Biology, Management, and Culture of Walleye and Sauger

Chapter 12: Stocking and Marking: Lessons Learned over the Past Century

Steven J. Kerr


Walleye and related species provide highly valued recreational fisheries in Canada and the United States. Based on a 2005 survey of recreational angling in Canada, walleye was the predominant species caught in the country (Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 2007). A similar national survey conducted in the United States indicated that 3.8 million anglers spent almost 51.9 million days angling for walleyes in 2001 (USFWS–USCB 2002). The popularity of walleye as a sport fish has resulted in a situation where demand exceeds supply in many areas. In addition, walleyes are being sought to create new recreational fisheries outside their native range in North America. The increasing demand for walleyes has led many resource management agencies to initiate or expand walleye culture and stocking programs.

Walleye stocking has occurred in North America for well over a century. A number of surveys on walleye stocking activities in North America have been conducted in the past (Laarman 1978; Conover 1986; Bennett and McArthur 1990; Fenton et al. 1996; Kerr 2008). Halverson (2008) reported that 1,046,140,100 walleyes, 29,474,000 hybrid walleyes, or saugeyes, (walleye × sauger hybrid), and 27,768,800 saugers were stocked in the United States in 2004. A more recent survey (Kerr 2008) indicated that over 995 million walleyes (all life stages combined) were stocked in North American waters in 2006 (Table 12.1). Jurisdictions that had the largest walleye stocking programs (i.e., >40 million fish) were Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Kansas, New York, South Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan. Some agencies, including Wisconsin and Illinois, appear to have reduced their walleye stocking program in 2006 from levels reported earlier by Conover (1986).