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Monday, January 29 • 2:40pm - 3:00pm
(CANCELLED) WALLEYE: Lac Vieux Desert: Management Challenges and a Cooperative Plan to Restore a Naturally-reproducing Walleye (Sander vitreus) Population in a Northern Wisconsin Lake

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AUTHORS. Hadley Boehm, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Stephen Gilbert, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. Lac Vieux Desert is a 1,740 hectare drainage lake in Vilas County in northern Wisconsin. It is within the Ceded Territory and spans the Michigan-Wisconsin state line. Historically, Lac Vieux Desert contained a naturally-reproducing Walleye (Sander vitreus) population. However, over the past decade there has been a decline in natural reproduction with few to no young-of-year Walleye captured during WDNR fall recruitment index surveys. The reason for this decline remains unknown. In 2016, the adult Walleye population reached a historical low of 1.2 adults/hectare, with few fish under 381 mm observed. Due to the lake’s demonstrated capacity for Walleye natural reproduction and the importance of the Walleye fishery to both tribal and angler harvest, a cooperative rehabilitation plan was undertaken with the primary objective of restoring a naturally-reproducing Walleye population. Cooperators include both state (MI and WI) natural resources agencies, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Sokaogon Chippewa and Lac Vieux Desert tribes, and the Lac Vieux Desert Lake Association. The rehabilitation plan entails stocking of extended growth Walleye fingerlings at a rate of 37 fingerlings/hectare in alternate years, increase to a 457 mm minimum length limit for anglers in both states, suspension of tribal harvest, and intensive sampling through 2022. Walleye recruitment declines have occurred at a regional scale and identification of the cause and solution continue to challenge managers. Observations made and progress towards the management objectives for Lac Vieux Desert will be shared to foster further discussion of Walleye management challenges, and the experimental solutions being employed to address them.

Monday January 29, 2018 2:40pm - 3:00pm CST