Minnesota mallard numbers down; other species up
Minnesota's breeding mallard population counts are down from last year, but other species saw increases, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota’s breeding mallard population counts are down from last year, but other species saw increases, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
As reported in the News Tribune last week, each year the department conducts spring waterfowl surveys across the state. This year’s mallard breeding population was estimated at 206,000, which is 20 percent below last year’s estimate of 257,000 breeding mallards, 17 percent below the recent 10-year average and 10 percent above the long-term average measured since 1968.
The blue-winged teal population is up 66 percent at 169,000, compared to the 2014 estimate of 102,000, but the population remains 21 percent below the long-term average of 212,000.
The combined populations of other ducks, such as ring-necked ducks, wood ducks, gadwalls, northern shovelers, canvasbacks and redheads was 149,000, which is 29 percent higher than last year and 16 percent below the long-term average.
The estimate of total duck abundance (excluding scaup) was 524,000, up from last year’s estimate of 474,000 ducks.
The continental waterfowl population estimates will be released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service later this summer and will provide an indicator of what hunters can expect this fall.
This year’s Canada goose population in Minnesota was estimated at 250,000, which was similar to last year’s estimate of 244,000 geese.
Minnesota to stock nearly 600 million walleyes
Walleye anglers across Minnesota will benefit from another year of walleye stocking by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
This year, fisheries officials took more than 582 million eggs, close to the 10-year average, according to the DNR. Those eggs were raised to so-called fry stage, tiny fish just beyond the egg stage. About 115 million of those fry are now being reared in 286 rearing ponds and will be stocked as fingerlings. About 296 million fry will be stocked in 272 lakes.
Here are some walleye stocking facts:
* Length of a walleye fry - about 1/3-inch.
* Length of a walleye fingerling - 4 to 6 inches.
* Lakes stocked with walleyes (each lake usually every other year) - about 1,050, all over the state.
* Lakes where, without any stocking, anglers can still catch walleyes: 260, mostly in the northern half of the state.
* Estimated percentage of walleyes harvested that result from natural reproduction - 85 percent, with about half from popular walleye lakes such as Lake of the Woods, Leech, Red and Winnibigoshish.
For stocking information about individual lakes, enter the lake name on LakeFinder at the DNR Fish Minnesota page,