Fisheries

Bag Limits | Stocking | Crappie Survey | Fisheries Report | Electrofishing

Pan Fish & Walleye Bag Limits

Pan Fish
The daily panfish bag limit for the Pike Lake Chain (PLC) is:  25 panfish (bluegill, pumpkinseed, sunfish, crappie and yellow perch) may be kept, but only 10 of any one species.  These regulations are PLC specific.  Please refer to Wisconsin Fishing Regulations 2023-2024 for total daily bag limits and total possession limits for the entire state.

Walleye
The walleye bag limit for 2023 season (April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024).  Only 3 walleye from 15″ but less than 20″ may be kept, except one fish may be over 24″.  That is the daily total for all 4 lakes combined.  These regulations are PLC specific.  Please refer to Wisconsin Fishing Regulations 2023-2024 for total daily bag limits and total possession limits for the entire state.

2017 Black Crappie Survey

As reported by Jeff Scheirer (Fisheries Biologist) WDNR:  Fyke nets set for black crappies in Oct 2017 showed a strong year class growing toward the sizes that anglers like to catch and eat.  Right now we’re estimating their ages from ear bones extracted from a sample 9 – 11 inches long.  Unless these crappies are very old, panfish anglers should enjoy good fishing for crappie 10 inches and longer in the next several years.

Electrofishing

Despite the pandemic, fall electrofishing surveys were performed on Pike Lake by the Wisconsin DNR and on Round Lake by the Forest Service Team.  Reports will be posted as soon as they are received.

Stocking

Musky Stocking
Fall 2015, 400+ musky fingerlings were released in the PLC.  Stocking will continue every 2 years at a ratio of 1 fish for every 4 acres per lake.  2015 numbers released were: 182 – Round Lake, 201 – Pike Lake and 37 – Turner, 0 – Amik Lake, 0 – Tucker Lake

Fall 2017, 11″ Large Fingerlings were released in the PLC. 37 – Round Lake, 37 – Pike Lake and 8 – Turner, 0 – Amik Lake, 0 – Tucker Lake.  See Gallery for pictures.

Walleye Stocking (updated May 2024)
PLCLA STOCK OUR LAKES!
This has been a familiar refrain as fishing on the chain has not been like in years gone by. For years I have wondered why our lake association seemed to be sitting on the sidelines. However, our board approached the WDNR and we were informed that the WDNR was not willing to
consider stocking our walleye in our chain until their three-year walleye study was complete. Muskie is also in the midst of a study.


From the WDNR:
With regard to stocking walleyes, our annual fall electrofishing surveys in Pike and Round lakes have been serving as a “control” measure of how recruitment varies from year to year in lakes where natural reproduction alone supplies new recruits to the walleye population.  This role as “control lakes” is important in the ongoing evaluation of walleye stocking under the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative.  As I understand, stocking and data collection for that large-scale  evaluation are scheduled to be completed in 2026, after which we should have more flexibility to consider stocking walleyes produced in private fish farms or in DNR’s hatchery system.  Recently, genetic analysis revealed that the former Mississippi Headwaters strain of walleye can be subdivided into several component strains, so now the optimal strain for the Pike Lake Chain would be the Chippewa strain.  Under our interim stocking guidance, we can permit substituting the Upper Wisconsin strain of walleye, but the Chippewa strain is preferred in waters of the Upper Chippewa Basin.  Keep in mind that a walleye population and fishery that are sustained by natural recruitment without is the ideal situation.
 
About ten years ago we adjusted the musky stocking rate from 0.5 to 0.25 large fingerlings per acre in most of the waters that our team manages.  We have some evidence that natural reproduction is adding
some unknown contribution to the Pike Chain’s musky population, based on the fingerlings we encounter by chance in our fall walleye recruitment surveys.  Stocking at 0.25 large fingerlings/acre is intended to supplement the unquantified natural recruitment to the musky population.  We have no recent estimate of adult musky density in the Pike Chain, but we hope to obtain that information in the next spring netting surveys scheduled in 2025-2026.  If the combination of stocking and natural reproduction is not attaining the desired 0.2 – 0.3 adults per acre, we’ll reevaluate the current stocking strategy.  At this time, I don’t believe that stocking more frequently than every two years would be necessary or worthwhile.  Potentially, the lake association could request and obtain permit approval to purchase and stock large fingerling muskies (Chippewa strain) in even-numbered years to make up any remaining balance, if production shortfalls at DNR’s hatcheries prevent us from stocking the numbers and lakes planned in odd-numbered years.
 
– David Ebert
PLCLA Fisheries lead

Pike Lake Chain Fisheries Report

The DNR set fyke nets on Opening Day of fishing this year to complete scheduled surveys, later than normal due to ice out time.  They also did the recapture sample by electro-fishing on the following Monday and Wednesday, which will yield current year estimates of adult Walleyes in all four lakes to compare with the goal that is set in the Fishery Management Plan.  A very large Sturgeon was also caught and released in one of the fyke nets.

There will be a DNR creel clerk on our chain from May until October and also from Dec. 1st (or when ice forms) until the end of game fish season.  The primary mission is to count fishing outings and is done twice each shift.  They will not be stopping at every boat that is fishing to conduct interviews.

Tribal members took the following Walleye and Musky numbers from our chain this Spring :

Pike Lake:  133 of 216 allotted and 1 of 7 Musky

Round Lake:  300 of 301 allotted and 1 of 7 Musky

Amik & Turner Lakes:  None