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Thread: Walleye status on the flowage

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    waukesha wisconsin
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    67

    Default Walleye status on the flowage

    I copied this article from the Turtle Flambeau Flowage and Trude Lake Property Owners Association page:

    http://tfftl.org/

    December 6, 2017

    On December 6th at 6:00 PM a meeting was held in Mercer at the Haines Building to discuss 1) the results of the DNR’s recent comprehensive walleye population survey on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, and 2) potential changes that could or should be made to walleye regulations because of the findings of this survey. The meeting was led by Iron County fish biologist Zach Lawson. Our property owner’s association distributed advance notice of this meeting via e-mail and our web page. Despite the “off-season” timing of the meeting, 33 members of the public were in attendance.

    The primary findings of the walleye survey were:
    1.Adult walleye densities (#fish/acre) have declined as follows: 4.3 (1992), 4.0 (1994), 4.1 (2009), and 2.8 (2017).
    2.Recruitment has become more unstable than in the past.
    3.Population estimates have declined significantly and rapidly, whereas creel harvest estimates have declined more slowly.
    4.The average size of captured walleye has declined.

    A discussion was held on possible changes to walleye size limits on the Flowage, and their possible effect on the population. Changes in bag limits were not discussed. There were many comments from the public. Current DNR categories for walleye size limits are as follows:
    •no minimum length
    •no minimum length with 1 fish over 14″
    •no minimum length with a 14 to 18″ protected slot and 1 fish over 18″
    •15″ minimum length with a 20-24″ protected slot
    •18″ minimum length
    •28″ minimum length
    •15″ minimum length with a 20-28″ protected slot

    Given the status of the fishery, 2 primary factors should be addressed: 1) protect the numerous 8-12” fish that result from successful year classes, such as those in 2016 and 2017, and 2) reduce harvest of females (larger fish in the population).

    Perhaps a new “unique” size limit should be considered for the flowage – e.g., a 12” or 13” minimum size limit. Should “catch and release” be promoted?

    Over the next several months Zach will be holding discussions with DNR officials about the possibility of developing a “unique” size limit for the flowage. And early next summer another public meeting will be held to discuss some specific size limit options and their probable effects on the walleye population.

    More from the fall/winter "Driftwood"

    Our 2016 fall electrofishing survey revealed a very strong juvenile walleye year class. The 2017 fall electrofishing survey showed that the yearling walleyes (documented in the fall 2016 survey) survived very, very well and the 2017 hatch was also successful. This explains why we are catching so many 8-10 1/2 inch fish. The 2016 hatch is averaging 8-10 1/2 inches in size and the 2017 hatch (measured in the fall of 2017) is averaging 4-6 inches.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    29

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    Rip tff...

    Shut it down for a couple years,these guides are paying off 50k boats selling our resources.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Milwaukee,WI
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    17

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDuck View Post
    Rip tff...

    Shut it down for a couple years,these guides are paying off 50k boats selling our resources.
    Totally wrong! Try "shut down the damn Indians" for a year or 2.
    R.I.P. Hiawatha Resort

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDuck View Post
    Rip tff...

    Shut it down for a couple years,these guides are paying off 50k boats selling our resources.
    Interesting post BlackDuck. Looking back thru your postings, you've thanked Don Pemble for his reports, and have pointed people to look at Jeff Robl's over on L-L, now you slam the guides?

    HRG

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    13

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDuck View Post
    Rip tff...

    Shut it down for a couple years,these guides are paying off 50k boats selling our resources.
    "Walleyes speak and they say guide with 50k boat is less threat than spears coming out of a 50k SUV in spring."

  6. #6

    Default

    Back in the day when you could keep 5 per day an 10 in total they had a size limit of 16". Heads had to remain on. Nobody really kept that small of a fish 18s could be had very easy. I say they need to get a size limit back on and I wouldn't mind a few years of no keep. I fished a local lake that no smallies could be kept for years to bring up the numbers. The worst thing they did was when they opened it up they went with a 15" size limit. Now you have all to do to catch anything over 16. You have to remember people cheat if you tell them 15 is good to go you have the guy that think 14.5 is close enough, kinda like a speed limit. I haven't takin a fish out of the TFF in over 25 years but I still enjoy going up there and fishing. One other thing they should look into the Northern problem no real reason that they can't get a better size fish there. Never used to catch one under 20" now your lucky when you get an 18. It's not always about the keepin its about the things you see and the people you see them with.

    Just my 2 cents.

    gdi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin Rapids, WI
    Posts
    8

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    There is no doubt the guides have put long hours and days in to gain the knowledge they have and thus are able to have better success than the average fisherman. This being said rarely if ever do I read of them keeping the important breeding stock females. On the other hand the spear seems to target the very source of the FFL that being the prime reproducing females. Without these females you can shut the lake down indefinitely and struggle to bring it back to past years. The other group which has no care about the sex of the walleye are the musky which have flooded the TFF as a fish to catch but heaven forbid harvest. If we want to see a better TFF we need to stop the later 2 from continuing on the path they are on.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    waukesha wisconsin
    Posts
    67

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    Here are historical numbers of the spearing harvest grand total of 89796 since 1985. 1985 - 2014 was provided by the dnr here:
    http://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/fh/...orts/FH155.pdf
    I found 2015 - 2017 online. I feel that Zach Lawson not even mentioning the effect of spearing on the walleye numbers is shortsighted.

    Year Declared Quota Spearing Harvest
    1985 N.A. 21
    1986 2987 2560
    1987 5974 5741
    1988 6863 6056
    1989 0 0
    1990 5531 5048
    1991 3511 3341
    1992 2276 2147
    1993 3970 3212
    1994 4637 3856
    1995 2540 2488
    1996 3792 3197
    1997 2427 2172
    1998 2676 2262
    1999 3161 2314
    2000 3100 3100
    2001 2441 1063
    2002 2525 1732
    2003 2485 1761
    2004 2538 1847
    2005 2502 1906
    2006 2500 1871
    2007 2500 2470
    2008 2480 1880
    2009 2455 1792
    2010 2655 1665
    2011 4820 4569
    2012 2420 2157
    2013 3531 3132
    2014 2583 2158

    Total 1985 - 2014 77518

    2015 3987
    2016 3293
    2017 4998

    Total 2015 - 2017 12278

    Grand Total 89796

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    darien,il.
    Posts
    180

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    slot limits and size limits work. If not the walleyes will be the size of smelt. What happened to the jumbo perch. As far as the guides go they should be supporting it to insure the future of there livelihood .And a 50 grand boat well the flowage is not the only water to fish . Just sayin . Oh and one other thing is there any word about building the winter cribs this year.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Brookfield, WI
    Posts
    162

    Default Spearing Damage

    The TFF is the body of water that is most targeted by the Indians to spear. The numbers reflect that. It isn't just that number of female walleyes speared, it's those speared before they have released their eggs. A 17" walleye produces between 41,200 and 49,000 eggs. Imagine the number of walleyes that are not hatched every year due to spearing. Spearing changed the entire food chain of the TFF.

    I have been fishing the TFF since 1960. For years we never caught smallmouth bass, in fact about 1980 my brother-in-law had a 14.5" smallie mounted. About 1989 or 1990 we started catching 10" smallies. I made the immediate connection to walleye spearing having started a couple of years earlier. A vacuum was created by a lower number of walleyes and smallies filled it very quickly.

    In 1971 I found a rock bar in one of the base lakes that was flooded to create the TFF. I have never seen another boat on it and it is one of the best spots on the TFF. We have between 8 and 12 guys that go up there twice a year to fish and we hand out a trophy for biggest walleye of every trip (everything over 20" goes back after photos), and the rock bar usually produces the winner. We actually discuss who will be fishing the bar on any given day, and if we don't and one of our boats is already on it, the others stay away.

    For 25 years we only caught walleyes on this bar. Never caught a smallie, not 1. Now there are evenings when all we catch are smallies on this bar, although usually we also nail a walleye or two. This was a spot that was walleyes only for over 2 decades and it is now an entirely different spot. Same depth, same rocks, different fish.

    Quote Originally Posted by sureshot612 View Post
    slot limits and size limits work. If not the walleyes will be the size of smelt. What happened to the jumbo perch. As far as the guides go they should be supporting it to insure the future of there livelihood .And a 50 grand boat well the flowage is not the only water to fish . Just sayin . Oh and one other thing is there any word about building the winter cribs this year.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    waukesha wisconsin
    Posts
    67

    Default

    The Turtle River Trading Company posted an article on their Facebook page with the 2018 spearing totals. 2339 walleye were speared on the flowage in 2018, bringing the grand total since walleye spearing started in 1985 to 92,135 walleye.

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