Green Bay slot limit???
The lower bay gets pounded a lot more than the rest of the bay though I think.
As far as growth rates, I know I had a tagged 24" that was 7 years old. Have heard of people getting 30" fish that are over 20 years old per tag data. So they grow fast to a point and then slow way down. I think those 20-24" fish aren't real old in general, they just get there fast compared to an inland body of water.
The perch fishing took a crap it seems more from all the invasive species, but the game fish are really adapting well to them. Anyone who tries to perch fish knows how many gobies are around. Walleyes that I do clean seem to always have them in their stomachs. I'm sure the bass are gobbling them up too.
Serious question. If guys were taking limits of 15-22" fish daily, would those same people on the reports page still be complaining? Tough to tell male or female at that length, just food for thought.
Total walleyes and total harvest numbers were brought up on the reports page. 300k fish come up the Fox to spawn. Fishermen catch 250k throughout the entire year on the entire system. 90k of the 250k are kept. If looking at just the Fox numbers, less than 1 in 3 adult walleyes are dead at the end of the year. Now, throw in the amount of fish that run the Oconto, Peshtigo, and Menominee, plus all the fish that spawn in the bay proper. I would bet that harvest rate falls well below 1 in 10 adults are harvested Bay-wide. Do people honestly feel that is not a sustainable rate for Green Bay walleyes? I would argue much like the Winnebago walleye population, the Green Bay walleyes are far more affected by annual spawning conditions and recruitment than angler harvest.
This over harvest debate is exhausted every spring on the Wolf River threads and yet the fishing on the Winnebago system continues to improve year after year with no minimum size limit and no closed season system-wide. I'm just offering the Wolf River/Winnebago example for all you guys who are pro-slot and simply say "well it worked here so it will work there." Remember, apples and oranges?
If there is anything the state biologists can thump their chest about, I would say without a doubt it is the Winnebago sturgeon population, followed closely by Winnebago walleyes and Green Bay walleyes. With all the water quality improvement projects on the lower Fox/lower Bay in the last decade, I highly doubt the Green Bay walleye population is flying under anyone's radar. There is just too much focus on Green Bay from several different angles to let the Green Bay fishery slip through the cracks. We are living the "good old days" right now.
Even parts of the Bay are different than others, being so big. I mean where I typically fish, 22" is the average low end fish we get. Been that way for 20-25 years that I fished walleyes on the Bay. We'd catch one under 20" once in a while and joke about it ("Do we even net this?"). For years we wondered where are the smaller fish but we never saw them, obviously they are somewhere else. If you go to the southern part of the Bay, you'll probably find some smaller fish mixed in though. You'd almost have to be able to define boundaries.
My guess is if the DNR gets worried about it they'll lower the limits. They used to be 3 for a long time, then there was a boom in the population and they upped it to 5.
I do get it though, I mean there are a ton of people fishing walleyes compared to years past. Parking lots are full and most are taking fish home. Has to be a lot of fish, but I would think the DNR must know a little of what they are doing. I hope at least.
on a side note, I did however hear there are a couple huge year classes of small fish coming up. So the future hopefully looks bright here on Green Bay....with smaller fish that is.
But it will be an uphill battle for a few reasons. 1 – Tournaments. The # of big tourneys, like the NTC, will not come to Green Bay if there is a slot in place. Just simply won’t have the draw for the big stage events. Like it or not, the tourneys bring in some big money to the area, and money talks. Do you think Jim Schmitt doesn’t want to see that money come in?
2 – This is a social issue, and not a biologically issue. I was involved in changing the Wisconsin River system to a slot (I personally worked on the portion from the Dells dam down to the Sauk Dam). In working with the biologist at the time, even without the protected slot, there was no risk that fishermen could even out fish that system, much less Green Bay. There would always be enough female walleye to drop eggs, and recruitment has so much more to do with conditions (level of water, temp and 1st summer after hatch), than anything else. However, what a slot does do protects a certain size structure so you catch more above that size – in this case, more fish above 22”.
3 – This is shared water with Michigan. Making any changes that much harder to work through. Just look at how confusing the Menomonee River is. When I take people fishing up there and they ask to keep a fish, the answer is simply no – just not worth the hassle you get at the landing from a warden, telling them you now have to put your rod down if one is in the livewell, etc.
If there is support to make this happen, starting with the conservation congress is the 1st step. If that is approved by the congress, it can be placed on the congressional congress ballet for the spring hearings the following year. If that is approved, and the local DNR agrees, then it can be placed DNR ballet year 2. If passed there, then onto the state congress for approval.