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Biologists tracking walleye movement

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:55 PM

COLUMBUS For the second year, biologists will track walleye movement during spring spawning runs in the Sandusky River and Bay to better understand why the population of this important sportfish has declined the past 30 years. The project is slated to continue through next year.

Fisheries biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife implanted radio transmitters in 50 walleye during 2005-2006 and will monitor individual fish, using a combination of remote data logging stations, as well as boat-based and aerial tracking.

The objectives of this research are:

1) to examine precise movement patterns of walleye in Sandusky River and Bay;

2) to locate additional spawning locations within the river and bay;

3) to document the amount of repeat spawning (across years) that occurs for this population.

Information gathered will provide insight on how to enhance the Sandusky River walleye spawning population through potential habitat improvement projects and fisheries regulations.

"This research gives us a unique opportunity to document movements and spawning behavior of walleye in the Sandusky River," said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program administrator. "Ultimately, the knowledge we gain from this research will provide important information for improving the health of our walleye population."

Transmitters implanted in walleye should last for about three years, so biologists will be able to track fish through multiple spawning seasons.

Of the fish that received transmitters, 34 were detected in the bay and river in 2006. Transmitter-bearing fish have already been located in Sandusky Bay and River this year.

These fish are distinguished by antennae protruding from their stomachs. Anglers who catch one are urged to contact the Division of Wildlife's Sandusky Fisheries Research.

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