Wildlife officials increased daily walleye bag limits for anglers
on Thursday as Wisconsin Chippewa spearfishing winds down.
Department of Natural Resources raised limits on 442 lakes in the
ceded territory, a swath of northern Wisconsin the tribes gave to
the government more than a century ago. The rules include a
five-walleye limit on 289 lakes, a four-walleye limit on three
lakes, a three-walleye limit on 131 lakes, and a two-bag limit on
chief of DNR's fisheries management, said the Chippewa declared
harvest on 535 lakes this year but fell short of their goal. As a
result, bag limits for the remaining 93 lakes remain unchanged.
The DNR adjusts
bag limits each spring after the state's six Chippewa tribes set
their annual spearfishing quotas to ensure the combined tribal and
recreational take doesn't hurt the overall walleye population.
Hewett said by
Wednesday, the Chippewa had harvested 28,382 walleye, well short
of their declared goal of almost 60,000.
fisheries specialist Joe Hennessy said the latest harvest figure
is the lowest since 2008, possibly due to the late spring in
Wisconsin. Hewett said the figure is not surprising as it's not
significantly different from the past.
usually begins early each spring when tribes provide the state
with a 48-hour notice of their intent to harvest. But the DNR's
announcement of raising bag limits doesn't mean their season will
end, Hewett noted.
"There is no
official end and tribal members can continue to spear through the
summer and fall," he said. "Usually they don't go out
after spring but they could. Some tribes do declare an end to
their spearfishing season, but it's up to them and there is no
The news came a
day after Gov. Scott Walker announced a nearly $13 million effort
to boost walleye production in the state.
The plan would
create $8.2 million in borrowing authority to expand hatcheries
and allocate $1.8 million for operating expenses and $2 million
for grants for private organizations to expand walleye production.
It also includes money for aquaculture work, buying fingerlings
from private vendors and expanding a program that gives tribal
youth jobs on natural resources-related projects.
said the initiative will boost walleye to more than 500,000
annually by 2016.