“It’s good for tourism … it’s good that people take part,” Association President Mike Gagner said. “In three to five years, those fish will be laying their own eggs.”
He said eggs hatched in Ogdensburg and the Walleye Association takes care of them until they are ready for the river.
“The St. Lawrence River valley Sportsman’s Club has hatched out the eggs the last two years and then we raise them,” Gagner said. “Once they’re born, we go up and get the fry and transfer them to our ponds.”
He said they have two ponds of one million gallons each in Waddington to raise the fry.
“The fry went into the ponds the 28th of April. We grow zoe plankton and that’s what they feed off,” Gagner said. “When they become ¾ an inch they’re sent for testing … in Maine.
“They test the fish for seven different diseases. If the fish are clean, they give us permission to stock those fish. As soon as they give permission, we stock. After a while the plankton isn’t enough for them … and they start eating their siblings.
He expects 40 percent, or about 12,000 of the fry, will survive to adulthood. It will take 18 months to two years for the fish grow to the limit where anglers can keep them in New York, which is 18 inches.
He says the association believes walleye stocking is an important ecological task, especially with the invasive species problem.
“The round gobi is a problem as far as eggs,” Gagner said. “They’re carpeting the St. Lawrence River and that’s what they do – they suck eggs. They’re more difficult on bass. One out of every seven years is a good year for a natural (walleye) reproduction.”
He also says the stocking is good for tourism, putting more fish in the river for tourists to catch.
“It’s good from every angle you look at it,” he said.