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Hello, I like alot of other anglers, will dissect the stomach of the walleye we clean. Well I examined the contents of a 16 inch walleye and found some spiny water fleas. I know perch will feast on the fleas but I don't remember walleye taking the time to munch on the tiny critters. Have the walleye always eaten the fleas or are they starting to adapt to a new food source? My memory is kinda crappy but I think I would have remembered seeing the fleas in a walleye stomach. My most interesting find was a whole apple in the belly of a catfish! Lol

Tightlines, Billy
 

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Just practicing my cast
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What I believe it is is when they are young fry they eat whatever they can put in their mouth. And that might’ve been one of the favorite foods it was a custom to as a fry.
 

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Interesting for sure…
Last year I called the Sandusky ODNR and spoke with them for quite a while regarding the diets of walleye in the west and central basins. They published a report that details the primary forage of walleye at different times of the year. Interesting read for sure. There may be intel in that report that would help one decide when to use a Bandit vs a Reaper as you will see the diet change from soft spiny rayed fish to shad a bit later in the season, but no mention of fleas.
My guess would be that many fish are still queuing on bugs… there were many mayfly carcasses floating in foam lines yesterday. I bet it’s just cause the fleas are there. Like me with popcorn, I could eat it all night… especially if it’s sitting right next to me.
 

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How well do the perch typically digest the fleas? What about other baitfish that eat them? Any chance the walleye ate what ate the fleas, but doesn't digest them as well?
a report by John Hangen said last year that the spiney water fleas where getting stuck in the throats of small fry perch causing their deaths. I caught a 5 in perch this year that had a mouth full stuck in it's throat.
 

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Walleye eat bugs - nothing new there really. I doubt they analyze what cloud of bugs they are eating on.... Popcorn vs peanuts. If you set a bowl of either Infront of most people we will eat it.

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a report by John Hangen said last year that the spiney water fleas where getting stuck in the throats of small fry perch causing their deaths. I caught a 5 in perch this year that had a mouth full stuck in it's throat.
Mouth full as in "stuck in it's throat", or pushed out when its stomach blew up? Ones I've caught this year, and past few, we're the 2nd scenario.

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Konfused Kayaker
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I've seen walleye full of mayflies, not too many water fleas. Most seem to have empty stomachs, but I think that's due to the warmer water giving them a higher metabolism - they're digesting their food very quickly.

On a side note - a steelhead I filleted Saturday had an 8" walleye, a 5" perch and two other half-digested fish in its belly!!
Makes me wonder if the 400,000 steelhead they stock every year might have something to do with the missing central basin perch. There's no steelhead out west, and there's plenty of perch to catch. Meanwhile, over here in "steelhead alley". . . :cautious:
 
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