Green Lake Fish Management Update

On Monday, March 30th and Tuesday, March 31st, Jon Hoffman from the WIDNR and Dallas Lewallen from the GLSD carefully transferred over 28,000 lake trout from the GLSD-operated fish rearing facility on North Lawson Drive to Green Lake. Due to the social distancing restrictions at the time, this was a big undertaking. A big THANK YOU to Jon for making this happen for us. Thank you also to Stu Marks and Dallas for all the time over the winter spent feeding the fish, cleaning the raceways, etc., ensuring the fish would grow and thrive in time for their annual spring release.

The following comments are from Jon. “The total number of fish stocked was 28,330. It was a relief to get them out when we did. The fact that only two of us worked to stock them out may have played into the decision [by the DNR management to allow the stocking during the pandemic]. Dallas had to lift and walk the nets twice the amount as usual and he deserves a big ‘thank you.’ The final numbers showed 28,330 lake trout weighing 2,989.55 pounds were added to the lake. Each fish had an average length of 7.0 inches. The fish were not as big as in the past, but they also went into the lake a couple weeks earlier, and, at this point, we should all be thankful that they made it to the lake at all.”

Unfortunately due to COVID-19 social distancing issues, a decision was made not to operate the Walleyes For Tomorrow hatchery on Green Lake in 2020. While this is disappointing, we know that the work done in recent years by the WFT hatchery crew has been paying off. Some big walleye were taken out of Green Lake this winter. Thanks to WFT for all their efforts. Let’s hope the group is able to be back at it next spring better than ever.

On Monday, April 6th, volunteers from the Winnebagoland Musky Club stocked 400 one-year old muskies into Green Lake. The muskies averaged 12” to 17” in length. The project cost nearly $6,000 and was paid for by the non-profit club which is based out of Fond du Lac. They worked closely with WDNR fish management team on the stocking project. To view a video of the stocking event on Green Lake, check out their club website at

Norton’s Dry Dock has been spearheading an exciting fish habitat project on Green Lake. Norton’s is working with Outdoor Impact, North Bay Sport & Liquor, and All Seasons Adventures to place 10 to 20 new fish cribs onto the lake bed each year. These new cribs cost between $400 and $550 each and are being placed at water depths of 15 to 25 feet below the surface of the lake. If you are interested in donating to help fund one or more structures, please contact Chuck Hurley at Norton’s Dry Dock at

Many people may ask – “Why do we need fish cribs when we have plenty of aquatic plants in the lake that act as habitat?” The answer is surprising to many. As we have developed shoreline areas around the lake, we have continually removed ‘coarse woody debris’ such as fallen trees, large branches, all the way down to any sticks or twigs. This phenomenon has been studied on lakes in the U.S. (including WI) and around the world. We know that this coarse woody debris plays an important role in the life cycles of many fish species by offering protection to nesting sites, a spawning substrate, and an area of greater prey availability. As we have removed all woody material from our lakeshores, we have impacted fish populations and diversity. Adding fish cribs to the lake is one way to help bring that habitat back. Another way is to leave fallen trees on your shoreline that extend into the lake. As more ash trees in our area die off due to emerald ash borer, an opportunity exists to regain woody habitat on our lakeshore.

If you are interested in having fallen tree or a tree drop structure (more than one small to medium sized tree anchored together) on your shoreline for fish habitat, contact the GLSD for more information at (920) 295-4488.