Indexing Age-0 Walleye Abundance in Northern Wisconsin Lakes before Fall

Hadley I.A. Boehm, Jason C. Gostiaux, Gretchen J.A. Hansen, Joseph M. Hennessy, Daniel A. Isermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recruitment of age-0 Walleye Sander vitreus is often indexed using fall electrofishing surveys. However, collecting fish before fall may provide timely information regarding stocking decisions and factors influencing recruitment. We evaluated sampling methods for age-0 Walleye in northern Wisconsin lakes that could be used to assess recruitment in spring and summer. Initial assessments on two lakes indicated surface tows of ichthyoplankton nets at night during May to early June and 0.64-cm-micromesh gill nets set in July provided the highest catches of age-0 Walleye among the methods we evaluated. Additional sampling on 13 lakes over 2 years indicated catch per effort (CPE) of age-0 Walleye using these two methods did not correlate with age-0 CPE in fall electrofishing. However, presence or absence of age-0 Walleye in micromesh gill nets was 92% accurate in predicting whether age-0 CPE in fall electrofishing was ≥15 fish/h, the threshold above which eventual recruitment to the fishery is expected to occur. Micromesh gill netting may provide a useful tool for allocating fingerling Walleye that are stocked in fall, a resource that is often limited due to space and forage constraints associated with propagation. Additionally, our sampling protocol may help to identify timing of potential recruitment bottlenecks occurring in some lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)910-921
Number of pages12
JournalNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was a collaborative effort made possible by the cooperation of many people within the Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, WDNR, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (UWSP), and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. The project was funded by the WDNR through the Fisheries Analysis Center at UWSP. We thank the numerous WDNR and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission personnel responsible for collecting fall electrofishing data. We specifically thank S. Gilbert, M. Wolter, J. Kubisiak, G. Sass, Z. Lawson, S. Toshner, D. Seibel, and T. Sommerfeldt with WDNR and their crews for field support, as well as M. Preul and staff working for the Mole Lake Tribe. J. Hansen and S. Hewett were critical to project planning and development. K. Turnquist with Molecular Conservation Genetics Laboratory at the UWSP completed genetic identification for larvae. We thank G. Sass, J. VanDeHey, J. Raabe, D. Dembkowski, and W. Larson for guidance and editorial insights. We thank the many UWSP undergraduate technicians who assisted with sampling and laboratory work. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. There is no conflict of interest declared in this article.

Funding Information:
This project was a collaborative effort made possible by the cooperation of many people within the Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, WDNR, University of Wisconsin?Stevens Point (UWSP), and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. The project was funded by the WDNR through the Fisheries Analysis Center at UWSP. We thank the numerous WDNR and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission personnel responsible for collecting fall electrofishing data. We specifically thank S. Gilbert, M. Wolter, J. Kubisiak, G. Sass, Z. Lawson, S. Toshner, D. Seibel, and T. Sommerfeldt with WDNR and their crews for field support, as well as M. Preul and staff working for the Mole Lake Tribe. J. Hansen and S. Hewett were critical to project planning and development. K. Turnquist with Molecular Conservation Genetics Laboratory at the UWSP completed genetic identification for larvae. We thank G. Sass, J. VanDeHey, J. Raabe, D. Dembkowski, and W. Larson for guidance and editorial insights. We thank the many UWSP undergraduate technicians who assisted with sampling and laboratory work. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. There is no conflict of interest declared in this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Fisheries Society. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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