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Eat fish, help fishing

Contributed photo Last March, more than 33,000 walleye fingerlings were stocked in several area lakes, including Louise, Oscar, Jesse, Latoka, Reno and Turtle through stocking efforts by the Viking Sportsmen Club and the DNR.

Want to help out area lakes and have a great meal?

Then plan on attending the first-ever Fish Fry this Thursday and Friday.

The Fish Fry, sponsored by Viking Sportsmen, Inc. and Pete's County Market in Alexandria will take place Thursday and Friday, June 18-19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Pete's County Market.

The cost of the Fish Fry is $5 per person, which includes fish, baked beans, cole slaw and beverage.

Money raised from this event is going to help stock area lakes with walleye fingerlings.

Chuck Bokinskie with the Viking Sportsmen said that last year, the club spent $52,000 on stocking fish in 20 different lakes within a 12-mile radius of Alexandria.

The club plans to continue stocking fish, in conjunction with stocking efforts of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), with its five-year stocking plan.

In 2008, said Bokinskie, the sportsmen club received a large donation from the Alexandria Hospitality Association - $30,000, which will go toward match funding for the purchase of walleye fingerlings.

This money will allow the Viking Sportsmen to match up to a $2,000 donation that they receive from any of the area lake associations, said Bokinsie.

He noted that the club buys the fingerlings locally, at $10 per pound, from Bosek Fisheries in Garfield. Bokinskie said the club was grateful for the discount Bosek Fisheries offers the club. On average, walleye fingerlings can cost anywhere from $16 to $18 per pound.

It usually costs about $2,000 per lake to stock, said Bokinskie.

He also noted that stocking efforts in local lakes are vital for the long-term success of walleye in Alexandria because of the low success rate of naturally reproducing walleye. He said there are only four local lakes that are natural reproducing lakes.

That is why events such as the Fish Fry are important, he added.

From the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2009, the group has stocked almost 300,000 fingerlings into area lakes.

This does not affect the DNR's stocking program, which added close to 90,000 fingerlings to Alexandria's chain of lakes last year. Bokinskie said the efforts of Viking Sportsmen only enhances the DNR's efforts.

Besides the upcoming Fish Fry, Bokinskie said the public can also send donations to the stocking effort. Tax-deductible checks can be sent to Viking Sportsmen, P.O. Box 301, Alexandria, MN 56308.