Mille Lacs Band stocks more than 45,000 Walleye into area lakes
The Mille Lacs Band Reservation – Achieving a key milestone and closing the loop on the first year of its fish hatchery pilot project, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Department of Natural Resource and Environment (DNRE) announced today it has stocked more than 45,000 Ogaa (walleye) into lakes in Aitkin, Pine, Morrison, and Crow Wing counties.
The fish, which ranged from 3 inches to 6.5 inches in length, were hatched by the Mille Lacs Band this spring from walleye eggs and milt taken from fish that had been speared by members of the Mille Lacs and Fond du Lac Bands this spring.
The Mille Lacs Band DNRE staff hatched the eggs into fry in its on-reservation hatchery, and then placed the fry into private rearing ponds to grow. Once the fish reached at least three inches in length they were recaptured for permanent stocking into area lakes, including Sullivan, Pine, Big Pine, Platte and Nammachers Lake.
“Returning the walleye we hatched and reared back to nature represents a huge milestone in our hatchery efforts, and I couldn’t be more proud of the results achieved by our staff during this pilot project,” said Susan Klapel, commissioner of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Department of Natural Resources and Environment. “Undergoing this effort has deepened our staff’s expertise and underscore’s our department’s value as a knowledgeable and experienced partner in the effort to help protect the health of the Lake Mille Lacs walleye population.”
The total number of walleye the Mille Lacs Band DNRE has stocked as a part of this pilot project are as follows:
This spring MLBO DNRE stocked 10,112 walleye into Sullivan Lake in Morrison County. These fish averaged about 3 inches in length. An additional 9,900 walleye were stocked into the lake this fall. These fall fish averaged about 5 inches in length.
This fall MLBO DNRE stocked 9,421 walleye into Pine Lake in Aitkin County. These fish averaged about 5 inches. The DNRE plans to stock an additional 578 fish yet this fall.
Big Pine Lake:
This fall MLBO DNRE stocked 2,400 walleye into Big Pine Lake in Pine County. These fish averaged 5 inches in length.
This spring MLBO DNRE stocked 5,200 walleye into Nammachers Lake, a privately owned lake in Pine County. These fish averaged about 3 inches in length at the time of stocking. Recent surveys by DNRE indicate that these fish exceeded their expectations of survival and more than tripled in size, reaching an average of over 9 inches in length after just under 5 months of growth.
This fall MLBO DNRE stocked 6,023 walleye into Platte Lake in Crow Wing County. The fish averaged 5 inches in length. An additional 2,230 fish will be stocked yet this fall.
Mille Lacs Band fisheries biologist Carl Klimah said that the project was by every definition a huge success.