Iowa fish hatcheries busy netting walleye

MORAVIA – The late night, annual walleye collection began last week at Rathbun and Storm lakes and earlier this week at the Iowa Great Lakes. Crews with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau will set gillnets at night looking for walleyes ready to spawn.

Hatcheries will operate around the clock as local staff bring in the nightly haul well past midnight. As fish “ripen,” the eggs are removed from the walleyes and the fish are returned to the lake where they were caught to make room for the next night’s catch.

The goal is to collect enough fish to hatch 140.9 million walleye fry that will supply Iowa lakes and fish hatcheries.

All DNR offices, including fish hatcheries, are closed to the public until further notice due to COVID-19 precautions. Check out our Iowa DNR Storm Lake Gillnetting 2019 video to learn more about walleye collection efforts.