2018 Muskegon River Walleye Egg-take Schedule and Updates (W/pics)

Discussion in 'South West Michigan Streams and Rivers' started by wilsonm, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. wilsonm

    wilsonm

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    I will be posting our daily shocking schedule as the egg-take moves closer. As of right now, we will be shocking between Croton and Pine Street Monday, March 26th. This is a yearly trout survey we do in conjunction with checking walleye females for ripeness. We will begin around 9am and most shocking should occur above Pine Street. I will post the date of the first egg-take after this survey is completed. As in years past, we will need to cover all areas of the river between Croton and Pine Street during egg-take days to reach our daily quota of ripe fish. Thank you for your cooperation.

    Thank you,
    MDNR Fisheries crew
    Plainwell

    March 22, 2018
    Contact: Plainwell Customer Service Center, 269-685-6851 or
    Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839

    Walleye egg collection efforts on Muskegon River to begin this month

    Muskegon River anglers should be on the lookout this spring for Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries personnel collecting walleye eggs below Croton Dam.

    Walleye will be collected with electro-fishing boats starting as early as the week of March 26 and concluding by April 13. Anglers should use caution when fishing near the electro-fishing boats. To ensure their safety, wading anglers will be asked to exit the water when the boat approaches. Those who wish to avoid the walleye collection activities should fish downstream.

    The DNR plans to collect approximately 47 million walleye eggs from the Muskegon River this year that will result in 15 million fry for transfer to rearing ponds and direct fry plants throughout the Lower Peninsula. Walleye fry transferred to ponds will be raised to fingerling size (approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches) and stocked in lakes and rivers throughout the state in late spring or early summer.

    Lake Michigan and many inland lake walleye populations in the Lower Peninsula depend on the fingerlings produced from Muskegon River eggs. The size of the walleye spawning run in the Muskegon River is presently about 40,000 to 50,000 fish each year. DNR crews will strip milt (sperm) and eggs from approximately 500 adult fish, which will be returned to the river – except for 60 which will be sent to Michigan State University for fish health testing.

    "This adult population consists of mostly stocked fish," said Ed Pearce, fisheries technician supervisor who coordinates the egg-take. "The Muskegon River has the largest run of walleye in the Lake Michigan watershed south of Green Bay."

    Five days of fish collections are planned this spring. The actual date those collections will begin depends on water temperatures and the presence of ripe fish. This schedule can change on a daily basis for many reasons, but it is anticipated most work will be completed from the last week of March through the second week of April.

    Sampling using electro-fishing usually begins at about 8:30 a.m. each day at Croton Dam and proceeds downstream to the Pine Street Access Site. If more eggs are needed, additional collections may occur downstream to the Thornapple Street Access Site.

    Egg collection and fertilizing is conducted at the Pine Street Public Access Site, about two miles downstream of Croton Dam. This process generally begins between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. The public is welcome to observe how the eggs are removed from the fish and fertilized before they are packed and shipped to Wolf Lake and Platte River State Fish Hatcheries.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  2. ready2fish

    ready2fish

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    Thanks for the update, always a good time watching
     
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  3. Thank you Mike, Glad to hear my son and i will not be bumping into you and your hard working crew this weekend.;)
     
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  4. sfw1960

    sfw1960 Staff Member Super Mod Mods

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    WOOOO HOOOO! ;)
     
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  5. wilsonm

    wilsonm

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    We did our annual trout survey from Croton to Pine Street and checked walleye for numbers and ripeness. We caught around 55 Eagle Lake rainbows up to 15 inches and 38 browns up to 19 inches. This is about the same as last year and close to average compared to previous years. Steelhead numbers were fair with almost all being pretty dark. Walleyes were starting to ripen up, but numbers were still on the on the low side. The river is extremely low and clear right now and the temperature got up to 39.3 today. Our plan for the walleye egg-take is to start Thursday, March 29th. The tentative plan after that is Monday, April 2nd, and most likely two more days after that next week. I will give a update after spawning on Thursday. Just a reminder that during egg-take days, we will have to shock all areas of the river from Croton to Pine Street so the least disturbance to fishing will be below Pine Street after 9am.

    Thanks
     
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  6. TK81

    TK81

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    You still planning on Monday the 2nd? If so, approximately what time? Would like to swing by with the kids and show them what you guys are doing.

    Thanks,
     
  7. wilsonm

    wilsonm

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    We had our first egg-take day today. We ended up spawning around 75 pair all together. We didn't put any real big fish on the scale, but handled a fair amount of 10 to 12 pounders today. We turned back about 160 green females and saw maybe 50 spent females. The river temp was about 39.5 today and the level is still lower than average. Steelhead numbers seemed a bit lower than Monday with almost all fish still being on the dark side even with the rain we had. We didn't shock much above the bridge though. Our next egg-take will be Monday, April 2nd and tenatively Wed the 4th, and Friday the 6th. We usually start shocking up by the bridge around 8:30am and usually bring a full load of fish back to Pine Street 4 or 5 times until 1 or 2pm. The hatchery crew usually starts spawning fish around 10am and usually continues till 1 or 2 pm so it's best to be there by late morning if you want to watch.

    Thanks
     
  8. sfw1960

    sfw1960 Staff Member Super Mod Mods

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    It's a pretty cool operation if you've never done that TK...

    I am buried past my eyebrows @ work (who's hiring Dave??), so I can't make it like I usually do - but my Wife will likely bring her camera along & get Mike & the gang in action, so hopefully we can post some pics again.


    NICE WORK Cap'N Mike!
    :fish2: :mischeif::woohoo1:
     
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  9. TK81

    TK81

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    Everybody in our business is buried. I have probably put in about 54 hours so far this week...

    I took a couple vacation days to hang with the kiddos on spring break. I figure we can watch the walleye gig and then take a nice hike on the north country trail after.
     
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  10. wilsonm

    wilsonm

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    We spawned around 80 pair today with the largest fish handled a green girl at 12.1 pounds. Lots of walleye in the river, but very few steelhead. The river is very low and clear. Air temp was 17 degrees and water temp at 39 to the start morning off. Our next spawning day is Wednesday, April 4th and we tentatively plan finish Friday April 6th. As always, we will have to shock all areas of the river from the Bridge at Croton to Pine Street launch a couple times over from about 9am till 1 or 2pm and make 4 to 7 trips back to the launch. Thanks again for your cooperation.
     
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  11. TK81

    TK81

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    Good show today. My kids enjoyed it. After we spent some time watching you guys unload from the shock boat tank into the pens at the Pine access, we drove up to the Croton launch and watch the shocking / netting process. Too cool!
    upload_2018-4-2_19-55-15.png

    upload_2018-4-2_19-55-57.png My 7 YO in the pink hat!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  12. sfw1960

    sfw1960 Staff Member Super Mod Mods

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    Nice work Mike & crew!

    Dawn handed me about 3GB of images to go thru - but I could use about 64 hours in a day right now...

    Hope I can do a little editing tomorrow night.

    Thanks for posting!

    RAS
     
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  13. wilsonm

    wilsonm

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    We spawned 103 pair today. Biggest fish today was a 15.4lb green female. This is the biggest fish any of us can remember seeing. Hopefully we see her again Friday. We also had a 13.8lb female. Water temp dropped down to 39F. Steelhead numbers still very low. The next egg-take date is Friday, April 6th. We hope to finish up the egg-take that day, but if we don't get enough ripe females, we will have to finish up next week. We could be shocking until 2 or 3pm if needed and will have to work over all the the areas between the dam and Pine Street several times. Pic of the 15.4 lb fish. She didn't do the extended arm fisherman pose.
    IMG_1762.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
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  14. sfw1960

    sfw1960 Staff Member Super Mod Mods

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    She's a beauty!

    The fish is downright awesome too... :mischeif:

    Please send me that one in the highest res you have Mike? (Purdy Please???)

    A very good day - and I know each and every one of you worked very,very hard today to make it happen in some pretty iffy conditions.

    I guess since you posted a super pic and Dave dropped a few in I will add a few tonight and then maybe some more later.

    I don't want to weigh down the thread with too many heavy pics just yet - - I really appreciate Your efforts, the girls are awesome as is Ed and the rest of the crew!

    Thank you !!
    :bowdown:





    It's a bad machine!

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    WOW!!!

    What a BAZOOKA , we are so lucky to have such a great fishery.....

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    A very special thanks to my wonderful Wife, who took the time to go take these pictures and help me when I am nailed to the wall with work...

    Thank you TOO my Dawny Dearest! :coolgleam :fish2:

    You will always ROCK! :shhh:

    [​IMG]
    ; )


    Best fishes ~ thanks all!
    RAS
     
  15. wilsonm

    wilsonm

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    Egg take completed for 2018. We finished up the egg-take today for the year with 94 pairs spawned. No real big fish today, maybe a few close to 12 lbs. Most of the big females have spawned out. The smaller females tend to spawn later in the run so they and the males made up the majority of what we saw today. The hatchery crew will be enumerating and jarring the eggs probably till 8 or 9 tonight. The egg-take went well this year except for the weather and low water made it tougher. We did break a fin on the jet impeller today, but managed to limp it along and work with less thrust. Thanks to the fisherman who we shocked around for dealing with it and especially thanks to those who fished up by the dam or below Pine Street during our egg-take days. It lets us get fish quicker and makes for earlier nights for the hatchery crews.
     
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