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Walleye Moratorium...Who Can You Trust?
By Craig Sandell © 2015

There is a lot of talk going around about the proposed 5-10 year moratorium on Walleye fishing on the Minocqua Chain and Lake Tomahawk.

The reason cited by the WDNR and GLIFWC is to allow the populations of Walleye to recover. What isn’t being talked about is the reason the Walleye population is in distress.

Since fishing tourism has been on the decline for a few years on these bodies of water and the bag limit has been reduced to a level that makes it not worth someone’s time to even fish for Walleye, it is unlikely that the Walleye population decline is due to non-native harvesting.

Could it be that the vengeance motivated spring harvest by the Lac Du Flambeau Tribe has played a significant part in the decline of the Walleye population? Could it be that the unchecked winter spearing of Walleye by the Lac Du Flambeau Tribe is also a contributor to the Walleye Decline?

You can bet you ass it does!!!

Supposedly, the WDNR and GLIFWC have a commitment from the Lac Du Flambeau Tribe that they will not do any Walleye harvesting on these bodies of water for the term of the moratorium.

I don’t believe it for a moment. It is certainly relatively easy to police the Spring harvest assuming the WDNR actually gets out of their office and on the water to observe; but nothing is being said about Winter spearing…Who is going to monitor that?

There is also no mention of the penalty that will be imposed should someone get caught violating the moratorium. Will tribal violators have their boats confiscated along with their spears and bows? Will the tribe be assessed a fine? Who will enforce the moratorium on the tribe, GLIFWC?

GLIFWC will point to the fact that they have, over the years, cited tribal members for violations but what they do not share is the amount of money collected in fines or the amount of equipment confiscated.

Do not get me wrong! I am in favor of any sensible action that can be taken to preserve and enhance Wisconsin fisheries for Walleye and Musky as well.

What I am against is a commitment for action that has no mechanism for enforcement or verification. The WDNR is not going to do a base line evaluation of the Walleye population on these bodies of water; something that is essential in order to evaluate the success of the proposed moratorium. Sure, the WDNR will do their usual "slight of hand" by putting forward their ESTIMATE of the population but an ESTIMATE IS ONLY A GUESS! The last thing these bodies of water need is someone at the WDNR sitting at their desk manipulating statistics to support a fishery policy rather than getting out and doing the field work to get some factual information.

The WDNR will have a booth at the Wisconsin Musky Expo in Wausau (March 6-8). Tim Simonson from Madison is supposed to be there, so you can, if you give a damn, ask him how and who is going to enforce this proposed moratorium…Don’t forget to ask about Winter spearing.

We Are All In This Together!


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