Minnesota DNR Fisheries Management — Pond Harvest

Minnesota DNR Fisheries Management — Pond Harvest

>>Carl Mills: The fry that we have stocked
in the ponds are taken out in the fall. Before we get started, a tank is placed on each truck
and filled with water. Alright, now we’ve got the tanks filled
with water. This one holds 125 gallons, this one holds 120 gallons. We haul approximately
100 to 300 fingerlings in this tank. They are a little crowded at times, so what we
do is add a little non-iodized salt. This helps mellow them out, calm them down, relax
them. We also will add a little of this ‘No Foam’. With all the fish in there and the
oxygen going, it tends to foam up a little bit. So we’ll just add a little shot of
this and that cuts down the foam so we can get the fish out later and it’s not a foamy
mess. In order to ensure that the walleye fingerlings
have enough oxygen we have two ways of doing that. One way would be an aerator, but we
don’t have those on our trucks. What we do, the other way, we actually send oxygen
into the water – it goes through a hose and into these air stones and oxygen will
actually bubble up to the surface. So that’s what we’ve done with our fish, and it’s
worked great to this point. Most of the ponds we use don’t have any
sort of access or are on private land, so they can be difficult to get a boat into sometimes.
Trap nets are set to capture the walleyes. A net or lead extends out from shore. When the
fish try to swim around it, they swim into these hoops and are captured. The nets are
left overnight and are checked the next day. One way we help move the fish into our nets
is with copper sulfate. When copper sulfate dissolves into the pond it irritates the fish
causing them to move around, hopefully finding our nets.
We’re here at the pond and we’re getting ready to collect our nets, dump out fish and
see what we’ve got. Before we do that we have to get the tank ready. I’m just going
to turn on this tank of oxygen here –take the lid off, open it up, and that should get
it bubbling pretty good in there. The way we measure the fish is by water displacement.
Water is filled to a pre-measured line in a bucket and then the walleye fingerlings
are dumped in. Lines mark 10, 15, and 20 pounds of fish. We will rate the fish on each pond
to find out how many fish there are per pound. Fish are then dumped into the tank on the
truck for transporting to the lake. Once we get to the lake, we back down, hook
up a hose, and open the gate to release the fish.
Sometimes a pond doesn’t turn out how we had hoped.
>>Lloyd Anderson: Well we’ve lifted a couple of nets here and it’s kind of disappointing.
A lot of golden shiners in here, the walleyes were able to take. As you can see, it’s
a beautiful pond. It’s got a lot of the requirements that we need for a good pond:
it’s about 30 acres, maximum depth six to eight feet, good, hard shoreline, easy to
set the nets, the frames landing in about three feet of water which is ideal. So everything
is going for it except we’ve got a bunch of golden shiners in here and unfortunately
the walleyes were unable to take. We did get a few in here but they’re really tiny and
it’s not looking pretty good. Contrary to what people think, a lot of times
it’s good not to have any other types of fish species. These walleye can grow up big
just living on plankton in the water or freshwater shrimp and so forth. So when you run into
these other minnows, what they do, they not only eat some of the fry when they’re first
stocked but they also compete for the food. So we gave this pond a try, unfortunately
it doesn’t look like it’s going to work out this year. Possibly we’ll try it again
another year. What we need here is a good hard winterkill to kill all the minnows off,
or a great share of them, then maybe the fry will take. We’re just going to have to let
this one go for this year.

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