With 50-plus new walleye lakes, North Dakota steps up stocking efforts
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel recently stocked nearly 10 million walleye fingerlings in more than 140 waters across the state.
“Considering not many went into Lake Sakakawea, this was one of the largest stockings of more than 8 million fingerlings into the smaller fishing waters across the state,” said Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development supervisor.
With more than 50 new walleye lakes in North Dakota, Weigel said the demand to stock these waters, along with the larger, traditional fisheries, has greatly increased the demand from the hatcheries.
“Valley City and Garrison Dam national fish hatcheries contributed to make this happen,” Weigel said. “Both hatcheries have been outstanding in helping address our demand for walleye fingerlings.”
The unusual spring and progression into summer caused variable fish sizes.
“We had some of the largest and smallest fish ever shipped, even though all were about the same age,” Weigel said.
Conditions at the lakes were very good with cool water temperatures and in some cases, Weigel said, newly flooded vegetation from recent rainfall.
“They should find lots of food and good survival conditions, which bodes well for future fishing opportunities,” Weigel added.
Later this fall, fisheries personal will sample walleye lakes to assess success of this year’s walleye stocking, as well as what Mother Nature provided.
One common observation fish haulers noted while traveling across the state, Weigel said, was the amount of fishing taking place, both from shore and from boats.
“It’s a great time to fish for walleye,” he added. “Statewide, there are a lot of opportunities, and a good chance of success.”