Walleye Spawning is Unsuccessful in the Rock River, that’s what the DNR says and I have seen it after fishing the Rock for decades. If they don’t stock the river, the Walleye fade away and become rare. When they stock, the Walleye are around for a few years. This river used to be one of the most productive walleye fisheries in Illinois, but something happened, or several things happened. The pollution was likely the original cause for decline but since then the water has greatly improved. The hydro plants surely hurt spawns when they raise and lower the water by feet each day, but since the Walleye spawn in early spring when the water is high, I doubt that is the main problem. What I think the main problem is is channelcat fish. They are abundant in this river and are on a big feed in the spring. The Pike like to go up creeks to lay eggs, the Bass protect their nests and both have successful spawns, but the walleye lay eggs in shallow water and then leave and the catfish move in and clean them up. Any Walleye eggs that might survive to fingerling size or bigger like to hang out in the same places as the Flathead, which likely feed on them.
The Bass and other fish do well, but this last few years we have had a large population of Pelican that hang around the dam feeding on these fish and the fishes prey every day. Fishing has died in many of the places Bass used to hang out, and instead you find pelicans. In some of my photos I see them with Shiner minnows in their mouths. I have other photos of them feeding on Catfish, and since they are feeding where I catch Bass they no doubt eat the bass.
So if anyone harasses you from our local paper about keeping catfish, keep in mind these catfish are killing our Walleye population.