BOWLER, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board on Wednesday approved a rule establishing a daily bag limit of three walleye with varying size limits on most waters of the Ceded Territory in northern Wisconsin.
The rule covers walleye (walleye, sauger and hybrids) with varying size limits and is designed to prevent a total harvest of more than 35 percent of the adult walleye population, which preserves a sustainable walleye fishery. Under the rule, which takes effect for next spring's fishing season, walleye in most waters in the Ceded Territory will have a minimum size limit of 15 inches, except walleye between 20 and 24 inches may not be kept and only one walleye larger than 24 inches may be kept.
The department developed the rule to manage the walleye fishery after listening to citizens and stakeholders eager for more predictable and uniform angling regulations on lakes in the region. In approving the rule, the board asked the department to keep monitoring the walleye populations in the Ceded Territory lakes and continue working with lake associations and the tribes on this matter.
"We're pleased by the board's action," said Steve Hewett, DNR fisheries management section chief. "We've worked hard over the past two years to develop these regulations, which help provide stability. We've heard from anglers and businesses that this is very important to them."
Tuesday's board action also creates a catch-and-release only walleye fishery in the Minocqua and Tomahawk chain of lakes in Oneida County. Representatives of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Headwaters Basin Chapter of Walleyes for Tomorrow, DNR and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission have developed a plan for a cooperative rehabilitation project for these waters, which seeks to restore healthy, self-sustaining walleye populations.
For background information on the tribal and recreational fishery in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory, Chippewa treaty rights, a description of the management system used to ensure the long term viability of fisheries in the Ceded Territory and to see data collected as part of that management system, including walleye population estimates and creel survey summaries for all game fish, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "Ceded Territory."