During the 2011 fish stocking season, nearly 3 million walleye have been stocked in Wisconsin lakes and rivers.
The fish, up to 2 months old and 2 inches in size, were harvested from the Art Oehmcke Hatchery in Woodruff, the Tommy G. Thompson Hatchery in Spooner, the Lake Mills Hatchery in its namesake community, and, for the first time in 20 years, Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery in Waushara County.
The walleye are stocked to provide walleye fishing opportunities where otherwise there would be none, and to help restore naturally self-sustaining walleye populations in the receiving waters. The vast majority of the state’s walleye fisheries are naturally reproducing but stocking plays an important role in some waters.
The time required for stocked walleye to reach legal size depends on the water where they’re stocked and regulations, but two to five years is typical for Wisconsin walleye.
Gary Lindenberger, supervisor for the Thompson hatchery in Spooner, says the cooler weather and water temperatures helped boost survival in the ponds and led to surplus fish that were able to help fill quotas elsewhere.
That hatchery stocked 1,125,000 fish including providing a surplus of about 100,000 fish. In addition, the Thompson hatchery transferred about 40,000 fish off site for additional rearing at cooperative ponds maintained by fishing clubs, and is keeping about 50,000 fish at the hatchery to be raised to large fingerling size.
At Wild Rose, Supervisor Steve Fajfer says that returning to walleye production after 20 years was a learning experience for everyone, but that “we’re very pleased. There were some challenges, but the fish survived very well, and we were successful.”
Wild Rose stocked 246,816 fish weighing a total of 384 ponds. Wild Rose also produces other coolwater fish, like northern pike and sturgeon, and also produces coldwater fish like Great Lakes trout and salmon.
The hatchery is also keeping some of the young walleye on site to raise to large fingerling size, 6 to 8 inches. Those fish will be stocked out in the fall.
Lake Mills, which had the trucks rolling earlier in June, stocked 1,112,566 fish. The hatchery also produces rainbow and brown trout.
The Art Oehmcke hatchery has also finished its stocking and transferred 492,342 fish from the hatchery to Wisconsin waters, Giehtbrock says. That hatchery also is raising fish still on site to large fingerling size for stocking later this year.
source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources