Gillnetting Operations Start, Then Suspend On The Iowa Great Lakes Due To Weather

Thu 4-11-2019

(Orleans)-- An annual rite of spring in the Iowa Great Lakes has gotten started, but the inclement weather has temporarily halted it. Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says gillnetting operations started Monday and Tuesday nights...Gillnetting starts01 

”They did really well, exceptionally well. They brought in around 300 walleyes just on one boat up on the north end of East Lake Okoboji. We sent a second boat out on Tuesday night, I was out on that boat, and we did really well, real similar numbers. So we currently, we've got 500, 600 walleye in the hatchery right now, and then of course, the weather shut us down.”

Hawkins says they tentatively plan to start operations back up Saturday night. He says they also tentatively plan to have the fish hatchery open to the public starting this Sunday...Gillnetting Starts02 

"This is a little tentative just because of the weather and whether we'll be able to net Saturday night, but it sounds like Sunday that the hatchery would be open and that then we'll be open all week and likely through the following weekend as do our operations. We've got lots of these large walleyes that we bring in to the hatchery and sort and we're taking eggs every morning, and then of course we'll have some big muskies as well that we bring in and they get spawned a little bit later. Northern pike have been spawned and those eggs are on the incubator. That actually occurs a few weeks, atleast a week before we ever start doing work with the walleyes." 

Hawkins says the process this year is much ahead of last year, as the lakes were still frozen at this time a year ago.