An employee from Gallon Bait stocks the Chetek chain with walleye

Walleyes for Chetek purchased and stocked 4,000 juvenile walleye into the Chetek chain at the Pokegama boat landing Monday, Sept. 22. The walleyes were hatched, raised and delivered to Chetek by Gollon Bait & Fish Farm, of Dodgeville. Pictured is employee Terry Lauffer stocking walleye with a tube device that pumps the walleye from the fish tanks into the Chetek chain.

For the 12th consecutive year, Walleyes for Chetek stocked another 4,000 walleye into the Chetek Chain of Lakes Monday, Sept. 22.

The local organization continues to stock extended-growth walleye to increase the lake’s walleye population and fishery.

In the 12 years of stocking, Walleyes for Chetek has purchased and released nearly 65,000 juvenile walleye at a cost of approximately $117,000.

This was the second year that the relatively new Walleyes for Chetek officers—Tyler Florczak, Josh Akins and James Akins—stocked the Chetek chain after co-founders Paul Pawlisch, Larry Grabowski and Larry Stafsholt handed over the reins and responsibilities of the organization in 2013.

The 4,000 walleye were hatched and raised by Gollon Bait & Fish Farm, of Dodgeville, and were also delivered and stocked at Pokegama boat landing by employee Terry Lauffer.

“Tim Gollon (one of the owners of the fish farm), is pretty good at checking the water conditions of where the fish are going in advance, and they were perfect for stocking. The water temperature on the truck was 59 degrees, and the water temperature of the Chetek chain is at 60 degrees,” explained Lauffer. “As the water temperatures go down from the summer, it leads to more oxygen and less stress for the fish.”

The cost is $1.70 per fish, and all of the funds raised through donations and sales of raffle tickets that are sold annually go toward the purchase of walleye.

Along with the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative—a program developed by the Department of Natural Resources last year that stocked nearly 38,000 juvenile walleye into the Chetek chain in 2013—there has been just under 50,000 walleye put into the Chetek chain in the last 12 months.

“Open water fishermen and ice fishermen have reported catching more walleye in the last few years, but we want that to continue to increase, not plateau. It just goes to show you that a fishery can improve and receive a boost when the community gets involved,” said Florczak. “We had a great turnout for our Walleyes for Chetek raffle giveaway on Labor Day weekend, and we’re appreciative for all of the donations and support we received from the businesses, organizations and individuals who make the stocking possible. The money goes directly to purchasing walleye annually, and as a tourist town, why wouldn’t we want to improve the walleye fishing here?”

 Walleyes for Chetek is planning to up the ante in 2015 and are looking to purchase more than 4,000 walleye next year, as well as larger walleye in order to increase the survival rate.

Anyone willing to donate for next year’s walleyes can mail donations to Walleyes for Chetek, Attn: Josh Akins, 2609 8-1/4 Ave., Chetek, WI 54728, or to Walleyes for Chetek: Attn: Tyler Florczak, 1074 24-3/4 St., Cameron, WI 54822.

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