St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the spring walleye egg stocking was a success despite a cold, snowy season.
During the spring, the DNR took more than 600 million walleye eggs.
From those, 270 million fry were stocked in 277 lakes.
Despite the stocking effort, natural reproduction accounts for the majority of walleye caught and harvested by anglers in the state.
An estimated 85 percent of all the walleye harvested in Minnesota result from natural reproduction, with most of the fish being pulled from popular walleye lakes like Lake of the Woods, Leech, Red and Winnibigoshish.
The stocking effort began on April 19 in Detroit Lakes and ended May 6 in Cut Foot Sioux in Grand Rapids and Pike River in Tower.
· Egg take sites: eight, located in waters that have naturally reproducing populations of walleye.
· Eggs taken: 5,205 quarts of eggs, or 631,803,214 eggs, about 350 quarts above average.
· 2014 stocking plan: 284 rearing ponds get 115 million fry and 277 lakes get 270 million fry.
· Lakes stocked with walleye (each lake usually every other year): about 1,050.
In all, the DNR stocks about 1,050 lakes that can't maintain a walleye population through natural reproduction.
Stocking usually takes place in lakes every other year, and about half of the stocking uses fry, which are newly hatched fish that are a few days old and about a third of an inch long.
To get the fry, eggs and semen are squeezed out of fish and combined in dishes of water.
The resultant fry are stocked directly into lakes, and also into rearing ponds. When the fish grow to be 4- to 6-inches long, they are called fingerlings, and fingerlings from rearing ponds are stocked in the fall.
Fish stocking is also not limited to walleye. The DNR rears catfish, muskellunge, lake sturgeon and northern pike in 12 warm-water hatcheries, and stream trout, lake trout, and splake in five cold-water hatcheries spread throughout the state.