Category Archives: News

A Letter from Captain Kevin Ellman

Captain Kevin Ellman with kids from WFT kid's education program

Dear Walleye for Tomorrow members:

On July 15, 2023, Oconto Wisconsin hosted a local fishing tournament named Escape Realty Walleye Invitational.  This tournament also includes a Youth/Family Education Moment which was a collaboration between myself Captain Kevin Ellman and my son Captain Jason Ellman – owner of Northern Water Excursions.   I conducted a session in which I shared and demonstrated boat and water safety, education on invasive species along with some fishing tips and insights to our young participants.  This year we had 24 children engaged in our presentation and I have included a number of pictures to share the success of our day!

Due to the generosity of our sponsors like Walleyes for Tomorrow, we were able to both educate and provide fishing poles to a very excited and engaged group of young anglers!

I wanted to take a moment and thank the Walleyes for Tomorrow organization not only for providing outstanding products but also for their ongoing investment in our children and our future anglers of tomorrow.  Your donations and sponsorship over the years have made a difference in the communities we live and fish in!

 It is my intent to continue to bring the joy of fishing to our young anglers in the upcoming years and am hopeful that the Walleyes for Tomorrow organization will continue to support and contribute items to share in recognition of our commitment to our fishing future! 

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Captain Kevin Ellman

Fishing Platforms

This is a fishing platform the Winnebagoland Conservation Alliance started installing in Lakeside Park in FDL about 10 years ago.  It has been copied in several locations around the state with good results and use.  This one is on Big Green Lake.  Just installed a week ago or so.

Upper Fox River Walleye Sonic Tagging Study is Underway!

A new walleye sonic tagging study is underway on the upper Fox River to evaluate adult walleye movement and habitat use on the system including Lake Puckaway and Buffalo Lake. The upper Fox River walleye spawning run has become less predictable in recent years. Fishways have also been installed to improve fish passage including at Eureka in 1993 and more recently in Princeton and Montello. Many of the historical walleye spawning marshes are located downstream of Princeton on the upper Fox River, but walleye should now have access to upstream reaches with the recent Princeton and Montello fishways. Therefore, it is important to evaluate if walleye movement and habitat use has changed on the upper Fox River. The study will help guide management and habitat restoration efforts on the on the upper Fox River and will also compliment sonic tagging studies being conducted on the Lake Winnebago System.

Department staff and volunteers conducted electrofishing surveys on Lake Puckaway and the upstream river area on October 13th and 26th. There were 16 adult walleye tagged with internal sonic tags on Lake Puckaway that included 8 males ranging 14.7-19.0 inches and 8 females ranging 20.5-25.4 inches. As part of this study, the upper Fox River acoustic receiver network now covers from the mouth of the upper Fox River at Lake Butte des Morts upstream to Portage. Sonic tagged fish that swim by the acoustic receivers (about a ¼ mile read range or line of sight) will be detected with a fish ID, date, and time stamp. Sonic tagging efforts are planned to continue on the upper Fox River area in 2023. This study is currently being funded by the Department, the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, and Walleyes for Tomorrow. We hope to expand the project with more partners as the project continues.

All sonic tagged fish are also marked with an orange loop tag near the dorsal fin that reads, RESEARCH REWARD. Anglers that happen to catch a sonic tagged fish are asked to record the tag number information and approximate length, take a picture with the fish and close up of the both sides of loop tag showing the number, and report their catch. If the fish is released please leave the loop tag intact. If the fish is harvested please contact the DNR, the internal sonic tags have a 3 year battery life and may be able to be reused. Anglers that report the catch or harvest of a loop tagged fish and have proper confirmation (the physical loop tag or picture with fish and verifiable loop tag number) will receive a $100 reward (reward expires Dec. 31, 2025). To report tags and catch information, anglers can email the information to, call 920-303-5429, or mail to the Oshkosh DNR office (625 East County Road Y, Oshkosh WI 54901).

Green Bay Value Study

This is the study WFT paid for in 2018 to document the value of Sport Fishing on Green Bay.  We did this in anticipation of the commercial fishing growth in Green Bay.

WFT representatives attended 2 meetings, one in Sturgeon Bay and one in Green Bay in 2018.  Both meetings disturbed us greatly, thus the study.

The DNR has never really referenced the study. Meredith Penthorn at DNR and she said she would post it on the DNR website to make it a public document.

In an effort to better understand angling in the Bay of Green Bay watershed and how this identity impacts the state economy, the authors worked with Walleyes for Tomorrow and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Since the WDNR continually examines the catch of anglers through a long-standing creel survey design that is used to estimate fishing pressure and success, the data collection effort for this study piggy-backed upon this creel survey design by distributing a survey packet to recreational anglers intercepted at boat launches and shore fishing areas.

The Sauger Project – WFT

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DNR seeks input on Winnebago Walleye Management Plan

We wanted to bring it to your attention that the Department will be holding public meetings regarding the Winnebago Walleye Management Plan.  The plan originated in 1991 and we having been working to update the plan over the last few years.  There were four public meetings held in 2010 to provide a Winnebago walleye population status update and solicit comments from the public regarding current issues.

The comments received from the 2010 meetings were used to help guide updating the plan.  In addition, several meetings were held with the Winnebago Fisheries Advisory Council and they were directly involved with updating the plan since 2013.

The Department will be holding 3 public meetings to now seek further public input regarding the updated Winnebago Walleye Management Plan (attached).  Please see the press release below for more information on meeting dates and locations.  I hope to see you there.

DNR seeks input on Winnebago Walleye Management Plan

By Northeast Region March 12, 2018

Contact(s): Adam Nickel, DNR fisheries biologist, 920-424-3059; Ed Culhane, DNR communications, 715-781-1683

OSHKOSH, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled three public meetings on a proposed update to the Winnebago Walleye Management Plan. The meetings will also offer the public an update on the status of the Winnebago System walleye population.

Each meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with the first occurring Monday, March 19, at the JP Coughlin Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh. The second public meeting is set for Wednesday, March 21, at the Engler Center for the Performing Arts, 530 W. Main St., Chilton, and the third is set for Wednesday, March 28, at the Mosquito Hill Nature Center, N3880 Rogers Road, New London.

The Winnebago system is well known both for its healthy, self-sustaining walleye population and the decades-long history of public input in support of fisheries management. This is the first major update to the plan since it originated in 1991. Winnebago System waters include lakes Poygan, Winneconne, Butte des Morts and Winnebago and all their tributaries, including the Wolf and upper Fox rivers, from their mouths upstream to the first dam.

We are committed to service excellence.

Visit our survey at to evaluate how I did.


Adam D. Nickel

Senior Fisheries Biologist – Bureau of Fisheries Management

Winnebago System Gamefish Biologist

Calumet and eastern Outagamie Counties

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

625 E County Road Y, Suite 700

Oshkosh, WI 54901

Phone: (920) 424-3059

Fax: (920) 424-4404

Walleye Movement in the Winnebago System (2011-2013)

I attended the Berlin chapter meeting last night and had some interesting conversation. Today I called Adam Nickle our Fisheries Biologist. The attached PDF document is a report on a walleye tracking study DNR conducted with WFT funding. WFT purchased the sonic tags. Much of the Berlin conversation centered around lack of walleye using the Fox River as a spawning area.

As you can see from the text, the Winnebago System has 35 listening devices installed. These are used to track sturgeon primarily but are also used to track walleye, flathead catfish and musky. The System is so large and dynamic that this system has been very beneficial to understand how important fish species move around on an annual basis.

Walleye Movement in the Winnebago System (2011-2013)



DNR seeks public input to develop whitefish rule

whitefishWhitefish Rule Development Meeting

Meeting set for May 12 at Door County Government Building

DNR seeks public input to develop whitefish rule

Wisconsin DNR is in the process of developing a specific rule to better protect spawning whitefish in northern Lake Michigan and to potentially modify commercial fishing zone whitefish allocation or zone structure to better reflect current whitefish abundance and distribution.

The goal of the meeting is to discuss potential changes and gather informal feedback prior to drafting a specific rule change proposal. There will be future formal public involvement opportunities during the official rule change process. The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Peninsula Room of the Door County Government Building.

Meeting location, schedule and contact information

Date:   Thursday, May 12, 2016

Time:   6:30 p.m.

Place:  Door County Government Building, 421 Nebraska St. Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. Peninsula Room is near the 4th Avenue building entrance

Contact: David Boyarski, northern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, 920-746-2865,