20th year in cool citizen’s project: Perch America stocking walleye in Wolf Lake
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For the 20th year, Perch America stocked walleye on the Indiana side of Wolf Lake in Hammond. The stocking of 2,500 advanced growth walleye fingerlings from Richmond Fisheries on Saturday resumed a tradition established in 1998 and brought the total number stocked to an estimated 118,500.
Last year was the first when the right fingerlings were unavailable, but all donors agreed to roll the money over (some contributed more) for $5,000 in 2018.
The Indiana DNR issues a stocking permit after Dr. Jennifer Strasser with the Indiana Board of Animal Health reviews and clears testing.
Other contributors included British Petroleum, Hammond Port Authority, Hammond Parks Foundation, Lake County Fish and Game, Calumet Harbor Sport Fisherman Club, Slez’s Bait Shop and Whiting/Robertsdale Boat Club.
Bruce Caruso, Wolf Lake Walleye Stocking Project Manager for Perch America, emailed this longer explanation of how things are done and to thank those who help in this long-time and very cool citizen’s project:
“One of the first mandates of the program is for Perch America to apply for a fish stocking permit with the Indiana D.N.R. Then the walleyes from the fish supplier must be tested for VHS disease and Hetersporosis. This is critical so we don’t introduce these highly contagious disease’s into Wolf Lakes fishery which could have a devastating affect on the existing fish population. The testing is done by a independent laboratory.
“Once the fish are tested and cleared, the results are then sent from the fish supplier to the Indiana Board of Animal Health. Then the results are reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Strasser with the I.B.O.H. If the fish are free of aforementioned diseases, the I.B.O.H. will then issue a pre-entry permit to our fish supplier and will also notify the Indiana D.N.R that our fish have a clean bill of health. Then the Indiana D.N.R. will issue Perch America a fish stocking permit. Funding must also be in place to coincide with ordering the fish. Throughout the year, Perch America lobbies for donations for the walleye stocking. Through the 21 years of the program, Perch America has built solid relationships with different organizations and agencies that have been contributing for many years. We always welcome any contributions, no matter how small.
“Perch America would like to recognize all the people and organizations that make this program a success. Randy Lang, Tom Bacula and Linnea Petercheff with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources who have always supported the stocking program. Dr Jennifer Strasser with the Indiana Board of Animal Health who goes through extreme lengths to make sure the fish properly tested and our paperwork is in order.
“Mr Tom Keilman, director of public affairs of BP who secures grant money from BP for the stocking through The Hammond Parks Foundation. Mr Milan Kruszynski with the Hammond Port Authority securing donations from the Hammond Port Authority. Lake County Fish & Game Association has been a long time contributor. Calumet Harbor Sport Fisherman had been another long time contributor. Rich Sleziak of Slezs Bait Shop in Lake Station Indiana and his patrons for donating to the program for several years. And this year the Whiting-Robertsdale Boat Club. And Perch America and its members.
“This is an ongoing program that Perch America will continue as long it is ecologically and biologically beneficial to Wolf Lake. And as long as we have the financial support. Perch America is a small non-profit organization and is entirely on a volunteer basis for the walleye stocking. All contributions go solely to purchase the walleye fingerlings. For those who might be interested in Perch America or any information on the walleye stocking program can contact me at (219)-670-6754 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”