Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Date of this Version



Koupal KD, Katt JD, Schoenebeck CW, Eifert BE. 2015. Sex-specific changes in walleye abundance, size structure and harvest following implementation of regulation to protect broodstock. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 6(2):448–455; e1944-687X. doi: 10.3996/102014-JFWM-074


The popularity of walleye Sander vitreus fishing has resulted in the development of specialized regulations that are designed to protect these fisheries. In the case of Sherman Reservoir, Sherman County, Nebraska, the walleye population provides a sportfishing opportunity and serves as broodstock for the state. In 2009, for the primary purpose of protecting female broodstock, the regulation changed from a harvest limit of four walleye with 457-mm minimum length to allowing a reduced harvest limit of two walleye within a harvest slot (381–508 mm) and one walleye more than 711 mm. This study examined existing data sets to assess the percentage of spawning walleye protected with each regulation, sex-specific differences in relative abundance and size structure during broodstock collection and angler effort, total catch, and harvest of walleye. The new regulation has increased protection of female walleye by more than 90%, but decreased protection of male walleye by more than 60%. The relative abundance of female walleye caught per net during broodstock collection has more than doubled since the regulation was changed, but the size structure of female walleye collected during broodstock operations was similar. Correspondingly, the relative abundance of male walleye has declined since changing the regulation, but size structure remained similar. Effort and total catch of walleye by anglers were similar before and after the regulation was enacted, but harvest has increased by 130%. This regulation appears to protect female broodstock walleye, but it makes male walleye more vulnerable to angler harvest.