According to the Minnesota DNR, when a moving waterway containing walleye is managed or constructed, the speed of the water moving through that waterway must be less than 2 feet per second to allow for the natural movement of the fish upstream.
With a few calculations, we can arrive at a speed of the waterway and therefore a speed that the fish must travel to survive within the waterway.
1 Mile = 5280 Feet*
60 seconds per minute
60 minutes per hour
2 feet of water x 60 seconds = 120 feet of water per minute
120 feet of water per minute x 60 minutes = 7200 feet of water per hour
7200/5280 = 1.36 Miles per hour
Now it may seem that 1.36 miles per hour is not very fast however, at a continuous pace it becomes much more impressive. Many fish, not just walleye, must survive within moving waters their entire lives. They may find calmer water within a pool, pond or lake but for a significant period of their lives they must remain swimming constantly.
How exactly a fish creates propulsion depends greatly on the natural characteristics of the fish.
According to an MIT article published by Emerging Technology from the arXiv in 2018,
“In the characteristic undulatory swimming motion of fish, muscles contract sequentially along the body to generate a backward-moving wave of body bending. This pushes against the water and produces thrust.”
Said more generally by the same authors,
“When it comes to swimming, fish demonstrate an effortless grace and power that humans can only dream of. While the fastest fish swim at up to 70 miles per hour, no human has ever managed even 4 mph in water. Even the fastest submarines have a top speed of only 50 mph.”
When it comes to the native Minnesota fish we all know well, you have probably seen a bluegill, northern pike or even a walleye in shallow water seemingly disappear with nothing but a cloud of mud, muck or weeds left behind when it swims away.
Although there is no definitive answer, it should be reasonable to estimate that a healthy walleye could have a burst speed of up to 50MPH for short distances when necessary for survival.
Named for its eyes, the Walleye has a reflective film or “wall” of pigment coving its eyes, helping it see in murky waters. This special adaptation, combined with its razor-sharp teeth, makes this popular game fish an effective predator.
Walleye primarily feed in the low-light conditions of early morning and dusk. They tend to be most active on overcast days and windy days with choppy water. In more turbid or murky water, they will feed throughout the day. A walleye’s diet consists mainly of other fish, but they will also feed on crayfish, worms, and minnows.
For excellent walleye fishing visit any Pelican Lake Resort this summer 2020!