Walleye are popular with Kansas anglers, but few lakes in the state provide the necessary elements for adequate natural reproduction. To augment natural reproduction, fisheries biologists from Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) conduct artificial spawning efforts annually.
Each spring, biologists capture spawning walleye. Eggs of ripe females are collected, and then taken to a station where they are fertilized with milt, or sperm, taken from male walleyes caught from the same body of water.
After fertilization, the eggs are immediately delivered to the Pratt and Milford fish hatcheries where fish culturists work around the clock to ensure high hatch and survival rates of young walleye, which are then stocked into Kansas lakes as fry, or raised to a larger size for stocking.
Sauger are also produced to ensure a supply of sauger males. Some walleye eggs are fertilized with sauger milt to create the saugeye, a popular hybrid.
Last year, the KDWPT Walleye Culture Program harvested nearly 100 million walleye eggs and produced the following for Kansas waters:
-38 million walleye fry
-580,000 walleye fingerlings
-6,500 walleye intermediates
-2.7 million sauger fry
-More than 20,000 sauger fingerlings
-More than 6 million saugeye fry
-Approximately 310,000 fingerlings
This year, staff hope to harvest more than 100 million eggs and increase walleye production to stock 48 million walleye fry, and 1.2 million walleye fingerlings.
Although large females can produce upwards of 300,000 eggs, research has shown less than 10 percent of naturally-spawned walleye eggs will successfully hatch. Through KDWPT’s hatchery process, hatch rates can be as high as 70 percent in a controlled setting.
In addition to walleye, KDWPT hatcheries also produce bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, sauger, saugeye, smallmouth bass, striped bass, and wipers.
For more information, visit www.ksoutdoors.com.
source: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism