An extra wallop of walleyes
Here's great news for anyone who enjoys catching the wily walleye:
There's thousands more swimming in Alexandria's chain of lakes right now, thanks to the efforts of local lake associations, the Viking Sportsmen and all those who gave money and bought T-shirts for the cause.
Members of the Viking Sportsmen released about 2,400 walleyes into Lake L'Homme Dieu last Saturday at Krueger's Creek landing.
About 2,000 of the fish were fingerlings - a year old and about three to four inches long. The other 400 were half-pound plus walleyes, averaging about a foot long. A few were even larger than 14- inches.
This is the first year of a five-year walleye stocking program that's taking place on the chain.
Lakes Darling, Carlos, Geneva, Victoria and L'Homme Dieu all received fish this year.
Viking Sportsmen noted that it needs the continued support from the community. Bolstering the walleye population isn't cheap. It costs $25,000 a year to do the stocking in all these lakes.
The club encourages residents to buy T-shirts, which are on sale for $10 each at Christopherson's Bait and Stub's Marine. Each $10 will buy one pound of walleye fingerlings, the club noted.
The walleye stocking effort on the chain is a cooperative venture between the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Department, Viking Sportsmen and local lake associations.
The DNR will study the walleye populations on the lakes to see how the fish are doing. In the next five years, the number of walleye fingerlings released into the chain will depend on how the walleye populations are holding up.
There are roughly 20 fingerlings to a pound. Fingerlings are about six inches long and are three to four months old. These young walleye need the protection that vegetation and weeds provide to survive.
The survival rate of fingerlings is approximately 40 percent.
In the future, the Viking Sportsmen hope to expand the program to other lakes in the area. For now though, the study area has to be limited to the chain of lakes in order for their results to be accurate.
Viking Sportsmen urge area anglers to keep in mind a "15-inch rule." That is, to release any walleyes that are smaller than 15 inches. This will help to preserve and maintain the walleye population and the stocking efforts.
Residents can contribute to the effort by sending tax-refundable checks to: Viking Sportsmen, P.O. Box 301, Alexandria, MN 56308.