Recent Tournaments Results suggest all is Not well with the system ! 225 Boats and 450 of the (Best) walleye fishermen in the country and over 1/2 cannot catch one fish In a 3 day tournament! Only a handful of angler Teams reported a 5 fish limit, and this is with NO size limit! Weather conditions were very good every day, with just a few wet conditions! Wi.DNR should do a re-evaluation and maybe some honest answers about this system!
Winnebago system Walleye fishing
The DNR is having a series of meetings on Walleye management for the state. Look at meeting dates on web site and apply for meeting. They will listen to this type of input. this is the site https://dnr.wi.gov/calendar/meetings/ Lets be serious please.
AMEN ! The biggest threat to the future fishery is the lake or river specific fishing report along with photos of LOOK WHAT I CAUGHT, true or not!
We live in the age of the internet. Any hot bite is jumped on by couch anglers waiting for the easy limits. The best way to protect your hot bite is to keep your mouth shut, not brag on LL or facebook and share stories at the end of the season. I keep much of my success to myself and my honey holes and patterns don't get fished down. There are places to share success, large bodies, but I only give a pattern. People need to learn to fish for themselves.
In southern Wi. The DNR has a 3 fish 18 in. Walleye limit.Almost all of the waters exist with stocked fish, even Kosh and the Rock is mostly supported by massive stocking! Why would the Wolf ,Fox, Winnebago systemwide, have No size limit, unrestricted limits on White Bass, all dependent on natural recruitment! Time to bite the bullet And put limits on all harvesting! The system is being pounded and pressure Has to be factored in.Time to do something is now!
Bad Santa, You make some good points and I don't really disagree with you. I recall the days when you could not cast your bait for fear of hooking the guy in the next boat. What I was trying to say was if numbers are down and pressure is up (both big "ifs") the WDNR could look to reducing the bag and creating a minimum length limit or a slot limit, and see if that helps. Common sense, which is not always scientifically accurate, would say protect the spawners. One needs to look no further than reducing the bag on Perch and Bluegills to demonstrate that technique can help in some lakes. Thanks.
Wisconsin had a 15" size limit
"Implementation of a 15 inch walleye minimum length limit from 1992-1997 to provide greater protection of the strong 1990 and 1991 year classes and improving their potential for recruitment to the adult population." full document @ https://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/documents/guidance/final/20200121/FH-19-0002-C.pdf
During this period, according to my log book, catching a walleye over 14 7/8" was a true rarity. Even for some time later, fishing was not great. Fishing has fluctuated on this system for years. When fishing is good to great, doesn't matter on what species, the system gets pounded. Fisherman believe that this is what is "normal", I have heard "I gotta get my fair share". Now-a-days, great fishing years will be identified with "Hero Shots" of fisherman with their catch. Ice shack sized areas of ice covered with white bass, and coolers full of walleye, perch, catfish. When the fishing is in a down cycle, the grumbling begins. No fish in the system, must shut down the fishing during the spring run, need a slot limit to get bigger fish.
The spring-run fishing has been happening for decades. Fishing seems more affected by spring "run-off" and water temperature than fishing pressure. For those that believe that current pressure exceeds anything of the past, dig into some of the archives showing the Wolf and Fox Rivers covered with so many boats you could barely get another boat in to fish. Equipment has changed, tactics have changed, pressure? Maybe not so much. If reducing the spring take is truly a target, perhaps ban the use of electronics during the spring run. Current electronics leave very few places for the fish to "hide". You can watch them react, watch them bite, find resting areas that "may" have not known. Taking that away might reduce the take. I knew "old timers" that wacked the fish severely in the pre-flasher days. Pressure was there, just no social media for coverage. You found out about the bite at the local bait shop, at the boat landing, or at a fisherman's tavern, if guys were talking.
It would be easy to implement a daily bag limit on walleyes of one or two fish over say 18" or maybe 20", up to the first Saturday in May, then go to three fish per day over 15". (Probably not popular but the goal is to protect the resource, right?) Let the fish spawn for a few years and see where it goes. This is similar to what they do in Green Bay and it has worked well there. I no longer fish the spring run because of the amount of boat traffic and the fish hogs that regularly exceed their daily or possession limit. While I am on the topic, I would outlaw possessing or keeping bass until June. Too many guys taking bass off their beds, dragging them around in a live well for hours, then releasing them. My two cents.
Years ago we did not have 80 tournaments in Winnebago or 300 boats in several.
Has to take a toll along with the weather change.
The pressure on this system is unbelievable compared to 50 years ago. As walleye fishing gets tougher and over regulated in the rest of the state more people fish Winnebago. As people get better and bigger boats you get more pressure. There is plenty of habitat work that can be done yet, but we have put almost all of our eggs in one basket, literally, the wolf. Spawn in the fox is nearly non existent, lake spawn is going down every year. Look at the fishery as a whole, perch,white bass, walleye fishing was tough this year. Sauger are all but gone. Times are a changing.