Could see more walleye in lakes and rivers Submitted: 07/26/2013
WOODRUFF - Some people think more tourists will visit the Northwoods if we plant more walleye in our lakes. That's now going to happen. State run fish hatcheries currently produce about 100,000 walleye per year. Those fish go into our lakes and rivers. Under the DNR Walleye Initiative, by 2016, those hatcheries would produce 500,000 walleye per year.

The Wisconsin DNR announced the plan Friday in front of tours at the Art Oehmcke Fish Hatchery. DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp thinks this is the right step forward. "We're going to be seeing tremendous results with larger fish that are going to stock," Stepp said. "It's really unprecedented and we are very excited." The plan calls for $8.2 million of infrastructure improvements at hatcheries around the state. Then, $1.3 million will be given every year for operating costs. Stepp believes the costs will be recovered through tourism. "It is really a small investment when you think about what the return is for tourism dollars," Stepp said. "Especially to this part of the state." The walleye grown at these hatcheries will be six to eight inches long when released. Officials say the these bigger fish have a better chance of being caught. That's because they are too large to be eaten by predators. Art Oehmcke Fish Hatchery will receive $4.1 million for repairs and enhancements. The facility has not been renovated for two decades.

Story By: Adam Fox

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