“The Winnebago System experienced weak walleye year classes in 2014 and
2015, strong year classes from 2008, 2011, and 2013 continue to fuel a robust walleye fishery.
In addition, the strong 2016 year class will provide another boost in the fishery 2-3 years from
now. Favorable growing conditions (extended growing season and abundant forage) also
resulted in good growth of fish from the 2016 year class (average October length of 6.9”),
compared to 5.8” in 2015 and 5.4” in 2014. Anglers can expect to see males from the 2016 year
class make their first spawning run in 2019 while females will spawn for the first time in 2020-
2022. For 2017, the 2013 year class should provide anglers with some quality sized fish (14-17
inches) with some larger fish from the 2011 and 2008 year classes mixed in as well.
Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the walleye bite progresses in 2017 considering
the strong hatches of several forage fish species in 2016, including gizzard shad. There will
likely be some plump walleye to be had in 2017, but anglers may need to expend some extra
effort to convince them to bite.”
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