By Louie Stout
These 6-8 inch walleyes were stocked into the Elkhart River this month and some will be legal size by late next season.
The walleyes measured 6 to 8 inches long and a few were close to 10 inches, according to Dar Deegan, member of the association and aquatic biologist for Elkhart.
They were very healthy looking fish and we think they should do very well, said Deegan. Some of these fish will be of legal size sometime next summer.
About 1,100 of the fish were stocked between the Goshen Dam and Baintertown Dam while 2,150 were put in between Goshen and Elkhart.
While the St. Joseph River has a 15-inch size limit to match Michigans regulation, the Elkhart River size limit is 14 inches.
Its our hope that anglers who catch these fish before they are legal size will unhook them carefully and return them safely to the river, Deegan added.
The fish were purchased from a private Wisconsin hatchery, the same hatchery used by the Indiana DNR and Michiana Walleye Association for St. Joseph River stocking. The money came from the Restoration Association members and fundraisers.
The plan calls to stock the Elkhart every other year and in alternate years that the St. Joseph River is stocked. However, more private funding through donations is needed.
We really need help if were going to continue this, said Deegan. We hope the addition of walleye will bring more attention from anglers about the need to restore and take care of the Elkhart River system.
Individuals and businesses can help out by making donations through the associations website, www.elkhartriverrestorationassociation.org.