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Discover Nature: Walleye

Missouri Department of Conservation

In the waning weeks of winter, one of North America’s most important game fishes begins to get active in Missouri. This week on Discover Nature, walleye are on the move. 


These slender, yellowish or olive-brown fish have large mouths with prominent teeth, and especially reflective eyes. 


Residing in large streams and reservoirs throughout the state, these nocturnal fish feed in shallow water at night, and retreat to deeper pools during the day. 


One of the first fish to spawn in spring, walleye move onto gravel shoals, rocky points, or along the rocky face of dams to begin their reproductive process. Here, they will deposit eggs among the rocks, and leave them to develop without any parental care. 


Fry eat small crustaceans and insects, and, in turn, are predated upon by many larger fish. Those that survive may grow to more than two feet in length, often becoming the “big fish” of their waters. 


Watch for these prized game fish as their spawning activity picks up from now through April in Missouri. 


Learn more about walleye with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide. 


Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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