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Walleye stocking 2019 1SAULT STE. MARIE—Sault Tribe’s Walleye Stocking Program stocked 910,000 summer fingerlings this July to area waterways from its three walleye rearing ponds in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

The program also stocked 1 million walleye fry this spring, .5 million each in the lower Tahquamenon River and Millecoquins Lake near Engadine, Fishery Enhancement Coordinator Rusty Aikens said. Even with a survival rate lower than fingerlings, the little half-inch fry are a valuable resource.

Aikens said walleye pond yields were down this year but it was a tough season with a long cold spring and two big rain events.

This year’s walleye fingerlings went to their new homes on the St. Mary’s River, Bay de Noc, Epoufette Bay, St. Martin’s Bay and the Lower Cheboygan River at the beginning of July.

In the St. Mary’s, 382,468 fingerlings were stocked at five sites:
Sault Area 20,068
Lake Nicolet 44,186
Lake George 85,662
Raber Bay 60,731
Potagannissing Bay 171,821

Elsewhere in northern Michigan walleye fingerlings went to:
Lower Cheboygan 77,090
Epoufette Bay 50,692
St. Martin Bay 264,204
Bay de Noc 135,378
Grand total 909,832

The MDNR and Sault Tribe work in cooperation on Bay de Noc walleye stocking to complement each other’s resources, according to Aikens. The DNR collects walleye eggs and brings them to the tribe’s walleye hatchery at 8-10 days old. Two strains are used—St. Mary’s River walleye strain and Bay de Noc walleye strain. When it’s time for stocking, the DNR transports them to Bay de Noc for release, said Aikens.

Aikens said the walleye are marked for tracking at three days old, so survival rates and other population data can be collected.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY