Sports and Outdoors

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Muskie egg-take sets records at Lake Webster

Indiana DNR Release:

NORTH WEBSTER–To meet the production goals of Indiana’s statewide muskie stocking program, DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists collected nearly 1.5 million eggs this spring from adult female muskies at Webster Lake.

The eggs were taken from 35 female muskies and fertilized with milt from male muskies, both of which were captured in large trap nets set at six locations between March 30 and April 6 in the 774-acre Kosciusko County lake.

During the eight-day period, biologists netted 128 muskies, including 74 males and 19 additional immature or “spent” females that had already released their eggs.

“We set a record this year for the fewest number of days needed for egg-taking,” said Dave Clary, manager of the Fawn River State Fish Hatchery in Orland. “It usually takes 10 to 15 days.”

“The weather probably had a lot to due with our quick success this spring,” Clary said.

According to Clary, weather changes and variable water temperatures can cause fluctuations and delays in muskie egg development.

Of the nearly 1.5 million eggs obtained this year, more than half (44) were taken on April 3. The largest female muskie captured was 46.5 inches long.

Biologists extracted and fertilized more than 600,000 eggs, which also broke the record for a single day egg-take. Once the muskie eggs were fertilized, Clary transported them to the Fawn River Hatchery where they were placed in hatching jars. Just before hatching, the eggs were shipped to East Fork State Fish Hatchery in southwest Indiana, where the newly hatched muskie fry will be fed tiny pellets similar to food for aquarium fish.

“The young muskies will be raised throughout the summer at East Fork Hatchery, fed live minnows for 30 days in the fall, and then stocked in various public lakes throughout the state,” Clary said. “They are normally 8 to 10 inches long by the time they are stocked.”

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