Lake Elizabeth in Twin Lakes is a sentinel lake in the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, those attending the Twin Lakes Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District meeting on Saturday learned.
As a result, the lake could see a huge increase in stocking of large walleye fingerlings starting in 2015, said Luke S. Roffler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources senior fisheries biologist for Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties.
For example in 2011, the last time large fingerlings were stocked in Lake Elizabeth, about 1,300 were added. For 2015, some 14,500 large walleye fingerlings are proposed to be added to Lake Elizabeth.
“That’s a huge stocking,” Roffler said.
Large fingerlings are young fish that are at least 6 inches long. Fish this size have a greater chance of survival, Roffler said.
Though it is not a sentinel lake, Lake Mary is also slated to receive over 3,000 large fingerlings in 2015.
The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative represents a significant investment into state and private production of large fingerling walleye, Roffler explained. The goal is to bolster walleye populations throughout the state through stocking of more and larger fish and enhance Wisconsin’s reputation as a walleye fishing destination.
As a sentinel lake, Lake Elizabeth will receive higher priority for stocking and its walleye population will be studied more by the DNR, Roffler said.
In answer to a question from the audience, Roffler said he did feel that Lake Elizabeth had potential as a lake where walleye will not only thrive but also reproduce.
“This is how we will know where are walleye lakes really are,” Roffler said.
Roffler had two other recommendations for Lakes Mary and Elizabeth besides taking advantage of the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative:
- Focus on increasing bass size structure — DNR surveys of the lakes showed good catch rates for largemouth bass, but a small size structure.
- Improve pike population as predatory control — Northerns are especially good at keeping the small panfish and small largemouth populations in check, thus increasing the size of the survivors.