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Mound Wildlife Group continues pond breeding project with 200,000 walleye fry released – DiscoverWestman.com

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The partnership between Manitoba Fisheries and the Mound Wildlife Group continues this year with the stocking of their rearing pond northeast of Pilot Mound, allowing the 2-3 day old fry to grow in an environment free of predators and competition for a food source.

Brody Kitch, regional biologist with Westman Fisheries, says the peak of the program was in 2021, when 17,000 juvenile walleye were released into lakes in south-central Manitoba, but conditions were optimal for those juvenile walleye at the time.

The project began in 2018 when Manitoba Fisheries stocked the rearing pond with 50,000 fingerlings. Now, up to 200,000 fingerlings are released into the pond each year. Kitch says the growth rate and number of fingerlings they can get out of the reservoir depends on several factors. Last year, only 700 fingerlings were caught.

“There were some environmental factors,” he explains. “There were some fluctuations in water levels and there were also some bait species that I think acted as competition for the pikeperch fry in the first few months.”

The year the nursery pond produced 17,000 fry, the group found that the fry were smaller, about 10 to 12 cm long, simply because they were competing with each other for food. But last year, when they caught only 700 fry in the reservoir, they were quite a bit larger, 18 to 23 cm long.

Please listen to more from Brody Kitch below as he tells you more about the process of breeding and catching fingerlings!

Every September, volunteers from Manitoba Fisheries and Mound Wildlife spend a few days capturing the 5- to 9-inch juvenile fish and distributing them to nearby waters. Goudney Reservoir, Killarney Lake, Rock Lake, Pelican Lake, Stephensfield Lake and Mary Jane Lake have all caught these five-month-old fish.

“The scope changes from year to year and if we have too many fish, we definitely work with Mound Wildlife to relocate those fish,” he explains. “So it's been a very successful program and a great partnership with Mound. We're really excited to be working with them again.”

The following photos were taken during the fry harvest in September.