It’s been quite the roller coaster ride the past few days in the Big Dry Arm of Fort Peck Reservoir. Another cold front pushed through the area on Saturday followed by gusty winds on Sunday. The mix of snow, sleet, and ice combined with 30-40 mph gusts dropped water temperatures back into the mid 30’s.
However, we got a bit of a reprieve today (Monday) with calmer conditions and warmer temperatures reaching into the low 40s.
The warmer temperatures have managed to trigger more walleye into the trap nets, specifically, some large “green” (not ready to spawn) female walleye. Male walleye continue to be present as well, but limited numbers of ripe female walleye are in the area due to cooler water temps. In addition, the green female are refusing to ripen up in the holding pens.
Thankfully, we’ve managed to gain a bit of momentum and hold two smaller egg collection efforts. We were able to collect around 2 million walleye eggs on Friday and another 7 million on Monday. This should put us somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 million eggs so far for the season. It looks like temperatures will remain warmer for a few more days so hopefully this give us another boost in walleye spawning activity!
–By Fort Peck Reservoir biologist Heath Headley