North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel are wrapping up a record-stocking of walleye fingerlings to more than 130 waters across the state.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development supervisor, said more than 12 million fingerlings were stocked, besting the previous high by more than 1 million fish.
“Considering not many went into Lake Sakakawea, this included an unprecedented stocking of nearly 7 million fingerlings into the smaller fishing waters across the state,” Weigel said.
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 National Fish Hatchery produced more than 3 million walleye this year, the most in the hatchery’s 77-year history. In addition, Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery will ship a near-record number again this year.
Stocking conditions were optimal, Weigel said, with cooler weather at the time most of the fish were shipped. The 30-day-old fingerings averaged about 1.25 inches in length.
“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 taken place, both from shore and from boats. “There has never been a better time to fish for walleye,” he added. “Statewide, there are a lot of great opportunities, and a good chance of success.”
For a complete list of all fish stockings, visit the fishing link at the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov/fishing.