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21 years for Perch America’s walleye stocking, or think bald eagles over Wolf Lake

A perspective on Perch America’s 21st year of citizens stocking walleye in Wolf Lake, that post-industrial water.

Vince Johnson (left) and Bruce Caruso (checking the plastic trash barrel to make sure all the walleye fingerlings came out) cooperate Friday during Perch America’s annual stocking into the Indiana side of Wolf Lake.
Dale Bowman

Over the thunk, thunk, thunk of John Hindahl busting ice with a mushroom anchor, Stan Lowczyk said, ‘‘Hey, that’s an eagle.’’

Two bald eagles floated past to land in a tree on the island off Wolf Lake Memorial Park in Hammond, Indiana.

Wolf Lake, which straddles the Illinois-Indiana border, is one of the great marvels of post-industrial waters around Chicago.

For the 21st year in the last 22, Perch America stocked walleye Friday on the Indiana side. It’s the most enduring citizen project I know in Chicago outdoors.

This year, Richmond Fisheries delivered about 2,000 advanced-growth fingerlings (5 to 7 inches). A dozen volunteers lugged plastic trash barrels of fingerlings to the pier, then emptied them down a slide and into the hole Hindahl had thunked in the ice.

The stocking is done with the approval and cooperation of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Linnea Petercheff grants the permit annually. Dr. Jennifer Strasser of the Indiana Board of Animal Health certifies the fish. Bruce Caruso has been the lead for Perch America.

It’s a community thing. Milan Kruszynski has kept the Hammond Port Authority a key contributor. The Hammond Parks Foundation, Lake County Fish and Game Association and Calumet Harbor Sportfisherman organization are regular contributors. Whiting Robertsdale Boat Club contributed in recent years. There are donation jars at Slez’s Bait Shop in Lake Station, Indiana, which Capt. Rich Sleziak matches, and at the Perch America booth at the Tinley Park Fishing Show.

Another stocking was finished in minutes.

Anyone with interest in the stocking should contact Caruso at or (219) 670-6754.

Walleye fingerlings being poured into the Indiana side of Wolf Lake Friday during Perch America’s 21st year of the annual stocking.
Dale Bowman

In memory

Jim Kirby, 92, died Friday. He was a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, one of the founders of the Palos chapter of Ducks Unlimited and a member of the Palos Gun Club and Green Acres Sportsman’s Club. He wrote outdoors columns for newspapers over the years. In lieu of flowers, send donations to Lurie Children’s Hospital. For a fuller obituary, go to

Stray cast

Steve Stone is to Twitter what anglers are to their first GPS.