Sault Tribe Fishery stocks over 2 million Walleye in Northern Michigan.

June 16 2024. Sault Tribe Fishery stocks over 2 million Walleye in Northern Michigan.

The Sault Tribe Fishery hosted their first open house on June 12 at their fish hatchery in Dafter to celebrate the success of stocking their estimated 2 millionth walleye .  

Michigan's Department of Natural Resources reports that these fish are exciting to catch, delicious to eat and because they feed actively all winter, they provide one of the best year-round sport fishing opportunities in Michigan.

The average walleye caught by anglers is five years old and weighs from one to three pounds. 

Early in the season, fishing bottom with lead-head jigs tipped with minnows or with plastic grub bodies is the top technique, but as the season progresses, trolling with plugs (such as Rapalas and Wiggle Warts) or spoons or with spinners and crawler harnesses becomes the preferred method. Slow trolling baits at a variety of depths is important as, although walleyes are usually associated with the bottom, the most active fish are sometimes suspended in the water column.

Walleye can readily be taken on live bait; night crawlers drifted along the bottom, leeches suspended under a slip bobber, or minnows fished on a tight line will all produce. In fall, jigging with spoons in deep water is a popular technique.

Walleye are predator fish that eat small bass, trout, pike, perch, and sunfish.  

The tribe currently stocks walleye in the Cheboygan River, St. Martin's Bay, Epoufette Bay, Bay de Noc, Grand Traverse Bay, St Mary's River. along with inland lakes in northern Michigan.

In addition to the walleye stocking program the Sault Tribe Fisheries conducts research needed to rear whitefish. Whitefish are one of the most popular fish commercially harvested from the Great Lakes by Tribal Fishers.  The Whitefish Experimental Rearing Management Program  project is funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and its goal is to rear whitefish to learn the best process to raise them in case research shows that large scale stocking could help the whitefish population.