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Why does the Mason County Walleye Association Raise Walleye?


The walleye got its name from its eyes which are large and reflect light.  It has a large mouth with teeth.  A tournament size fish may be 31 inches long and weighs 20 pounds.  The record walleye was 42 inches long and weighed 25 pounds.  Walleye can live 29 years.


Walleye are pursed primarily because it is a palatable fish.  Many people that who don’t appreciate the taste of fish, do enjoy eating Walleye.  This desired characteristic makes it a “sought after” game fish.  Whenever a fishing sport becomes popular, contests and tournaments spring up, adding even more excitement to the sport.

Fishing Reports

There is no special method or equipment needed to catch walleye.  It is a bottom dweller and as such it is fished for in the much the same manner as other bottom dwellers such as Perch or Northern Pike.  It feeds especially at night and it is not much of a fighter when caught, but like all fishing it is none-the-less exciting.


All these factors have made fishing for Walleye very popular with the sport-fishing public.  With all of these people fishing for Walleye, it puts a lot of pressure on the fishery.  When the existing fishery is not large enough to sustain itself with natural reproduction, the fishery gets “fished out” within a relatively short period of time.  Over the years, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has learned to support walleye, and many other fisheries, with fish hatcheries and rearing ponds.


Because of its nature it is difficult and expensive to raise Walleye.  The fish reproduces only once a year, which limits the opportunity to re-use hatcheries more than once-a-year.  Walleye don’t feed on artificial food such as fish-food pellets like Salmon or Trout would, and therefore require natural food (more on that later).  Once the Walleye reach a certain size, about 1 ½ inches, they become cannibalistic making it impossible to raise the large numbers of fish in one hatchery tank.

Rearing Ponds

To overcome these problems, the Mason County Walleye Association has constructed a rearing pond on property that it owns south-east of Ludington.  The design of the pond along with the required support facilities necessary to run it, follow the recommended DNR design.  This design has proved very satisfactory and has been in operation for over 25 years.


The DNR has limited resources and they are spread over the various fisheries across the entire State of Michigan.  During hard times when there are even fewer resources, sacrifices need to be made.  An expensive program like this Walleye Rearing Program has a tough time escaping the budget-cutting axe.  This is where an organization Like the Mason County Walleye Association has a major impact on the community from both an economic, recreational, and quality of life standpoint.  This assumes that we continue to get the fry from the DNR and provided we continue to get financial support from the community we will be able to sustain the fishery for Mason County as well as North-West Michigan.


This is where the Mason County Walleye Foundation will play a significant role in keeping the Walleye fishery viable in perpetuity.  The association has never had any problem getting volunteers to run the Walleye Rearing Pond that we have.  Our challenge is to obtain reliable funding to operate the facility.  The Walleye Foundation has been set up to provide this and hopefully we will continue to find benefactors who believe in what we are doing and will fund the foundation.




“Making Mason County A Fisherman’s Paradise”