| Oct 30, 2008

Oct 30/08 - Walleye Released in Verona Lakes

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Feature Article - October 30, 2008 Walleye fingerlings released into Verona area lakesby Inie Platenius

Kyle Reynolds of MNR White Lake and Winston Midddleton of Howes Lake counting walleye.

For many years now, Verona and area have been served by a group of dedicated volunteers who tap into the Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program (CFWIP) to increase the walleye population in our region. CFWIP is a Ministry of Natural Resources initiative, which in this case, helps volunteers to hatch and rear walleye for release into local lakes. Floyd Deyo, retired teacher, dedicated sportsman and conservationist is the driving force behind the Verona group, and he gave us the update on this year’s activities.

The work began with a meeting in Westport of volunteers from Verona, the Westport Outdoor Association and the Napanee Rod & Gun Club, joined by representatives from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and representatives from the Kemptville and Kingston MNR. After some discussion, the volunteers decided to form an umbrella association to deal with their common concerns.

The walleye program hatches fry (baby fish) and rears them in special ponds to the fingerling stage before releasing them into local lakes, and one of the group’s priorities was to repair and upgrade the rearing ponds, some of which were over 20 years old. The group received several thousand dollars in grants from MNR and OFAH to complete repairs to several ponds, including local ones provided by Lloyd Lee and the Babcocks. These improvements should make for a substantial increase in fingerling production next year.

Another major decision was to have the Westport group collect and incubate the walleye eggs and then distribute the fry to the other groups for rearing. The way this happens is that in mid-April, several male and female are captured, stripped of milt and eggs, and then released back into the stream they came from. The fertilized eggs then go into hatchery jars until early May when the fry hatch and are released into the rearing ponds – this year in the Babcock pond near Hartington, a Napanee pond and two in Westport. The Babcock pond produced 1085 fingerlings of three inches or longer. The Westport ponds had some early problems, but in the end produced 550 two-inch fish. The group had agreed that each year the stocking would emphasize a different lake, and this year all the fingerlings went into 13 Island Lake (thanks to the use of Terry and Karen Mullens’ pontoon boat). Although 13 Island Lake has a couple of potentially good breeding streams, for some reason it has no natural reproduction of walleye. In addition to the Westport-hatched fish, the MNR White Lake Fish Culture Station provided several thousand fingerlings which were released into 13 Island, Howes and Verona (Rock) Lake, courtesy of Winston Middleton and Dave Salmond.

In late June, 750 fingerlings went into the pond near Rivendell Golf Club’s 18th hole, which has been used many times to grow advanced (larger size) fingerlings. These fish prey on the pond’s naturally occurring minnow population and 258 of them grew to a whopping four to seven inches before being harvested for release into lakes.

Floyd says, “Raising walleyes is something like cheering for the Maple Leafs. Wait until next year.” But with the rearing pond repairs, more production capacity should produce a bumper crop. If you want to join the project along with Floyd and volunteers Lloyd Lee, Winston Middleton, Bill Norman, Neil, Bill, Stan and Vincent Babcock, John Chabot, Earl Brown and Dave Salmond, call Bill at 613-372-2265, Lloyd at 613- 374-2179 or Floyd at 613-374-2869 and get in on the fishy fun.

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