May Fish Stocking Fills Iowa Waterways

By Orlan Love, The Gazette

PALO, Iowa — State stocking efforts have dramatically increased fish populations in local lakes this month.

Recent stockings include walleyes, muskies and wipers, according to Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Paul Sleeper.

On Thursday evening Sleeper stocked 300,000 wiper fry in Pleasant Creek Lake near Palo and 500,000 wiper fry in Lake Macbride in Johnson County.

A hybrid cross between white bass and striped bass, wipers are known for their fast growth and fighting ability.

“This is the fourth year of stocking wipers in those lakes. Fish from the first stocking are now more than 18 inches long,” he said.

On Tuesday Sleeper stocked foot-long muskies, two per acre, in both Pleasant Creek and Macbride.

Those year-old fish, hatched at Spirit Lake and overwintered at the Rathbun Hatchery, will have an excellent survival rate, according to Sleeper.

“Big bass will eat some of them, but most of them will make it,” he said.

Within six years, the survivors will reach 40 inches in length, he said.

The stocking program supports excellent musky fishing in both Pleasant Creek and Macbride.

Earlier this month the DNR stocked 5.4 million walleye fry in Coralville, 2.8 million in Macbride and 1.2 million in Pleasant Creek.

Because of their small size, the fry have a comparatively low survival rate but under good conditions they can contribute to a strong year class, Sleeper said.

Fingerling walleyes, with a much higher survival rate, will be stocked in June, with 80,000 slated for Coralville, 28,000 for Macbride and 12,300 for Pleasant Creek.

More than 10,000 saugeye fingerlings were stocked Friday in Coralville — the only Iowa lake to be stocked with the hybrid cross between saugers and walleyes.

“Fingerling walleyes will be stocked in many of the state’s rivers in the next couple of weeks,” Sleeper said.

The largest fingerling recipient, the Cedar River, is slated to receive 253,000, with about 90,000 going into river stretches in Benton, Linn and Johnson counties.

Eastern Iowa rivers with large quotas include the Iowa (136,000), the Wapsipinicon (91,000), the Maquoketa (58,000), the Turkey (51,000), the Shell Rock (37,000) and the Upper Iowa (22,500).

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