Historically, Pickerel Lake contained natural wild rice beds. In 2019, a cooperative project was initiated between the Mole Lake Tribe and the Pickerel/Crane Lake District to restore wild rice on Pickerel Lake. On September 12th, 500 pounds of green wild rice were seeded into a 3-acre site (see Map). Mike Preul, Director of Mole Lake Fisheries and several tribal members hand scattered the wild rice from a boat (see Photo). This wild rice was harvested from Rice Lake on the reservation and then seeded into Pickerel Lake within a couple days of harvest. The wild rice site was chosen for many reasons: suitable depth and lake bottom type, believed to be a historic wild rice bed location, and undeveloped shoreline.
During May, 2020, wild rice seed will begin to germinate, and the plant will go through several stages of development. This includes the floating leaf stage, where long thin leaves will be seen floating on the water surface, the emergent stage by late-June, and finally the seed head stage by late-August. Wild rice is very sensitive to uprooting from excessive wave action and boat propellers, so please be mindful and avoid boat travel through and around the bed. Thank you! Eventually, several marker buoys will be placed at the outer edge of the bed to help for navigation purposes.
Seeding of the site will continue for two additional years. This will help to establish the bed so that it becomes viable and self-sustaining long term, leading to many benefits to the lake. It is a preferred food for many waterfowl species, and numerous mammals and birds use wild rice beds for nesting and brood cover. Furthermore, wild rice beds can provide nursery areas for fish and amphibians. Both tribal and non-tribal members gather wild rice for food and hunt waterfowl attracted by wild rice
Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain seed for 2020 seeding event, as the bumper wild rice crop on Rice Lake (on Mole Lake reservation) was pretty much wiped out late in its development by black spot disease. We are planning to seed the area in 2021 and 2022 to continue developing the bed.
Provides natural fish habitat
Improves water quality
Can be harvested for human consumption
Director of Fisheries
Sokaogon Chippewa Community
3051 Sand Lake Road
Crandon. WI 54520