Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources has netted enough walleyes to yield almost 250,000 eggs.
Walleyes netted in six different lakes in the state have produced a record number of eggs for the hatchery system. This spring’s netting has produced the highest number of eggs from Storm Lake alone to beat the old record by some 144 quarts.
Other lakes netted included East and West Okoboji Lakes, Spirit Lake, Clear Lake, Rathbun Lake, and Storm Lake. Iowa DNR fisheries biologist Ben Wallace said, “We collected over 640 quarts of egg this year. This beat our old record by 144 quarts.”
The IDNR netted more 2,400 walleye in Big Spirit Lake, and East and West Okoboji Lakes and now expect to release almost 150 million fry across the state in 2016.
Wallace added, “We had a very large year class of 18 to 20-inch females show up last year and we saw them again this year and they’ve put on a little growth. Egg collection at Storm Lake should be good for the foreseeable future provided we can maintain this year class of fish.”
Very little natural reproduction of walleyes occurs in the waters of Iowa therefore the state relies heavily on stocked fish to maintain populations. Everywhere from natural lakes and rivers in the state to flood-control reservoirs and some man-made lakes all receive stocked walleyes.
Stocked fry of varying sizes will make it into Iowa waters this year including two inch fish all the way up to six to nine inch fingerlings.
Excellent fishing for the species continues across the state and with netting crews reporting good catches of smaller fish in the 10-20 inch range the future looks bright for both anglers and netters alike.