Walleye Restoration


2012-2017 Summary


A total of 59,002 large fingerling, 1,156 yearling, 8,497 fingerling, and 75,983 small fingerling walleye were stocked into the Pickerel/Crane Lakes Chain through the fall of 2017. 

Crane Lake:

12,291 large fingerlings by the Lake District

1,156 yearlings by the Lake District

15,624 large fingerlings by the DNR

75,983 small fingerlings by Sokaogon Chippewa Community

Pickerel Lake:

6,608 large fingerlings by the Lake District

8,497 fingerlings by the Lake District

21,898 large fingerlings by the DNR

2,581 large fingerlings split by Lake District and Sokaogon Chippewa Community


2019 Summary

Fish shocking was conducted prior to the stocking of the fingerlings from Mole Lake. 

  • 12,916 Walleye fingerlings were planted into Pickerel
  • 3,410 were planted into Crane

Water clarity was green and cloudy, but one small walleye, 5.7” long, was discovered. The reef works!! 

Now we can only hope for natural reproduction during spring of 2020.

First non-stocked walleye discovered on Crane Lake.


Fish Stocking

We will not be doing any stocking during the fall of 2020.  Next anticipated stocking will be the fall of 2021.

Crane Lake Fall Survey

According to our fish biologist, Greg Matzke, we will be conducting another fall survey on Crane Lake to determine if we have natural reproduction without the aid of Mole Lake fertilization efforts.  Last spring, Mike Preul and his crew, Gene Ebben, and I fertilized a number of female eggs, to determine if the newly established reef would indeed hatch eggs.  During the fall of 2019, Greg was able to shock one walleye that was 5.7”, confirming the fact that the reef is functional.  During the fall of 2020, we will be looking for walleyes that were hatched naturally on the reef, without our help in the fertilization process.  Keep your fingers crossed, as it would be exciting to have natural walleye reproduction return to Pickerel and Crane Lakes.

Spawning Reef Project Video

Check out this great drone video as the actual work was being done on the Crane Lake spawning reef.

Spawning Reef Project Timeline


June 2018

DNR and volunteers take measurements on 12 different transect point 75 feet apart along the shoreline and out to a depth of 4.5 feet of water

August 2018

 Bid notices sent out to contractors 

September 2018

 Flannery selected as rock supplier 

October 2018

  Site visit with Mike Preul and Flannery to discuss logistics of the project

November 2018

  •  Final plans approved by DNR 
  •  Permit submitted  and approved

January 2019

 Government shutdown-everything on hold including grant money 


Early February 2019

Government back in business-Volunteers and DNR stake out reef according to transect measurements taken back in June

Mid-February 2019

Recruited community volunteers and Flannery to remove snow with skid steers and keep reef free of slush and snow

Late February 2019

Send out notice to all volunteers and committee members 2 weeks before official start of project (projected to be the week of March 4th) 

Early March 2019

Reef construction began on Monday, March 4 and was completed by Thursday, March 7th 

Early May 2019

  • Fyke Nets to be placed on various locations along Crane Lake shoreline
  • Nets will remain in place for two days 
  • Female walleyes caught will be stripped of eggs and then fertilized by the male walleyes
  • Eggs will be deposited on various locations on the reef; testing the reef rocks for spawning.

Mid-May 2019

Any last-minute clean-up of the work area 

  • Raking up loose rock and 
  • Repairing any damage that may have occurred during the construction process

Project Summary and Thank You

Pickerel Crane Lake Spawning Summary (docx)


Special Thanks (docx)