Walleye Bag Limits Adjusted for Ceded Territory Lakes

No Gravatar

MADISON — Daily walleye bag limits have been revised on 412 lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory in response to harvest declarations made by six bands of Chippewa in Wisconsin, the state Department of Natural Resources has announced. These bag limits are effective between May 3, 2008 and March 1, 2009, inclusive.

Illustration of Walleye by Virgil Beck.

There will be a three walleye bag limit for sport anglers on 88 lakes, a two-fish daily bag limit on 324 lakes, and one lake will have a daily bag limit of one walleye.

The number of lakes spearers have actually harvested annually has typically been in the range of 150 to 170. DNR will review tribal harvest following the spring spearfishing season and where possible revise bag limits upwards on lakes lightly or not speared.

The adjusted bag limits are available in portable document format on the regulations page of the DNR Fishing Wisconsin Web site and are being published as an insert to the 2008-2009 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations. Lakes not listed are subject to the regulations printed in the regulations pamphlet. The statewide daily bag limit for walleyes on many Wisconsin lakes remains at five fish per day, but anglers should check the regulations for special size and bag limits that are in effect on specific waters.

Most Chippewa tribal harvest takes places during the spring spearfishing season. An administrative rule passed by the state Natural Resources Board in 1998 allows the department to adjust initial bag limits annually to reflect actual spring spearing harvests and projected summer harvests.

Lakes declared by the Lac du Flambeau Band have a daily bag limit of three walleye for sport anglers. The DNR and the Lac du Flambeau Band have an agreement giving the Band authority to sell tribal licenses honored statewide in return for making declarations at a level that allows a three walleye per day recreational angler bag limit. This year, the Lac du Flambeau Band may be spearing on some segments of larger rivers on a one-year experimental basis.

As part of a 1983 federal Appellate Court decision affirming Chippewa off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights, the six bands of Wisconsin Chippewa set annual harvest quotas for off-reservation lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory. As part of court agreements, to assure the combined tribal and recreational angler harvest does not exceed the ability of walleye to sustain its population in any lake, the Department of Natural Resources reduces bag limits for recreational hook and line anglers in lakes declared for harvest by the Chippewa bands. The state is entering its 23nd year of the joint tribal and recreational fishery.

For background information on Chippewa treaty rights, a description of the management and monitoring system used to ensure the long term viability of fisheries in the Ceded Territory, and to see data collected as part of that monitoring system, including walleye population estimates and creel survey summaries for all game fish, see the DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management Internet pages regarding the joint tribal and recreational fishery in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Hennessy (608) 267-9427 or Steve Hewett – (608) 267-7501