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Fishing Opener Saturday; Biologist Says Prospects Good

Wisconsin DNR

It's time for anglers to wet a line as Wisconsin's 2017 fishing opener is Saturday morning.

A Northwoods DNR biologist, John Kubisiak says the weather is cooperating this year..

"....finally going to get some warm weather. We had kind of an early spring this year, so fish should be moving into feeding areas. The walleye and pike are pretty much done spawning. Hopefully they will have gotten through the post-spawn lull and putting on the feedbag...."

He says fish can be active or less active depending on water temperature and he thinks the water is warming which prompts more of a feeding desire. He says the prize fish...the walleye...need a few years to be harvestable length.

In 2013, the state began planting larger walleye fingerlings in the hope of a higher survival rate, called the "Walleye Initiative".... 

".....a 15 inch walleye is usually 4-5 years old. It takes awhile to get there. The first year of the intiative was 2013 which would put us four years down the road, so we'll have some of those fish hitting good growth. We'll have some of those fish hitting 15 inches this year...."

He says many lakes had poor natural walleye reproduction in the early 2000's but the last couple of years have been stronger on most lakes. He says they're seeing good numbers of 12-14 inch fish.

He says with abundant moisture this spring, trout streams in the Northwoods are high. He says their surveys show trout populations look good. He says crappies are also getting more active and will be in shallower, warmer bays this time of year. Bass season will open. He says you can keep largemouth bass, but must catch and release small mouth bass through the spawning period, with the 'keep' season for small mouth beginning June 17.

The muskie opener is later this month.

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