Department of Natural Resources


Issue: It is the HON belief that there is a current threat to limit or reduce the production of Walleyes at the Spooner Walleye Fish Hatchery.  We believe that the hatchery should double the production to ensure proper Walleye population in our inland lakes.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has spent considerable research and money on studying the Walleye population in Wisconsin inland lakes and the Great Lakes. The Spooner Walleye Fishery Hatchery has produced an extended growth Walleye (approximately 7 inches) to increase the survival rate (20%) of planted Walleyes in our lakes. Several thousand fishermen travel to Canada, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota each year because the Walleye population in Wisconsin is very low compared to the above. The few exceptions are Green Bay, the Wisconsin River, and a few other lakes. This has a negative effect on tourism and the economy in Northern Wisconsin.


Our 4-county region in NW Wisconsin contains over 2,000 lakes.  There are different ways that people recreate and enjoy these beautiful natural resources.  There is an activity that can jeopardize people’s enjoyment of the lake.  We're referring to wake boarding and wake surfing.  The negative impacts from wake boats include shoreline erosion on public and private property, prop wash that can stir up the lake bottom on shallow lakes (<15ft), risks for fishing boats, kayaks, canoeists, paddleboarders and swimmers if they aren't prepared for a large wake crashing into them.  There can also be potential for the transfer of aquatic invasive species in the ballasts of the wake boat. The ballasts on the wake boat can take in as much as 1,000 gallons of lake water. Most purging of the ballasts does not remove all the water.  SB 680 and AB 656 don't go far enough in restricting the size of the lake (50 acres) wake boats can operate on.  We think it should be larger than 500 acres.  There is no mention in the proposed bills of the minimum water depth on which wake boats should be allowed to operate.  We feel it should be 20'.  The bills being proposed are offering nothing new to help protect our precious resource.