Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

DNR Secretary Visits Sokaogon Chippewa Community

Last week, Dan Meyer, Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, and James Yach, Northern Wisconsin Secretary’s Director, visited the Sokaogon Chippewa Community and toured the Mole Lake Fisheries with Tribal Chairman Chris McGeshick and Mike Preul, Mole Lake Fisheries Director.

“Secretary Meyer came to visit because we are partners in management,” Chairman McGeshick said. “When it comes to walleye stocking, we’ve partnered with the state, and this year our fishery is raising a strain of Lake Michigan walleye, which we feel should be stocked in its native range – lakes east of the Wisconsin River.”

While touring the fishery, Mike Preul showed the guests the equipment used to raise the thousands of walleye in Mole Lake.

“I write a lot of grants and strategize to have the best equipment that all works together,” Mike said. “It’s really top-of-the-line equipment.”

The fishery has grown from four to six ponds, and there is room to expand.

“We’d like to expand and have an indoor facility that would allow us to raise walleye year-round,” Chairman McGeshick said. “It would be something no one else is doing. These are long-term goals, but there are unmet needs and we want to find what works for the Tribe and for the state. We’d also like to partner with universities and learn more and be able to pass that knowledge on to future generations.”

Mike also showed some of the fish currently being raised in the ponds. Secretary Meyer and Secretary’s Director Yach remarked on the uniform size of the fish. Mike explained the feeding techniques used at the Mole Lake Fisheries allows the fish to all grow at roughly the same speed.

Mike said this year they’re raising roughly 60,000 walleye in the ponds. Many of the fish are headed to stock local lakes where the Tribe is actively involved in walleye restoration projects, while some are going to fulfill state contracts and to lake associations for stocking area lakes. He also explained that the walleye have been tested and all are negative for Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS).

The Mole Lake Fisheries has come a long way in the past ten years and continues to grow and provide a much-needed service to the community and the area.