Wis. Gov. Walker Proposes Walleye Initiative

By KBJR News 1

May 25, 2013 Updated May 25, 2013 at 6:41 PM CDT

Cable, WI (NNCNOW.com) - After just ten minutes of being out on the calm waters of Lake Namakagon, Governor Scott Walker caught the first walleye.

"I said I caught the first, my guide caught the most, and the kid who was with us, August, caught the biggest, so we can all lay claim to something," said Walker.

The timing was just right to talk about walleye fishing after the Governor proposed a plan which would put more walleyes into tribal ceded lakes in Northern Wisconsin.

"Right now we are stalking 195 lakes in the seeded territory here in the North where spearing takes place, we'll be able to stalk up to 500 lakes," said Scott Gunderson, Executive Assistant with Wis. DNR.

This initiative comes after 6 bands of Chippewa tribes together declared over 1,000 more walleyes than in previous years, which had some people worried about what that would do to bag limits

"We wanted to find a way to balance respect for the treaty rights that they have, but in a way didn't diminish the ability for everybody else who either lives here, works here, certainly those who want to play here and enjoy as many fishing opportunities as possible," said Walker.

The initiative will not only put more fish in the lakes, but also people.

"Fishing is a really big deal for us, it's a $2.2 billion industry so this walleye initiative, by hopefully having a million more walleye by the year 2016, it's going to be huge, because when people go on vacation and they want to get away and they want to go fishing, they want the experience of actually catching that fish," said Secretary of Wis. Deparment of Tourism, Stephanie Klett.

Walker's initiative includes $8.2 million in existing unencombered bonding authority to expand hatchery capacities.

It also includes $2 million over the biennium for a competitive grant program for private organizations to expand walleye production and to cover operational costs.

Under this initiative, production is estimated to increase from 60,000–120,000 large walleye fingerlings to well over 500,000 by 2016.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.