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FOOTDOC

Stocking walleyes - general questions

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Down here in Indiana, we have to stock walleyes in our local lakes. I was wondering if any of my fishingminnesota friends are involved in any of their local organizations and stock fish in their local lakes? We usually purchase 5" to 7" fish and give about a buck and change for each. This size has a great survival rate. State permits dictate how many fish you can stock per acre. So, just curious as to whether any of you get involved in stocking and about what it costs you. Thanks in advance.

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Other states are vastly different than what happens in Minnesota. Go to an Outdoor, Fishing, Hunting, and Camping type of convention and you will see the out of state fish farmers at their booths hawking walleyes, bass, catfish, crappies, you name it, for stocking in lakes and ponds. And just like the guys selling aquatic herbicides, they aren't providing a legal good, at least not for use in MN.

Trouble is, releasing and transporting fish in this state without permits and applications is tough unless you ARE the state (i.e. DNR) or you are dealing with private waters.

To answer your question, many lake associations raise money for stocking and turn it over to DNR area fisheries offices. It helps with budgeting in some cases, but not many. The state has to have their ducks in a row, so when they create a lake management plan, they have an idea of how many and how large of fish they will stock. Many times those fish are planned for months ahead of time, and adding more fish can be wasteful, detrimental, or both. Not to mention they can't always count on getting fish from outside sources. So instead of permitting private users to stock public waters, they manage those waters themselves with their own fish. Could be a thing where Indiana has more private waters and less state government oversight on natural resources. It depends what your fish and game commission/department of natural resources is charged with doing.

IMO, it's better to raise money for a project that has more longevity than a few fish that aren't likely to last more than a year or two. I know most of these fundraisers aren't enough to purchase and dedicate land, but if a bunch of associations work together, or try some habitat restoration on private property, etc., it will go a lot further. It just takes some thinking outside of the box. Everyone likes to stock fish because it is direct, photogenic, and fun. But it might not always give the same bang for your buck.

I'm not sure what stocking certain fish species costs. Many of those fish farms that I alluded to earlier have websites that give good quotes on fish at select sizes. It sounds like your group purchases and stocks fingerlings. In certain species and in certain settings, the fingerling life stage is a great fit as it has already survived some of the toughest days of a young fish's life. But is it the cheapest route in a cost-benefit analysis? Perhaps not. Again, you have to make a tradeoff. That's where IMO I would prefer leaving those decisions to fish managers and hatchery experts. My $0.02 Footdoc. Hope I answered a few of your questions and I commend you for wanting to be involved with your local lakes.

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