Anglers a times have an unrealistic expectation of stocking. In some small lakes, yes stocking is THE reason you have fish. But in Sak, Oahe, Devils Lake, stocking is more of the cottage cheese and carrots of the buffet than the roast beef and ham. It’s a supplement, not the main course. Stocking helps, and it looks like our hatchery’s have had a good year. But please realize that stocking=to fishing takes years for fish to grow from fingerlings to the frying pan.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries crews stocked a record number of walleye into state waters, according to Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader.
The Garrison Dam (10 million) and Valley City (1.5 million) national fish hatcheries produced 11.5 million fingerlings, besting the record of 10.9 million in 1991. “Fish quality and stocking conditions were great, with really nice fish and lots of cool water and flooded vegetation at the stocking sites,” Weigel said. “The federal hatchery system really delivered given the record walleye request this year.”
The record total was driven by a higher than normal request of 10.1 million fingerlings, with 4 million targeted for Lake Sakakawea.
“We had another 440,000 requested if surplus production occurred, and all of those requests were filled with most getting up to an additional 10 percent,” Weigel said. “In addition, we also supplied Wyoming and Iowa with walleyes as part of a trade or to cover their production shortages.”
Altogether, 114 lakes and rivers were stocked in North Dakota, Weigel said, covering every corner of the state. “Coupled with natural reproduction, we have set the stage for a phenomenal walleye year,” Weigel continued. “We will know more this fall when our crews follow up to check on survival rate of the stocked fish and determine the amount of natural reproduction.”