I don't troll. Fish mostly with jigs. Last 4 years the walleye population is not the same as it used to be. I wonder if this lake is dying. Except for the pros I don't see the success we used to have. Have noticed some of those on TV are fishing Winnebago much anymore. Have a great day everyone.
all the thanks should go to Adam Nickel and the Walleye Management team... they really do a great job, imo...
I did mention to him that it would be nice if the state open up the purse and allowed them to maybe double or triple the enforcement team... that would allow that side of management to keep up with theirs... that was in my thank you reply to him, I don't expect him to reply to that
I'd encourage anyone that has further questions about this unique system, to contact him or the DNR in general, they are pretty responsive in my experience
Let's not forget the science that says "Sheepshead are good table fare." Maybe those warts on them are flavor nodules?
I'd like to ask: If a min size of 15" puts a premium on keeping every 15" fish, how many 15" fish (what %) are being tossed back now? I am willing to bet that a very high % of every 15" fish being caught now are being kept.
Why not make the min size 18" if you wish to protect females until they mature and have a chance to spawn?
In what ways is the Winnebago fishery different than other WI lakes that do have a min size or a slot limits? Why is a min size limit good for those bodies of water but not Winnebago?
Nihsif, I don't know what you do for a living, but you would make a great detective! After reading all that imformation it sounds like all the predictions of the end of the Walleye fishing on the Winnebago system are premature. When he noted that exploitation, pressure and technology are all taken into account, that pretty much covers all the different concerns we read about on lake -link. Thanks for getting all the info.
got a reply from Adam, it is a great read with lots of information regarding regulations, how they're developed and the science behind..
thanks for reaching out with your questions. The walleye population was low on the system in the late 1980’s due to several drought years that led to weak year classes. When the 1990 and 1991 year classes came, the 15 inch minimum was put on to provide more protection. In 1996, the best walleye year class on record was produced, so it was decided that the 15 inch minimum was no longer needed. There was also a strong effort by local conservation clubs and the Department in the 1990s to restore walleye spawning marsh habitat on the Wolf and upper Fox Rivers. Since then, the Winnebago System continues to support a healthy naturally reproducing walleye population. Based on the trawling survey, strong walleye year classes were produced in 1996, 2001, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2016. Measurable year classes have also been produced in each of the last four years.
The Department has monitored walleye exploitation annually on the system since 1993 (excluding 2020). We have noted some years with high exploitation on immature and mature females, particularly in years without shad hatches which has been the case in recent years. We began discussions on a regulation change for the system in 2016 and after years of public input, were able to reduce the bag limit to 3 in April of 2020. The objective of this regulation is to reduce exploitation, particularly on single years classes as they move through the size structure and improve the walleye fishery. This was also the most favored regulation option among stakeholders and anglers on the system. The Department developed a questionnaire in 2016-2017 to gain further public input on regulation options and nearly 70% voted in favor of reducing the walleye bag limit to 3. Reducing the Winnebago System walleye bag limit to three also passed during the 2019 Spring Hearings with 5,120 votes in favor and 2,488 not in favor (all participants online and in-person). There were several other options discussed during the regulation change process including a minimum size limit.
The 15 inch minimum size limit did receive a favorable vote in the questionnaires (333 Yes, 211 No) and are often well accepted socially. However, from a biological standpoint it may actually increase exploitation on immature and adult female walleye. On average, female walleye on the Winnebago System reach 15 inches at age 3, whereas males grow slower reaching 15 inches around age 4. Therefore, females would be the first ones to reach the minimum length limit and become susceptible to angling, thus increasing exploitation on immature females, particularly for upcoming year classes ranging 3-4 years old. In addition, a 15 inch minimum length limit would push spring anglers to harvest more females and release undersized males. Despite minimum length limits being well accepted socially, it would likely increase immature and adult female harvest on the Winnebago System. In addition, our tagging studies have indicated fairly low exploitation rates on immature walleye less than 14 inches (<10%).
Overall, the Winnebago System continues to support a healthy naturally reproducing walleye population. Hopefully Mother Nature will provide the environmental conditions for a good strong year class in the next few years that will help boost the fishery. The 2020 trawling survey also revealed record catch rates of YOY freshwater drum and yellow perch. This abundant forage is well welcomed, but may lead to more challenging walleye angling in 2021. The Department will continue to monitor the Winnebago System walleye population annually and evaluate the recent regulation change. This will include continuing to take into account changes in exploitation, pressure, technology, survey results, and Mother Nature to continue proactive management and ensure that proper regulations are in place.
I hope this helps answer your questions. I have also attached the 2020 trawling report in case you don’t have that.
Paranoid - One summer a few years ago I yelled at a guy when I saw 6 boards and only him standing in the boat. Then a pretty attractive lady in a skimpy bikini sat up on the front deck, she was lying down sunbathing I guess. I was a little embarrassed but felt like I did the right thing to try to let people know that others are watching. Maybe they could have got him for too many lines or her for unattended (tan) lines?
don't know why it hasn't been tried again... it's possible just too much push back by anglers, and/or not a good enough return to justify it again... will have to see if that information is available
* sent Adam Nickel an email
If the 15" size limit was successful in protecting the 1990-1991 classes it would have been implemented again in the last 24 years to protect other strong year classes.
I remember going fishing with Dad...and not catching a walleye... never thought the system was running out of fish
be flexible just because I caught a fish one way now things change clear water or stained makes a difference. little things mean a lot . work at it remember on every body of water some where4 there is active fish you have to adjust not every thing else. its easy to blame but hard to admit to change
the 15" size limit was part of the Winnebago Walleye Management Plan
here's the bullet point
*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