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Walleye netting season starts for Iowa DNR fish hatcheries

MORAVIA – The late night, annual walleye collection has begun at Clear Lake, Rathbun Reservoir, and Storm Lake with collection efforts soon to follow at the Iowa Great Lakes.  

Crews with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau will set gillnets at night in traditional areas looking for walleyes that are ready to spawn. 

This time of year, hatcheries operate into the wee hours of the morning 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 162 million walleye fry that will supply Iowa lakes and fish hatcheries. 

The Clear Lake, Rathbun, Spirit Lake, and Storm Lake fish hatcheries are open and ready for visitors.  Contact the individual hatchery you intend to visit for visitor hours.