Courtesy KUOO – Explore Okoboji – Click here for original article
A new law that went on the books in Iowa last July 1st intended to curb the spread of aquatic invasive species has forced a rule change in this year’s Walleye Weekend, and for future years. Jen Johnson, Program Director of the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, tells KUOO news Walleye Weekend is no longer a “live” tournament. “So for year 32 of Walleye Weekend we’re changing rule seven: fish do not have to be alive to be considered in the tournament. We’re now a harvest tournament, so fish can be dead. We really want to protect the lake. So again, the change is to protect the Iowa Great Lakes, other surrounding bodies of water, from aquatic invasive species. This rule did take effect in July of 2013, and again the DNR implemented that to protect all of Iowa’s bodies of water from aquatic invasive species.”
Among other things, the law requires water to be drained from water-related equipment, including boats, trailers, bait containers, live wells, ballast tanks and bilge areas when leaving a water access.
On another note, Johnson says they’re seeing a lot of interest in this year’s Walleye Weekend. “It’s a great fundraiser for the Iowa Easter Seals and Camp Sunnyside, so we really encourage people to register. The cost is just $25 if you’re 16 and above; $15 if you’re under 16. Then we have the extended contest. You win a portion of the proceeds generated from that; and if you’re fishing in the Iowa Great Lakes all season long, it starts at noon on Sunday, May 4th and you fish through Labor Day. And last year two people caught tagged walleyes during that extended contest; the first one went home with $2,400; the next one went home with $1,700. So if that $32,000 walleye evades you during Walleye Weekend, if you’re registered for that extended contest and you do happen to catch one, you’re not going to go home with chump change. Those rules, the entry form, all available at okobojichamber.com; or you can stop by one of the area bait shops. You can also stop by Fisherman’s Factory Outlet and Great Lakes Marine Sales and Service and pick up entry forms there.”
Walleye Weekend will be held May 3rd-4th in the Iowa Great Lakes.