The Walleye is a freshwater fish native to most of Canada and to the northern United States. In some parts of its range, the walleye is also known as the dore, walleyed pike, yellow pike and especially pickerel.
The common name, “walleye”, comes from the fact that their eyes, like those of cats, reflect light. This is the result of a light-gathering layer in the eyes called the tapetum lucidum which allows the fish to see well in low-light conditions. In fact, many anglers look for walleyes at night since this is when most major feeding patterns occur. Their eyes also allow them to see well in turbid waters (stained or rough, breaking waters) which gives them an advantage over their prey. This excellent vision also allows the fish to populate the deeper regions in a lake and can often be found in deeper water.
Walleyes grow to about 75 cm (30 in) in length, and weigh up to about 7 kg (15 lb). The maximum recorded size for the fish is 107 cm (42 in) in length and 11.3 kg (25 lb) in weight. The growth rate depends partly on where in their range they occur, with southern populations often growing faster and larger. In general, females grow larger than males. Walleyes may live for decades; the maximum recorded age is 29 years. In heavily fished populations, however, few walleye older than 5 or 6 years of age are encountered.
Walleyes are largely olive and gold in colour (hence the French common name: doré — golden). The dorsal side of a walleye is olive, grading into a golden hue on the flanks. The olive/gold pattern is broken up by five darker saddles that extend to the upper sides. The colour shades to white on the belly. The mouth of a walleye is large and is armed with many sharp teeth. The first dorsal and anal fins are spinous.
The following photos provide a glimpse into what is involved in running and sustaining a fish hatchery. Thanks to all of the hard working volunteers.