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Miss. River walleye rules still in effect

April 14, 2009 at 02:38 PM

MANCHESTER, Iowa – Walleye anglers have been taking part in an experimental regulation over the past five years with a goal of reducing the high mortality rate of walleye and sauger caught on the Mississippi River during the winter.

The special regulation partially closed winter tail water fishing at three lock and dams and placed a 20-27 inch release slot limit on walleyes from Dubuque south to the Missouri border. This slot limit regulation is intended to keep the egg laying adult walleyes in the population.

Walleye and sauger are popular among Iowa anglers and these fish have been a priority for Iowa DNR creel clerks who collect harvest, size and age data after anglers complete daily fishing trips.

“Our angling public has been more than cooperative during this study. It is their cooperation that provided the quality data that will give us clear guidance as we examine the effectiveness of the experimental regulation,” said Karen Osterkamp, fisheries supervisor for northeast Iowa. “Our goal is to provide the highest quality walleye and sauger fishing on the Mississippi River.”

Although the experimental regulation has expired in Wisconsin waters of the Mississippi River, the rules are still in effect in Iowa waters until the results of a complete five-year span are analyzed this May. Iowa DNR fisheries will then coordinate with Wisconsin and Illinois fisheries biologists and present the results and recommendations at public meetings.

Iowa DNR fisheries researchers are looking at the data to determine whether there has been an improvement in size structure and catch rates of sauger and walleye in the special regulation areas. The data will dictate if the regulation is continued, expanded or changed.

“We do not want to have regulations that are not improving the fishery, so the data will be important in deciding the future of this special walleye sauger regulation, or if it would be applied to any other pools,” Osterkamp said.

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