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Mille Lacs Band stocks thousands of walleye in area lakes

Closing the loop on the first year of its fish hatchery pilot project, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Department of Natural Resource and Environment announced Tuesday it has stocked more than 45,000 walleye into lakes in Aitkin, Pine, Morrison, an...

Closing the loop on the first year of its fish hatchery pilot project, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Department of Natural Resource and Environment announced Tuesday it has stocked more than 45,000 walleye into lakes in Aitkin, Pine, Morrison, and Crow Wing counties.

The fish, which ranged from 3 inches to 6.5 inches in length, were hatched by the Mille Lacs Band this spring from walleye eggs and milt taken from fish that had been speared by members of the MilleLacs and Fond du Lac Bands this spring, a news release from the band said.

The Mille Lacs Band DNRE staff hatched the eggs into fry in its on-reservation hatchery, and then placed the fry into private rearing ponds to grow. Once the fish reached at least three inches in length they were recaptured for permanent stocking into area lakes, including Sullivan, Pine, Big Pine, Platte and Nammachers Lake.

"Returning the walleye we hatched and reared back to nature represents a huge milestone in our hatchery efforts, and I couldn't be more proud of the results achieved by our staff during this pilot project," said Susan Klapel, commissioner of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Department of Natural Resources and Environment. "Undergoing this effort has deepened our staff's expertise and underscores our department's value as a knowledgeable and experienced partner in the effort to help protect the health of the Lake Mille Lacs walleye population."

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