Local Splake, Lake Trout and Walleye Plantings

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I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the start of our long winter… at least up here in the U.P. it’s pretty long. I had an invite to ice-fish for walleye this week in Mn… Red Lake and Lake of the Woods, but couldn’t find any willing and able partners from our locale to go with me, so I guess that’s out for now… unless one of my readers would like to join me??? Call or email to let me know.


A Lac La Belle Walleye last summer.


I wanted to give an up-date on fish plantings in our area, so right now things are slow, so here goes.

200 Lake Trout were planted in Lake Fanny Hoe, near Copper Harbor on May 20th of this year. The average length was 18 inches. On average, lake trout take about 5 years to reach 18 inches in the wild, but need about 6 years at the hatchery to grow to 18 inches. Some will live 70 years or more, but the average age is 25 to 30 years old.

Lake trout in Lake Superior is self sustaining, so they haven’t planted in the Big lake for many years. For more info on spawning lake trout see: http://sandpointcharters.com/?s=spawning&submit.x=0&submit.y=0


Partner Dan J. with a nice Splake caught last spring in the Mendota Chanel.

23,460 splake were planted in Copper Harbor on May 22nd and 23rd this year. These fish were 16 months old and just under 9 inches. They will typically reach the legal size of 15 inches in less than 1 year and will be over 20 inches at 4 years of age. The Michigan DNR has been planting splake in Copper Harbor since 1972 and has become a well known destination for this tasty and sporty fish. Because of the high survival rate and their growth rates, they are a great addition to our fishery. For more detail on the splake plantings see: http://www.michigandnr.com/fishstock/

On another subject, namely walleye:

1.1 million walleye fry (about mosquito size) were planted in Portage Lake this summer. It takes 4 to 5 years for walleye fry (mosquito size) to reach 1 pound, or about 14 inches. The Copper Country Walleye Association was behind these plantings. See their website to join them.

27,636 walleye were planted in Lac La Belle in July, just under 2 inches in length. Of course the survival rate of these larger fish is much better than planting fry. The average male walleye will live anywhere between 15-20 years and females will live for around 25 years or longer.


This summer was a really good summer, for both numbers of charters (40% more than last summer) and numbers of fish caught, although I haven’t tallied them up yet.CarrieLakeTrout

Thanks to all of you for a fun and successful season!

Happy ice-fishing this winter and hope to see you next summer on the water.

Cool Ice

Ice fishing on Keweenaw Bay last winter.


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About Brian Helminen

Brian is the owner and Captain of Sand Point Charters, LLC. He also owns and operates Designotype Printers, Inc. with his wife, Margaret. They have a cottage on Lac La Belle that can be rented by the week in the summertime.

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