No Fish, Here's Why

This is the article from the DNR website.


Daily walleye bag limits
revised on some northern lakes

Bag limit adjustments reflect tribal spearing harvest

MADISON -- Daily walleye bag limits will increase May 30 on 96 lakes in the ceded territory of northern Wisconsin and will drop on two lakes, to reflect spearing harvest results by Wisconsin’s bands of Chippewa Indians.

The complete list of revised walleye bag limits for the ceded territory is available on the DNR Web site. (Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® is needed to view and print the following portable document format (PDF) file. To download Adobe Acrobat for free, please see the DNR Download Page.)

In April, the state Department of Natural Resources set bag limits of one, two, three or four walleyes per day for sport anglers in order to accommodate Chippewa spearing harvest quotas. The bag limits on these lakes will be adjusted to reflect actual Chippewa spring spearing harvest totals.

“Wisconsin residents and visitors fished 22 million days and spent $1.2 billion in 2001,” says DNR Secretary Scott Hassett. “Increasing opportunities on 96 of our walleye waters is good news for anglers and the local economies they help support.”

An administrative ruled passed by the state Natural Resources Board in 1998 directed the department to adjust initial bag limits annually to reflect actual spring spearing harvests and projected summer harvests. Hassett says the increase in bag limits boosts harvest opportunities for sport anglers while assuring that the tribes maintain their rights to set quotas and harvest the resource.

Fifty-four lakes are increasing from a daily bag limit of one or two to three walleye per day. An additional 42 lakes will go from an initial bag limit of two or three walleyes per day to the full state daily bag limit of five walleye per day. Please see Bag Limit Insert.

Of the 278 lakes identified for Chippewa harvest this year, daily bag limits will be adjusted as follows: two lakes will have a bag limit of zero, 55 lakes will have a bag limit of two walleye per day, 175 lakes will have a daily bag of three, and one lake will have a daily bag limit of four walleye per day. The remainder of these lakes will revert to the bag limit specified in the 2003-04 Hook and Line Fishing Regulations booklet.

Daily bag limits for walleye on Alder and Little Star lakes in the Manitowish Chain of Lakes in Vilas County will be reduced to zero effective Friday, May 30, 2003, to protect the walleye populations from overexploitation. The change stems from an administrative error the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission made that resulted in Lac du Flambeau tribal members unintentionally harvesting too many walleyes, according to Steve Hewett, fisheries section chief for the Department of Natural Resources.

Such overharvest incidents are unintentional and rare – this marks only the second time in 13 years -- however, DNR is obligated under Administrative Code regulating the joint fishery in the ceded territory to halt further harvest this year of fish from the lakes.

“Although we manage walleye in the ceded territory conservatively and build in a “cushion” to protect the populations, given the level of harvest that occurred, it is just prudent to go to a catch-and-release fishery for anglers for the remainder of the year,” Hewett says.

An administrative error resulted in Lac du Flambeau tribal members unintentionally spearing Alder and Little Star on April 29 and May 1 and taking the full tribal quota twice on each lake. The result is an overharvest in Alder Lake of 64 walleyes, resulting in a total of 128 harvested. The overharvest in Little Star Lake was 57, resulting in a total of 114 harvested. The walleye catch rates on these two lakes historically has been among the lowest of the Manitowish chain of lakes.

Safe harvest levels are calculated for each lake each year based on population surveys in a lake or similar lakes. Surveys were most recently done on the two lakes in 1999 and 1993.

Each Chippewa spearer is required to get a permit that day from their respective tribe for the lake he or she intends to spear that night. The number of permits issued is limited by the remaining Chippewa quota on that lake. Monitors hired by the Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Commission count and measure each spearer’s harvest immediately after the spearer quits harvesting to ensure that harvest quotas are not exceeded.

GLIFWC has changed the administrative system associated with tracking tribal harvest to prevent future mistakes resulting in overharvests, Hewett says.


Walleye Bag Limit revisions for ceded territory of northern Wisconsin DNR

Effective May 30, 2003

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