Walleye Stocking Program
The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin have been actively stocking walleye in Northwestern Wisconsin lakes since the late 1980s. The Tribal Natural Resources program was established to work in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for the purpose of stocking walleye fry and fingerlings into area lakes. In the beginning, the St. Croix Tribe acquired the ponds to use for walleye rearing and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) provided equipment and technical advice to raise the walleye fry to fingerling size. The Tribe monitored the ponds throughout the summer and in the late summer Tribal staff worked in conjunction with WDNR staff, which provided equipment such as seines and harvest trucks, to harvest and stock the fingerlings into area lakes.
In 1989, the St. Croix Tribal Natural Resources Department developed an independent program by renting local farm ponds to raise walleye fingerlings for stocking. Each spring over the past 20 years, Tribal staff has collected walleye spawn from Big Round Lake, Polk County. The walleye eggs are incubated for approximately 18-20 days at which point the eggs hatch and walleye can be seen swimming in the jars. Tribal staff will then stock the 2-4 day old fry from the Tribal hatchery into the rental ponds, where the fry will continue to grow over the next 1 ½ to 2 months. When the walleye reach the 2" size, the Tribal staff starts collecting these walleye fingerlings from the ponds. Walleye fingerlings are stocked each year into lakes designated by both the Tribe and the WDNR for stocking purposes. Lakes to be stocked are targeted to support fisheries in water bodies that St. Croix Tribal members traditional harvest from and are not designated entirely as 'naturally reproducing' lakes.
In the past five years, St. Croix Tribal members have harvested 26,069 walleye from local area lakes during spring spearing activities. During that timeframe, the St. Croix Tribal Natural Resources program has stocked 887,407 fry and fingerlings into most of those same water bodies.
Since 1987 the St. Croix Tribe has stocked over 9.8 million walleye fingerlings and fry into 37 northern WI lakes. All lakes stocked by the St. Croix Tribe are utilized by both St. Croix Tribal members and the general public.
Walleye Stocked by St. Croix Tribal Natural Resources Dept.
|Red totals indicate Extended Growth fish > 6"|