Millions of newly hatched northern pike are now swimming in Iowa’s lakes and rivers as part of the state’s program to stock fish. Eggs are gathered from spawning northern pike in the Mississippi river, hatched in Guttenberg, and then shipped across the state. Scott Gritters oversees the Guttenberg operation, which got off to an early start this year.Warmer weather caused the pike to spawn earlier than normal, forcing crews to scramble to gather the eggs. Gritters says the harvest of northern pike eggs went very well.They had a target of two-point-seven million eggs and were able to collect about four million. Some of the fish are turned into lakes and rivers as soon after they hatch, while others are grown to a length of two inches. Gritters says a small majority of the small “fry” will survive to be someday caught by Iowa fishermen.He says low water levels this year won’t help the fish out, as deep lakes and rivers provide the best habitat.Gritters says the collection of walleye eggs usually follows the northern pike spawn by about a week. But, water temperatures have cooled back down and the walleyes spawn probably won’t take place until this week. Some of the fry went out for stocking this past weekend and some are going out today headed for Ventura Marsh, Shell Rock River, Winnebago River, Saylorville Reservoir, Wapsipinicon River, Beeds Lake, Green Island Backwaters in Jackson County.
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