Heartland Outdoors: Scattershooting

State ups Rock River fish stockings

Wednesday, October 13

rock stocking

In recognition of last year’s fish kill on the Rock River, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has increased its fish stocking in that river.

“Yesterday we stocked about 32,000 channel catfish at Lowell Park above the Dixon Dam, 64,000 at Page Park below the Dixon Dam and 32,000 below the Sterling dams,” writes DNR fisheries biologist Dan Sallee. “The attached picture is our hatchery staff stocking Dixon. We may have more fish being stocked yet this year.”

Added Sallee, “We typically stock somewhere around 100,000 walleye each year into the Rock River. We know from studies that walleye rarely spawn successfully in the Rock River, and our stocking program is the basis for many of the fish caught. It has been a very successful program for about 25 years now and many local anglers don’t even know the walleye they are catching originated in one of our hatcheries.

“We recognize how important fishing in the Rock River is to the local communities and the anglers of Northern Illinois. Following the 2009 fish kill, we have made efforts to restore the river as quickly as possible.”

In 2009 the DNR stocked the following fish:

• 164,474 walleye fingerlings
• 49,599 smallmouth bass
• 3,963 channel catfish

So far in 2010, DNR has stocked the following:

• 131,717 bluegill
• 200,665 channel catfish
• 898 8-inch walleye (162 inoculated with about 55,000 endangered mussel glochidia, source was Quad Cities Nuclear                                       Station) 
• 110,665 walleye fingerlings
• 39 flathead catfish breeders stocked from the Mississippi River.

Sallee wrote, “Flathead catfish are difficult to work with in a hatchery setting, so we just directly stocked pre-spawn adults to allow them to ‘stock’ for us.”
“In short, we have been very busy trying to make the Rock River a better place on many levels. We’re working with endangered mussels, restoring breeding populations of fish, and directly stocking fingerlings,” Sallee said.

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