The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reached out to neighboring states after its walleye egg collections came up short in April.
The Minnesota DNR provided about 19 million walleye fry from several of their hatcheries that had a surplus. North Dakota Game & Fish and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Garrison Dam Hatchery provided another 5 million walleye fry.
Warmer weather in March and April changed walleye spawning behavior in northwest Iowa’s brood lakes. Only 35 million fry hatched at the Spirit Lake Hatchery, about half of number requested.
“The success of our annual walleye fry stocking is variable year to year but can make up a large portion of a year class if conditions are right,” said Mike Mason, supervisor for fish hatcheries for the Iowa DNR.
“Two-inch walleye stockings have been close to target numbers so far from hatcheries at Rathbun and Fairport and we are beginning the harvest at Spirit Lake this week.”
In the fall, additional walleyes measuring 6-8 inches will be stocked from Rathbun and Spirit Lake hatcheries.