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> FISHERY: Walleye eggs collected at Wasi Falls
  Posted: May 04, 2011 - 04:59 pm

Parr Trout

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The walleye spawn at Wasi Falls was fast and furious this spring with mild weather allowing volunteers to collect two million eggs in three days.

Dave Waye, of the Lake Nipissing Walleye Restocking Association, said there have been years when "nasty and miserable conditions" have turned their labour of love into a week or more of hard work.

"The spawn came very fast this year. We're kind of lucky we got out here when we did," Waye said, referring to the launch site at Wistiwasting Country Club dock where the eggs are mixed with male walleye sperm before being transported to the hatchery.

Trap nets are set near the Wasi Falls and they had no trouble catching 45 females and more males than they needed including a 50-pound muskie attracted by an easy spring buffet.

Usually, all the fish are returned live and unharmed to the lake, but the Ministry of Natural Resources took a dozen for a research project looking at walleye diet.

Scott Kaufman, MNR biologist for Lake Nipissing, said they're partnering with Laurentian University to find out if the invasion of spiny water flea has changed what walleye eat.

Kaufman said they'll be comparing the results with data taken in 2002 and 2003.

Waye said collecting the eggs is one step in a process that will eventually lead to fingerlings and the fresh hatch being planted back at Wasi and rehabilitated spawning grounds at the Chapman's Chutes, LaVase River and Bear Creek.

While walleye restocking is no longer funded by the province and Lake Nipissing is considered capable of sustaining fishery reproduction on its own, Waye said the association feels it's worthwhile.

"There are poor year classes," he said, when the natural spawn doesn't go well for a variety of reasons. "Our view is . . . this evens out the low points."

He said growing ponds in the West Arm of Lake Nipissing are also used to mature the young walleye and restocking there has returned a natural spawning population to an area that was depleted more than a decade ago.

Waye said the restocking program has an 80% hatch rate compared to nature's 5% success, and the survival rate to the 2.5-inch size in ponds is about 50%, considerably better than in the wild.

He said it would take as many as 1,000 female spawning walleye to do the work of the 45 females they used to gather the eggs.

Kaufman said the river spawners are almost done for this year and the walleye that spawn in the lake on shoals will be busy for another week to 10 days.

He said the walleye spawn is triggered by temperature and the warmer river water gets things started.

John Gauthier, a first-time restocking program volunteer, said he thought it was time to give something back to the lake.

"This is a great thing, everybody in the community should get involved," said Gauthier, who's been fishing for decades.

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Posted: May 05, 2011 - 09:45 pm

World Record Trout
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I hope they keep up the good work since I am looking to move up some time soon

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