Walleye Protected in Select Alabama Waters
Effective November 17, 2011 it is illegal to take or attempt to take walleye from certain Alabama waters including: Sweetwater Lake in the Talladega National Forest in Cleburne County, White Plains Lake (also known as Whitesides Mill Lake) in Calhoun County, the reach of Shoal Creek upstream from White Plains Lake in Calhoun and Cleburne counties, Lake Mitchell on the Coosa River between Mitchell and Lay dams, Walnut Creek in Chilton County, and Hatchet and Weogufka Creeks in Coosa County.
Any walleye caught in these lakes or streams should be immediately released, with the least possible harm to the fish, into the waters from which they were taken.
Although never plentiful in Alabama waters, walleye have suffered a sharp population decline in the last two decades. This is likely due to the loss and degradation of its spawning habitats in Alabama’s tributary streams. Walleye populations native to the Mobile River Basin are considered to be genetically distinct from walleye native to other regions of North America.
In 2010, a cooperative agreement was made between the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve and restore native walleye populations within the Mobile River Basin.
According to ADCNR fisheries biologists, the walleye population in Lake Mitchell and its tributaries is the last significant population of native walleye in the Coosa River reach of the basin. These remaining walleye are critically needed as fish hatchery brood stock for rearing walleye fingerlings for ongoing and future restoration efforts.
As additional native walleye fingerlings from hatchery spawning become available, multi-year stockings are planned in Sweetwater Lake and White Plains Lake to establish additional brood stock populations for future conservation and restoration purposes. If long-term efforts to conserve and restore native walleye populations within the Mobile River Basin are successful, the restrictions on the harvest of walleye in these locations will be lifted in the future.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.
Photo: Walleye populations native to the Mobile River Basin are considered to be genetically distinct from walleye native to other regions of North America.