large fingerling walleye, for stocking in each of the next two years. Avelallemant notes this won’t be a quick fix.

“Those fish would probably take 3 to 5 years, depending on their location in the state and the fertility of the waters that they’re in, to reach a harvestable size,” he said. The six-to eight-inch fish will be stocked in 275 lakes statewide. That compares with the 35 or so lakes typically stocked with larger walleye each year.