By Louie Stout
The St. Joseph River walleye stocking program got another boost last month, thanks to the efforts of the Michiana Walleye Association (MWA) and the Indiana DNR.
Some 12,000 6- to 8-inch walleyes were stocked at Maggies Landing in Mishawaka. The fish were raised by Gollon Bait and Fish Farm in Wisconsin.
The DNR purchased 10,000 of those while the Michiana Walleye Club, which has been the driving force in Indiana’s St. Joseph River stocking since 1995, purchased the other 2,000.
The club pays for the fish through its fund-raisers held at the club grounds and donations it receives from individual anglers and businesses.
The walleyes are stocked every other year. According to Indiana DNR officials, the survival rate of those fish stocked is estimated to be around 34 percent.
Barry Ukele, a MWA founder and spearhead for the stocking program, said this year’s fish appeared to be in great shape and should contribute to the fishery in the years to come.
The St. Joe has become a viable walleye fishery since the mid-1990s. Catching big walleyes there can be tricky, but surveys show they are there.
Anglers who catch the young walleye over the upcoming months are urged to handle them with care and return them to the water quickly.