Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Walleye

Posted by  //  March 25, 2020  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Renowned for its sweet and mild white meat, the coveted walleye gets its name from its pearlescent eyes. This milky appearance is caused by a reflective layer of pigment inside the eye that helps the fish hunt at night, in low light or in murky water.  Mostly nocturnal and light sensitive, it is metallic gold on its sides with a pale belly and has a large mouth and sharp teeth designed to catch smaller fish. 

The female grows larger than the male. It prefers cool, deep, windswept lakes and rivers with gravel shoals. Shortly after ice-out, it looks for suitable areas to breed. Typical spawning habitat is in 1-6 feet of water with an irregular rocky or gravel bottom and also a current to keep the eggs clean and aerated.  Reproduction occurs during a massive event — kind of a fish orgy — when billions of sperm and eggs are released into the surrounding water. This is called “broadcast spawning.” Adults swim away afterwards, so eggs and hatchlings receive no parental protection.  

Harvest size restrictions and stocking programs are effective on bodies of water where the walleye has been overfished.  Spawning habitat restoration projects can also help support this popular gamefish. 

Article by Margie Manthey

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