Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Wisconsin Announces Opening for Walleye on Escanaba Lake

On June 8, the season for walleye will open on Escanaba Lake, a research lake within the Northern Highland Fishery Research Area.

This is special because, for nearly 20 years, Escanaba has had experimental regulations that reduced the harvest of walleye.

Walleye have been heavily studied in Escanaba, and regulation changes during studies allow thorough testing of various harvest situations over long periods.

After 20 years of minimal walleye harvest, Escanaba has switched regulations.

From 2003 to 2022, experimental regulations limited walleye fishing on Escanaba to a 28-inch length limit and a daily bag of one fish. The goal: To test the walleye population's responses to a reduced harvest and serve as a reference lake for other fisheries research projects.

From 2022-2032, regulations are a 15-inch minimum length and a daily bag limit of 3 walleye per angler, with only one walleye greater than 24 inches allowed. The goal: To test walleye population responses to sudden harvest increase and predetermined levels of harvest based on the lake's capacity for supporting walleye.

Anglers are needed to harvest enough walleye to meet the annual quota to help with this research study. When the quota is met, walleye will be catch-and-release only until the second Saturday in June 2025.

Permits to fish Escanaba Lake are free and can be obtained at the lake station check-in. Learn more about fishing in the Northern Highland Fishery Research Area.