If DNR plans move forward, Shriner Lake, north of Columbia City, could be stocked with 1,200 walleye fingerlings this fall.
The walleyes will measure 6-8 inches long and will be skimmed from a stocking of 6,690 walleyes at Sylvan Lake in Noble County.
If successful, the transfer could be permanent.
“We have developed a very dense walleye population at Sylvan Lake and think we can scale back the stocking program there without affecting the quality of walleye fishing,” said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist. “Doing so frees up some fingerlings that we can stock in other lakes.”
By stocking Shriner Lake, Pearson hopes to expand walleye fishing opportunities into Whitley County. Other DNR walleye stockings occur at Pike and Winona lakes in Kosciusko County.
Pearson says Shriner Lake is a good choice because of its central location between Fort Wayne, Warsaw and Sylvan Lake. The 120-acre natural lake also has ample walleye habitat and plenty of yellow perch, a major food item for walleyes.
Until 1998 the DNR annually stocked rainbow trout in Shriner Lake despite the lack of a suitable public access site. The trout stockings were discontinued because of a policy shift to stock only waters with public access.
Since then the DNR acquired and developed an access site at Shriner Lake but did not renew trout stockings due to water quality decline. Walleye habitat requirements, however, are not as stringent as trout. Walleyes are also more popular than trout among anglers.
“Besides, we already have an excellent trout stocking program in place nearby at Big Cedar Lake,” Pearson said.
Before walleyes are stocked in Shriner Lake, the DNR must get approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because federal Sport Fish Restoration Program funds are used to help purchase the walleye fingerlings from a commercial hatchery.