A hearty group of people turned out in the cold and blustery conditions Wednesday afternoon at Wolf Lake to witness and take part in the release of 3,700 walleye fingerlings.
For the 16th straight year the fundraising efforts of the local fishing organization Perch America have brought a new bunch of five- to seven-inch walleye to the Hammond waterway.
“We estimate that we have stocked close to 98,000 walleye over the past 16 years,” said Bruce Caruso, Wolf Lake Walleye Stocking Project Manager and Treasurer for Perch America. “It is a great program that has lasted all these years."
Perch America and its 60 members is a conservation organization that actively participates in DNR and other government agencies' meetings and events to have a voice in promoting and protecting quality fishing.
The young walleye have been supplied by Tom Werenski of Richmond Fisheries located in Richmond, Ill., each of the past 15 years.
“We’ve used Tom all but the very first year of our stocking program,” Caruso said. “He’s great to work with and the fish have been real good. Tom is always concerned with the well-being of the fish.”
The fingerlings will mature to the 14-inch Indiana legal limit length for taking these fish in another two years or so.
Some large walleyes recently reported caught at Wolf Lake have measured more than 26 inches and weighing more than 11 pounds.
“People travel great distances to catch walleye this size,” Caruso said. “We have them right here in our own backyard. This lake can produce big fish. It’s a great thing to have the potential to catch such good fish.”
Caruso and Perch America are already looking towards 2014.
“As long as the funding is there and the program is a success we will continue to do it,” Caruso said. “There is no end in sight. We feel the effort is worth it.”