Updated Lake Winnebago System walleye plan could drop bag limit from 5 to 3 fish

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin DNR is updating its walleye management plan for the Lake Winnebago System for the first time in 27 years.

The department is working with the Winnebago Fisheries Advisory Committee to update the plan, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The committee is comprised of fishers and fishing clubs along the system, which includes four lakes and a river.

One of the main issues the draft plan will consider is reducing the number of walleye that licensed anglers can keep per day. Current bag rules allow anglers to keep five walleye, while proposed changes would lower that to three.

Lakes Winnebago, Poygan, Winneconne, Buttes des Morts and the Wolf River have long had a self-sustaining population, but plant growth in some areas has taken over spawning grounds, said Adam Nickel, a fisheries biologist with the department.

“If you let a marsh grow without much maintenance over the years they can become brush,” he said.

Walleye need a good balance of grass and water to lay their eggs and sustain a healthy population.

Many anglers have responded positively to the new plan, said Don Herman, a board member of the Otter Street Fishing Club in Oshkosh.

“Nobody likes change but I think to save the system and there’s just so many people that are fishing now … I think that’s what has to be done,” Herman said.

The department will host a series of meetings regarding the draft plan and will take written comments until May.

There is no strict deadline to finalize the plan.

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