After a week of our walleye research in the news, it made us think back on past posts. Then we stumbled upon this one from 2013 when, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist, Kurt Welke, poured more than a quarter of a million fish into our boat slip here at Hasler Lab. Enjoy!
(Originally published May 7, 2013) Last Friday, Kurt Welke was headed to Lake Mendota with precious cargo – 300,000 young walleye fry. Part of the WDNR’s annual fish stocking in the Madison lakes, the little fish were to be released into the lake in hopes that a number of them would survive to a nice, fat, happy adulthood of being both an apex predator and a tasty dinner for area fishermen.
The problem was, last Friday was no day to be pouring helpless fry into the lake. A northern wind had waves pounding the shoreline, making it impossible for them to get to the near-shore cobble, the area the small fish would first use to hide out from predators.
Welke had an idea. The same rough water that made the lake a dicey proposition for the fish meant that no one here at the lake was taking our boats out either. And that meant that, safe behind the wave-pounded boat slip door, there was a small refuge of calm water. Welke decided to let the fish get acclimated to Lake Mendota for the weekend by hanging out in our boat slip.
On Monday, LTER research specialist, Ted Bier, and CFL post-doc, Jereme Gaeta, were on hand with your trusty blog author for the release.
It was a flat-water, picture-perfect day and, the moment the boat slip door cleared the water, 300,000 little walleye knew exactly what to do and streamed out into the lake.
We were happy we could help them weather the storm and wish them smooth sailing and rapid growth in the future!