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"DNR Walleye Milking"

on The Boy River – Spring 2002

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Woman Lake Walleye Tagging Results

Each year the DNR "milks" woman lake walleyes as they swim up the Boy River to provide fry and fingerlings for restocking various Minnesota lakes. Beginning in the spring of 1996, however, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also began tagging Woman Lake walleyes as they swam up the Boy River.

The Boy River begins in Ten Mile lake and winds its way into Child Lake which flows into Woman Lake. From there it flows into Girl Lake where a damn was constructed to raise the lake level 70 years ago. Out of Girl Lake it becomes a river again and flows into Rice Lake, through Lake Inguadona, Boy Lake and finally into Leech.

The purpose of the tagging project was fourfold:

  • Estimate the adult walleye population
  • Determine the percentage of adult walleye caught by anglers
  • Determine the percentage of adult walleye using the Boy River during spawning
  • Document the movement of Woman Lake walleye in the Boy River system

The Child, Girl and Woman Lake Property Owners Association, in conjunction with the DNR has, over the past twenty years, stocked Woman Lake with fry, fingerlings and yearlings. The association maintains four active rearing ponds with a fry count at 180,000 in 1996. These fry grew to be 4 to 5 inch fingerlings and were released into Woman Lake in mid–September. In addition, over 5,100,000 fry were released into Woman Lake over the 1996 Memorial day Weekend. The following is the latest available stocking data.


  YEAR   SIZE   QUANTITY  
1995 Fry2,300,000
  Fingerling   12,676
Yearling12
1996 Fry5,100,000
  Fingerling   12,241
Yearling– 0 –
1997 Fry4,000,000
  Fingerling   2,701
Yearling240
1998 Fry5,000,000
  Fingerling   3,908
Yearling44
1999 Fry4,600,000
  Fingerling   – * –
Yearling– * –
2000 Fry6,723,400
  Fingerling   – * –
Yearling– * –
  *   Data Not Available

The results of the 1996 "milking" yielded 487 quarts, which was estimated to be 61,221,600 eggs. 2,121 males and 1,116 females were handled and 2,997 of these were tagged. In addition to tagging other studies were conducted such as gill net counts as well as a creel survey to help determine the population of walleyes as well as other species.




1996 RESULTS – TAG RETURN SUMMARY
Total through December 31, 1996 – 780
Harvested by anglers – 666
Caught and released by anglers – 76
Caught a second time – 10
Caught by angler -
harvest or release unknown – 15
Captured by netting – 10
Captured by electrofishing – 1
Found dead – 12

IT WAS ESTIMATED THAT 92% OF TAGGED WALLEYE
CAUGHT BY ANGLERS WERE REPORTED

WHERE TAGGED WALLEYE WERE CAUGHT
Child Lake – 1
Girl Lake – 18
Woman Lake – 722
Boy River – 1
(downstream from Girl Lake)

It was estimated that there was 12,800 to 14,500 adult sexually mature walleye, 5 years and older, in Woman Lake in 1996. About 20% of Woman Lake's adult walleye were captured and tagged in the Boy River walleye trap in 1996. Of the total walleye population, 27% were caught with males caught at a higher rate than females and 24% were harvested.




Woman Lake Creel Survey – 1996

(By: Don Klick)

There was an estimated 86,581 angler–hours, or 18.1 hours per acre; other similar lakes range from 8 to 28 hours per acres.

Anglers caught 100,862 fish of which 30,845 were harvested. This fish harvest translates to 6.4 fish per acre and 5.5 pounds per acre. Other similar lakes range from 2.7 to 27.0 fish per acre and 2.0 to 11.4 pounds per acre.

The top species harvested by numbers were:
  • yellow perch – 46%
  • walleye – 16%
  • bluegill – 14%
  • northern Pike – 12%
  • rock bass – 3%
The top species harvested by pounds were:
  • northern pike – 31.5%
  • walleye – 31%
  • yellow perch – 21%
  • bluegill – 12%
  • rock bass – 3%
Voluntary angler release rates of quality size fish were:
  • 18% of walleye 20–inches and longer
  • 50% of northern pike 24–inches and longer
  • 88% of smallmouth bass 14–inches and longer
  • 88% of largemouth bass 15–inches and longer
  • Over half the harvest of walleye occurred in the first three weeks of the season.
  • The 1991 and 1994 year classes resulted in most of the harvest of walleye.
  • Anglers targeted walleye or walleye in combination with other species 89% of the time in May and 56.5% of the time for the season.
  • Fishing accounted for 75% of all recreational water surface use during the summer.
  • 55% of the anglers accessed the lake through a resort. 12.5% accessed the lake using the public accesses.



Woman Lake Creel Survey – 1997

(By: Don Klick)
This Is The Last Year For The Creel Survey

There was an estimated 92,766 angler–hours, or 19.4 hours per acre; other similar lakes range from 8 to 28 hours per acres.

Anglers caught 95,631 fish of which 30,750 were harvested. This fish harvest translates to 6.4 fish per acre and 5.4 pounds per acre. Other similar lakes range from 2.7 to 27.0 fish per acre and 2.0 to 11.4 pounds per acre.

The top species harvested by numbers were:
  • yellow perch – 57%
  • walleye – 17%
  • bluegill – 9%
  • northern Pike – 7%
  • rock bass – 4%
The top species harvested by pounds were:
  • northern pike – 38%
  • walleye – 26%
  • yellow perch – 24%
  • bluegill – 4%
  • rock bass – 3%
Voluntary angler release rates of quality size fish were:
  • 15% of walleye 20–inches and longer
  • 64% of northern pike 24–inches and longer
  • 68% of smallmouth bass 14–inches and longer
  • 60% of largemouth bass 15–inches and longer
  • 66% of the harvest of walleye occurred in May and September. September had the highest catch rate (0.21 Walleye/Hour) than any other month.
  • The 1994 year classes resulted in 51% of the harvest of walleye. No fingerlings were stocked in 1994.
  • Anglers targeted walleye or walleye in combination with other species 81% of the time in May and 51% of the time for the season.
  • Fishing accounted for 78% of all recreational water surface use during the summer.
  • 54% of the anglers accessed the lake through a resort. 11% accessed the lake using the public accesses.



CREEL SURVEY COMPARISON – 1996, 1997

CATEGORY 1996 1997
Angler Hours 86,581 92,766
Fish Caught 100,862 95,631
Fish Harvested 30,845 30,750
Top Species Harvested
(by numbers)
yellow perch 46%
walleye 16%
bluegill 14%
northern pike 12%
rock bass 3%
yellow perch 57%
walleye 17%
bluegill 9%
northern pike 7%
rock bass 4%
Top Species Harvested
(by pounds)
northern pike 31.5%
walleye 31%
yellow perch 21%
bluegill 12%
rock bass 3%
northern pike 38%
walleye 26%
yellow perch 24%
bluegill 4%
rock bass 3%



WOMAN LAKE WALLEYE GROWTH

(by: Scott Gustafson, DNR)
AGE
(years)
FEMALE
average
(inches)
MALE
average
(inches)
1 5.4 5.2
2 8.8 8.4
3 11.4 11.3
4 14.3 14.0
5 16.2 15.1
6 18.1 17.2
7 19.7 18.6
8 20.8 19.4 or
greater
9 21.4 or
greater

NOTE:
These are only averages. Walleye of the same age (especially in
older fish) may differ from each other by several inches in length.


FOR MORE INFORMATION
CALL OR WRITE TO:
Don Klick
DNR Fisheries
HCR 73, Box 172
Walker, MN 56484
218-547-1683

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Date Created: May 29, 1997
Last Modified: April 3, 2004
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