The Hwy. 118 bridge in Haliburton will be a surveillance hotbed this month.

The goal of the nighttime stakeouts will be to count walleye spawning among the rocks under the bridge.

“We will walk up the shore of the Drag River, above the bridge, then you shine a light down at the surface of the water and count pairs of eyes,” Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association (HHOA) president Dan Smith said.

Counting walleye, Smith said, helps the HHOA keep tabs on the health of the Kashagawigamog chain of lakes fishery.

HHOA volunteers are currently monitoring the spawning grounds for signs of life. Once spawning starts, they’ll be out every night to record walleye numbers.

In 2021, the first year the HHOA re-started the “Walleye Watch” program, the walleye run started April 2 and lasted until April 20. Volunteers recorded 1,334 walleye.

Eighty-two per cent of anglers surveyed by the HHOA in 2021 think the health of the fishery has declined in recent years.

In the fall, the HHOA sprayed down the spawning beds under the bridge in order to make the area better for hatching with hopes of boosting walleye numbers.

“We’re going to do it again this year, because it hadn’t been done for probably 15 years,” Smith said. “That way the eggs that the walleye leave will be able to cling to the rocks of the spawning grounds better and be more successful in hatching.”

The HHOA will release walleye count results after the spawning season ends.