How to make 112 million fertilized walleye eggs

This year’s walleye spawning operation was one of the most successful in recent memory, we reached our statewide goal of 112 million eggs in only 13 days!
fertilizing walleye eggs
Staff uses a goose feather to mix the eggs and milt. Photos by Kara Van Hoose/CPW.


  • 1,378 female walleye (approx)
  • 1,900 male walleye (approx)
  • Water
  • Mud
  • Goose feathers
  • 43 gill nets
  • Gatorade coolers
  • Dozens of biologists, technicians, volunteers


  • Set gill nets overnight in Cherry Creek Reservoir and Lake Pueblo. In the morning, jump in a boat to carefully pull up gill nets and separate fish into species. Keep all walleye and release gizzard shad, suckers, carp, rainbow trout, etc. 
  • Once on dry land or a barge, examine female walleye to determine if they’re green or ripe. Set green females aside for another day.
  • Coax golden eggs from ripe females into a dry pan. May take 2-3 females per pan. Add milt extracted from 1-2 males. Place spent walleye back into Cherry Creek and Lake Pueblo.
  • Using a goose feather, mix the eggs and milt with water for 90 seconds. Add 2 scoops of mud to prevent sticking. Swirl another 90 seconds with a feather. Continue to a washing station.
  • Clean mixture with water, using a feather to remove large clots and dirt, until eggs are clear. Wait for eggs to harden, usually takes an hour. Siphon eggs into a Gatorade cooler for transport to a hatchery.
  • Repeat until 112 million walleye eggs are fertilized. Process may last 2-3 weeks.
  • Serves 70+ lakes and reservoirs and nearby states


“This year’s walleye spawning operation was one of the most successful in recent memory,” said Carrie Tucker, aquatic biologist for the Pueblo area. “We reached our statewide goal of 112 million eggs in only 13 days thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers, many of whom took time from other duties to travel and assist with this important biological work. Close coordination with Northeast Region aquatic biologists and the hatchery section was vital in pulling off this successful walleye spawn. The spawn take at Cherry Creek and Lake Pueblo  provides walleye that are stocked in many reservoirs across the state allowing for great angling opportunities for the public.”

“The incredible dedication to conservation and science by Colorado Parks and Wildlife is evident during the annual walleye spawn,” said Paul Winkle, aquatic biologist in Denver. “It’s always one of the highlights of my year, and 2023 was no exception. The camaraderie of working together with the Southeast Region toward our walleye common goal is going to be a large part of what I’ll miss about my time at CPW. Thanks to the efficient, excellent work of our volunteers and technicians, anglers across the Front Range will enjoy walleye in many of our lakes and reservoirs.”

Written by Kara Van Hoose. Kara is the public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s northeast region.

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