Fish by the Millions Released in Iowa Waters

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Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries crews recently stocked millions of northern pike and walleye in Iowa lakes and rivers, but anglers will have to wait for a few years before these fish will be caught.

An estimated 140 million newly hatched walleye fry were stocked in public lakes and rivers across the state. Hatcheries at Spirit Lake and Lake Rathbun will stock tens of thousands more after they are grown to 2 to 3-inch fingerling sized fish.

A final stocking of walleyes will go out in the fall, when the fish are around 6 to 8 inches. These larger fish have a much higher survival rate than the fry, but also are much more expensive to rear.

Northern pike were also released by the millions into Iowa waters. More than 3 million pike fry were released in lakes and rivers in April, then another 265,000 2 to 3-inch pike were stocked in May.

The young fish were hatched from those collected during April by crews from Spirit Lake, Storm Lake, Clear Lake, Lake Rathbun, Fairport and Guttenberg. Iowa walleye and northern pike have little natural reproduction and their populations are maintained by the stocking fry and fingerling sized fish that have been hatched from locally collected adults.

Additionally, the DNR stocked 1 million wiper fry in Saylorville Lake and will stock thousands of fingerling sized wipers later this year.

For more information, contact Mike Mason, supervisor of fish hatcheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, at 515-281-6072.