2016 Lake Winnebago Bottom Trawling Assessment Report
Adam Nickel, Winnebago System Gamefish Biologist, January 2017
The 2016 Winnebago bottom trawling survey results are in and it was a great year to be on the boat as the survey revealed strong year classes for crappie, walleye, and forage base species. Over 36 volunteers (a mix of new and veteran) boarded the Calumet in 2016 and donated over 400 volunteer hours of labor. The bottom trawl assessment is the most critical fisheries assessment conducted on the Winnebago System and simply could not be conducted without the help of our dedicated volunteer base.
The objectives of the trawling assessment are to:
1) provide critical information on year class strength of game and nongame fish species,
2) monitor trends in the forage base,
3) monitor general population trends of game and nongame fish species. The survey also provides volunteers with a hands-on experience with
conducting survey work on the system.
Full report details are here
I attended the Berlin chapter meeting last night and had some interesting conversation. Today I called Adam Nickle our Fisheries Biologist. The attached PDF document is a report on a walleye tracking study DNR conducted with WFT funding. WFT purchased the sonic tags. Much of the Berlin conversation centered around lack of walleye using the Fox River as a spawning area.
As you can see from the text, the Winnebago System has 35 listening devices installed. These are used to track sturgeon primarily but are also used to track walleye, flathead catfish and musky. The System is so large and dynamic that this system has been very beneficial to understand how important fish species move around on an annual basis.
Walleye Movement in the Winnebago System (2011-2013)
Hadley Boehm was the grad student who did the walleye research under Dan Isermann last year. She graduated, got a job with the Minnesota DNR, and then finished her thesis, a copy of which is attached. The research is continuing….
The short version is: Walleye are spawning, then the fry are showing up in some lakes, and not showing up in other lakes. No fry = no YOY in fall. And nobody knows why.
Click Here to Read
Whitefish Rule Development Meeting
Meeting set for May 12 at Door County Government Building
DNR seeks public input to develop whitefish rule
Wisconsin DNR is in the process of developing a specific rule to better protect spawning whitefish in northern Lake Michigan and to potentially modify commercial fishing zone whitefish allocation or zone structure to better reflect current whitefish abundance and distribution.
The goal of the meeting is to discuss potential changes and gather informal feedback prior to drafting a specific rule change proposal. There will be future formal public involvement opportunities during the official rule change process. The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Peninsula Room of the Door County Government Building.
|Meeting location, schedule and contact information
Date: Thursday, May 12, 2016
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Door County Government Building, 421 Nebraska St. Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. Peninsula Room is near the 4th Avenue building entrance
Contact: David Boyarski, northern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, 920-746-2865,David.Boyarsi@wisconsin.gov
Green Lake has finished with egg harvesting on 4-30-16. With 7 WFT nets and 3 DNR nets in 8 NN Green Lake volunteers captured 323 total walleyes. 182 females of which 132 were workable fish to 141 males, each female averaged 77’091 eggs. We had 9 sub 15” and 20 recaptures, and we had 24 walleyes that exceeded the 26” mark and were released un-striped. The largest was 29” and the smallest was 13.5.
Attached is a daily netting/hatchery log and hatching time-line calendar, we have a full hatchery at 79.5 quarts or 10’176’000 fertilized eggs!
The week of May 15th should be wild!
We had a very good day at the hatchery and on Geneva Lake today. The rain had passed earlier in the morning so we were good that way, although it was very foggy on the lake and it was a slow travel to the netting area.
We filled up the remainder of the jars today with 1,125,000 eggs from walleyes in the 22” to 25” range. The male to female ratio was around 1 to 1 and the males have been getting more scarce the last 2 days. We have a full hatchery as of this morning with 6,220,000 eggs collected and incubating. We stripped eggs from just under 60 females and around 90 males were used for fertilization. We tried to use 2 males per female when available. It took 6 net nights with 6 fyke nets to get what we needed to fill 18 jars, with 2 jars devoted to hospital jars for a total of 20 jars utilized.
The netting crew will go out tomorrow morning to remove the nets from the lake and begin cleaning them. We need people on Saturday morning to stretch out the nets and power wash them and begin mending. This will be done at Geneva Lake Bait and Tackle on HWY 67 just south of where HWY 50 crosses 67 in Williams Bay (top of the hill). 8 am start time and work until early afternoon or so. Stay and help for as long as you can-an hour or 2 devoted is appreciated.
Now the incubation period is the focus with egg care and hatchery maintenance checks the daily and evening routine. I will send updates every few days now until fry hatch, then more often as we run thru that period.
Congratulations to those who helped during the last 6 days for filling the hatchery with eggs-not as easy to do by being more size selective and turning back very large fish with enough eggs in them to fill a jar per fish. Now we have eggs from 7 fish in 2 jars some days. A great job done by everyone!!
P.S. Check the Chicago Sun Times for Walleyes For Tomorrow Walworth Co. story. It is a very well done article. I think it was published 4-19, or 4-20.
Brian H. Simon
Walworth Co. Chapter Chairman
Walleyes For Tomorrow
After several outboard motor issues, we set seven nets the evening of the twenty-second. In cooperation with the local DNR biologist who are currently performing their five year warm water fish survey, we are running three of their nets so we actually have ten nets to work.
We got three net-nights under our belts. We have handled 137 walleyes, with 38 of which were “workable” females (nothing over 26″ do we strip, this also accounts for green females – all these fish were documented then released) to 61 lively always ready boys – decent ratio.
We have 3’072’000 future walleye dinners/wall-hangers incubating. Hatching of those eggs will begin about 5/12 with full hatching on 5/16. Target is around 9’300’000 eggs, with a target release number of 7’500’000. We’ll see how it all goes, we’ve got a great hatchery attended – should go fine.
IF YOU FISH WALLEYE ON GREEN BAY, WANT A WALLEYE PROGRAM IN RIVERS ENTERING GREEN BAY OR LAKE MISHIGAN, ***** GET INVOLVED WITH THE DNR LAKE MICHIGAN 10 YEAR PLAN ***** OR GET WHAT YOU DESERVE.
The DNR is in the final stage of the plan and there has been NO comments from walleye fishermen at their outreach meetings. There was a meeting in Cleveland and no walleye interested people or group attended. Prior meetings had similar attendance.
Commercial fishermen and the trout and salmon lobby have been VERY active and outspoken. Their written comments are the only documented opinion of the scope and intent of the plan.
Without other opinion input these interests will have a huge say in the 10 year plan and walleye will be under represented.
Whitefish harvesters are pushing for increased netting of whitefish in southern Green Bay. Walleye are considered incidental catch and an imposition and the harvesters are pushing for permission to keep and sell walleye.
They claim walleye are in such numbers that they are adversely affecting forage production. Particularly perch and young whitefish. Commercial sale would be an avenue to reduce the forage impact under this opinion.
The only present limitation of trap net placement is a 1/4 mile from shore restriction.
The trap net issue is in a 30 day comment period. Get involved and make it known that walleye management and population expansion should be front and center in the 10 year plan.
Get involved and write a letter to DNR in Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay and Milwaukee emphasizing a stated walleye management plan and platform in the 10 year plan.