OSHKOSH, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is working to inform Winnebago System walleye anglers of walleye bag limit changes as the open water season approaches. Effective April 1, 2020, the daily walleye bag limit will be reduced to three walleye of any size (only one may be a sauger or hybrid) for all Winnebago System waters.
Winnebago System waters include Poygan, Winneconne, Butte des Morts and Winnebago and all their tributaries from their mouths upstream to the first dam including:
the Fox River from Lake Winnebago upstream to the dam above Princeton and all its tributaries from their mouths upstream to the first dam;
the Wolf River from its mouth upstream to the dam in the city of Shawano and all its tributaries from their mouths upstream to the first dam including Cincoe lake, Partridge Crop lake and Partridge lake in Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago counties.
The department evaluates the Winnebago walleye population annually to ensure that proper regulations are in place to sustain a strong walleye population and provide good recreational fishing opportunities for anglers. The goal of the bag limit reduction is to reduce walleye exploitation on the Winnebago System and maintain a sustainable fishery. Exploitation, or the proportion of fish harvested out of the total population, has been tracked annually on the Winnebago System since 1993.
Average annual adult female walleye exploitation is estimated at 32.2% and surpassed 40% in eight of the last 27 years, which is well above the 35% threshold that is often suggested for maintaining walleye populations. In addition, the department has documented high exploitation rates on immature female walleye (ranging 22.9%-66.7%, average 42.0%). This information, in conjunction with recent tagging studies, indicates a potential for substantially reduced walleye numbers