Fathead Minnow harvest

Our largest pond on station is a 33-acre pond used for rearing fathead minnows. During the summer months clover minnow traps are place around the pond to capture minnows. These minnows are released into other ponds on station containing other species such as Walleye, Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, and Yellow Perch allowing these fish to grow and later be stocked. This minnow pond allows the hatchery to maintain a cost effective and clean supply of minnows to use as a food source to raise other species. Juvenile piscivores on station love fathead minnows as a food source due to their lack of spines and small size. As winter approaches this pond is drained and a specialized seine is used to collect the fish and put them on trucks to be moved around the hatchery. Once minnows are on the truck they are stocked to overwinter ponds and brought into buildings to be sorted. Once in the building these minnows will be hand sorted, removing any other species and the adults will be set aside for the following year. These adult broodstock minnows will be released back into the 33-acre pond in the spring to begin the cycle again. If you’re interested in sorting minnows, please feel free to contact our Volunteer Coordinator Erica Rasmussen at (608) 689-2605.
By: Jadon Motquin

Genoa staff collect Fathead minnows to be put onto trucks and transported around the hatchery. Photo: USFWS.