Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Mole Lake Fisheries Working to Keep Lakes Stocked

Fishing is an important part of Wisconsin tourism and Tribal life, but it takes a dedicated team and scientific management to keep fish populations healthy.

The SCC Mole Lake Fisheries (MLF) is a comprehensive program dedicated to the protection of fish populations in the region with an emphasis on walleye. MLF monitors lakes within the Sokaogon treaty territories, primarily in Wisconsin but also in Michigan and Minnesota. The goal is to maintain healthy walleye populations, and to provide sustainable harvesting opportunities for tribal members for generations to come. This is accomplished through the combination of fisheries-related survey work and the annual operation of the fish hatchery.

Fish surveys include annual spring and fall survey-monitoring efforts to determine the status of walleye populations. Surveys are also performed on other fish species such as panfish, non-game, musky and bass, in addition to surveys on habitat, invasive species, water quality, etc. Survey results are used to better understand the fisheries, to proactively identify any potential problems, and to develop corrective management strategies as needed.

Current fish hatchery operations include a fish rearing pond complex consisting of six rearing ponds. The pond-rearing complex is located just south of the Sokaogon Roads and Solid Waste departments. The main entrance is located on Mole Lake Road.

Groundbreaking for the site occurred in 2013, with the construction of four 0.6-acre ponds in 2014, and two one-acre ponds in 2015. The site contains a discharge pond, two high capacity wells, fish harvest basins, roads network, extensive fencing, a building for the storage of fisheries-related equipment and ample room for future buildings expansion.

The rearing ponds are operated each year to primarily produce large-fingerling walleye. Walleye eggs are collected from local lakes in the spring, and hatched fry are stocked into the ponds for grow out until fall restocking. These walleye are fed minnows to achieve a fall size of six to nine inches in length. The ponds annually produce around 65,000 large-fingerling walleye. During early-October, walleye are stocked into 15 to 20 lakes in the region. Their relatively large size results in higher survival rates and ultimately an increase to the Tribal creel.

Future plans include the construction of an indoor fish rearing aquaculture facility where fish can be raised year-round. Considerable effort has been put into planning and design. MLF is currently fundraising for the final design and ultimate construction of the facility. The aquaculture facility will be a great resource for the community, providing both education and job opportunities.

If you have any questions or wish to donate to the building fund, please contact Mike Preul, Director, at 715-478-7621.