Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Pike River hatchery now up and running

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 5/2/18

PIKE RIVER— Operations got underway this week at the DNR walleye hatchery here, and the walleye spawning run appeared to be in full swing based on the results of the first net lift on Wednesday. …

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Pike River hatchery now up and running

Posted

PIKE RIVER— Operations got underway this week at the DNR walleye hatchery here, and the walleye spawning run appeared to be in full swing based on the results of the first net lift on Wednesday.

It was the second latest start on record for operations here, beginning just two days earlier than the May 4 start in 2013. And like that late year, the walleye were ready and raring to go from the start this week, which should help the DNR hatchery crew finish up their work in relatively short order. Hatchery manager Jeff Eibler predicts the egg-taking could be completed within a week or so. “Traditionally, a late start usually means an early end,” said Eibler.

This year’s quota of 650 quarts of eggs is down somewhat from the long-term average of 800-850 quarts, said Eibler. But the quota is based on the needs prescribed by the lake management plans in the region served by the hatchery. He also noted that the DNR has reduced the number of fry it puts back into Lake Vermilion after research demonstrated that too much stocking can actually weaken walleye year classes. Fisheries managers are also aware that Vermilion currently has a very healthy population of breeding age walleye, which means natural reproduction should suffice for most of the lake’s needs.

Sucker sale

Meanwhile, the annual white sucker run is also underway, although sucker numbers weren’t available as of this week’s presstime. The Vermilion Lake Association conducts an annual sale of suckers and you can check on dates when suckers will be available at www.vermilionsuckersale.com. Check the website after 4 p.m. each day to find out if suckers will be available the following day and how many pounds will be available.

If you don’t have access to the web, you can contact Tom Forconi at 218-428-7096.

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