2014-2015 Revised Ceded Territory Walleye Bag Limits
Sure there are ways to get 5 fish overall, but saying to go to a few different lakes to do it isn't a solution. Its more defeatist than anything. I get it though, not much else we can do. Have to make the best of a situation we can't control.
The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative has little to nothing to do with spearing. It's to get better recruitment on lakes that are mostly to totally dependent on stocking, most of which don't even get speared or don't get speared heavily. Recent research has shown that planting fewer extended growth fingerlings results in far better recruitment than planting many small fry. There are many reasons for this such as shoreline development reducing Walleye spawning grounds, over-populations of LM Bass which prey on smaller Walleye fry, climate change, etc. The program is to provide a one time payment of $8.2 Million for infrastructure improvements to existing State run Walleye hatcheries and $1.3 million in extra money each year to cover additional operating expenses necessary because of those improvements. It also provided one time $2.0 million in competitive grant money to be given to Municipal, Tribal and private aquaculture facilities for programs aimed at increasing the number of extended growth Walleyes. The stated goal is to up the combined production of extended growth Walleyes from about 60,000 per year to 500,000 per year by 2016. This will allow many more lakes to get more extended growth Walleyes than has been possible in the past. It's being done because the Walleye is Wisconsin's most popular game fish by a wide margin and the percentage of waters that have opportunities for Walleyes is far outweighed by the percentage of anglers who fish for them.
Reduced bag limits are determined by a chart that takes into account the age since the last fisheries survey was completed and the percentage of the Safe Harvest declared and later harvested by the Tribes. It's mandated by state law and is set in stone. There is no interpretation necessary, you plug the numbers into the chart and it tells the Biologist what the hook and line bag limit is to be set at according to State Statute. It's a proactive regulation, not a reactive one.
But tribes making quota claims on hundreds of lakes that do not even get speared resulting in (albeit temporary) reduced bag limits. Why?
You would have to ask the Tribes. My opinion is that they do it to make a political statement. That political statement, as any gets exponentially stronger in tone as the amount of resistance it faces and thus the amount of media coverage it gets increases.
I call BS. So then why the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative? Why reduced bag limits?
The problem is not over-spearing. The problem is over-quota. OK, so lakes that get speared need a reduced daily bag limit to avoid over-harvest. But tribes making quota claims on hundreds of lakes that do not even get speared resulting in (albeit temporary) reduced bag limits. Why? Tell us why Esoxcpr.
It would be defeatist if I perceived there to be a problem, which I don't. The lakes are still loaded with Walleyes and Muskies, probably moreso than any time during my lifetime (I was born in the 60's) and I don't keep many fish. Walleye population estimates are as good as they have ever been on many of the most heavily speared lakes. Spearing has absolutely zero impact on my fishing enjoyment or my choice of where or when to Walleye fish.
I can see people who like to keep an occasional bag limit of 5 as perceiving that there is a problem, as the reduced bag limits could directly impact them. How often do most of the people who whine the loudest about the reduced daily bags actually catch 5 they would keep? I'd bet not very often. I suggested several solutions to alleviate that perception / problem, all of which are legitimate. If you're fishing the TFF which has a current bag limit of 3, you can harvest your 2 additional fish to get to your statewide daily bag of 5 from Trude Lake without ever having to trailer your boat. Same is true for any series of connected water bodies.