Walleye anglers and others interested in walleye management are invited to take an online survey to help shape the state’s future stocking strategy for walleye now that a $13 million investment to upgrade facilities and increase operating funds is expected to significantly boost the number of larger walleye stocked in Wisconsin.

“The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative has the capacity to increase seven, eight, even 10 times the number of larger walleye for stocking in Wisconsin waters where natural reproduction isn’t getting the job done,” says Ron Bruch, a Department of Natural Resources fisheries section chief co-leading public involvement efforts.

“That increase is significant, and we need to take a look both at our walleye stocking strategy and our walleye management plan in general. We want to hear what the public thinks are the most important considerations for how we manage walleye fisheries in the future and for where we put these fish.”

The survey is found on DNR’s Wisconsin Walleye Initiative Web page, which contains a variety of materials relating to the walleye initiative. It can be reached from DNR’s home page by searching for “walleye” and clicking on the “take the survey” link.

The survey is part of DNR’s ongoing efforts to reach out to walleye enthusiasts, tribes and business interests with a stake in walleye fishing in Wisconsin to help chart the future, Bruch says. Earlier this month, the same survey was shared with people who attended public meetings in Hayward, Rhinelander and Oconomowoc and with participants in two business focus groups.

Bruch says that results from the survey will be incorporated into the stocking strategy that state fisheries officials present to the state Natural Resources board in December. That stocking strategy needs to be determined soon for DNR to figure out logistics for where to raise the fish, how many of particular strains, and where to deliver them next year.

The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative is a two-year investment of fishing license fees and state tax dollars to help produce for stocking in more waters more of the larger walleye that have better survival rates in the wild. In addition to DNR hatcheries receiving $8.2 million for repairs and upgrades and more money to raise more fish for the next two years, the initiative provides for a one-time, $2 million competitive grant program for municipal, tribal and private fish hatcheries for upgrades to increase their capacity to raise fish, and $500,000 for the state to purchase fish from non-state hatcheries.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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