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Reader's View: DNR should be realistic about stocking lakes

Grand Lake had a heavy fish kill this past winter because of a lack of oxygen. About 35,000 fish were estimated to be destroyed (“Rough winter kills fish on popular Grand Lake,” May 16).

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is well on the way to restocking the lake with 750,000 walleye fry. That is fine. However, there are no plans that I have heard of to bring back the sunfish and crappies. Although there are many walleye anglers, I am sure there are an equal number on the lake who fish for panfish.

The DNR seems to feel that the sunfish and crappies will come back on their own. That may be true, but it will probably take eight to 10 years for that to happen. The DNR should certainly consider the possibility of taking a stunted population of panfish from area lakes such as Chub and Caribou to quickly re-establish the panfish in Grand Lake.

Talking to a retired DNR employee recently, I learned it’s relatively easy to capture fish from area lakes, test them for disease and replant them in Grand Lake. There is a procedure. In 1980, three area lakes received more than 1,000 sunfish each: Wolf, Indian and West Twin lakes.

I believe there’s another concern with Grand, Fish and other area lakes. Our lakes are warming up and are not as conducive to walleye as in the past. Fish Lake certainly has seen a decline in the walleye catch. It’s not uncommon now to catch 3- to 4-pound largemouth bass through the ice, a feat unknown 20 years ago. And Grand Lake is becoming more of a bass and panfish lake.

I would like the DNR to be realistic about the millions of walleye fry that are planted with little return.

What’s wrong with catching sunfish? Kids certainly enjoy watching the bobber go down.

John R. McAllister