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The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative

Fishing Wisconsin

Bringing more walleye to Wisconsin's waters

Walleye in net

The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative was developed by the Department of Natural Resources and the Governor’s office to increase the number of walleyes in state walleye waters by expanding the production of large fingerling walleye at state, private and tribal fish hatcheries for stocking in waters accessible to the public. This historic investment in Wisconsin’s walleye fishery will benefit all users and Wisconsin’s angling related economy.

Wild walleye waters

Wisconsin has an abundance of excellent natural walleye waters with healthy and genetically unique walleye populations.  These waters do not need to be stocked and for the first time, as a part of the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, DNR fisheries biologists are developing a statewide list of these waters for anglers and tourism interests.  Anglers can view the initial list of some of the key statewide naturally reproducing walleye waters. [PDF].  This list will be added to over time as specific fishery management objectives are developed for individual waters.



$8.2 million for infrastructure improvements and $1.3 million each year for annual operating costs will be provided to expand production at DNR state fish hatcheries.  Production should increase from 60,000 to 120,000 large walleye fingerlings to well over 500,000 by 2016.

One time funding of $2 million is also being provided for a competitive grant program for municipal, tribal and private aquaculture facilities to improve their infrastructure and enhance the capabilities to stock additional large fingerling walleye in Wisconsin’s waters.

  • $500,000 is being provided annually starting in FY 14-15 to purchase large fingerling walleye for stocking in Wisconsin’s waters from private fish farms.  Several states, including Indiana and Minnesota, have had success improving their walleye fisheries with purchases of walleye fingerlings from private sources.
  • $250,000 General purpose revenue will be provided annually to expand the Summer Tribal Youth Program.  This program is a state-tribal partnership, with a 50-50 funding split, that provides tribal high school-aged youth an opportunity to work on natural resource-related projects during the summer.  This initiative has been in place since 2007 with the Chippewa---Lac du Flambeau, Lac Courte Oreilles and Red Cliff tribes.  The proposal would expand the program and include the state’s remaining eight tribal nations.   A new annual appropriation would be created to distribute funds for this program.


Large fingerling walleye stocked, 2013-2022

Year Number stocked
2013 451,418
2014 714,222
2015 760,881
2016 797,815
2017 881,997
2018 827,223
2019 780,105
2020 809,010
2021 835,005
2022 688,838

Large fingerling walleye stocked by lake/county 2013-2022

Production grants

Wisconsin Walleye Initiative production grant program

The DNR was directed to create and administer a competitive walleye production grant program to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants for the purpose of increasing the production capacity of extended-growth walleye fingerlings (6-8 inches) for stocking in state waters. Eligible applicants include all Wisconsin cities, villages, towns and counties; federally recognized Indian tribes or bands located in Wisconsin; and private fish farms located in Wisconsin.  Fish farms must be registered with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and must be in compliance with all applicable state and federal environmental and fish health-related laws.

Wisconsin Walleye Initiative production grant awardees, 2014-2017 [pdf]


Staff contact

Fisheries Director

Justine Hasz
Phone: 715/896-9558