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A Quick Fish Spawn Season May End this Weekend at Dunton Locks County Park

A Quick Fish Spawn Season May End this Weekend at Dunton Locks County Park Click to Enlarge

DETROIT LAKES, MN--The walleye have that twinkle in their eyes...it's spawning time. But not for long. In Detroit Lakes, DNR staff are are now working to collect then combine the eggs and milt from the walleye spawning where the Pelican River enters Lake Sallie. DNR Area Fisheries Supervisor, Nathan Olson, from the Detroit Lakes Fisheries Office says as many locals know, the hatchery is located near Lake Sallie and Dunton Locks Becker County Park and has been in operation since 1912. He says this year's spawn season is going to be quick. Olson says they began on Wednesday.

Olson says crews will be out this weekend and the public is welcome to watch the process. They usually begin around 9:00 am.

The fertilized eggs are transported to the hatchery and hatch in three weeks.

Olson says once hatched the "fry", which are about the size of a mosquito are immediately moved to one of two types of locations.

He says where the "fry" or the "fingerlings" go is determined by trial and error and recorded in the area lake management plans. He says some eggs are shipped to other hatcheries. Such as Bemidji where they ship about 50 quarts of eggs to hatch. There are 12 warm water hatcheries in the state. But he says there are only two hatcheries, Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls, that have the Red River walleye strain.

There is a viewing room at the hatchery so you can see the eggs hatching on the battery. He also says there is a video on site you may view that shows lots of detail from spawning, to hatching to stocking.

Olson says the Detroit Lakes Hatchery has been around for 106 years and there have been a lot of iterations of the buildings through the decades and they are hoping for funding for the facility to be approved in this year's bonding bill.

According to DNR statistics, Minnesota has more walleye, walleye lakes, and walleye anglers than any other state. Each year, anglers harvest about 3.5 million walleye.

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