Name: John D.
Living on a small Southern Michigan inland lake, I am
looking for a strain of walleyes that live in lakes that have no streams
or rivers in which to spawn. It is my understanding that the success in
spawning in inland lakes will increase with a strain of walleyes that
have have lived in that situation. I have read several articles
indicating that the success rate of spawning will go from under 10% to
approximately 25% with lake specific fish. The hatchery operators all
seem to obtain their eggs from fish that would naturally spawn in a
river. Any ideas?
It is true that walleye populations occurring in lakes with no access to
habitat for spawning will eventually adapt to the existing lake conditions.
We have had some natural reproduction in walleye at two Forest Preserve
District of Cook County lakes, Tampier Lake and Busse Reservoir. Walleye
strains that are able to successfully reproduce in mud bottom lakes have
been developed in Arizona and Iowa. Shoreline rip-rap and submersed rock or
gravel can provide suitable habitat for spawning, however siltation within
the lake is probably the most crucial criteria that will limit spawning
If the person inquiring about these walleye intends to try to keep a
self-reproducing walleye population going in a small lake he will probably
not have much luck. My advise would be to try to provide the best possible
spawning habitat such as rock cobble from 2" to 8" in diameter with 40%-50%
in the 6" range in 3 to 8 feet of water. Supplemental stocking of walleye fry
or fingerlings every year or two would also be recommended.
Supt. of Conservation/Fisheries Biologist
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
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Update: June 2012