TOWN OF GREEN BAY - The waters of Green Bay near Bay Shore County Park were rough Wednesday morning; but the walleye fishing was anything but.
"This is where the fish are, there's lot of fish out here," said Will Van Abel of Holland.
Van Abel says it took him and his fishing partner about two hours to reach their 10 fish limit for the day.
Van Abel, 27, says walleye fishing has been good for as long as he can remember; and Governor Walker is looking to improve it, with help from the Wisconsin taxpayer.
The governor's office revealed its plan to increase the state's walleye population Wednesday.
The plan would cost nearly $13 million; $10 million to expand and run state hatcheries, $2 million in grants for private hatcheries, $500,000 a year to buy walleye fingerlings and $250,000 a year to expand the summer Tribal Youth Program. There would also be a one-time doling out of $160,000 for UW Extension water testing programs.
The governor's office says the plan's goal is to boost the walleye population by more than 500,000 annually by 2016.
"Part of the reason none of us produce a lot of these fish now is because they're expensive to produce," said Mike Staggs in a phone interview with FOX 11. Staggs is director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource's Bureau of Fisheries Management.
The goal, Staggs says, is to increase the stocking numbers of large fingerling – or 6-8 inch walleyes, less than one-year-old.
"It can really move the needle in terms of the number of fish that anglers will see out there, and potentially reduce the pressure on some of the lakes in the northern part of the state, (and) reduce some of the concerns that people have with tribal harvesting, also," said Staggs.
But the initiative isn't a done deal – it still needs to be approved. The finance committee plans to vote on the plan in the coming days. The DNR says if approved and included in the budget, the project will start in 2014.
Staggs says, once that happens, anglers might not see population gains for about five years.
Walleye fishermen at Bay Shore County Park say the effort by the state is good, especially when it comes to tourism dollars.
"Walleye fishing's pretty big in the state of Wisconsin – I mean, all you have to do is come here on the weekend and see how big it is," said Brad Plamann of Seymour.
As far as how much money comes in to the Green Bay region from fishing-related tourism, the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau says that's difficult to track.
CVB President and CEO Brad Toll tells FOX 11 while fishing dollars aren't tracked, visitors spent nearly $100 million on recreational spending – which includes fishing – last year.
And one big walleye tournament is the horizon; Green Bay will host Cabela's 13th National Team Championship next spring.
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