Nets pulled on Green Lake as late walleye spawn nears its end

A walleye netted in Green Lake. The spawning run is about over in the lake.

SPICER — Barry Flanders and Brad Carlson pulled the nets from Green Lake on Friday morning, signaling the end of this season’s work by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to strip walleyes for the eggs and milt needed by the New London hatchery.

It’s as late in the season that either of the two, long-time fisheries staff members in Spicer can ever remember working on the walleye spawn.

Getting the nets out before the fishing opener is only good public relations, Flanders laughed as they loaded them away. He doesn’t even want to think what anglers would say if they watched the two of them carry walleyes away from Green Lake.

But the real reason for pulling the nets is this: The walleye spawning run is close to complete on Green Lake. To be sure, there are still some egg-filled females plying the waters, but not enough to make the work worthwhile.

On Friday morning, the nets held only six females and nine males holding eggs and milt. That’s a fraction of what the nets would hold were the spawning run in full swing.

The record setting, late ice-out on Green Lake and other lakes prevented the Spicer fisheries staff from harvesting as many quarts of eggs as usual. Much of the spawning was completed on Green Lake before the ice was gone.

Most years, the fisheries crew will collect anywhere from 100 to 200 quarts for the hatchery from fish netted- and promptly returned- to the waters of Koronis, Rice, and Green Lakes. This year they’re estimating the take will be closer to 30 quarts.

Not to worry. It’s a good year for collecting eggs in the Pike River near Tower, and many of those eggs will be brought to the New London hatchery to be raised and stocked in lakes in this area.

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