Final Walleye Spawn Update, May 5, 2023
by Fort Peck Reservoir Biologist Heath Headley
Wow… The walleye trap netting and egg collection effort has been fast and furious on Fort Peck Reservoir, and we are done in record time. Water surface temperatures have remained around 52-55 degrees throughout our trap netting locations in the upper portion of the Big Dry Arm and the walleye have definitely been in spawning mode.These stable water temperatures have continued to result in a large numbers of ripe female walleye releasing their eggs. We managed to capture 117 ripe female walleye from our trap nets on the last day while checking our trap nets. The numbers of spent female walleye captured are continuing to increase, indicating the season could be winding down.
Because of the continued numbers of ripe female walleye being collected, we were able to hold one last spawn of the season. This egg-take resulted in 17 million more eggs from 112 females which should give us a total of approximately 67 million eggs for the year.
These eggs will eventually turn into fry and fingerlings needed for stocking requests for the 2023 season. The number of eggs collected this year would be considered average, but it was done in a very short time frame compared to most years.
On behalf of the fisheries and hatchery staff at Fort Peck, I’d like to say THANK YOU to all the volunteers who contributed to a very successful season. I would also like to thank the volunteers for their patience and understanding who couldn’t assist with this year’s effort. We will be in contact for next year’s efforts and hopefully you’ll be able to make it. Best of luck to everyone this summer wherever and whenever you decide to wet a line!