A recap of the 2023 walleye fishing year

Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 6:56 PM CST
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NORTH DAKOTA (KFYR) - Walleye fishing in North Dakota in 2023 was better than ever across the state.

“It was pretty much throughout the state, particularly our new walleye prairie lakes. They really put out well for the walleye. And then the big three: Sakakawea had another excellent year, Devils Lake was solid throughout and into fall and Oahe was a little surprising— it was probably a little better than expected,” said Greg Power, NDGF fisheries division chief.

The Department’s walleye stocking program is one of the reasons for the incredible fishing.

“We have the two federal hatcheries in Valley City and Garrison. And, in Garrison in particular, has a long, long history of incredible production of pike and in particular walleye. And so, we’ve been able to stock 8 to 12, pushing 13, million walleye fingerling in our lakes for the last ten-plus years,” said Power.

There were two unique fish species introduced in 2023.

“One was tiger trout coming from the state of Wyoming. Put them in just a couple lakes. And then also the really neat one was Lake Sturgeon. So, for the first time ever, North Dakota stocked Lake Sturgeon up the Pembina River,” said Power.

Fisheries crews have their hands full managing around 450 lakes in North Dakota.

“Not all of them, but over half of them for sure have boat ramps and all the infrastructure that goes in play there. You’ve got to have parking lots and fishing docks and some cases, fishing piers, toilets, fish cleaning stations,” said Power.

There is good news with aquatic nuisance species.

“We have not found any new infestations of zebra mussels in any waters, and we haven’t found anything new. But the concerns and threats are real,” said Power.

And how long will this incredible fishing continue in North Dakota lakes?

“Probably for the next five-plus years at least, our fishing in North Dakota looks really positive. As long as we have the water, I think the fish will be there,” said Power.