The Department of Natural Resources is in the final sampling year of a tag-and-recapture study on the walleye population in the inland waterway in Northern Michigan. Researchers will continue to need help from anglers to move the study forward.

The tag-and-recapture study consists of jaw-tagging walleye to determine movement and seasonal distribution of the species in the inland waterway. The waterway consists of Burt, Crooked, Mullet and Pickerel lakes and the lower Black, Cheboygan, Crooked, Indian, Maple, Pigeon and Sturgeon rivers.

Personnel from the DNR and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and students from Michigan State University (MSU) will again be tagging adult walleye at key locations across the waterway this April and May. In addition to the tag-and-recapture study, MSU will continue to evaluate larval walleye distribution and adult walleye diets.

Adult walleye will be captured from electrofishing boats that operate both day and night. Nighttime shocking efforts are needed to capture walleye that move into the shallow regions of lakes often at night. Nighttime gill netting may also be done in May and June at a subset of the lakes in the waterway in order to improve population estimates. These would include short-set gill nets that are checked frequently.

A critical component of the overall study involves cooperation from successful walleye anglers in the inland waterway. Anglers who catch tagged walleye are asked to provide the tag information on the fish, as well as the stomachs from any fish harvested, to the DNR. Anglers are asked to freeze the fish’s stomach and label the bag with the date, location and size of fish take it to the nearest DNR service center.

“This is an opportunity to continue learning key information regarding walleye populations in the waterway, and we rely on anglers to assist us with this project,” said Tim Cwalinski, fisheries biologist. “We appreciate any angler participation we get because it provides us with a better understanding of this particular species.”

For detailed instructions on both of these activities, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing and click on “Report Marked and Tagged Fish” under Angler Tools. Anglers can also learn more about the activities of these agencies in the inland waterway by visiting the Northern Inland Lakes Citizens Advisory Committee on the DNR website.

The entire project is a cooperative effort between the DNR, Michigan State University and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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