Grand Rapids Area Walleye Stocking, Population Estimates and DNR Fisheries Reports

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Grand Rapids Area Fisheries Reports, Accelerated Walleye Stocking and Fishing Population Information.

Grand Rapids Area Update to Local Stakeholders on the Accelerated Walleye Program

     Within the Grand Rapids Management Area (Itasca County) there have been numerous changes to the walleye fingerling stocking program since the Accelerated Walleye Program (AWP) was implemented in 2000. This update will summarize the walleye stocking activities between 1998 and 2003 for 39 lakes in terms of rate, frequency, lake size and priority.

     In the two years prior to AWP, the area stocked an average of 1,593 pounds of fingerlings and yearlings each year. Following AWP implementation, in the years 2000 through 2003, an average of 7,414 pounds were stocked each year.

     In the pre-AWP years of 1998 and 1999, an average of 7.5 lakes per year were stocked with fingerlings and yearlings. Following AWP implementation, 15.5 lakes were stocked per year. Looking at it another way, in the pre-AWP years 15 different lakes were stocked, in post-AWP years 39 different lakes have been stocked.

     Each lake is managed individually as specified in the Fisheries Lake Management Plan. As such, there are differences between stocking rates and frequency depending on the goals for that fishery. Lake size is an important factor and can be used to explain differences in stocking strategies. We used three lake size groupings—greater than 1000 acres, 200 to 1000 acres, and less than 200 acres.

     Lakes greater than 1,000 acres are traditional walleye waters where specific management goals for walleye are identified. These lakes can be very good to excellent walleye fisheries, and are often well known by serious anglers. Many lakes in this group have excellent natural reproduction or respond to fry stocking. However, some lakes are dependent on fingerling stocking to produce a fishery. The stocking strategy for these waters is generally 1 pound per littoral acre every other year, although stocking of some lakes is contingent on other factors, such as successful fry stocking.

     Uniquely managed lakes in this +1000-acre group include:

     Pokegama, North Star, Deer and Turtle (stocked more frequently than every other year as "catch-up" lakes)

     Ball Club (the plan shifted from fry to frylings produced by the Leech Lake Indian Reservation)

     Island Lake (stocked with fry every other year, some fry are stocked into a rearing pond adjacent to the lake, the pond is operated by the lake association and any fingerlings produced are stocked into Island Lake)

     Sand Lake (regularly stocked with fry but has a contingency plan for fingerlings based on electrofishing catch)

     The lakes in the 200 to 1000 acre group generally have little or no natural reproduction, but have adequate habitat and forage to support a walleye population. These lakes are generally stocked at 1 pound per littoral acre every other year. Stocking of some lakes in this group deviates from the standard rate or frequency due to unique circumstances. Examples include:

     Rush Island, Little Turtle and Little Jessie (stocked at 1.5 to 3 pounds per littoral acre every second year due to very abundant forage)

     Big Too Much and Island (31-754) (recently switched from fry to fingerlings)

     Maple (stocking was discontinued due to excellent natural reproduction)

     Crooked and Shallow (stocked one in three years because of low productivity)

     Lakes less than 200 acres are not generally considered high-quality walleye lakes. Returns from stocking these waters can be sporadic, and will be relatively low due to the small size. Some of these lakes receive regularly scheduled stocking with the goal of providing a "bonus" walleye fishery. Examples include:

     Forest Lake in Grand Rapids (38 acres) (has a handicapped accessible fishing pier and is stocked at up to 4 pounds per littoral acre annually)

     Dock Lake near Marcell (31 acres) (stocked at 3 pounds per littoral acre every other year in an effort to increase predation on bluegill)

     Mirror Lake near Togo (105 acres) (stocked at 0.5 lb per littoral acre every third year)

     Hale and Ice in Grand Rapids (stocked only when surplus fish are available)

Note: A brief narrative is available for each lake that is managed for walleye. This description includes the past and current management plan for stocking and the goal for the lake by contacting the Fisheries Manager at the DNR Regional Office at Grand Rapids, Minnesota.