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Walleye Trivia

WALLEYE TRIVIA - - Interesting facts on walleye by John Vance

During the research for my book "Walleye Biology and Behaviour" from a fisherman's point of view, I found a host of interesting facts about the walleye. Here are just a few:

Walleye are very prolific; a large walleye female can lay up to 600,000 eggs per year.

Walleye can live up to 20 years, and grow slowly in the northerly most part of their range.

Walleye, when young, live almost exclusively on insects, and some scientists believe that there are some walleye (local to certain areas) that will live almost exclusively on insects throughout their whole life. As mentioned in my book though, most walleye do switch to an almost exclusive minnow diet by the time they are in their second summer.

Walleye can, and do travel extensively within their waterbody. On large lakes, such as Lake Erie, walleye will travel up to fifty miles in a single night. Normally though, they won't travel more than several miles, unless in search of their favoured water temperature or food.

It is believed that walleye can ‘hear' a school of baitfish from quite a distance away, using the hearing sense of the lateral line. Most often the lateral line is uses for relatively ‘close range' hearing work.

Walleye have their ‘taste buds' in their lips - thousands of them!

Walleye are ‘long distance' swimmers, and few ‘prey' species can outdistance them. It is believed that walleye can ‘smell' their prey, quite a distance away, using their keen sense of smell. Too, they use their lateral line to find such schools of minnows.

Walleye have canine teeth, which are slanted back. They use these wickedly sharp teeth to catch/hold and tear their quarry.

Walleye are not especially cannibalistic, but will eat their ‘own kind' only if there is a low/limited food supply of other minnows/food.

Walleye, it's said, have a ‘soft mouth'. This is false, in fact the membrane around a walleye's mouth is hard and brittle. Because it is so hard and brittle, fish hooks/lures will easily tear and break out of a walleye's mouth, giving one the impression that the mouth is ‘soft'.

Walleye often ‘suspend' in water, especially over deep water. They do ‘lay' on the bottom, but not very often, and usually only for a short period in the early summer or mid-autumn season. Oxygen content on the bottom is not usually sufficient for them to stay on the bottom, unless it is a relatively shallow lake.

Walleye don't very often go deeper than 60 feet. Most often they are found in water between 20 feet deep and 60 feet deep, depending on the water temperature, bait, oxygen content, and time of day/night/year.

The dorsal fin spines and teeth of the walleye are treacherously sharp. They don't have any venom in them, but they often do have bacteria in the slime covering these needle sharp ‘jabbers'. It is not uncommon for an angler to ‘take a poke' from one of these wickedly sharp spines or teeth - and catch what is slangily called ‘fish poisoning'. This fish poisoning is a very painful infection from the aforementioned bacteria entering the fisherperson's wound. If this happens, you'll likely have to go to the doctor for a shot of antibiotics. This condition is easily treated by antibiotics, but is incredibly painful, and can take months to heal - if you don't seek medical help. USE LONG NOSE PLIERS AND A FISH GLOVE WHEN HANDLING WALLEYE!

Walleye are a relatively clean fish, and have few diseases that people can catch. The one most susceptible to people is the tapeworm. - always thoroughly cook your walleye before eating it. There are some ‘people's' that have a custom of eating raw fish - I don't recommend this for any freshwater fish!

Walleye will sometimes have some very sad looking tumours on their sides, most often, early in the summer season. These look terrible, and many fisherfolk think they are cancerous - most aren't. These are a likely virus growth, and are only on the outside of the fish's skin. They can be ‘cut off', and the fish eaten. The only way that they can be proven as cancerous is by lab. testing. This growth doesn't affect the walleye's flesh. Even if they were cancerous - simply cut these grotesque and unsightly growths off, and the flesh under the skin will/should be OK to eat with no chance of the person eating the fish also catching the cancer - take no chances though - cook those fish - always!





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Good article.

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