It’s been more than 20 years since the current DNR walleye management plan in Wisconsin was created.

A lot has changed since then including the current state of the walleye population.

“When we think about northern Wisconsin, there’s some very specific issues that walleye are facing that just didn’t exist in the 90s that we need to take into account with our plan. That includes lower rates of natural reproduction and more reliance on stocking,” said Max Wolter. Wolter is a fisheries biologist with the DNR and he’s the co-leader of the Wisconsin DNR walleye management team.

Curious North: How Do Fish Survive The Winter?

Feb 14, 2020
Stephanie Kuski


Last summer, WXPR embarked on their Curious North Road Trip to the public library in Manitowish Waters, where Graham Brown, an Australian man with many questions about life up here in the Northwoods, posed a Curious North question.

Brown asked how fish survive the cold winters trapped beneath our vast frozen lakes.


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...."

Hodag Musky Challenge in Need of Volunteers

Aug 16, 2016

The annual Hodag Musky Challenge needs volunteers to staff boats and register fish over the tournament weekend, September 23rd through the 25th.


The tournament hours are 7am to 5pm on Saturday and 7am to noon on Sunday. Volunteers must provide their own boat, but official measuring boards and supplies will be provided. Director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Bill Clow says this a great opportunity for people who want to get out on the water.



DNR Wardens are heightening their presence on the Minocqua-Tomahawk chain of lakes this summer to enforce catch-and-release rules for walleye newly in place this year.  

As DNR Warden Dave Walz explains, a collaborative plan with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission calls for extra monitoring to ensure no fish are taken.  

Walleye Rules Draw Optimism and Concern at Public Hearing

Jun 13, 2015
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

People have until June 30th to submit written comments to the state DNR on how walleye are being managed in northern Wisconsin’s ceded territory.  That includes feedback how specific lakes should be regulated.

A public hearing held Friday on the topic drew few participants, with just four members of the public attending.  

DNR Reviews Fish Advisories on 60 Lakes

Sep 3, 2014
Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Fish from the Sugar Camp Chain of Lakes are now safer to eat than they were a few years ago.  That’s one of the findings of the DNR’s annual review of fish consumption advisories.   

The agency also says Lake Michigan brown trout are now deemed safe to eat once a month.

Meanwhile some other waters now have more stringent fish consumption advisories.  For example Virgin Lake in Oneida County has a new exception…that discourages people from eating walleye over 22 inches. 

NRB Approves Buck-Only Hunts, Expands Trolling

May 28, 2014
Ken Thomas

Deer hunting season will be buck-only this fall for many northern counties.  

The state Natural Resources Board has approved DNR staff recommendations for a zero quota antlerless deer hunt in 19 counties and four tribal reservations.  State officials say the restrictions are necessary to let population levels in the northern forest recover…after a harsh winter took its toll on the deer herd.

Muskie Season Set to Open

May 23, 2014
Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Musky season opens tomorrow. State officials are predicting a normal opener, despite the late spring. 

Tim Simonson from the DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management says spawning for muskies has generally already happened. 

 “Yeah one of the reason that we open the season later in May is to allow the fish to spawn.  Usually about 50-55 degrees water temperature, they’re peaking.” 

Northwoods Fishing Season Off to Slow Start

May 9, 2014
David de la Luz /

Heading into the second weekend of fishing season, conditions look slightly more favorable than they did for the opener.

Mel’s Trading Post Owner Mitch Mode says more and more lakes are opening up.    

“Well things are looking better, we’ve had some warm weather this week, we’ve had some rain.  Rain certainly helps break up the ice.  Warm weather starts to drive the water temperature up, and everything comes around water temperature.”

That temperature affects fish spawning cycles, and that affects what fish do and where they can be found. 

Beware the Perils of Thin Ice

Dec 3, 2013
Joisey Shawaa

Intrepid ice fishermen are already hitting the frozen lakes.  But unstable conditions can make it dangerous. 

Antigo DNR Recreational safety warden Jeff Dauterman says ice thickness can vary even within the same lake…and visual checks are not reliable. 

“You got ice out there, once there’s some snow on it you don’t know if it’s once inch thick or two feet thick.  It can vary that much within a single lake. So you’ve always got to remain cautious.”

DNR Wants Your Thoughts on Walleye

Oct 7, 2013
Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

The DNR is looking for public input on walleye stocking.  State officials are holding a meeting in Rhinelander next week.   

It’s one of a series of meetings where the DNR is hoping for feedback on its walleye management goals.  Steve Hewett from the DNR’s fisheries program says it’s also a chance to talk with the public about which lakes are stocked and why.