Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Page 20
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 24
INLAND FISHERIES Anglers spearers unite to rebuild Lac Vieux Desert walleye population LacVieuxDesertLakeFollow- ingatrendunfoldingonotherprominent walleye waters this Michigan-Wiscon- sin border lake has an ogaa recruitment problem. Spawning adults procreate each spring but their offspringfuture spawnersarefailingtojointhewalleye ogaaranks.Concernedaboutthefuture of their shared resource the Lac Vieux Desert LVD Tribe and local property owners decided to do something about it launching a multi-year effort to rally numbers of young fish. This program the work weve done together is a great example of peoplecomingtogethertohelpthelake said LVD Chairman Jim Williams. I think it can be a model anywhere in the Ceded Territory. FromaLacVieuxDesertLakeboat- launchonce a boilerplate of tension during treaty fishing seasonswhite guys and Indians worked hand-in-hand October 5 carrying bulging nets of extendedgrowthwalleyefromahatchery truck to the waterline. The liberation of 3500 six to 7.5-inch ogaa from nearby rearing ponds marked a capstone for the 2015 season which included earlier releases of tens-of-thousands of smaller fingerlings and tiny walleye fry. Teamingupwiththetribehasbeen a great thing said Robbie Anderson a resortownerandLacVieuxDesertLake Associationpresidentwhoworksclosely with tribal pointman Roger LaBine in coordinatingresponsibilitiesthroughout the production year. Over the past two years LVD Band resourceofficialsandshorelineproperty owners have worked together to boost walleye numbers. With the tribes north shore hatchery offline for redevelop- ment attention shifted to the Wisconsin south shore where the Band recently created two large fish rearing ponds. Lake association members acquired a mobile walleye hatchery and before longtheinfrastructureclickedintoplace. On the job education While LVD fisheries staff have more than a decade of experience pro- ducing walleye fry from their hatchery located at Old Village fine-tuning pond managementtogrowlargerstockproved a tricky endeavor. We had a few little disasters said Roger LaBine with a good-natured chuckle. Tried-and-true methodscaptur- ing walleye spawning stock squeezing out eggs and milt into a mixing bowl combining the pottage with an eagle featherall went without a hitch. By late spring newly hatched ogaa were swimming the waters of two fabric- lined ponds. But a series of events over the summer including a mistimed water drawdown and clogged screens took a big bite out of overall walleye survival. LaBineandAndersonagreethatthe experiences of the past year help clear a path for greater success. And with all the permits and paperwork required by Michigan and Wisconsin Departments ofNaturalResourcescompletetheteam can concentrate on refining their ogaa craft. When production numbers reach a high enough threshold LaBine said the Tribe would look to enhance other Michigan 1842 inland waters through expanded walleye stocking. SinceGLIFWCandDepartmentof Natural Resources researchers uncov- ered the downward trend in Lac Vieux Desert walleye numbers the LVD Band has sharply curtailed harvests on their homelake.OverthelastsixseasonsLVD spearerstookogaaonlyin2012tocollect biologicalsamplesincludingearbones to help biologists better understand the population structure. Until the walleye population recovers the Band intends to meet their walleye needs from other area waters. Werestayingthecourse.Wewant to know what all the issues are with the walleye population before opening the lake to harvest again Chairman Wil- liams said. By Charlie Otto Rasmussen Staff Writer GLIFWC assessment crews survey Ceded Territory waters GLIFWC assessment crews and partners from Bad River Fond du Lac Mole Lake St. Croix and US Fish and Wildlife Service conducted fall electrofishing surveysonCededTerritorywatersinMichiganMinnesotaandWisconsin.During the fall juvenile walleye age 0 and age 1 are found feeding in near-shore lake habitat at night. Electrofishing crews sample these fish to determine year-class strength from natural reproduction or to evaluate stocking efforts. In 2015 GLIFWC crews surveyed 114 lakes including 20 joint surveys with Wisconsin DNR. Surveys in Wisconsin included some of the large flowages such as 13545-acre Turtle Flambeau Flowage and 15300-acre Chippewa Flowage. In Minnesota GLIFWC and Fond du Lac crews collaborated to survey about 90 of the shoreline on Mille Lacs Lake. Biologistsusethedatacollectedinthefallsurveystoindexyear-classstrength and classify walleye populations as sustained through natural reproduction or stocking. These surveys also provide an early indication of potential decline in walleye populations. Natural reproduction varies widely by year even on lakes with large adult walleye populations but if fall surveys show a number of years with poor or low reproduction biologists have advance warning that the adult population may decline. In these cases some management action may need to be taken to protect the walleye population and restore natural reproduction. While most of the surveys focus on lakes with natural reproduction some fall surveys are also used to assess the contribution of stocked fish to the year-class. Stocked fish can be marked with oxytetracycline OTC and fish can be examined for marks to determine the percentage of stocked fish in the year-class. Survey crews collected fish for OTC analysis from Lac Vieux Desert on the Wis- consinMichigan border. GLIFWC would like to offer a Miigwech to Ed White Butch Mieloszyk ErnestSamQuagonJoshJohnsonKrisArbuckleNoahArbuckleShaneCramb Caine Heffner Bryton Jennings Dave Moore Jim Parisien Louis Plucinski Sam Plucinski Martin Powless Bill Soulier and Dennis Soulier for all their good work on the GLIFWC survey crews this fall. We would also like to extend thoughts and prayers to long-time fisheries aide Dave Parisien as he works to regain his health after he suffered a stroke this fall. We say Miigwech to him for all of his good years of work and wish him a quick and full recovery. By Mark Luehring GLIFWC Inland Fisheries Biologist Mille Lacs Lake walleye population benchmarks met road to recovery continues The2015MinnesotaDepartmentof NaturalresourcesMNDNRfallgillnet assessmentsurveycaught13.6poundsof mature walleye per net and 4.8 walleye per net from the 2013 year-class. These catch rates exceeded two important benchmarks set by the Minnesota 1837 Ceded Territory Fisheries Committee MN37FC prior to the 2015 fishing season. The benchmarks 10 lbs per net of mature walleye and 2.15 walleye per netfromthe2013year-classweresetby the State and Tribes in conjunction with a 40000 lb harvest quota to measure the progresstowardpopulationrecoveryand determine whether walleye fishing in 2016wouldneedtobecatch-and-release only for state anglers and ceremonial harvest only for tribal members. The first benchmark focused on mature walleye since 2014s survey catchratewasthelowestonrecord11.3 lbs per net. The harvest quota for 2015 was set to maintain mature walleye biomass. The second benchmark was focused on making sure that the 2013 year-class was above the average catch rate of age 2 walleye 2.15 walleye per net since it appears to be the best year-classsince2008andseveralofthe year-classessincethenhavenotsurvived well to maturity. Between now and January GLIF- WC and MNDNR biologists will be workingonupdatingpopulationmodels andprojectingwalleyeabundanceinthe coming year. These steps will help the MN37C determine the next appropri- ate action for Mille Lacs Lake walleye population recovery. Even though the spawning biomass increased slightly in the 2015 fall survey there are several weak year-classes in the population now and the 2013 year-class has not yet contributedsignificantlytothespawning stock.Itwilltaketimeforthisyear-class to reach maturity and contribute to the establishment of future year-classes. By Mark Luehring GLIFWC Inland Fisheries Biologist Members of the Lac Vieux Desert Band and local lake association transferred extended growth walleye fingerlings from nearby rearing ponds to Lac Vieux Desert Lake in early October. The Watersmeet Trout Hatchery donated use of a tank truck to transport the six to 7.5-inch fish. photo by COR MAZINAIGAN PAGE 10 WINTER 2015-16