Walleye Bag Limits Will Increase on Some Northern Lakes

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Illustration of Walleye by Virgil Beck.MADISON – Daily walleye bag limits will increase June 13 on 258 lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory to reflect spring spearing harvest by six Wisconsin bands of Chippewa Indians.

A daily bag limit of two walleye will increase to three walleye per day on 93 lakes. In addition, 165 lakes will go from an initial bag limit of two or three walleyes per day to the state daily bag limit of five, according to Joe Hennessy, who coordinates the treaty fisheries management program for the Department of Natural Resources. Anglers should consult the 2008-09 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations, signs at boat landings, and the 2008-2009 Revised Ceded Territory Walleye Bag Limits pamphlet for lake-specific information.

“This is good news for sport anglers and for local and state economies” said DNR Secretary Matthew Frank. “Increasing bag limits after the spring spearing season — the time when Chippewa bands make most of their yearly harvest — gives sport anglers more opportunities and more reasons to head north for a great day of fishing on Wisconsin waters while assuring that the tribes maintain their harvest rights.”

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. To assure the combined tribal and recreational angler harvest does not exceed a sustainable level, the state sets recreational bag limits in lakes declared for harvest by the Chippewa bands.

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.

Of the 152 lakes with bag limits less than five, one lake will have a bag limit of one walleye per day, 66 lakes will have a bag limit of two walleye per day, and 85 lakes will have a daily bag of three walleye per day. The six Chippewa tribes together declared a harvest of 51,683 walleye for 2008 and had harvested 27,856 as of May 19, 2008.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Hennessy – (608) 267-9427