BAZETTA TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – Fishing season is here and the Ohio Division of Wildlife has been busy collecting walleye eggs on Mosquito Reservoir.
Every year the eggs are collected to help stock lakes across Ohio with walleye and saugeye. Without the collections, walleye fishing on most inlands wouldn’t exist.
Matt Wolfe, ODNR fisheries biologists, said the collection is necessary because as Ohio lakes age, habitats become unfavorable for the fish to reproduce.
“Our job is to come in and collect the eggs from the females and give them to our hatcheries that will hatch them out,” Wolfe said.
There are 18 nets at Mosquito Lake that are checked daily. Sometimes the nets catch perch, bass and the occasional mudpuppy – those get thrown back in the water. But when a female walleye swims into the net, that fish is put in a holding tank to take back to the hatchery.
“Some fish do die occasionally because they are being handled. They are being roughed up and that sometimes is just the nature of the business. But when you get a female that can produce 300,000 eggs it is sometimes a necessary sacrifice,” Wolfe said.
The fish are eventually hatched in a jar and then four weeks later lakes will be restocked with the tiny fish. Wolfe said over the course of about two years, the fish will grow to about 15 inches.
The goal is to collect 270 quarts of eggs, which will create millions of fish for Ohio lakes.
The public is invited to watch how ODNR workers collect the eggs. They do it every day about 9 a.m. at the main boat ramp. The collection for this year is almost complete, so they may only be there until the end of March.