Big Bay de Noc Walleye Stocking Gets Assistance from Inter-Tribal Fisheries and Assessment Program
Each year at about this time walleye spring fingerlings are stocked in managed waters throughout the state. A limited numbers of walleye eggs were collected this year due to Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) concerns statewide, the Department of Natural Resources said today.
DNR Fisheries staff collected walleye eggs in April from Little Bay de Noc for pond rearing and eventual stocking into Big Bay de Noc this year. The Inter-tribal Fisheries Program, run by the Tribes recognized under the 1836 Treaty of Washington and based in Sault Ste. Marie, also received eggs from Little Bay de Noc in a cooperative effort to stock other Great Lakes waters.
Last week, the Inter-Tribal Fisheries Program made available to the Michigan DNR approximately 70,000 spring fingerling walleye that they have reared. These fish are in excess to the Tribes’ needs and were offered for stocking back into Big Bay de Noc. These fish were stocked on Friday, July 10.
Big and Little Bays de Noc are stocked on an alternate year basis due to their large size and the number of walleye required. Management plans required Big Bay stocking this year.
“We are very appreciative of this offer from the Tribes to help assist the State in rehabilitating the Bay’s walleye fishery” said Jim Dexter, Lake Michigan Basin coordinator for Fisheries Division.
The DNR is operating only two rearing ponds in the Upper Peninsula this year. These ponds did not produce as well as expected due to a later than normal harvest necessary to accommodate further VHS disease testing. The Bays de Noc Great Lakes Sportfishermens Club also assists the DNR in operation and partial funding support for these ponds in order to provide walleye back to the Bays.
The combined stocking efforts should result in nearly 250,000 spring fingerlings being stocked this year into Big Bay, well below the 750,000 fish requested.