MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that new fishing regulations will take effect in many northern water bodies for the 2022 fishing season.
Amendment to Regional Walleye Regulations
Walleye regulations for several waterbodies in the Flambeau River, South Fork Flambeau River and Elk River watersheds in Ashland, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer and Vilas counties will change to standard walleye regulations for ceded territory in northern Wisconsin.
Anglers can keep a daily bag limit of three walleyes at least 15 inches but under 20 inches, or they can keep two walleyes between 15 and 20 inches and one over 24 inches. The change will be in effect for the opening of the fishing season on May 7, 2022.
“Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen a decline in walleye populations in these waters,” said MNR fisheries biologist Jeff Scheirer.
This regulation is intended to protect the young walleye that most of these populations still produce, but at much lower rates than in the past. The new regulations will allow anglers to harvest adult walleye while protecting young walleye until they mature.
“The current rule that allows anglers to keep three walleye of any length, but only one over 14 inches, is no longer suitable for populations with declining recruitment,” Scheirer said. “If the population rebounds and the new regulation helps more walleyes mature into adults, we may re-evaluate whether this new regulation is still necessary in the future.”
Bodies of water subject to this regulation include:
- Big Falls Flow (Rusk County)
- Crowley Flowage (Price County)
- Dairyland Reservoir (Rusk County)
- Elk River (whole) (Price County)
- Flambeau River, including the waters of the North Fork Flambeau River, between the Turtle-Flambeau Dam and the Thornapple Flowage Dam (Ashland, Iron, Price, Rusk and Sawyer Counties)
- Grassy Lake (Price County)
- Lac Sault Doré (Price County)
- Ladysmith Flowage (Rusk County)
- Lower Park Falls Flow (Price County)
- Phillips Chain (Duroy, Elk, Long, Wilson and Connecting Waters lakes combined) (Price County)
- Pike Lake Range (Amik, Pike, Round, Turner and Connecting Waters lakes combined) (Price and Vilas counties)
- Pixley Flowage (Price County)
- Solberg Lake (Price County)
- South Fork Flambeau River (all) (Price, Rusk and Sawyer counties)
- Thornapple Flowage (Rusk County)
- Upper Park Falls Flow (Price County)
Lake Escanaba walleye season and regulations
The ceded territory’s standard walleye regulations will also apply to Escanaba Lake, a research lake in Vilas County that is part of the Northern Uplands Fisheries Research Area. The move to the Ceded Land Settlement from the previous settlement of a minimum length limit of 28 inches and a daily bag limit of one will allow MNR scientists to test the effects of the Ceded Land Settlement on this population. local walleye while providing additional opportunities for anglers to catch walleye. However, the MNR will establish an annual quota in pounds of walleye for Escanaba Lake, thereby limiting the harvest by anglers.
Additional changes to the Lake Escanaba season framework will come into effect at the same time as the rule change. The season will open on June 11, 2022 and will continue until the general closure of the sport fishing season on March 5, 2023. Once anglers have reached the annual walleye harvest quota, only catch fishing walleye water will be permitted for the remainder of the season. the season. The switch to catch-and-release fishing will be announced locally each year.
“This rule change is intended to allow us to specifically assess the influences of walleye harvesting under the ceded territory walleye rule, including the effects of overharvesting production – harvesting more walleye than which is produced each year,” said Greg Sass, MNR Fisheries Research Team Leader. “The participation of tribes and fishermen will be a key part of the experience.”
The DNR requires anglers wishing to fish on Lake Escanaba to obtain a day permit at the Lake Escanaba checkpoint. Also, no lead tackle (especially split shot and jig heads) is allowed when fishing on this lake.
Other Fishing Regulation Changes in Northern Wisconsin
Additional fishing regulations will come into effect for other northern Wisconsin lakes, rivers and streams. The complete list of regulatory changes for 2022 is available on the MNR Fishing Regulations webpage.