You may have seen some lights (photo right) and a strange looking boat on Roberts Creek Monday evening. Ben Dodd and Andy Otting of the Iowa DNR Fisheries division and Matt Kissinger of the Red Rock Lake Association visited Roberts Creek to do a followup on the release of Walleye Fry that were released into Roberts Creek in early spring. Over the course of several hours, they moved along the banks of the lake in the evening with their boat, lights and shocking equipment to sample the fish in the area.
The resulting study brought many species to the surface: Large Mouth Bass, White Bass, Crappie, Blue Gills, Catfish and others. There were many large fish and strong numbers of each species. However, the main focus remained - How did the Walleye stocking perform? Unfortunately, there were not many Walleye caught. It was determined that the stocking of Walleye Fry was unsuccessful this year.
Dodd thought that this could have been the result of a couple factors. "We sourced our fry from North Dakota this year due to poor weather conditions during the Iowa walleye spawn. This long haul from North Dakota may have stressed the fish. Also, the fact that we had to use fry instead of fingerlings potentially reduces the success rate of the stock. Fingerlings typically have a higher success rate." Dodd hopes to establish better walleye numbers in Roberts Creek through future walleye stockings.
Is there a closer source for fingerlings other than North Dakota? Yes. Otting noted that we get a lot of our fry and fingerlings from Iowa lakes such as Rathbun and Okoboji; however, this year's warmer winter and spring weather had a big impact on Walleye spawn. The warm weather reduced the number of fry and fingerlings available and therefore the Iowa DNR Fisheries Bureau had to go elsewhere, in this case North Dakota. "Hopefully we can get fingerlings next time and get them from Iowa," said Otting. "This should help our chances of a successful stocking."
Right now Roberts Creek remains a great place to catch Crappie, Blue Gills, Bass and others. In the future, we hope to see more Walleye as well.