Walleye Moratorium...Who Can You Trust?
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
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?
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
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
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