Successful Walleye Program Necessitates Harvest Recommendations

Thu, July 28, 2016 | Lakes and Parks

Saugeye have been stocked in Lakes Avalon and Norwood since 2011. Lakes Ann and Windsor were stocked for the first time in 2015. Fish sampling had only shown a few fish through early 2016 in Avalon and Norwood with no hook and line reports although some very large fish do exist. Something has definitely changed! Reports began coming in of anglers catching 10 – 12 inch saugeye from Lake Windsor early this year. Anglers even reported catching 2 and 3 fish per outing. Reports continue to come in, but now it is common to hear of 13 – 15 inch fish. That means that we are seeing growth from 1 inch to 15 inches in one year. These growth rates are tremendous!

Earlier this year the Lakes department began an aquaculture program using golf course ponds to produce walleye and black crappie. Twenty-five thousand fingerling walleye were stocked this June; 10,000 – Windsor, 10,000 – Avalon, 5,000 – Norwood. It is hoped that these fish will provide the future source of broodstock to keep the walleye program going into the future. In order to be successful with this program it will be necessary to protect these fish until they reach maturity. As a result, the lakes department asked the Lakes committee to adopt a recommendation that limits harvest. A resolution was passed that limits saugeye / walleye harvest to 2 fish per day that must be 20 inches or more. Given the excellent growth rates we have seen so far, the cohort that was stocked in June 2015 and are currently being caught on Lakes Windsor and Ann should be of harvestable size by early 2017.

Just to review, we do have a recommendation that only crappie greater than 10 inches be harvested. Additionally we ask that largemouth bass 13 – 16 inches be returned to our lakes. We do encourage liberal harvest of largemouth less than 13 inches. Otherwise, statewide regulations apply to all of our lakes.