Biologists and anglers are not overly concerned about losing a shipment of 29,000 walleye fry headed for Liberty Lake last week.
Most of the fish died en route from a private hatchery in Brandon, Minn., said Ray Duff, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department regional fisheries manager.
“These were 2-inch fish,” Duff said. “We’ll shoot for getting a shipment of 5- or 6-inch fish in September. We could probably expect better results from larger fish anyway.”
“It was a guaranteed delivery,” said Chuck Dunning, spokesman for the Spokane Walleye Club. “That’s the nice thing about working with a commercial fish hatchery. They’ll replace the fish eventually and we’ll get on with this experiment.”
The department and the Spokane Walleye Club funded the $8,000 fish plant as an experiment in the ongoing transition of the fishery in the 711-acre lake. Once a trout lake, Liberty now is mostly filled with perch, bullheads and other spiny rays that would provide a forage base for walleyes.
Liberty Lake received its first test walleye plant this spring, when 100 surplus adult fish were trapped in the Columbia Basin and trucked to Spokane County. Surveys show the fish are doing well, said Duff. They’re over 18 inches long and a few are being caught by anglers. , DataTimes