Wow i was looking at the regulations to brush my memory up before the walleye opener. I just saw on there that you can only keep one walleye over twenty inches now in your limit. Wow....we used to catch quite a few right over the twenty mark. This will be a change for our group.....but im sure it will help the walleye populations.
Yeah they put that rule in a few years ago I believe. Basically they allow 1 over 20 for trophy purposes. If you are looking for a meal you'll want to keep it under 20". It seems pretty reasonable to me.
The real moral of the story is to give the regs a good read through every once in awhile. Things changes and they don't always do the best job informing the public about the changes. And of course they do an even worse job when writing the regs. Almost every rule they write can be interpreted 3-4 different ways based on how they word it.
They reworded the possession of one-over from last year also.
From 2008 Regulations page 13: (Not more than 1 walleye over 20" may be taken each day.)
From 2009 Regulations page 18: (Not more than 1 walleye over 20" in possession.)
Also in last weeks Outdoor News they had an article that discussed the 'One-over' rule change. Since it is now a one in possession, that means if you take your trophy to the taxidermist to get mounted, it is considered in your possession until the mount is finished. And if a person receives gifted fish from one or more people, they have to make sure they don't receive a second fish over 20" before they eat the first one or they will be in violation of the 'one-over' limit. This is per Pat Watts, DNR Enforcement policy and legal analyst.
I would suggest you read the reg's every year. You were very lucky, your group and you could have fined, and possible lost you fishing equipment and alot more. Just for because you didn't know. It is your responsibilty to read the reg's. That came straight from a CO, when giving a guy shore fishing a ticket.