The Wisconsin DNR is considering some notable changes to walleye bag and length limits on a popular Northern Wisconsin waterway, and they're holding a public meeting to get feedback on the potential changes.

At issue, as reported by the Duluth News Tribune (paywall), is that there are different rules and limits in place for walleyes on Lake Superior and in the St. Louis River, a major tributary to the lake in the Twin Ports area.

The goal is to streamline the rules to make following the rules easier for anglers and make enforcement easier for the DNR as part of their overall walleye management plan for what the Wisconsin DNR says are the same fish population, with different rules in different areas.

What are the current walleye rules?

Right now, if you're fishing for walleyes on the Wisconsin-managed part of Lake Superior, you can keep up to 5 walleyes per day with one over 20 inches. Once you enter the St. Louis River estuary, the limit changes to 2 fish over 15 inches.

The same rule of 2 walleyes over 15 inches is true in the Minnesota-managed part of Lake Superior water and on the Minnesota side of the St. Louis River.

What is the proposed rule change?

The Wisconsin DNR says they want one rule for this population, which largely moves from the river to the lake.

The current "divergent regulations" are a challenge to enforce, according to a Wisconsin DNR press release. Dray Carl from the Wisconsin DNR says "Since these are the same migratory fish moving between these waters, we recommend finding a way to merge regulations to find a common regulatory framework that’s easy to understand and enforce while still upholding the goals for the fishery.”

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The new rule is still being developed (with your help wanted), but the goal would be to bring the Lake Superior walleye rule in line with the St. Louis River rule in some capacity, perhaps modifying the new, combined rule to include a 2-fish limit with a one-over rule to include one fish over 20 inches.

How can you help with this rule change?

The Wisconsin DNR is holding a public meeting in the Superior Room at Barkers Island Inn in Superior on Thursday, May 9 at 6 pm. At this meeting, the discussion will be regarding this and other walleye-related projects in the area.

Officials will provide an update on the status of the fishery and population levels ahead of this walleye season, projects, and management issues impacting the walleye fishery.

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Gallery Credit: Ken Hayes

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