Wisconsin lakes are facing a sharp decline in the walleye populations. This trend is most apparent in the northern part of the state.
As lake temperatures continue to rise, Wisconsin has been working to bolster fish populations, especially for walleye. With higher temperatures, warm-water species such as bass and bluegill are now overpopulated and dominate cool-water species, including walleyes, trout, and whitefish.
According to an article published in the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin has devoted millions of dollars funding to preserving its walleye population.
Unfortunately, these efforts are often ineffective. UW-Madison researcher and scientist, Zach Fiener, recently addressed the situation. He said that “in many lakes it doesn’t seem to be working very well…What we're doing now is maybe stocking lakes that are becoming too warm to really be able to sustain the walleye population into the future.”
The state continues efforts to mitigate the situation. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, there are about 420 lakes that remain safe for walleyes and other cool-water species. Some scientists say more work needs to be done because if nothing changes, walleyes could become extinct in Wisconsin. Fisheries experts and researchers continue to look for conservation strategies that will prove effective in protecting one of Wisconsin’s most popular fish species.
[Sources: Madison.com; Wisconsin State Journal; Fisheries Management and Ecology and News.Wisc.edu]