Habitat improvement would help more than Walker's $13 million walleye plan
Here we go again. It appears Wisconsin is using walleye stocking as a way of showing folks someone is listening to bag limit complaints (reduced) and other fishing concerns.
Yes, a few of these stocked fish might “take,” or even be caught by an angler from Illinois or Wisconsin, but the ecology behind this move is generally no more sound than semi-domesticating deer, other wildlife, and other fishes.
Put the money, staff time and energy into habitat work, something that will last longer than a politician’s term in office. Ask the fisheries biologists which of these lakes could ever become walleye lakes and which could not.
Instead of special fishing signs at the landings for anglers to read, post no-stocking signs for the men in tank trucks. But that would not be necessary because Wisconsin’s fish biologists know where and when fish can be stocked and where it is simply throwing rice down a garbage disposal.
It’s the old put-and-take scenario. It’s expensive, but the politicians never talk about that. And sadly, most don’t begin to understand the science.
Fisheries biologists usually do not talk either, not because some wouldn’t like to, but they want to keep their jobs. Putting a black cloud over ideas from the governor or DNR secretary would be early retirement, for sure.
There was a time when science was the first to respond for stocking queries and wildlife management. Go back and look at what the trout managers have done with trout waters, or at least those waters that were or could be transformed into good trout streams.
Improving wildlife and fish populations needs to be sound, biologically speaking, not politically convenient.
What Gov. Scott Walker's $13 million walleye program may do is to give the populations of anglers reason to disgrace the DNR biologists with even more complaints. But truth be told, it should be the politicians and political appointees who deserve the shame on this one.