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Northern Wisconsin gets fish hatchery money
Six private and three tribal fish hatcheries have been awarded money to help improve walleye production. Brad Phenow reports it’ll mean more of the fish in inland lakes.
Thirteen hatcheries applied for the $2 million one-time grants to help bring the walleye numbers up in Wisconsin. Nine hatcheriesreceived the grants from the Wisconsin DNR through the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, a move started last year by Governor Walker. DNR Section Chief of Fisheries Steve Hewett says this is a big victory for everyone.
“This is going to allow us to increase walleye production by over 470,000 of these larger fingerlings a year.”
Hewett says the bigger the fish when they are stocked into the lakes, the better their rate of survival.
“In Northern Wisconsin and often times the walleye don’t begin reproducing until they are four or five years old, and sometime it takes even six years to get to a 15 inch size limit.”
He says waiting until the fish are larger is going to help boost walleye numbers.
“We’re looking at putting them in the best waters for walleye success, where walleye natural reproduction maybe hasn’t been as good as it has in the past.”
He says these grants will make things better not just now but in the future. “The fish that are becoming catchable by the anglers are all fish that have been stocked three or four years prior to that fishing season. We’re going to be purchasing probably a million walleyes in the next five year at the cost of about $2 million. Were really going to be trying to make a considered effort to improve the walleye population and production in the state.”
Two tribal fish hatcheries in northern Wisconsin got grants, including Lac du Flambeau $432,000 and St. Croix $283,000. Sue Erickson is the Public Information Director for Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission in Odanah. She says this is giving the tribal hatcheries a bigger opportunity. “Allow them to produce more and raise some of those fish to a larger size for stocking which increases survivability.”
Erickson says it will also help out for years to come. “Anything that will enhance the fishery is a good thing. We hope it goes forward well and we’ll be looking forward to see what they’re stocking a little later in the year.”
The Hayward Bait and Bottle Shop also got a grant worth $125,000.
The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative is a $12 million funding package put together to begin stocking the larger walleye known as extended growth.
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