Colorado Parks and Wildlife has started its three-week period of spawning walleye to help grow the population in reservoirs across the state.
“We go through this process to make sure we have enough walleye to stock out to all of our reservoirs, so sportsman have a good opportunity,“ said Carrie Tucker, aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The goal for 2019 is to collect and fertilize 126 million walleye eggs. They pull walleye from reservoirs like Pueblo Lake, Chatfield and Cherry Creek.
“If we didn’t do it, we wouldn’t have the walleyes, and we wouldn’t have the eggs to trade for wipers, catfish, bass and everything else,“ said Bill Shoumaker, a volunteer for 22 years with the walleye population growth program.
The teams are set up to head out early in the morning to collect hundreds of fish caught in nets set the night before. From there, they bring them in, where the fish are separated based on gender and maturity.
“As soon as we’re done taking the eggs out of the females we put them in a tank to recover, because it can be pretty stressful being in the nets all night and stripping the eggs out of the females,“ Tucker said.
Tucker said they depend on the volunteers to help make this whole program go as planned.
“This is a really important process,” Tucker said. “It takes a lot of cooperation between our CPW employees and volunteers to make this process happen smoothly.”
They expect to collect enough eggs by the start of April.