As the warm spring sunshine thaws the rivers and lakes, the walleye begin their annual migration to their spawning grounds. Take this quiz and join us in observing the walleye spawn.
Walleye is the state fish of South Dakota.
It is prized throughout the Midwest and especially South Dakota.
Just before the spawn, when the males congregate to await the females.
The water temperature is a major factor.
They do their spawning at night.
They spend the winter and fall in deep water.
The males reach the area first.
The females arrive about a month after the males.
The pace at which the waters are warmed by the sun is the main factor.
45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees Celsius) is considered an ideal temperature.
Since shallow water warms faster than deep water, spawning is faster in shallow water such as riverbeds.
A sudden cold spell can slow or postpone spawning.
The female may reabsorb the eggs and wait for warmer weather.
The process takes each walleye about four hours all at once or over successive days.
Rocky, uneven surfaces offer some protection from predatory fish.
Moderate waves keep the fertilized eggs oxygenated and free of silt buildup.
This natural variation of the spawning area protects the school from annihilation as a result of a natural disaster.
Stream water is usually warmer and so spawning occurs there sooner.
They spend most of their time in deep water where there is more shelter and food.
They begin at dusk and often continue until late, since the walleye are nocturnal fish.