With an abundance of lakes, streams and rivers, it is no wonder fishing is popular in Wisconsin. And one of the most sought-after fish to catch in the state is the walleye. However, walleye populations were on a decline for more than 20 years. That is, until 2013, when Gov. Scott Walker announced a bold plan developed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and his office to replenish the fish under the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative.
The initiative is boosting walleye populations in Wisconsin waters, and has a goal to restock more than 1.5 million larger walleye over a period of several years. As of fall 2015, walleye restocking was well underway, with the fish distributed primarily in northern lakes.
This, in turn, affects Wisconsin’s economy, benefits fishers and aids in drawing anglers, and therefore tourism, to the state.
Fish farms are an integral part of the plan. Nine private and tribal farms were given grants to produce walleye fingerlings under the initiative. One of those hatcheries is Gollon Bait and Fish Farm of Dodgeville, which built new ponds on 12 acres in 2014 to produce walleye fingerlings. Under the initiative, the state dedicated a total of almost $12 million to hatchery infrastructure improvements and operating costs for walleye production.
Learn more about the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative at dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/ outreach/walleyeinitiative.html.