CPW collects 130 million walleye eggs in 18 days

Steamboat Pilot & Today
From left, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Aquatic Biologist Tyler Swarr holds a large male walleye at Cherry Creek State Park. CPW Aquatic Biologist Carrie Tucker holds a large walleye at Lake Pueblo State Park. Volunteers prepare the nets each day at Lake Pueblo State Park.
CPW/Courtesy photos

CPW’s aquatic biologists and volunteers spent 18 days from March 14-30 collecting more than 132 million eggs during the 2022 walleye spawn.

According to the wildlife agency, the eggs will be used to create great fishing opportunities for Coloradans across the state.

Each spring, CPW biologists and volunteers head out at dawn, usually in freezing temperatures, to Front Range reservoirs and spend weeks capturing thousands of walleye and spawning them.

This year, the eggs were collected from reservoirs at Lake Pueblo State Park and Cherry Creek State Park.

“Our team of aquatic biologists, other CPW staff, and volunteers were able to collect the eggs we needed in only 18 days,” said CPW Assistant Aquatic Section Manager Josh Nehring in a statement. “Anglers ought to be thrilled because it’s going to mean great fishing in the coming years in Colorado.”

Teams strip the popular gamefish one after another of their milt and roe (sperm and eggs). The eggs are fertilized in a boathouse at Lake Pueblo and on a floating barge at Cherry Creek Reservoir.

The fertilized eggs — often millions a day — are sent to CPW hatcheries at Pueblo and Wray where they are hatched and nurtured until the fry and fingerlings are ready to be stocked in waters across Colorado.

CPW says the agency goes to this effort for the anglers who enjoy fishing for walleye, which are known for their fight and taste.

The walleye eggs also are valuable as CPW’s hatchery staff trade them to other states in exchange for desirable gamefish otherwise unavailable in Colorado.

The annual effort has gone on since 1988 at Lake Pueblo. CPW aquatic biologists, other staff and volunteers spend hours each day alongside the biologists untangling dozens of nets — each longer than a football field — deployed each afternoon and left overnight in the lakes for the next morning’s catch.

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