With an aim toward maximizing both angler satisfaction and the ecological benefits of the state’s walleye fisheries, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has finalized a plan to guide the department’s management of the popular species in inland waters.
The final plan comes after careful consideration and integration of public input on the draft walleye management plan, which the DNR initially asked for in February 2021.
Although walleye reside in the Great Lakes, rivers and inland lakes, the plan focuses on inland waters – mostly inland lakes – because walleye management in Great Lake waters is primarily addressed in various other department-approved management or rehabilitation plans.
The new walleye management plan for inland waters provides an overview of:
- The status of the species in Michigan.
- The biology and ecology of inland walleye populations.
- Angler perceptions about walleye management and fishing opportunities.
- Previous management efforts.
The plan also identifies several management goals that broadly address ecological and social characteristics of walleye fisheries, because both elements are key to successful species management. The plan provides a formalized management framework for walleye that accounts for habitat suitability and describes recommended actions to efficiently and effectively protect and conserve walleye populations throughout the state.
“Walleye is an ecologically important species that also receives substantial attention from our anglers,” said Seth Herbst, lead author and manager of the Aquatic and Regulatory Affairs Unit in the DNR Fisheries Division.
“It is essential that we formalize and implement statewide manage strategies to maintain and enhance walleye populations during a time frame when this species is threatened by changing habitats, including establishments of detrimental aquatic invasive species,” Herbst said. “Effective management leads to robust walleye populations, and that means diverse fishing opportunities for anglers.”
The DNR Fisheries Division developed the Management Plan for Walleye in Michigan’s Inland Waters with assistance from Michigan State University Fisheries and Wildlife Department faculty. Additionally, consultation with Tribal governments and feedback from other state natural resource agencies, citizen advisory committees and anglers were critical to inform and revise early versions of the plan.
Press release was submitted by the Michigan DNR