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Minocqua Chain Walleye Hearing May 24

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a virtual public hearing to discuss extending the catch and release walleye regulations on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes in Oneida County at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 24.

Although stocking efforts and years of no harvest have allowed the walleye population to increase, natural reproduction has not shown necessary improvements. Recent population surveys have shown a low abundance of male walleye in two of the lakes. The low abundance of male walleye in hatcheries, and subsequently in certain lakes stocked by these hatcheries, is currently being assessed by the DNR and other experts in this field to determine the cause and address this issue.

The proposed rule will extend the current catch and release regulations through the 2024-2025 fishing season in the hopes of further rehabilitating the walleye fishery. The current regulations have been in place since 2015 as a part of a ten-year rehabilitation plan.

“Additional years of catch and release walleye fishing on the Minocqua Chain will help maintain walleye abundance at levels that may support natural reproduction,” said Zach Woiak, DNR Fisheries Biologist for Oneida County.

A partnership of stakeholders has met over the past several years to evaluate the status of the walleye population and make recommendations for bringing it to sustainable levels. The partnership includes the DNR, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Walleyes for Tomorrow, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, Mid Lake Protection and Management District, Minocqua/Kawaguesaga Lakes Protection Association, Inc., and Tomahawk Lake Association. This stakeholder group has also worked with the public to support the catch and release season for walleye and create conditions suitable for natural reproduction across the lakes.

The Lac du Flambeau Band will also continue their walleye harvest prohibition on the Minocqua Chain until 2025 to help achieve this goal.

If approved, the proposed rule will implement a slot regulation in May 2025: 18-inch minimum length for walleye, but fish from 22 to 28 inches may not be kept, and a daily bag limit of one fish.

The public is encouraged to attend the hearing to ask questions and voice their opinions about the proposed regulations. Members of the public wishing to make a statement should pre-register for the hearing by downloading the DNR’s public appearance form online and submitting the completed form to Meredith.Penthorn@wisconsin.gov.

Written comments may also be submitted to Meredith.Penthorn@wisconsin.gov by the end of the day on May 24, 2021. Written comments have the same weight and effect as spoken testimony at the hearing.

What: Minocqua Chain Walleye Catch And Release Regulation Extension Virtual Public Hearing
When: 6 p.m. Monday, May 24
Where: Join the meeting by Zoom
Join by phone: 1-929-205-6099; Meeting ID: 870 3566 7939

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