Annual Stocking Promises Better Fishing

Alyssa and Blake Stanley show off a five-inch walleye that was about to join 2,500 others added to Lake Panorama October 20. They are the children of Scott and Allison Stanley. Scott is the president of Lake Panorama Fin and Feather. On October 20, Kael Rutledge emptied this bucket of walleye into Lake Panorama at Boulder Beach. A North Star Hatchery employee transfers walleye to a bucket, while Bill Eby, a Fin and Feather member, prepares to carry the bucket to the lake. Kael Rutledge shows a bucket of walleye he’s about to transfer into the lake. Fin and Feather stocks fish that are 4 to 8 inches, rather than fingerlings, because of their higher survival rate.

By Susan Thompson

Again this fall, about $10,000 worth of fish were added to Lake Panorama by Fin and Feather. Fish stocking totals for 2017 included 2,500 walleye, 500 largemouth bass and 500 perch.

Fin and Feather stocks fish between 4 inches and 8 inches to promote high survival rates. Fingerlings are less expensive, but survival rates are lower. Experience has taught group leaders stocking larger fish is a good investment.  

Volunteers in the non-profit Fin and Feather group have been stocking fish and working to improve fishing conditions in Lake Panorama since 1984. When the dam was closed in 1970, the only thing natural to the lake was crappie, large mouth bass, carp and catfish. The Lake Panorama Association did some fish stocking, but this independent group now provides a significant boost to fishing conditions at Lake Panorama.

The long-time supplier for the fish-stocking program is North Star Fish Hatchery, a third-generation, family-owned business in Montour, Iowa. This year, North Star brought the fish to Lake Panorama’s Boulder Beach on three different dates, where volunteers helped move them by bucket from the truck to the lake. 

Besides stocking fish, the group works to help improve fish habitat for smaller fish. Fin and Feather raises its money through annual memberships and a fundraising banquet each spring. The 2018 banquet will be Saturday, May 12, the same date as the LPA annual meeting.