GLADSTONE – About 5,000 walleye were planted Wednesday on Little Bay de Noc to support the fishery on the bay. This is the fourth year of the Walleye Restoration Project.
The group includes the Hannahville Indian Community, Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sports Fisherman, Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau, Delta County Chamber of Commerce, and the Delta County Economic Development Alliance.
Paul Strom, the attorney for the sport fishermen group, says the project is an opportunity to make an impact on the fishery and bring groups together.
“These fish are being planted for rehabilitation purposes as well as personal consumption,” Strom said, “and that we use this as an opportunity, again, not only to rebuild a fishery but to build a bridge between people.”
Unlike DNR plantings, these fish were about 9 inches long. They hauled from a trailer to the water at the Kipling Boat Launch and released. Bruce Kivela of Walleye World in Marquette says they larger walleye will have a better chance to survive.
“They are raised in ponds, starting from eggs of course. You end up with a little fry about a quarter of inch long. You put them in a pond and they grow to about two to two and half inches. And then you have to start feeding them minnows and from there they take off,” Kivela said. “If you put a lot of two and half inch fry in here and they basically
The cost of the project is more than $10-thousand. The fish are expected to spawn within three years.
“Our area continues to be one of the best places in the Country for all types of anglers and all types of fishing. Our organizations want to make sure we maintain our elite fishery status for everyone and people will continue to get hooked on fishing the Bays for years to come,” said Vickie Micheau, executive director of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce.
Steve Masters, director of the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit World Walleye Championship held the week before on the Bays de Noc is an example of why the fishery is important to the area.
““The bays continue to be a great place for local anglers, anglers from out-of-town and tournament fishermen,” he said. “Professional anglers praised the fishery and the local hospitality during the world championship.”
The Walleye Restoration group was spearheaded by the Delta County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee and the Hannahville Indian Community. The Walleye Restoration Project aims to put a positive face on the area fishery, which showed a decline from 2004 through 2010.
The effort involves creating a coalition to raise money to restore, conserve and manage the fishery. It includes educating the public to reduce illegal poaching, stream and river runoff and sedimentation that negatively affect walleye.