Madison, WI (NNCNOW.com) - The number of Wisconsin lakes stocked with larger walleye will skyrocket in the next two years as the state harnesses a $12 million funding plan to boost walleye populations statewide, according to the Wisconsin DNR.
Under the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is enlisting state, private, and tribal hatcheries to produce an expected 750,000-800,000 extended growth or large fingerling walleyes for stocking in each of the next two years.
The six- to eight-inch fish will be stocked in 275 lakes statewide (about 140 different lakes each year).
That compares with the 35 or so lakes typically stocked with larger walleye each year prior to the initiative and a further increase beyond the nearly 450,000 large walleye fingerlings stocked in 2013, the first year of the initiative.
The lakes planned for stocking in 2014 and 2015 were selected based on a new stocking strategy the DNR finalized earlier this year with public input, said Ron Bruch, who leads the fisheries management program.
Participants in public meetings in the fall of 2013, and respondents to an online questionnaire, overwhelmingly indicated that DNR should give priority to restoring walleye lakes with formerly good naturally reproducing walleye populations.
The DNR will be working over the next nine months with walleye interests to update the statewide walleye management plan. That plan will address issues, in addition to stocking, such as habitat management and development and regulation options.
The plan will also include development of a comprehensive list of waters, statewide, for which walleye will be a management focus.