BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State wildlife officials plan to stock a record number of walleye lakes in North Dakota this summer.
About 130 lakes are scheduled to receive a share of 9 million fingerlings, small, young fish, in the coming weeks, according to Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development supervisor for the Game and Fish Department.
Department personnel collect fish eggs in the spring, the two national fish hatcheries in the state grow them, and Game and Fish then stocks the fingerlings. State personnel spent an additional three weeks this year harvesting the eggs.
“We need every available pond at Garrison Dam and Valley City fish hatcheries to meet a 9 million walleye fingerling request,” Weigel said.
The growth of walleye lakes is directly correlated to the increase in the number of public fishing waters in the state in recent years due to wet weather, mild winterkill and stocking operations.
“We now manage about 420 waters and 346,000 acres, excluding the Missouri River System,” Weigel said. “In the last five years alone we have stocked more than 48 million walleye fingerlings in the state, in addition to salmon, trout, pike, bass and panfish.”
The good fishing conditions in North Dakota have led to record sales of fishing licenses in recent years.
“There is no doubt we have had a successful operation because of the great relationship we have with both hatcheries,” Weigel said.