Walleye Populations Are Going Down In Wisconsin

The Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Species published an article about how walleye populations are decreasing in Wisconsin’s lakes. Walleye is a species of fish that lives in the upper Midwest, Wisconsin and Canada.

The article does not give a specific reason for why walleye populations are going down. However, it does suggest that a variety of reasons are at play, such as harvest rates that outpace the speed at which fish populations are able to regenerate, habitat degradation and climate change. Experts are trying to figure out what the decreasing amount of walleye might mean for walleye harvests in the future.

While studying walleye populations, scientists looked at production statistics that were gathered in the years from 1990 to 2012. The data suggested that during those years, walleye production decreased by 27%. Currently, it take 1.5 times more time to catch a given amount of walleye than it did in 1990.

Walleye is somewhat of an iconic fish. It is a really big deal in Wisconsin. People from all backgrounds like to fish and eat them. The Native Americans like to fish them for cultural traditions. The fish is known for a sweet, mild taste and flaky skin. It has a thin, long shape. Color-wise, walleye tend to have white bellies and olive and/or gold coloration.

Sometimes lakes with walleye are stocked with more walleye if the natural populations are low. However, researchers have observed that in lakes that have been stocked, there are higher rates of decline. Experts believe that this observation is a big red flag.

Various actions are being taken to ensure that the walleye population remains as robust as possible. Community leaders have taken part in the creation of fishing regulations, stocking initiatives, habitat enhancement programs and bass removals.