Field reports: Spring walleye egg collection goes smoothly
Fisheries crews with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Grand Rapids and Tower collected their full quota of walleye eggs in short order this spring. In eight days starting April 29, the Tower crew collected 970 quarts — about 107 million eggs — from the Pike River, which flows into Lake Vermilion, said Jeff Eibler, assistant area fisheries supervisor at Tower.
The Grand Rapids crew collected 1,246 quarts — about 137 million eggs — in five days starting May 2. Grand Rapids fisheries workers collected eggs at the Cut Foot Sioux River, which flows into Lake Winnibigoshish.
The eggs will be incubated in hatcheries for about 27 days, then trucked to lakes for stocking. At that time, the tiny fish, still carrying their yolk sacs for nourishment, are called “fry.” About 10 percent of the Pike River eggs will be stocked back into Lake Vermilion. The remainder of the fry will be stocked in other lakes, most in the Hudson Bay watershed from which they originated.
The Cut Foot Sioux River is in the Mississippi River drainage, and most of those eggs will be stocked in that drainage. About 75 percent of the eggs incubated in the hatcheries survive to become fry, Eibler said. In nature, only about 1 to 2 percent survive to become fry.
Voyageurs moose population steady
A recent aerial survey of moose in Voyageurs National Park revealed an estimate of 40 moose, similar to estimates of 41 to 51 from 2009 to 2013, according to a park news release. The park’s Kabetogama Peninsula, a 118-square mile roadless area, contains almost all of the park’s moose population.
Fewer calves were observed in 2014 than in the previous three surveys, and the calf-to-cow radio of 0.23 (0.23 calves per cow) also was lower than estimates of 0.54 to 0.61 from 2010 to 2013.
Voyageurs National Park is at the current southern extent of moose range in North America. Higher annual and summer temperatures might be stressing moose populations in the region, according to park wildlife biologist Steve Windels.
The Northeastern Minnesota moose population declined by about 50 percent between 2006 and 2014. Ontario wildlife officials also have documented recent declines. There probably are multiple factors involved in the observed declines, including climate-related stresses on health and reproductive status, diseases and parasites, predation and changes in habitat.
DNR unveils fishing website
Minnesota fishing regulations and other information are now available on a new Department of Natural Resources website, mndnr.gov/fishmn. The new Fish Minnesota site is part of Gov. Mark Dayton’s initiative that directs state agencies to make information easier to access and easier to understand.
Anglers who visit www.mndnr.gov/fishmn will find rewritten and reorganized open-water fishing regulations cast in a user-friendly question-and-answer format.