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MAZINAIGANPAGE2SPRING2015INLANDFISHERIESMoleLakeWis.Whenitcomestoboostingwalleyeogaanumbersbiggercanmostcertainlybebetter.ForWisconsinwatersthattranslatestoreleasinglargerhatcherystockenmassethroughacooperativeeffortlaunchedbythestatewithanassortmentofpartnersincludingtheSokaogonMoleLakeBand.Thetribethestatelakeasso-ciationsweallhavethesamegoalsaidMikePreulSokaogonfisheriesbiologist.Wereworkingtogethertogetwalleyepopulationsuptowhereweneedthem.AcollaboratorintheWisconsinWalleyeInitiativeWWItheSo-kaogonhatcheryproducedalmost20000extendedgrowthfingerlingslastyearreleasingthebountyintofournortheastWisconsinlakes.Theyoungwalleyeaveragedaroundseven-incheslongasizethatboastsasignificantlybettersurvivalrateovertinyhatcherystockknownasfry.Thesefishweresohardy.TheycameoutlookingreallygoodsaidPreul.Hatched-outinlatespringtribalstafftendedtothefishthroughoutthesummeruntilearlyOctober.FromahatcherytankertruckSokaogonandDepartmentofNaturalResourcesstafftransportedwalleyeogaafingerlingsfromthetribesfouroutdoorrearingpondstofreshwaterlakesinForestandLangladeCounty.Watertemperaturesinthetargetlakeshoveredinthelower-50sonreleasedayhelpingtoreducestressmortalityPreulsaid.ForcenturiesogaahavebeenanOjibwestaplefoodandinthe1900sbecameafavoriteamongstate-licensedanglers.Inrecentyearshabitatchangesspurredbydroughtinvasivespeciesshorelinedevelopmentandawarmingtrendonnorthernwatershastakenabiteoutofnaturalreproduction.TohelpjumpstartwalleyenumbersWWIcollaboratorsaredrawingfromthestates12milliondollarcommitmenttofundbasichatcheryoperatingcostsandinfrastructureimprovements.PreulsaidtheSokaogoncommunityisinstall-ingtwoone-acrepondsthatareexpectedtodoublethetribeswalleyeproductioncapacityin2015andbeyond.Weshouldbeabletocontribute40to45-thousandfingerlingsthisfallPreulsaidofthemulti-yearWWI.Sokaogonrepresentativesarealsoworkingwithlocalriparianpropertyownerstoenhancewalleyepopulationsonadditionallakescooperativeagreementswithlakeassociationsyieldthousandsmoreextendedgrowthfingerlingsforpublicfishingwaters.ItstakentimetobuildtheserelationshipsbutnowthingsaretakingoffPreulsaid.SokaogonfishhatcherygoesbigonogaaByCharlieOttoRasmussenStaffwriterTheextendedgrowthwalleyefngerlingsproducedbytheSokaogonBandaveragedaheartyseven-incheslong.Fisheriesmanagerslooktodoublefngerlingoutputin2015to40000ogaaforreleaseintopublicwatersinnortheastWisconsin.photobyMikePreulAswithanyfishfromcededter-ritorywatersnorthernpikefromMilleLacsdohavesomemercuryintheirtis-sues.Pikearepredatoryfishthatsitnearthetopofthefoodchainandtheycanthereforeaccumulateenoughmercurythatitlimitstheamountoffishthatcanbesafelyconsumed.ThegoodnewsisfishfromMilleLacstendtohavemercurylevelsthatarelowerthanmanyothercededterri-torylakes.GLIFWCtestedmercuryinnorth-ernpikefromMilleLacsin2013and2014.Thedatacollectedwasanalyzedtoseewhattheconsumptionadvicemightbe.Theresultsofthisanalysisindicatedthatchildrenunder15andwomenofchildbearingagelimittheirconsump-tionofnorthernpikefromMilleLacstotwo8-oz.mealspermonth.Men15andolderandwomenbeyond-child-bearingagecansafelyconsumeuptoeight8-oz.mealspermonth.Thisanalysiswasbasedona30-inchnorthernpike.Sincemercurylevelsarehigherinbiggerfishthenumberofsafemealspermonthisfewerifyouareeatingpikeover30inches.Alsorememberthatifyouareconsumingothertypesoffishsuchaswalleyethesafenumberofmealsofpikepermonthwillbereducedsinceallfishcontainmer-curyandthemealfrequencycategoriesabovearebasedonapersoneatingonlynorthernpikefromMilleLacs.HowmuchmercuryisinMilleLacsnorthernpikeBySaraMosesGLIFWCEnvironmentalBiologistOdanahWis.ThelakesintheMi-nocquaChaininOneidaCountyWisconsinMinocquaLakeKawaguesagaLakeandTomahawkLakehadstrongwalleyepop-ulationsthroughoutthe1990sandearly2000s.Unfortunatelypoorrecruitmenthascausedtheadultwalleyepopulationstodeclinetounhealthylevels.InresponsetothewalleyedeclinetheLacduFlambeauTribeandGLIFWCbiologistsareworkingwiththeWisconsinDepartmentofNaturalResourcesWDNRandtheHeadwatersChapterofWalleyesforTomorrowtode-velopaplantohelpthewalleyesrecover.Whilebiologistsdontknowwhatexactlyiscausingpoorrecruitmentthesurveyresultsareclearyoung-of-yearwalleyearenolongersurvivingtotheirfirstfallinadequatenumberstoreplenishtheadultwalleyepopulation.AlthoughthecauseofthepoorfallsurveycatchratesintheMinocquaChainisunknownbiologistsdoknowthatwalleyeneedavari-etyofgoodconditionstocreateastrongyear-classthroughnaturalreproduction.Firstanadequateadultpopulationneedstobepresenttoproduceenougheggsandmilt.Secondtherightmixofwatertemperaturesandoxygenlevelsneedtooccurduringtheeggincubationphaseforgoodhatchingsuccess.Thirdwalleyefryneedtohaveplanktonavailableforfoodoncetheirenergystoresaredepletedaboutthreedaysaftertheyhatch.Finallyasfrygrowintofinger-lingstheyneedappropriatesizeforagefishoftenyoung-of-yearyellowperchtobeavailableforadequategrowth.Duringallthesedevelopmentalphasesthetinywalleyesaresusceptibletocannibalismbyotherwalleyesorpredationbyotherfishspecies.Sinceitisunclearwhichpartoftheearly-lifestageislimitingforthewalleyeintheMinocquaChainWDNRtooksomeinitialgeneralstepstoprotectyoungwalleyeandbolstersomeyear-classes.Thewalleyeminimumlengthlimitforanglerswasraisedfrom15to18inchesin2012andtheminimumsizelimitwasremovedforbass.Stockingofextendedgrowthwalleyefingerlingsbeganin2012onTomahawkLakeand2013onMinocquaandKawaguesagaLakes.Thepartnersconsideredthesetobegoodstepstowardsbringingthewalleyepopulationsbackbutwantedtodomore.WalleyesforTomorrowworkedwithWDNRonplanstoextendcurrentspawninghabitatonMinocquaLakebyinstallingspawningreefsinwind-blownareasthatcurrentlydonothaveappropriatesubstrate.Finallytoprovidefurtherprotectionfortheremainingspawningpopulationsandtheyear-classesofstockedfishthatarecurrentlyinthesystemthegroupdraftedaplanforanoharvestperiodstartingin2015.Thenoharvestperiodwouldbeinplacefor3-5yearsuntiltheadultwalleyepopulationsreachthreeperacreonMinocquaandKawaguesagaLakesandtwoperacreonTomahawkLake.BiologistshopethatincreasedadultdensitieswillleadtothereturnofnaturalrecruitmentonMinocquaandKawaguesagaLakes.TheplanwasapprovedbytheVoigtIntertribalTaskForceonFebruary5andtheWDNRBoardwillconsiderinstitutinganemergencyruletochangetheanglingregulationforwalleyeonthechaintocatch-and-releaseonlypriortotheMay2opener.PartnerslooktorestoreMinocquaChainwalleyepopulationByMarkLuehringGLIFWCFisheriesBiologistMilleLacsSpring2015andbeyondContinuedfrompage1MarkLuehringphotobyButchMieloszykMovingforwardtribalandstateofficialshavecommittedtostopthedeclineofwalleyethroughveryconservativeharvestallocations.Fortheupcomingseasonfisheriesmanagershavesetthetotalallowablewalleyekillat40000poundsleav-ingamodest11400poundsforOjibwetribalmembers.SignificanttreatyharvestquotasremainavailableonMilleLacsLakefornorthernpike50000poundsandyellowperch135000pounds.TheMinnesota1837cededterritoryholdsotherwalleyeharvestopportunitieson74walleyelakesincludinganumberwaterbodiesgreaterthan1000-acreswherelimitedgillnettingispermitted.FishingopportunitiesinWisconsinandUpperMichiganSafeharvestlevelsforwalleyeandmuskellungeinWisconsins1837and1842cededterritorywatersareslightlyhigherthanlastyear.Tribaldeclarationsforthesespecieshoweverhavenotbeenfinalizedasofpresstime.InMichigantribaldecisionsregardingavailableharvestopportunitiesin1842cededterritorywatersarepending.Treatyspearfisherstypicallyharvestaround32000walleyeannuallyfromWisconsinwatersand4000ogaafromthe1842TreatylakesofwesternUpperMichigan.FordetailsaboutthespringwalleyeandmuskellungeseasoncontactyourtribesVoigtIntertribalTaskForceRepresentativeorcalltheGLIFWCInlandFisheriesOfficeat715.682.6619afterMarch15.