Fish Stocking – All You Need To Know

— From Mark Anderson Dated 9/20/2018

Everyone, I am “Ignorant”.  I tackled a subject of Fish Stocking without getting all the information from all the parties.  I now have talked to Todd Miller our KLA (Killarney Lake Association) Fish Stocking Representative, Tim Winkel of Siver Moon Springs, our broker/hauler, State Senator Tom Tiffany, and Stephen Gilbert, the DNR Regional Supervisor from Woodruff.
I want to tell you all how the process works in a simple and educated way.  There are 3 to 4 legs to the chair.  They are:  Local DNR fish biologist, the representative from the lake to be stocked, the fish hatchery where the fish are raised, and there could be a broker/hauler involved.  We had 4 legs involved.
  1.  The KLA wants to stock walleyes (every species varies in the permit process, but this will be about walleyes).  Todd Miller call the Local DNR fish biologist in Rhinelander and asked for permission to plant 1500 walleyes in Killarney Lake.  Zac Woiak, said it would be OK to plant that amount based on the acreage of the lake.
  2. Todd Miller then calls Silver Moon Springs and orders 1500 walleyes from them.  Silver moon Springs does not raise walleyes, but sent the walleyes they used to raise to a hatchery in Minn.  What I did not know is walleyes are categorized by strain.  Our State is divided into 5 drainage areas, and each area can only be stocked with fish of that areas strain.  In our case, Upper Mississippi River Strain.  The Silver Moon Springs walleyes sent to Minn hatchery were kept in a separate pond to keep their Upper Mississippi River strain integrity.   This Minn Hatchery also had another strain on their premises.
  3.  There is a DNR fish stocking permit (on Line) required to be completed and sent to the DNR by the Lake Representative, or the broker or the hatchery with among other things certifies the health of the fish, no VHS, and the type of walleye strain.  KLA has always had the hatchery or the broker provide this information for the form.  This usually is done close to the stocking time (Mid to Late-October).  Our broker/hauler got the information on the walleyes in the Minn hatchery, and the strain of the walleyes they had segregated was certified as a strain from another pond on the property–Not Upper Mississippi River strain.  Silver Moon Springs called Todd Miller, and said our permit was denied because of the wrong strain of walleyes for our area.  Stephen Gilbert, DNR told me the permit was never applied for–the permit was not, and could not, be submitted because it had the wrong strain walleyes.  This situation may have affected 10 to 15 other state lake association stockings.  Gilbert also said the DNR issued the “strain guidelines” more than 5 yrs ago, and the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association made up of Fish Farm has been aware of these requirements.  KLA was ignorant of the requirements because our fish supplier had always addressed these issues on the permit.
  4. Silver Moon Springs said to Todd Miller that they did not have access to the correct strain of walleyes, and could not provide the fish to KLA in 2018.  Stephen Gilbert said to find a hatchery that has the correct strain of walleyes for our area.  He suggested several websites for state hatcheries.  Silver Moon Springs said they will go back to raising their own walleyes with our strain next year.
  5. I called Central Wisconsin Fish Farm out of Stevens Point.  They told me they are currently having their walleyes certified to their health and strain.  I said I needed 1500 walleyes of the Upper Mississippi River strain.  He said he would call me back if his walleyes passed the health and strain test.
  6. The KLA board approved buying the fish from CWFF if they could get the permit passed.  Stephen Gilbert said Zac could get our permit approved if filled out properly within the Fall stocking season this year.  If not we could stock next year.
  7.  While awaiting a call from CWFF, I will look for other hatcheries that can provide us with the correct fish.
  8. If we get fish, I will let you all know when they are coming to be put in the lake so you can witness the stocking.  Usually 2 days notice.

WOW!!! What an adventure.  So much of this process KLA was not involved with in the past.  Thanks to Stephen Gilbert for his expert guidance on this process.

Mark Anderson
Killarney Lake Association