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Walleyes Fro Tomorrow Chat 3/21/01

Chatman  - Ladies and Gentlemen, Please welcome Jim Coon of Walleyes For Tomorrow!!!

Driftr - Welcome Jim Coon - WFT !!!!!

Driftr - clap clap clap

SUPERTROLLER - clap clap clap

Jim Coon - WFT - Hello to everyone

Dunn - Hello Jim, clap clap clap

#1 saugeye - welcome Jim

Chatman - Well Jim, let's start with a little background on WFT...

Swat1 - So tell me Jim What is Walleye for Tomorrow and what do you do?

Jim Coon - WFT - WFT is a fund raising group

Jim Coon - WFT - We raise money to improve habitat, production of Walleyes and Saugers

spampy - Good cause!

Jim Coon - WFT - We have 10 Wisconsin chapters, and 1 Michigan chapter.

Swat1 - Thanks

Swat1 - Where are you located?

walleyeguy - Do you have a chapter in Sturgeon Bay?

Jim Coon - WFT - This is our 10th year.....

Jim Coon - WFT - We do not have a chapter in Sturgeon Bay

Chatman - Your organization runs not only as a fund raiser but like a club as well.....correct?

Jim Coon - WFT - Fond du Lac, WI is basically the home office

Dunn - Where is your Michigan Chapter located?

Jim Coon - WFT - With chapters in Appleton, East Shore, Fox River (Berlin),  -

Green Bay, Green Lake, Manitowoc, New London, Oshkosh, Washington Co., and Muskegon Michigan.

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes Chatman - we run like a club as well.

Chatman - How did the idea for WFT come about, and who were the people that started it up?

Jim Coon - WFT - WFT started over a beer at a tavern in Fond du Lac, WI because of decreased #s of Walleye in Lake ....

Jim Coon - WFT - There were 3 people who wanted to do something besides complain about the problem, so they decided to start Walleyes For Tomorrow.

Jim Coon - WFT - The first banquet was in 1991. 450 people attended, and $18,000 was raised.

Swat1 - Sounds like a good thing Jim.

#1 saugeye - What do you do for fund raising?

Jim Coon - WFT - All money raised goes to conservation projects.

Jim Coon - WFT - For fund raising, each chapter has an annual banquet, which is the main fund raiser for the chapter

Dan(oh) - What are some of your top areas to receive the money?

Jim Coon - WFT - We have spent over $700,000 on projects, which is basically what we have made.

Jim Coon - WFT - Are you looking for specific projects?

SUPERTROLLER - Does all local money stay in that chapter, for local projects ?

Dan(oh) - No, like is it stocking? Working with EPA?

Jim Coon - WFT - All funds stay on the basin or body of water closest to the chapter.


Chatman - Do you work closely with state agencies as to what projects you undertake?

Jim Coon - WFT - We have 5 portable hatcheries. We have raised somewhere between 9 and 11 million fry, of which only about 2% survive. But this is 2% more than we would have otherwise.

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes, everything must be approved through the DNR. In fact, most projects were dreams of the DNR biologists.

Dan(oh) - What state do you work out of?

Jim Coon - WFT - Another big project is the reefs we built on lake Winnebago, in conjunction with other clubs and organizations. With a total of 88 reefs!

Jim Coon - WFT - We work in Wisconsin and Michigan at this time, as this is where our chapters are.

Chatman - You mentioned a 2% survival rate with the portable hatcheries, is this in line with DNR hatchery numbers?

Dunn - Jim, Are you working with Operation Walleye at the Michigan and Wisconsin Tournaments?

SUPERTROLLER - Are the projects jointly funded or self supported by you with no state money ?

Jim Coon - WFT - DNR does not release fry. They raise fingerlings which have better survival rates, but are very expensive to do.

Jim Coon - WFT - No, we are not working with Operation Walleye

Dunn - Jim, all right.

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes - we have done some joint projects.


Dan(oh) - Does the cost outweigh more walleyes survival?

harley mi - That's why they (DNR) don't do it enough....

Chatman - Do you mean with the hatchery process Dan?

Jim Coon - WFT - Dan - Yes, but being voluntary, we do not have the funds nor manpower to raise fingerlings. But, we are working in that direction.

harley mi - They (DNR) plant more salmon and trout.

Jim Coon - WFT - To date, most of our projects have been on habitat improvement, such as Eureka dam, and Wolf and Fox River marshes.

jammin - Jim, are those the reefs on the hot spots maps?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes - other than the most recent ones.

Jim Coon - WFT - If someone wants a list of the reefs, you can e-mail me at tfm@vbe.com.

Jim Coon - WFT - If anyone interested in starting a chapter, you can contact me. We are always looking to start new chapters, and I will help anyone get started.

Jim Coon - WFT - Did we miss any questions?

SUPERTROLLER - Jim, do you limit how close together chapters are located ?

Chatman - That brings up a good point Jim, if a guy wanted to look into improving some issues on his "home" water, a walleyes For Tomorrow chapter may be a good idea...

Jim Coon - WFT - There is no limit for chapter closeness, as long as it's a profitable operation. For example, we have chapters in Appleton, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac.

harley mi - Here in northern Michigan our walleye club has been paying to have fingerlings put in Mullet and Burt lakes............

Dunn - Have you looked at basing a Chapter for Saginaw Bay?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes Chatman- a walleye chapter would be a good idea.

jammin - Is that getting started in stocking!

Jim Coon - WFT - Because of logistics, we have not looked at Saginaw Bay, but would be interested if someone approached us.............

SUPERTROLLER - Thank you for volunteering Dunn!!!!


Jim Coon - WFT - That may be your best avenue in some situations, we would agree.

Chatman - How many people, typically does it take to run a successful chapter?

Jim Coon - WFT - Generally it takes anywhere from 3 to 14 people.........

Jim Coon - WFT - It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well

SUPERTROLLER - Jim, do you staff the hatchery operations ?

Jim Coon - WFT - It's all volunteer staffing....


Jim Coon - WFT - Some of our successful sites for the Walleye wagons (hatcheries) are Lake Kegonsa in Madison, Yahara River Madison, Fox River at Lake Puckaway, Wisconsin River at Lake Delton........

SUPERTROLLER - What types of things do you do for fundraising ?

Jim Coon - WFT - Banquets, pre raffle events, board raffles, walk around raffles, silent auctions, penny raffles, card games, etc. (all at the banquet)

Jim Coon - WFT - We are a non-profit organization filed with the states of Michigan and Wisconsin, and we have a raffle license that allows us to do this for fundraising.

SUPERTROLLER - Is it better to work in conjunction with local sportsman's clubs or do you like to remain separate?

Jim Coon - WFT - If you would like to see pictures of these, a list of projects, etc., you can check out www.walleyesfortomorrow.com 

Jim Coon - WFT - We like to work in conjunction with local sportsman's clubs to help with funding and staffing of projects.

Chatman - Jim, Supertroller's ideas brings a question to my mind, can an existing club, become a WFT chapter???


Jim Coon - WFT - Sure

jammin - You have portable hatcheries. Do you deal with other local hatcheries?

SUPERTROLLER - That's more what I was asking Chatman..........

Jim Coon - WFT - They may have to keep the bookkeeping separate, for non-profit reasons.

Chatman - What does it entail to become a chapter??

Jim Coon - WFT - We have not worked with other hatcheries

Jim Coon - WFT - To become a chapter, just contact myself or one of the board members, and we'll get together and discuss it.

jammin - So, you have your own hatchery?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes jammin, we have our own portable hatcheries, built on utility trailers, so that we can move them to where they are needed most.

Jim Coon - WFT - All we need at the selected site is electricity.

SUPERTROLLER - How long does that hatchery need to stay there?

Jim Coon - WFT - Our best success with the hatcheries, has been with areas of flowing water, such as a stream leading to a lake or river system.

jammin - Great idea!

#1 saugeye - Jim does Walleyes For Tomorrow have to buy the eggs?

Jim Coon - WFT - It takes about 45 days, allowing the eggs to go from fertilization, to hatch and float into the water.


Jim Coon - WFT - No, we do not purchase the eggs. We work with the DNR to help collect them, or they give them to us for this purpose.

Chatman - That's pretty good, it saves them (The DNR) the manpower and funds to raise these fish...

SUPERTROLLER - Do you use eggs from that system ?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes, that's the idea Chatman.

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes


Jim Coon - WFT - That's required of us by the DNR.

SUPERTROLLER - That makes better sense..........

Jim Coon - WFT - That's one of the nice things about the portable hatcheries, they allow us to keep the same strain of fish in the original body of water..........

Chatman - I am told by the Illinois DNR that genetically imprinted eggs from the system, where the release takes place, makes a big difference in survival rates..

#1 saugeye - Only walleye eggs?

Jim Coon - WFT - Chatman, we are working with the IL DNR to get some information for the Sauger project we are doing on lake Winnebago.

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes - we are only doing Walleye eggs, but the hatcheries could be utilized for other species as well.

jammin - How critical is water temperature for a successful egg hatch?

Chatman - Has Walleyes For Tomorrow been involved with the Sauger revitalization efforts on Bago?

Jim Coon - WFT - We recently built a Sauger reef at the north end of Lake  -

Winnebago, near High Cliff State Park. This reef is 1000 feet long.

Jim Coon - WFT - Jammin, if the water temp is not right, the eggs will not hatch.

SUPERTROLLER - Why plant sauger instead of walleye ?

Jim Coon - WFT - WFT is very involved in the Sauger revitalization. We will be joined by the Otter Street Fishing Club, for this effort.

Dan(oh) - Are these lakes over fished? Or is there not enough food?

Jim Coon - WFT - In the past, there was a good sauger population in Lake Winnebago. We feel habitat changes have affected the hatch, and we would like to reverse this.

Jim Coon - WFT - I don't feel that the lakes are over fished, and there is plenty of feed. Habitat change and competition with a large population of walleyes has added up to a smaller population of sauger.

Chatman - Is this being set up to be a long term solution, Jim?

SUPERTROLLER - It seems like, if the habitat won't support them you're wasting effort on a lost cause.

Jim Coon - WFT - We intend to work on the habitat to reverse these changes. And yes, it is a long term solution.

jammin - Are these eggs already fertilized?

Driftr - What special conditions do sauger need?

Jim Coon - WFT - We found the sauger's natural spawning grounds are silted over. We feel that by reversing this, we can impact the population.

Jim Coon - WFT - The 1,000 foot reef by High Cliff is our first effort at trying to reverse this.

SUPERTROLLER - Won't that also improve spawning of walleyes?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes - that will improve the walleye spawning and bass spawning.

Chatman - Is the theory that, the reefs will remain silt free, rather than silting over like bedrock?

SUPERTROLLER - Thus, more walleye to crowd out sauger?

Jim Coon - WFT - The theory is that the reefs are taller and will take longer to silt over.

Jim Coon - WFT - Supertroller - the Walleye and Sauger spawn at different times.

SUPERTROLLER - Yes, but the walleye grow faster and out compete them.

Jim Coon - WFT - Other projects like the Eureka Dam were once looked at as being not feasible because of the cost, but has since proven to be very valuable in years that we have the water to produce fry.

Chatman - The DNR has obviously concluded this effort is worth merit though, am I correct Jim?

Jim Coon - WFT - It was proven at one time that most of the fish that went over the dam were ground up before they ever got out of the dam.

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes, you are correct Chatman.

SUPERTROLLER - Did you build fish ladder there?

Jim Coon - WFT - Actually, the DNR is looking at doing another one, depending on the success of this project.

Chatman - How have they projected Supertrollers scenario isn't a possible reality? Can Winnebago support a dual population as it once did?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes - we built a fish ladder, and added a log diverter

rainy - Don't give up, it will work!

Jim Coon - WFT - We have a food supply that is unlike anything that was ever in the system before. (more than there ever was)

rainy - What is the food supply?

Chatman - I agree there, but will the increased predator base merely keep the bait in check? Or is there a plan when to stop as not to deplete the forage base?

Jim Coon - WFT - Mother nature has taken care of this through the years.

Jim Coon - WFT - Food supply is gizzard shad, trout perch, grounder minnows, white bass, and sheep head.

Chatman - Small sheep head?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes, young of the year make up most of the diet of walleye and sauger.

Chatman - The more sheep head the 'eyes eat (and baby white bass) the better.....

Jim Coon - WFT - Sheep head and While Bass are not their preferred food, but they have used them heavily.

saugeye king - Last year the saugeye made a big run from Lockington Dam to Lake Lormie Dam this year they seem scarce, why I wonder.

Chatman - What state, Saugeye King?

Jim Coon - WFT - No idea, can anyone else help on this question?

saugeye king - Ohio.

Chatman - Has your Nat Resources dept. got an answer??

saugeye king - Not enough rain, is what I heard.

Chatman - Yearly fluctuations in population are normal, could it just be cruddy weather?

saugeye king - True.

Jim Coon - WFT - Any other questions, or any I missed?

Chatman - Then they may not run as well......same with salmon and such...same with the eyes on the Wolf River...if the water levels are low.....

saugeye king - What's the best way to get a Rapala unstuck from your hand?

Chatman - During high water years when the marsh grass floods and stays high long enough for walleye eggs to hatch are almost always better years, correct?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes, that's exactly what it takes to pull off a good hatch on the Lake Winnebago watershed!

saugeye king - A walleye pro told me bolt cutters....lol....

Chatman - Don't get the Rapala there in the first place I suspect......

Driftr - Better places to hide?

saugeye king - lol

Chatman - More places to spawn, better cover from egg and fry predation?

Jim Coon - WFT - On our system, the marsh grass, with flowing water over it, are ideal conditions to keep eggs oxygenated. And, the flowing water carries the fry back into the system. There they can find zoo plankton and other food to eat.

Chatman - The marsh areas are protected during part of the spring, is that  -

correct Jim?

Jim Coon - WFT - Some of our projects have improved water flow through some of the marshes on the Fox and Wolf Rivers.

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes - the marshes are protected in the spring and are posted by the DNR - keep out. And probably patrolled.

saugeye king - Mr. Coon, have you heard how the walleyes are doing in St. Marys Lake, in Ohio?

Jim Coon - WFT - I'm not familiar with St. Mary's Lake. Sorry, I cannot help you there.

saugeye king - OK, thanks.

Chatman - The DNR also created a refuge area on the Fox River at the DePere dam, for ostensibly the same reason...

rainy - Little fork is clear as well.............

Chairman - Do you think that area has a healthy spawn?

Chatman - Just for the record for the non Wisconsin visitors.....Walleye fishing is open year round on rivers and many river impoundment's here....

Chatman - DePere, Chairman?

Chairman - DePere area with the pollution?

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes - we feel it has a healthy spawn..........

Chatman - Hey Bruce, if the Saginaw and it's adjoining rivers can have a healthy spawn..........lol....

Jim Coon - WFT - Improved habitat in the bay of Green Bay and at Voyager park at DePere has really helped in recent years

SUPERTROLLER - Thanks for answering the questions Jim.

Chairman - Then, why aren't we supposed to eat the fish there?

saugeye king - How many walleye a day are you allowed to catch in Wisconsin?  -

Chatman - Has Jim missed any questions? Now is the time to ask, we have about 2 minutes remaining....

Jim Coon - WFT - Because of DNR warnings of PCB contamination............

Chairman - And that contamination does not effect the eggs?

Chairman - Because it does in the Saginaw River,....

Jim Coon - WFT - 5 fish on Lake Winnebago system, 3 on the Bay or Green Bay and  -

Fox River, with trophy only fishing on the Fox below DePere until the 1st Saturday of May.

Jim Coon - WFT - The contamination probably does affect the eggs, but we are still having good hatches.

Chatman - I think the PCB's are passed on, same with Mercury levels, but unhealthy to eat may not be bad enough to cause mutations.....

Chatman - Look at the numbers of Large Walleye in both systems....

Chatman - That is not an excuse to leave pollution or allow it though....

Chairman - I was asking because our DNR says our hatch is not strong, yet there are lots of spawners in the river right now.

Chairman - Same type of contaminants.

Jim Coon - WFT - Chairman, where are you located again?

Chairman - Saginaw Bay, Michigan, Jim.

Jim Coon - WFT - I don't know a lot about that area, sorry.

Chairman - We used the stain method to check fish ears or something like that and almost all Saginaw river fish, were hatchery fish.

Jim Coon - WFT - If anyone wants to contact me, feel free to e-mail tfm@vbe.com  or call (920) 739-5987

Chatman - That speaks well of your local hatchery program Chairman, but cleaning up the water is a need that still must be addressed...  -

Jim Coon - WFT - Yes, I agree Chatman

Chatman - Ladies and Gentlemen, a warm round of applause for Jim Coon, of Walleyes For Tomorrow!!

Driftr - Thanks for the chat Jim!

Jim Coon - WFT - Thanks for having me..........

saugeye king - Thanks Jim!

#1 saugeye - Good chat Jim.......

jammin - Yea, thanks.

Ness - Thank you.

saugeye king - clap clap

saugeye king - clap

BOBBER - Thank you Jim!

saugeye king - clap

RJSMH - Hi Jim! Good job, Ray

Chatman - Thanks for stopping by Jim! Feel free to stick around a bit....

Jim Coon - WFT - Thanks............

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