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Fisheries Management

Fishing Wisconsin The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative

Wisconsin means walleye

More waters will be stocked with larger walleye fingerlings. More walleye will lead to better fishing in years to come.

Bringing more walleye to Wisconsin's waters

The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative was developed by the Department of Natural Resources and the Governor’s office to increase the number of walleyes in state walleye waters by expanding production of large fingerling walleye at state, private and tribal fish hatcheries for stocking in waters accessible to the public. This historic investment in Wisconsin’s walleye fishery will benefit all users and Wisconsin’s angling related economy.

Walleye initiative update - June 2014

Read about the latest progress on the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative. [PDF]

Wild walleye waters

Wisconsin has an abundance of excellent natural walleye waters with healthy and genetically unique walleye populations.  These waters do not need to be stocked and for the first time, as a part of the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, DNR fisheries biologists are developing a statewide list of these waters for anglers and tourism interests.  Anglers can view the initial list of some of the key statewide naturally reproducing walleye waters. [PDF].  This list will be added to over time as specific fishery management objectives are developed for individual waters.


$8.2 million for infrastructure improvements and $1.3 million each year for annual operating costs will be provided to expand production at DNR state fish hatcheries.  Production should increase from 60,000 to 120,000 large walleye fingerlings to well over 500,000 by 2016.

One time funding of $2 million is also being provided for a competitive grant program for municipal, tribal and private aquaculture facilities to improve their infrastructure and enhance the capabilities to stock additional large fingerling walleye in Wisconsin’s waters.

  • $500,000 is being provided annually starting in FY 14-15 to purchase large fingerling walleye for stocking in Wisconsin’s waters from private fish farms.  Several states including Indiana and Minnesota have had success improving their walleye fisheries with purchases of walleye fingerlings from private sources.
  • $250,000 General purpose revenue will be provided annually to expand the Summer Tribal Youth Program.  This program is a state-tribal partnership, with a 50-50 funding split, that provides tribal high school-aged youth an opportunity to work on natural resource-related projects during the summer.  This initiative has been in place since 2007 with the Chippewa---Lac du Flambeau, Lac Courte Oreilles and Red Cliff tribes.  The proposal would expand the program and include the state’s remaining eight tribal nations.   A new annual appropriation would be created to distribute funds for this program.


Current walleye stocking, Fall 2014

Final number of large fingerling walleye that have been stocked this fall [PDF]. Stocking complete for 2014.

Proposed statewide walleye stocking, 2014-2015

Based on a stocking strategy developed with public input, a list of lakes for walleye stocking in 2014 and 2015 [PDF] was developed. Stocking priorities were based on criteria including anticipated fingerling survival, history of natural reproduction, public access, tribal interest (for ceded territory lakes) and potential tourism impact. . If a lake is not on the list it either has adequate natural reproduction or conditions do not favor good survival of stocked walleye.

Walleye stocking strategy

The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative will make significant increases in the stocking of large walleye fingerlings from state, tribal and private hatcheries. To make the most effective use of walleye stocking, the DNR has developed the following DRAFT stocking guidance to prioritize stocking efforts:

Production grants

Wisconsin Walleye Initiative production grant program

The DNR was directed to create and administer a competitive walleye production grant program to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants for the purpose of increasing production capacity of extended-growth walleye fingerlings (6-8 inches) for stocking in state waters. Eligible applicants include all Wisconsin cities, villages, towns and counties; federally recognized Indian tribes or bands located in Wisconsin; and private fish farms located in Wisconsin.  Fish farms must be registered with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and must be in compliance with all applicable state and federal environmental and fish health related laws.

The state will be awarding two million dollars in one grant application cycle. The total grant amount awarded to an individual grantee or hatchery may not exceed $500,000.

Production grant awards: The walleye production grant award recipients have been determined. The list of the award recipients is listed below:

Grantee Award amount
Gollon Bait and Fish Farm $423,535
Northside Enterprises $136,344
Coolwater Farms, LLC $76,600
Sokaogon Chippewa Community $298,900
Hayward Bait & Bottle Shoppe $125,000
Central Wisconsin Fish Farm, LLC $29,841
St. Croix Chippewa of Wisconsin $283,253
Taal Lake Hatchery $194,370
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa $432,157

Grant reimbursement payment requests

If you have questions, please contact:
Brian Goodman
Financial Assistance Specialist
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Community Financial Assistance
P.O. Box 7921
101 S. Webster Street
Madison, WI 53707-7921

Staff contacts

Acting Fisheries Director

Justine Hasz
Phone: 715/896-9558


Steve Hewett
Phone: 608/267-7501

Public participation and outreach

Justine Hasz
Phone: 715/896-9558

Last revised: Sunday February 15 2015