Weyburn's Troy Kincaid recently took part in a unique experience - a Walleye Spawning Camp.

Kincaid, who serves as the Region Four Chairman for Fisheries for the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF), said he was given the opportunity to join in on the project at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, along with representatives from the SWF, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, and the Saskatchewan Fish Hatchery.

"I think their goal was to get 20 million eggs," he shared. "It's been an ongoing thing and that's how the lakes get stocked, and new lakes get walleye."

"Honestly, it was a really good experience. I was honoured to be able to do it, because not many people that don't have a government [role] or a degree in biology get to do it," Kincaid noted. "So I was pretty pumped to be able to go out and help out."  

spawning trailer

Kincaid shared on the process, which is not unlike what one would imagine 'assisted fertilization' to be.

"We netted and caught in traps a bunch of walleye, and we'd bring them back to the little station we had set up, and we had some separate pens set up and we take the males and we'd milt them, which is basically squeezing out what they need to reproduce [aka sperm]," he explained. "So then we'd take that, and we put it in a syringe, and we'd just keep it there on ice, and then we'd bring the female walleyes in, and we'd squeeze the eggs out of them, because they're in the middle of spawning right now, and then what you do is you put the eggs and then the milt in the same bowl."

Fish eggs are naturally sticky, he noted, in order to be able to stick to vegetation and rocks in the wild.

"So we'd pour iodine into them, and we'd do two separate washes and stir them for two minutes doing that, and then we'd get rid of the iodine by just rinsing it and pouring it off, and then putting in this other chemical which just basically helps get rid of that, and shows a dye colour so that you know when you're rid of the iodine. Then you take that mixture of eggs and milt and you put it in potting clay, and that helps getting everything going, and to seal up the eggs once they're fertilized, and then you let them sit there and fertilize."

He said the fertilization process takes three hours, after which they would be poured into a trough with screens, rinse the eggs with fresh lake water, which comes from the Fish Hatchery in Fort Qu'Apelle.

"From there they hatch into fry, and then that hatchery builds them up, and they get dispersed into lakes across Saskatchewan."

"It's quite the process, actually it really helps out our lakes," he added. "Some of the lakes don't naturally reproduce, so if lakes aren't naturally reproducing, then they're fishing, and fish life is just going to go down, down, down. So they introduce these fingerlings and fry, and walleye keep going and fishermen stay happy."

Photos courtesy of Troy Kincaid/Facebook.



fish spawning