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Beacon Archive

June 2003
PDF Version

McDonough’s Market - 70 Years serving Beaver Island

Don't bother trying to fix it … if it's not Baroque

Graduation Time

Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce Plans for the 4th of July

The Historical Society releases the schedule for Museum Week

BIPOA Nature Lecture: Painted Turtles of the Beaver Archipelago

CMU Summer Nature Walk series

BIRHC to Raffle Truck

Health Center Groundbreaking

The State of the Internet on Beaver Island

Honoring Bev and Mike

On This Date

One Hundred Years Ago

A Fine Spring Concert

An Environmental Protection section proposed for our Zoning Ordinance

Passings: Robert Smith; Gary Tepe; Margaret Way; Dan Green

Rural Arts & Culture Grant Update

Mary Gets a New Gallery

Roasting Jerry

The Sun Also Rises … over PABI's Community House: Summer Solstice Celebrations

The Class Play: A Class Act

Lighthouse School News

News from the Townships

Work at Beaver Head

BICS Students get Handhelds

Island Airways Hanger Party

Emerald Isle Security Exercise

Making a Walleye Pond

The Leadership Retreat suggests an approach for the Lansing Reception

A Report on The Lansing Reception

Peaine Township helps the Island move closer to a Master Plan

The AmVets in Action: yellow ribbons and posters

Weather or Not

Camp Quality Returns

Please Subscribe to the Beacon

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Making a Walleye Pond

Beaver Island fishermen have long lusted for walleye fishing here. At various times the talk fused into action, but each time the action fell short. Wildlife Club president Jeff Powers thought he’d worked out the details with the DNR’s Tom Rozich, but there were last-minute complications. Five years ago the plan to build a walleye-rearing pond was hatched, but it seemed likely to go the way of other ambitious plans (one pond was built south of McCauley's Road, but it was ruined by beaver) when the contractor who had been hired to dig the pond on land at Applewood was called away. The funding would disappear if work wasn’t done by June 9th.

The Wildlife Club rose to the challenge. Gary Morgan and Doug Tilly brought their loaders, and Doug and Bill Detwiler offered their tractors. Long-time walleye afficionado Ivan Young climbed onto one of the loaders. They spent 10 hours a day for 5 days shaping a half-acre hole in the ground to fit the requirements, and stacking the 5,000 yards of dirt into neat piles for the County to remove. By Sunday, May 18th, everything was set to go.

A 10-mill rubberized tarp cut to fit the hole was purchased for $2,000. It was so heavy that ten people had trouble unpacking it, so Bill Detwiler strapped it to his tractor and pulled it, accordion style, from its box. Twenty-two volunteers showed up to help. After the tarp was pulled into a 200'-long snake along one edge of the hole, and had one of its edges weighed down with trucks and rocks, they spread out and marched down the steep near side of the hole, across the flat bottom (carefully provided with a circular depression), and up the far side, holding the edge.

Then the task became to work out the few wrinkles and pull the tarp perfectly flat. Each time the tarp was lifted to be pulled, a gust of wind got under it, sending a coruscating ripple across its length. When this billow emerged at the far side, the heat it had acquired from the sun on the dark rubber made it like a blast from a revved-up furnace.

Once it was in place, the volunteers began to cover it with 6” to 8" of dirt. Shovels went into action, and the loaders and tractors began delivering soil. Reinforcements arrived: Jim Gillingham, with 16 of his students. His natural interest was augmented by an arrangement whereby CMU grad students would monitor the water quality and growth of the fish. They jumped in with shovels and rakes, and suddenly an overwhelming task was being finished. By mid-afternoon a generator was fired up and Joe Nuke's old well (100' deep, with 18' of water in the pipe, and a windmill attached to supply a trickle to counteract evaporation) began to deliver 40 gallons a minute, a rate that filled the 40,000-gallon pool before dawn.

After the fry (1/4") were delivered, the next steps were to fence the pool to prevent predation and cover it with a net to keep birds from feasting. Within 3 to 4 weeks the fingerlings (2 ½") should be ready for Lake Geneserath–if left here longer, they would cannibalize each other down to a single engorged fish left swimming slowly in a circle. To move them they’ll be caught in a sieve. Then the dry pond will be planted with rye, and later flooded to create a natural plankton for food in the next cycle–this time $300 was spent for a special algae.

If everything goes right, 25,000 to 40,000 fingerlings will be delivered to Lake Geneserath. Past plantings have already led to some good results: a 27" walleye was caught last summer there, and a 30" fish was taken this winter through the ice. The Wildlife Club intends to repeat this process over the next few years, and then to apply it as needed. In the meantime it will analyze the other lakes to see what kind of fish they could support. After all, this pond can be used for more than one species.

Click Here to see many more pictures as the Community, Beaver Island Wildlife Club, and CMU Students worked to create the Beaver Island Walleye Pond.


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