It may be too early for a clear answer, but it appears the walleye population in the Minocqua Chain of Lakes is on the rebound.
hat’s the message DNR region program manager Mike Vogelsang and Headwaters Basin Chapter of Walleyes for Tomorrow representative Gregg Walker gave the Minocqua town board this week.
The rebound of the walleye population on the 7-lake chain is thanks to the stocking of extended growth walleye fingerlings and a no-bag walleye restriction for anglers and tribal spearers placed three years ago by the DNR and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Mike Vogelsang outlines what the partners hope to accomplish with the remediation plan.
"The goal of the project is project is to get three walleye per acre, which is still lower than what this chain produced back in its heyday. Fifteen to twenty years ago, and earlier, we were seeing four to almost six adults per acre on the chain, so we’re not even a fraction of what this chain used to be.”
Vogelsang says special state funding through the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative helped them stock those larger walleye fingerlings in the chain’s three largest lakes.
Gregg Walker says those seeking walleye on the Chain need to be patient for a couple more years as natural reproduction hopefully takes hold.
“I remind everybody that three years ago you could have gone out there and fished until you were blue in the face, and you would have been lucky to find a walleye. We’re hoping we can get to a point where people can actually go out and catch some fish, maybe not keep them all, but have an experience that makes sense.”
Vogelsang says they're putting 36,000 extended growth fingerlings in Tomahawk one year and 24,000 in Minocqua and Kawaguesaga the next.