A Source For Willow Cats for the River Walleye Anglers!
Walleye First Published September 25, 2009
WalleyeFIRST received a call from Kent Schroer this morning informing us of a new and steady source for Willowcats for the river walleye enthusiasts. This source is legal, inspected, and licesnsed, plus the quality of the bait is very high. Here's the story and contact info; he's located just an hour north of LaCrosse.
"These fish are from wild stock out of the Mississippi that were taken when you could still do so in 2003.
Willow Cat Spawn
After six years of steady trial and error I have been able to raise these fish in captivity. I started with 1000 fish and had 20 fish spawn my first year. The rest died before spawning again.
From those eggs I now have a 7th generation. I was able to jump ahead several generations by getting several to spawn in January and then again in Spring.
The fish I sell for bait are raised differently then broodfish stock,as it takes 3 years before they will spawn successfully. The fish I held back this year for brood stock will spawn in 2011, so some forward thinking has to be done.
Getting the Willow cats to spawn successfully is complicated, and hatching eggs is even more so. It's a seven day a week job, even in winter taking care of thousands of fish. I have three 1000 gallon insulated tanks outside, because they refuse to spawn inside in any building. Messing around in 35 degree water changing filters daily and fixing pumps when it's well below zero is interesting work!
These fish have passed a veternarian heath inspection and I am lisenced throught the USDA with a type 2 fish farm lisence.
Unlike wild caught madtoms that are scooped into a cooler or pail then netted again to a supplier then netted again into the bait shop then into a minnow bucket and finally netted from a bait bucket onto a hook, my fish are never netted. They come with a very heavy slime coat on them for a healthier fish. Even when counted they are only handeld with wet hands and no nets. My customers claim they catch more walleyes on them and they last twice as long as wild fish at home in their tanks as they do not have the stress put on them as wild caught fish do. These fish should last a month easily with no feed as they have a good fat reserve from getting all they can eat when growing.
Tournaments have been won using my fish and as I get more cusomers useing them, I would guess many more will be won with them. The fish I sell are 2 1/2- 3 1/2" long and siome are bigger; up to 4 1/2". They are sorted and the smaller fish put back, unlike lake run were you can end up with some very small fish. There is a minumum order of 10 dozen as and an appointment is required so I can ready the Willowcats for you. The price is $12 a dozen with a price break on orders of 100 dozen or more.
Last year I sold out by the end of April and didn't have sellable size fish until July. If you are interested in a stabil, legal source for healthy Willowcats, contact me at: