Curiosity and new knowledge pay off for local anglers

Many anglers possess a keen curiosity, not only about their favorite lakes and rivers, but also about the fish they prefer to catch and the habitats where they live.

Curiosity is a good thing. Inquiring anglers, after all, are the ones who succeed. They keep their eyes and ears open for valuable new information that can pay big dividends out on the water.

Fresh tips and new tricks are good for quick fixes when anglers are slumping. A simple recommendation about trying a certain lure at a certain depth can reverse an angler’s fortunes and put fish in the ice chest.

But knowledgeable anglers know they can never own too much information about fish, fishing and the best hotspots, though it isn’t easy to sift through info resources to gain knowledge. The best sources are published materials and the experience of scientists and expert anglers. I thought I knew a lot about walleye but I discovered my knowledge was only the tip of the iceberg. During conversations recently with Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists, I learned some very interesting facts about walleyes. Those talks prompted me to do some digging for interesting information.

Walleye are common throughout North America, with a range almost as expansive as another popular species, the largemouth bass. From northern Canada to the mid-south U.S., walleyes are the preferred species of millions of anglers.

Walleyes are especially popular among Ohio anglers. They are so popular that our state’s fisheries managers operate a sophisticated process that harvests eggs and milt from Mosquito Lake walleyes and results in annual bumper crops of baby walleyes to stock throughout Ohio.

Dan Wright, the Ohio Division of Wildlife fish management technician who heads the walleye netting and egg fertilization operation each spring at Mosquito, noted the Trumbull County reservoir itself is the chief beneficiary of the walleye stocking program.

Ohio stocks walleyes in lakes throughout the state, but Mosquito is stocked at a rate approximately double the others.

Mosquito receives 7.2 million walleye fry every year, as well as 1.44 million fingerlings for a total of more than 8.5 million baby walleyes. That breaks down to 1,000 fry per acre and 200 fingerlings per acre.

As mentioned earlier, walleyes are marquee fish throughout Ohio, thanks in no small part to Lake Erie. Walleye are king on the big lake and have earned our great lake the top spot on many of the top walleye lakes lists. Field & Stream magazine’s list has Erie at the top, followed by Devil’s Lake and Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota, Lake McConaughy in Nebraska, Bay of Quinte in Ontario, the Upper Mississippi River and Lake of the Woods in Minnesota, Bay de Noc and Saginaw Bay in Michigan, and the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.

With Erie just a long cast away, it would seem Ohioans might also have the lead in the number of people who eat walleye. Not so. According to In-Fisherman magazine, Minnesota is home to the most walleye eaters.

The biggest walleye caught from Lake Erie is a 16.19-pounder boated in 1999. I have no information on the color of the lure that tricked that fish, but In-Fisherman reported that walleyes see red, orange and yellow best, with green also being recognized. All of this information may or may not have elevated your walleye I.Q., but keep it handy in case you are ever invited to a walleye trivia game. You won’t be the know-it-all, of course, as we’ve only scratched the surface in the information to be learned.

Curious anglers will find piles and piles of info to soak in by reading and talking with the experts.

Jack Wollitz’s book, “The Common Angler,” dives into the highs and lows that combine to make fishing a passion for so many people. He likes emails from readers. Send a note to jackbbaass@gmail.com.


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