2009 Thunder Lake Walleye Stocking

The Minnesota DNR Fisheries Division out of Brainerd recently did their walleye stocking at the public access on Thunder Lake.  Myself and Rick Stich, who is a resident on Thunder Lake, had a chance to observe the process.  Thunder Lake has been getting walleye stocking on odd years since 1999.  The past years stocking data for Thunder Lake can be found here.  In 2007, the most recent year of stocking, the DNR stocked 490 pounds of fingerling walleye.  This year, Thunder Lake got 452 pounds of fingerlings, which is approximately 10,000 walleye.  According to the DNR fish stocking link, fingerlings are one to six months old and can range from a size of one to twelve inches, depending on the species. Walleye fingerlings range from three to eight inches each fall.  The DNR buys their fingerlings from a private party, who harvest them from rearing ponds after one summer of growth.  In this instance, they came from a stocking pond in New London, MN.

David Bohlander, the assistant fisheries manager out of Brainerd, oversaw the stocking process.  He said that typically the immediate survival rate for walleye fingerling stocking is around 60%.  After one year, that number drops to around 50%.  He also stated that many of the fingerlings don’t make it out of the area where they are released into the water, and will die immediately.  Having said that, Thunder Lake’s stocking seemed to go pretty well, with only a dozen or so found to be “belly-up” after a half hour after being released to the water.  The fingerlings were transported on the truck in 42 degree water and released into the lake in about 52 degree water.

I would like to thank David Bohlander (assistant fisheries division manager) and Tim Brastrup (fisheries division manager) out of Brainerd for their their willingness to allow us to be present and participate in the stocking and for their correspondence with Werner Langenbach, who is also a resident on Thunder Lake and is the Chairman of the Thunder Lake Fisheries Committee.  We also thank them for answering the many questions that we had for them during the process.  Werner did all the correspondence to allow us to be involved.

In addition, an electrofishing survey of Thunder Lake was done in September as well.  I will have the survey data for that in the near future and will share it with everyone on the blog when I receive it.

While at the stocking, I had a chance to take some pictures and video of the process.  It is very interesting to see how they do everything.  The whole process only took about 45 minutes to an hour.  Here they are, enjoy.

“See You At The Lake”

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