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Wednesday, January 27 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
A Comparison of Spring and Fall Walleye Population Estimates In Brevoort Lake, Michigan

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AUTHORS: John H. Powell*, Inalnd Fish and Wildlife Department Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; Russell Aikens, Inalnd Fish and Wildlife Department Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; Bradford Silet, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Michigan State University; Eric M. Clark, Inalnd Fish and Wildlife Department Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

ABSTRACT: The allocation of walleye among state and tribal fisheries in the 1836 Treaty Ceded Territory is based on the estimated adult walleye population in each lake. To date, abundance has been empirically estimated with surveys conducted on walleye spawning grounds in the spring. Differences in the behavior of male and female walleye during the spawn bring into question whether the equal catchability assumption of traditional mark recapture models is met. As an alternative to the spring assessments, Ontario and Alberta manage their walleye fisheries based on catch per unit effort (CPUE) of adult walleye in fall index netting when male and female walleye should have similar behaviors. We set out to compare these two methods for estimating the adult walleye population in Brevoort Lake, Michigan. The mark phase of our spring survey spanned seven days with a total effort of 65 net nights and 27,015 seconds of shoreline electrofishing. We deployed 1,341 jaw tags on 1,338 unique individuals, and observed that 14.9% of known sex individuals were female. The spring recapture phase consisted of electrofishing the entire shoreline for 31,352 seconds. During this electrofishing survey 130 adult walleye were captured, 30 of which were previously marked. This fall an experimental gill net consisting of 6 foot deep by 25 foot long panels of 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6 inch stretched mesh will be fished for a total of 18 net nights. Comparisons will be made between the estimated adult population size and sex ratio observed in the spring spawning ground assessment and the fall index netting assessment. We will also discuss any potential management implications stemming from these assessment methods.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST