Walleye were again stocked in Wolf Lake Thursday afternoon.
This one I wasn't sure would happen. Nor was Bruce Caruso, the Indiana steelworker who has been the prime driving force behind the stockings since they began in the mid-1990s.
``I was getting nerved up about the testing,'' Caruso said.
A special thanks this time goes to Dr. Jennifer Strasser, who spent her own time to help the ad-hoc stocking group get the needed pre-entry form from the Indiana Board of Animal Health.
And the 11th annual privately-financed walleye stocking went into the lake on the border of Chicago and Northwest Indiana as scheduled mid-afternoon Thursday.
Thanks to Carl Vizzone, the North Sider is another one of the prime movers over the years in the stocking, for the photos.
There was about 5,400 walleye of 4-7 inches dumped from buckets into the Indiana side of Lake. Those stockings are the reason Wolf has become the walleye hotspot in the Chicago area.
The other big thanks goes to veteran Indiana biologist Bob Robertson, who has lent advice over the years and more importantly his backing to the stocking cause. Quite frankly, he hadn't put his shoulder behind this, I don't think it would have kept going.
And ultimately, the stockings have become self-fulfilling. As guys started catching quality walleye from the former industrial wasteland of a lake, they kept helping with the donation jars.
The donation jars are in bait shops and will be at various sports shows this winter.
About $6,000 was raised for this stocking from the donation jars and from grants from groups as varied the Hammond Port Authority, Hammond Parks Foundation, Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Lake County Fish & Game, Hammond Mohawks, Perch America and Jeff Osterlee.
Over the years, I've had some interesting discussions with guys at Mik-Lurch, Caruso and Vizzone, about the keeping of walleye. I think part of the popularity of the walleye stocking at Wolf is the ability to keep some of them, and that's one of the reasons guys keep stuffing dollar bills in donation jars.
But there's also the other side, if you catch one of the big walleye, the 8-pounders, unless it is going one the wall as a trophy, put it back.
Caruso put it best: ``You can't pound it like Lake Erie.''
Respect something special, and keep the donation jars stuffed.