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DNR makes second adjustment to walleye bag limits


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- A second adjustment has been made to Wisconsin’s walleye fishing bag limits.

Department of Natural Resources Treaty Fisheries Coordinator Joe Hennessy says 21 lakes in the ceded territory are going from one walleye per day to two walleye per day starting Tuesday.

Hennessy says there is something new approved Friday that allows the change.  “The second adjustment is a reflection of an emergency rule approved by the Natural Resources Board and approved by the Governor last Friday that allows the department to consider a little bit more information when making bag limit adjustments, so what we did was look at past patterns of harvest in the month of May and in early June.”

Hennessy says part of the newly allowed data includes considering the smaller harvest during the early season with the more restrictive bag limit, and the DNR determined the lakes won’t need a season long restriction like that.  “Basically, having that bag limit in place for the rest of the angling season would have been unnecessarily restrictive, and in the past, we didn’t have the ability to consider that additional information.”

Hennessy says in the past, they couldn’t make mid-season adjustments like this because of the rules, and they couldn’t use other available data to make the initial post-spearfishing bag limits.Because angler success rates are highest in May, more than 25 percent of annual walleye harvest normally occurs during that month. Hennessy says this rule allows department biologists to consider the impacts a one-fish daily bag limit during the month of May had on total annual angler harvest and set an appropriate bag limit for the remainder of the fishing season.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp says, "The goal is to sufficiently protect walleye populations while not being unnecessarily restrictive on individual anglers. We aim to encourage participation in fishing, while in turn benefiting local businesses that provide equipment, lodging, and other support to local and visiting anglers."

The DNR website has the list of affected lakes in the ceded territory, as does the new DNR smartphone application.