Return to:   Home   <<   Activities
Previous Years
LDN report on one million walleye since 2011
LDN article showing harvesting the fry
Diary of Successful year
LDN article showing stocking of the fry
Pictures of Planting the Fry
Pictures of Collecting and Feeding Daphnia
Pictures of Harvesting the Walleye Fry
Installation of the Liner

202,000 Walleyes Harvested from Pond

Ben Molitor, a DNR summer helper, Joe Mickevich, Department of Natural Resources fisheries technician, and Jody Johnston, a hatchery technician, empty a fyke net while harvesting walleye from the Mason County Walleye Pond Tuesday. The first day the DNR collected more the 202,000 walleye. The group will be back today to continue the harvest.
It has not been a spring of warm, sunny skies, but on Tuesday the Mason County Walleye Association got to enjoy a perfect day and a promising harvest as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources netted more than 202,000 walleyes out of its pond.
Walleyes typically need lots of days like Tuesday for good growth, but at almost an inch and a half long and with more netting planned for today, it looked like this spring’s clouds would carry a silver, err, gold, lining for area walleye anglers.
About 167,000 of the fish were put in Hamlin Lake on Tuesday and the remainder of the pond was expected to be used to stock Big Star Lake in Lake County, Portage Lake and/or Bear Lake in Manistee County and possibly Rose Lake in Osceola County.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Supervisor Joe Mickevich, who recently took that position from Scott Heintzelman who is now a biologist supervisor, said things were going well.
“These guys have been doing a great job managing things,” Mickevich said. “It’s the nicest pond in the state.”
The MCWA does not own the fish. The group simply takes delivery of tiny just-hatched walleyes and raises them for 5-6 weeks in the MCWA pond. The decisions about where the fish will be stocked are left to the DNR.
Ben Molitor, a DNR summer helper, Joe Mickevich, Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Technician Supervisor, pour a net full of walleye into a bucket to be weighed Tuesday
Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Technician Eric Askam works with Carter Cole on the number of walleye being taken from the Mason County Walleye Pond Tuesday.
The fisheries crew knew things would go well when the first three of their 13 Fyke nets brought in 47,000 walleyes.
“We’re seeing a lot of fish, DNR Fisheries Technician Eric Askam said. “The (Mason County Walleye Association) guys did a great job again.”
The DNR’s timing was also very good, as the fish were just starting to show signs of cannibalism, some thing expected if the young fish sit in the rearing pond too long.
More than 202,500 walleye were collected at the Mason County Walleye Pond Tuesday.
Several times a summer, the Mason County Walleye Association members will visit the Ludington wastewater treatment plant and net out tiny aquatic organisms called daphia or waterfleas. The daphnia are placed in a small food pond adjacent to the main rearing pond. Once the rearing pond is drained, then the food pond is drained into the dry basin. The daphnia go into kind of a cocoon and wait for more water, which comes in the spring when the ponds are refilled.
There was some concern this year with the weather because it wasn't consistently warm like the walleyes prefer, but it was apparently warm enough. Another reason for concern seemed to be the lack of daphnia during surveys of the pond while the young fish were growing, but Koles said it appears there was just enough for the fish to grow on. He noted that the MCWA directors had filled and drained the food pond (into the main pond) multiple times during the spring, giving the walleyes more food.
"I'm real surprised," Koles said of the numbers of fish. "So far, so good. It's going to be another good year."
The MCWA pond is staffed entirely by volunteers. The budget for the group is about $5,000 a year, with most of that going to electrical bills. Other expenses include grounds keeping on the pond, which is necessary because any overhanging brush can provide places for dragonflies to lay eggs. Dragonfly larvae are predatory and reduce the harvest.
The funds come primarily from earmarked donations to the Community Foundation for Mason County, but also from a dinner that takes place at the Ludington Boat Club each summer. This year's event is June 20. Tickets are available from Ludington Truck Tops or any MCWA director.


  “Making Mason County A Fisherman’s Paradise”