Walleye Stocking Update

By John Ney

Like many waters in northern Wisconsin, Gilmore Lake has experienced a sharp drop-off in walleye numbers as its largemouth bass population has exploded. Largemouth prey heavily on young walleye and may also compete with them for food.

To bypass this apparent bottleneck, the WDNR and lake associations have begun stocking walleyes at 6-8” in the Fall, when they are too large to be targets for bass. The program of stocking Extended Growth (EG) walleye has met with success in reviving the walleye fisheries in some area lakes, including the Chippewa Flowage and Nelson Lake. Extended Growth walleye have been stocked in Gilmore on an alternate year basis, beginning with the addition of 2,000 by the WDNR in 2012.  The GLA paid for stocking from a private source in 2014 (1,800 fish) and 2016 (~1500).

Have these stocking efforts been successful in growing more harvestable walleye in Gilmore? I am convinced that they have. The only measure we currently have is reports from anglers (contact me at 715-466-4198; jney@vt.edu).  In 2015, I received reports of 25 walleye caught. In 2016, the number was 30, all before the Flood. For sure, these are small fractions of the total catch. As of this writing, 9 walleye have been reported, 8 of them (all released) by one fisherman on opening weekend. Walleyes caught ranged from 10-27”. Many were in the 18-22” range.

WDNR personnel are scheduled to perform a thorough assessment of our walleye. Numbers and size distribution in 2018. I am optimistic that they will find a healthy population, including some natural reproduction. Stay tuned.

This story comes from the Spring 2017 newsletter.