Field reports: Wisconsin to increase walleye fingerling stocking

Wisconsin anglers could begin seeing more walleyes in their lakes as the result of a statewide initiative announced Wednesday by Gov. Scott Walker's office. The state will make available $10 million for capital improvements at hatcheries and $2 m...

Wisconsin anglers could begin seeing more walleyes in their lakes as the result of a statewide initiative announced Wednesday by Gov. Scott Walker's office. The state will make available $10 million for capital improvements at hatcheries and $2 million a year for the next biennium to raise and stock "extended growth" walleye fingerlings 6 to 8 inches long, said Mike Staggs, director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Fisheries.

The money will come from the state's general revenue rather than from hunting and fishing license dollars, which are typically used for fisheries resource work. The initiative must be approved by the legislature.

Some of the money will be available in grants to tribal or private aquaculture firms, Staggs said.

Currently, Wisconsin stocks from 60,000 to 120,000 extended-growth walleye fingerlings per year. With the expansion of the program, that could increase by 250,000 this fall and reach 500,000 annually by 2016, Staggs said.

The state also stocks two to three million small fingerlings 1 to 2 inches long each year.


"We think we can make northern Wisconsin a destination fishery, increasing angling and increasing tourism," Staggs said. "We're targeting lakes that aren't traditional 'walleye factory' lakes."

The effort grew from concerns that walleye lakes weren't producing as many young walleyes as they had in the past, Staggs said.

"A lot of things came to a head this winter," he said, "We've been hearing from our biologists the last five to eight years that they haven't been seeing the natural reproduction on a number of lakes in an area. After a while, we were hearing from anglers and resort owners. Then then we started hearing from biologist saying the 1- to 2-inchers (small walleye fingerlings) aren't surviving very well. This is a great opportunity to make a splash."

Dayton vetoes provisions in Legacy bill

Gov. Mark Dayton used his line-item veto on Thursday to delete two provisions from the Legacy Fund bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature. That's the bill that officially allocates money for projects approved by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

Many of the state's outdoor and environmental groups had urged Dayton to use the line-item veto to remove the two projects, totaling $9 million, from the allocations.

At issue, according to the groups, was that the council had not approved the two projects in question, and proponents of one project had not applied to have the council consider their project. The two projects were proposed by members of the Legislature, circumventing the Lessard-Sams Council.

The 2008 constitutional amendment that created the Legacy Act specifically required that the Lessard-Sams Council make recommendations for Legacy Act projects.


Still time to register for ALS contest

A total of 140 two-person teams had registered by Thursday for the 18th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Walleye Tournament to be held Saturday on Island Lake, said Jason Kleiman, chair of the tournament board.

"We're hoping to get to 175," Kleiman said.

Last year, 162 teams took part in the contest, a fundraiser for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) research. Teams compete for the best total weight of one limit of six fish. Most years, 12 or 13 pounds wins the event, Kleiman said.

First prize this year is a trip for four to Lac Seul in Ontario. New this year, 50th place will pay $1,000 cash. All anglers will be in a drawing to win one of 10 gift cards to Marine General Supply.

The entry fee is $350 per boat, which anglers can achieve through fundraising. Awards are given for various levels of fundraising. One angler already has secured pledges for about $5,000, Kleiman said.

Sports celebrities Kent Hrbek, formerly of the Minnesota Twins, and Darby Hendrickson, former Minnesota Gopher and Minnesota Wild hockey player, again will be here to take part in the event as they have for many years. Former UMD Bulldog hockey player Jim Johnson, a coach with the San Jose Sharks, will be here unless the Sharks are still in the playoffs, Kleiman said.

"They've been just phenomenal," Kleiman said of the athletes. "They're really good with all the anglers, signing autographs."


Last year, the contest set a record, raising $155,000. Over its previous 17 years, the event has raised about $1.8 million, Kleiman said.

The public is welcome at the Saturday night spaghetti dinner at Skyline Lanes, $10 per person. A silent auction will follow.

To enter the tournament, go to or call Sandy at Minnesota ALS headquarters, (888) 672-0484.

Beckmanns take second at Lake Vermilion

Dave Beckmann of Crane Lake and Zachary Beckmann of Duluth took second place in the eighth annual City Auto Glass Walleye Classic fishing contest held May 18 on Lake Vermilion. Their six-fish walleye limit weighed 9.89 pounds. Gregory Ribich of Minneapolis and Bob Lubovich of Lakeville, Minn., won the contest with 12.52 pounds of walleyes.

Third place went to David Zasadni of Gilbert and Alan Kangas of Eveleth with 9.68 pounds.

Jaws Derby starts Friday

The Western Lake Superior Trolling Association will hold its Jaws Derby from Friday through June 2. Five prizes will be awarded in three divisions: trout, salmon and walleye. First place in each division is $350. A $50 gift certificate will be awarded for big fish of the day on Friday and Saturday.

Ticket price is $25 for adults and includes membership; $10 for kids. Derby headquarters will be at Barker's Island in Superior. Ticket outlets are Marine General Supply, the Bait Box, Northwest Outlet, Sportsman's Choice and Fisherman's Corner. Tickets will be available at derby headquarters starting Thursday. For more information, go to

Wis. raises walleye limits

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials increased daily walleye bag limits for anglers on many northern Wisconsin lakes effective Saturday as spearing season winds down for the six bands of Chippewa in the northern part of the state.

The DNR raised limits on 423 lakes in the ceded territory, a swath of northern Wisconsin the tribes gave to the government more than a century ago. The rules include a five-walleye limit on 289 lakes; a four-walleye limit on three lakes; a three-walleye limit on 131 lakes; a two-walleye limit on 101 lakes and a one-walleye limit on seven lakes.

Bag limits on 93 lakes remain unchanged.

The bands had harvested 28,382 walleye through Wednesday, well short of their declared goal of almost 60,000 this year.

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