Northern pike spawning run underway in Brown County

Chuck Larscheid and David Wetenkamp tag northern pike on Willow Creek in Bellevue, April 4, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

BELLEVUE (WLUK) -- The spawning run for northern pike is underway in parts of Northeast Wisconsin.

Weather conditions are cooperating and many fish are on the move.

Conservationists are in the water as well, to monitor the situation.

An early morning rain wasn't enough to keep Chuck Larscheid and David Wetenkamp from checking the fyke nets Tuesday.

"The fish don't care that it's raining out, or that it's wet. They're kind of partial to water, so we got to work with them, not them work with us. So that's how it kind of works," said David Wetenkamp, Brown County Land and Water Conservation Department

The Brown County Land and Water Conservation Department team captured the fish in Willow Creek in Bellevue. The pike move upstream, searching for spawning grounds in wetlands areas. The site is about five miles upstream from the mouth of the Fox River in Green Bay.

"They look healthy. The females are dropping spawn already when we're measuring them, and stuff, so I think they're ready to go," said Chuck Larscheid, West Shore Pike Habitat Project Manager.

It was about three weeks ago when conservationists placed nets at seven sites in Brown County. Now, with recent rains, and warmer temperatures, those conservationists say spawning activity has picked up.

"We started seeing fish on Saturday, here at the Izaak Walton League at Allouez and Bellevue Street. We got four yesterday, and we got four today," said Larscheid.

The team tags the fish too.

"Valuable information can be gathered from that, as far as like the year of the fish, how long it has lived, how long it is. How much it's grown since the last time it was caught," said Wetenkamp.

Conservationists say that information helps manage the fish and the spawning grounds.

"There's work to be done, to try to make sure they can get where they are supposed to go, and then that there's wetlands once they get there," said Larscheid.

Conservationists say it takes about two weeks for the northern pike eggs to hatch. About two weeks after that, the young fish will drift downstream, back to the waters of Green Bay.

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