Good News From Walleye Spawning Work

Fisheries crews concluded a successful walleye spawning season despite the latest start on record.

Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said department staff, along with personnel from the Garrison Dam Fish Hatchery waited for ice to vacate the walleye collection sites on Lake Sakakawea and Devils Lake.

“With the help of the late spring blizzard, strong winds blew everything open,” Weigel said. “There has never been a time when we didn’t collect walleye eggs in April, but this year we got our first nets set May 2 and the first eggs were collected May 4.”

The record water levels on Devils Lake made netting extremely difficult, so crews collected all 60 million walleye eggs from Lake Sakakawea over a 10-day period. “Catches of more than 1,000 walleye a day on Lake Sakakawea made for large egg takes,” Weigel said. “Given the great catch on Sakakawea no eggs were collected from Devils Lake this spring.”

Weigel said plans are to stock approximately 10 million walleye fingerling into nearly 100 waters in mid-June.