Walleye
(Stizostedion vitreum)
Finger Lakes Aquaculture 7627 County Rd. 36
Naples, NY 14512
(585) 374-2974
Phil Faber - Owner

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The walleye  is  the largest  member of the  perch family.  It can grow to  lengths  of  over  2 feet.  The  walleye’s  body  shape  is elongate,  streamlined, and slightly compressed.  The color of this fish  is  variable.   It is   generally  brownish  yellow  to  grayish yellow on the back and sides, shading to white on the belly. Young walleyes  show vague saddle-shaped bands on the body.  Walleyes differ  from yellow perch  in that they  possess large canine-like jaw teeth.

Walleyes  are also known by  other names  such as pike perch and walleyed pike.   It is considered by many to be New York State’s top  game fish, and most  agree  that it is the most  delicious food fish.  The New York State  record walleye was caught in 1994 at the  Kinzua  Reservoir  and  weighed  16lbs.7oz.

The  walleye  is  widely  distributed  in  New  York State  where suitable habitat exists.  They prefer lakes and larger rivers with considerable  areas  of  deep  water.  Cold  to  moderately  warm water temperatures are  the most favorable.   As surface waters warm   to  the  mid 70's F.  they  slowly  retreat  to  deeper  and cooler  waters.  Most  of the  time  they suspend near the bottom during the day and move into shallows to feed at night.  Walleyes are  active  during  the  winter and  are  a  popular  target of ice fishing  anglers.  Walleye fry first feed on zooplankton, and then switch t o insects.  By  the time they  are 3 inches long, they feed on  fish  and  larger  organisms.

Walleyes  spawn in  early spring  just after  the ice  goes out and water  temperatures  reach 40 to 45 F.  Spawning  areas  consist of  gravelly  stream bottoms,  or  shoals in  lakes  where  there is considerable   water   movement  over   rocks,   gravel,  or   sand. Walleyes  do not build  nests.   The males move onto the spawning area  first.  This  area is  usually in  1 to 5 feet  of  clear  water and  in some  type  of current.  Spawning is  generally done after dark.  The female is  attended by one or more males as they swim over  the spawning area,  simultaneously  emitting eggs and sperm as they go. Fertilized eggs fall among the gravel and rocks on the bottom  which provide some protection.   Females may lay 35,000 to  more than 600,000 eggs  depending on  her size.  No parental care  is  given  to  either  eggs  or  young.

Walleye  can be successfully  raised in  farm ponds that are 3/4 acre and larger.   Minimum depth for a walleye pond should be at least  10  feet.  Walleye   are  a  cool water  fish  and  prefer  a temperature  range that is  somewhere  between that of bass and trout. 
Once again, an abundant minnow population should be established before walleye fingerlings
are stocked.

Yellow perch  are often  stocked with walleye to provide forage for them.   Both  walleye  and  perch  are  excellent  for  eating. Walleyes   usually   do   not   reproduce   in   farm   ponds.  The recommended  stocking rate for  walleyes is  100 fingerlings per surface  acre.