Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

DNR ‘push’ of walleye stamp to continue in 2010

Associate Editor

Brooklyn Center, Minn. – It wasn’t a particularly awe-inspiring
opening year for Minnesota’s walleye stamp, a voluntary purchase
option for state anglers that forwards $5 to walleye stocking in
the state.

About 7,000 stamps were sold in 2009, for an additional $35,000,
the DNR’s Neil Vanderbosch said. That’s about half a percent of
total fishing license sales. Vanderbosch said about $25,000 was
used for promoting the stamp; about $10,000 for walleye
stocking.

C.B. Bylander, DNR outreach chief for the DNR’s Fish and
Wildlife Division, told the Fisheries Roundtable last week that
poor sales in the stamp’s first year have led to changes.

For example, expect to be asked if you wish to buy a walleye
stamp when you’re purchasing your fishing license this year.

At locations like Cabin Fever in Waconia, and Mule Lake Store
near Longville, the percentage of angling license buyers who opted
for the walleye stamp hovered near 4 percent, Bylander said. That’s
because employees often asked fishermen if they wanted the walleye
stamp endorsement.

Cabin Fever was the top seller of walleye stamps, though rated
as the 29th largest fishing license vendor. The Mule Lake Store,
while the 175th largest fishing license vendor, was No. 8 in
sales.

So, Bylander said, when anglers are being sold licenses in 2010,
vendor computers will prompt sellers to ask purchasers if they wish
to purchase the stamp.

Tom Neustrom, a fishing guide in the Grand Rapids area and a
member of the Budget Oversight Committee’s stamp committee, said
the program is a good one for walleye fishermen, because the money
is directed toward improving the sport.

Bylander said stamp promotion will be a priority again this
year. The 2010 state fishing regulations pamphlet will include an
ad with Al Lindner recommending the purchase. There also will be
promotional posters at retail outlets, radio ads, and “intensified
web efforts,” according to the DNR.

Will added stamp sales – and additional income – increase
walleye stocking in the state? Probably not much, according to
Jason Moeckel, DNR fisheries operations supervisor in St. Paul.

As walleye production and distribution costs continue to rise,
and continued research demonstrates what size walleyes work best,
and where, walleye stocking might be modified, Moeckel said.

“Rather than pounds (of walleyes stocked), we’re looking at
numbers and the size of fish stocked,” he said.

Stamp dollars, he told Roundtable attendees, would be used to
“maintain what we have; we don’t see a need for more
(stocking).”

State-run rearing ponds have been challenged in recent years by
lack of winterkill, an event that kills walleyes not netted the
previous fall; if they’re there in the spring, they can prey on the
young fry that eventually are placed in the ponds.

Simply put, the department wants ponds to be more productive.
And it’s possible more fish could be purchased from private
vendors.

The walleye stamp, Moeckel said, “will help us get the numbers
up; we’re not seeing the need for increased pounds.”

“We need to modify production,” he said. “But we’re not far
off.”

Fisheries needs to determine (with input from the Walleye
Advisory Committee) if fewer pond acres can produce the number of
walleyes desired, and if costs can be reduced.

Walleye stocking isn’t cheap, and costs continue to rise.

Moeckel said walleye production and stocking involves about 270
different fisheries staff, and about 56,000 hours of staff time.
That’s an average of about five weeks of work for each of those
employees. About 577 lakes get fingerlings; 412 get fry, and 20 are
stocked with walleye frylings.

Moeckel said an area of significant cost increases has been in
production and distribution energy costs – what it takes to warm
water at production sites, and what it takes to transport the fish.
The department estimates walleye production and stocking involve
driving more than 250,000 miles annually.

“Most (analysts) are predicting costs will continue to go up,
and go up at a higher rate,” Moeckel said of fuel and heating
costs.

Currently, walleye stocking costs DNR Fisheries about $3.8
million annually, about 10 percent of the Section’s budget. Each
year the DNR uses about 330 ponds and wetlands totaling about
26,000 acres to raise walleye fingerlings.

Share on Social

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles