“It’s on!”: Walleye Spawn Update by Fort Peck Biologist Heath Headly 4.30.23
By angelamontana

Posted: April 30, 2023

“It’s on!”

After several weeks of anxiously waiting for the ice to recede, the walleye trap netting and egg collection efforts are underway on Fort Peck Reservoir. It’s been a busy and surprisingly productive past two days even though this is the latest start on record for this effort.

We did some searching in a few shallow areas of the upper Big Dry Arm for trap net locations and were able to locate 49 to 52 degrees which are near ideal spawning temperatures for walleye. These favorable water temperatures have led to some very productive trap nets.

We’ve come across walleye in different phases of spawning activity, but a large portion of them have been good-sized female walleye ready to release their eggs. In fact, some of the better trap nets have been collecting over 20 ripe (releasing eggs) female walleye, along with good numbers of male walleye.

We have also noticed a few spent (released eggs) female walleye, but that was to be expected since it’s the end of April. Walleye spawning activity would typically be winding down as we approached the month of May on a “normal” year.

Warm water temperatures and the high abundance of ripe female walleye have allowed us to hold our first egg-take of the season, and it was a big one!

Approximately 17 million eggs were collected from 105 female walleye today (Sunday). Thank goodness we’re on the board for the 2023 season! I suspect the next couple days could be similar based on water temperatures and spawning condition of the walleye we’re capturing.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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