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Walleye reproduction size


Has there been any scientific data that suggests at what size range walleyes produce the most young? The big ones alway get CPR anyway, but I am most curious about the lengths in the "eater" range? Like mentioned, most all are released, but there are always a few for the table and just wanted to know if there is a "better" size(less reproduction) to keep? Thanks

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"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money!"


Castaway

Re: Walleye reproduction size


I figure it this way the bigger the fish the more eggs.Only a small percentage hatch or survive so the more the better.I know at the hatcheries they squeeze the eggs out of some big fish.I dont know if one egg is better than another but when it comes to nature generally more is better.

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Most of the worlds problems can be solved with common sense,the rest may require a little gun powder.


das_bass

Re: Walleye reproduction size


I was told the 22-26" inch range is when they produce the most eggs that aren't sterile. It probably varies based on the water though.

showags

Re: Walleye reproduction size


This is what I am curious about. I have heard every side of the story and just wondering if there have been any scientific tests/research done? I have heard once they get a certain size, they essentially produce a neglegible amount(if there is such a thing) and others state the opposite.

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"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money!"


Timmy

Re: Walleye reproduction size


A warden (not biologist) told me that as walleyes get bigger, they produce roughly the same number of eggs, but the bigger they get, the bigger the eggs get.....therefore hatching larger fry which are more likely to survive.

Just another theory to muddy the waters.....

Tim

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I'd rather be in the boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.


TheguN

Re: Walleye reproduction size


I don't know that anyone really knows the answer to this question! One thing is for sure! If the fish you catch are released they have a good chance of reproducing! if you put them on the frying pan! there is no chance!

With that said, I personally think everyone is entitled to take a few fish home to eat! just use common sense and by all means let the big fish go! lake after lake that has implicated slot sizes have shown improved fishing after just a year or two! there may be a size or year class of fish that will slightly out produce the next but if we protect the larger fish we are insured there is a year class producing to keep the fish in check!

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OH and!!
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haasjj

Re: Walleye reproduction size


There is some truth to that. In Pool 14 it's both. We had fish up to 29" this spring and they did have more eggs and maybe slightly larger eggs. Viability of those larger fish eggs are generally about the same as most and better than first year spawners. Fish health is still the key factor.

We had a single fish give us over 300K eggs and many first year fish (eaters) run about 30-50K.


Randy Wieland

Re: Walleye reproduction size


Back in 97' I released a 34" eye in the Wisconsin river with the thought of how many eggs that fish would produce. A fish biologist later told me that waleyes of that age/size will often have mostly starile eggs. I'm not a biologist and wouldn't know

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The ONLY thing worse than losing.........IS QUITTING!!!!!!!
Lifetime member Wisconsin Trappers Assoc.


Francisco de la Rosa IV

Re: Walleye reproduction size


I too have heard that bigger females tend to produce sterile eggs. I would like to know the truth either way. If the smaller ones that I keep once in a great while are the ones that truly help sustain things, then I would certainly keep even less of them. Now that I am think of it, I probably keep less than a dozen or so walleyes/sauger a year.

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Francisco de la Rosa IV

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

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showags

Re: Walleye reproduction size


First off, like I mentioned I never keep big fish and not sure I could ever bring myself to keep one in the future. BUT, if there is truth to larger fish producing sterile eggs, could the argument be made that it would be better to harvest them and open up more resources to the fish that do product fertile eggs? Similar to harvesting big bucks out of a heard? Just thought I would throw that out there, again, I couldn't bring myself to keep one either way.

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"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money!"


Jigs

Re: Walleye reproduction size


I took two years of Fishery's manegement classes before switching my major so I may have somewhat of an answer. We were told a normal healthy population will have it's strongest breeding females at 22-26 inches with a lot of variables from water to water. There were a lot of variables in this from age of the fish to health of the fish. Also, the largest fish did produce the most eggs but they were very fragile and generally did not produce many yearling fish.

This is what we were taught but is not necessarily the end of conversation. I would think in areas such as Erie where the fish can live for twenty plus years would be different than a shallow pothole in South Dakota.

My .02 cents on what I was taught a few years ago.


mrwalleye

Re: Walleye reproduction size


das_bass is correct walleyes from 22-26" produce the best eggs and the larger ones may produce more eggs but less of them will hatch.
It's a numbers game a 22" fish might only produce 50,000 eggs but 90% might hatch where as a 30" fish may produce 300,000 eggs and only 10% hatch
If you look up some of the stuff Dick Sternberg has published the answer to this is in there,

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NPAA # 276


showags

Re: Walleye reproduction size


Are any of these articles available online?

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"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money!"


mrwalleye

Re: Walleye reproduction size


I think some are, I haven't looked but I do have a lot of his books and it is in there, I just dont know what book it's in,

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NPAA # 276


walleyewacker18

Re: Walleye reproduction size


From working for the DNR for the past three years I have learned that In our Northern Lakes that female walleyes can be mature enough to lay eggs anywhere from 16-18" Generally around 18". The most fertile and most productive fish for females are going to be from like 21-28". Those give you the most bang for your buck so to speek. Once they are over that size they have more eggs but they are not as fertile. My rule of thumb is that I keep fish in the 15-17" range and if they are over that I throw em back.

das_bass

Re: Walleye reproduction size


Quote:

BUT, if there is truth to larger fish producing sterile eggs, could the argument be made that it would be better to harvest them and open up more resources to the fish that do product fertile eggs? Similar to harvesting big bucks out of a heard? Just thought I would throw that out there, again, I couldn't bring myself to keep one either way.





If it is indeed the case that 22-26" are the best breeders, then the fish over 26" would indeed be ones you would want to "thin-out", UNLESS you want to have larger numbers of trophy-sized fish. So, it kind of depends on whether you would want to manage water to have the most eaters, whether you want the most available trophy fish, or you want something in-between.

Personally, I like the slot limit with the "one fish over xx inches" idea. It still allows people to take home a big fish if that is what they want, while protecting the most prolific breeders.


mrwalleye

Re: Walleye reproduction size


One thing that we also need to look at is the health of the fish in our lakes or rivers,
the skinny walleyes in lakes with bad forage that are all head and have no body weight will not produce as many good eggs in the spring even though it my be in that perfect size range,
they need to have the body mass to produce, so when a walleye starts to go the other way and lose weight then the production of good eggs slows, she may still produce the same number of eggs just not the quality,
also the big walleyes in pool 4 don't produce as many good eggs, the hatch rate for them is only like 25% and the DNR can't figure out why they think it has something to do with pollutants, My thought on that is the pharmaceuticals that make it through the waste water treatment process, the amount of drugs in our water would scare you,
so it is more than just size that determines production you have to look at the individual fish and its health,

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NPAA # 276


Walleyebuster

Re: Walleye reproduction size


Quote:

Back in 97' I released a 34" eye in the Wisconsin river with the thought of how many eggs that fish would produce. A fish biologist later told me that waleyes of that age/size will often have mostly starile eggs. I'm not a biologist and wouldn't know




I don't know much about the size of reproducers but my goodness Randy! I wanna see a picture of this pig!

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-The more you know, the more you want to know-


James HolstAdministrator

Re: Walleye reproduction size


Quote:

Quote:

Back in 97' I released a 34" eye in the Wisconsin river with the thought of how many eggs that fish would produce. A fish biologist later told me that waleyes of that age/size will often have mostly starile eggs. I'm not a biologist and wouldn't know




I don't know much about the size of reproducers but my goodness Randy! I wanna see a picture of this pig!




Genetics. While it is true that a larger female may have a higher percentage of infertile eggs a larger female carries more eggs overall and the genetics to grow moster sized fish. That in and of itself is of incredible value.

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James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
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Randy Wieland

Re: Walleye reproduction size


James - great piont. We see this in Deer management and genetics.

for pics on my biggest pig, I do not have any.
I was mistaken on the year, it was 1994, not 97.
I was off from work for a week at the very tail end of the spawn. Fished the tinmber and brush near the tressel in D'sac everyday by myself. 9' ultralight rod I built, with 6# and floating rapala. I had no money for a mount and would never consider eating it. I do have the memory of the biggest walleye I ever caught and the lamest fight you could imagine. Thought I was snagged up on a tree limb, and tried to pull it out. (walking the shoreline), Fish thrash its head a couple of times and swam right up onto shore. Tackled it, and thats all there was. Measured it with one of those sticker type tape measures that you would put on the side of your boat, then released it. Felt great great to watch it swim off. Very rewarding. Would have been nice to be able to have shared the moment, but it is what it is. A great memory for me. BTW - the fish was already spawned out. It had a huge flabby belly, and no eggs spitting out. Other smaller females I caught that day were spilling egges.

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The ONLY thing worse than losing.........IS QUITTING!!!!!!!
Lifetime member Wisconsin Trappers Assoc.


Dave Barber

Re: Walleye reproduction size


The season is long... so, as long as the females I catch have eggs, I prefer to release them as soon as possible. I will keep males for the kitchen table... nothing more than 17". Let the rest go at this time of year.

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