Northern Pike egg collection

Last year, we had a new request for Northern Pike eggs from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Genoa National Fish Hatchery regularly collected these eggs in the past, but it had been several years. Some of us had never taken part in spawning Northern Pike. This year, we got the opportunity to continue to hone our craft, as we received another request from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Northern Pike on the Mississippi River in our neighborhood typically start spawning at the end of March or early April. Using information gleaned from last year’s work, we were able to narrow down our search for spawning sites and set our fyke nets in areas that were productive for us last year. Conditions were a bit different this year with lower water, but the fish were still there. Some of our net sites barely had a foot of water, but the fish didn’t seem to mind! The water in these shallow areas was up to 5 degrees warmer than main channel temperatures, drawing several species looking for a respite from the cold winter. We were able to get all the eggs we needed in two nights of net sets. Staff from IDNR’s Decorah State Fish Hatchery came over to pick up eggs, where they will be hatched out and stocked in hatchery ponds. They will grow for a brief stint in the ponds before being released into Iowa’s interior rivers.
By: Nick Bloomfield

Extracting eggs from a fish and the eggs are going into the pan. Photo: USFWS.