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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Trends in Relative Abundance of Sport Fishes of the Tahquamenon River, Michigan During 1988-2016

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AUTHORS: Christopher J. Cortell, Lake Superior State University; Kevin L. Kapuscinski, Lake Superior State University; Cory Kovacs, Michigan DNR (Newberry)

ABSTRACT: Angler attitudes towards management actions( eg. stocking Muskellunge, Esox masquinongy), and the management actions themselves, have changed over the last 50 years, in the Tahquamenon River and its watershed. For example, Muskellunge stocking efforts ceased in 1989 in the Tahquamenon River and soon after a 30 inch minimum harvest limit was established in 1991 to reduce mortality on Muskellunge. In 1997, the minimum harvest length was increased to 42 inches to further reduce mortality, promote natural reproduction, and conserve trophy class individuals. Regulations like these are crucial to the sustainability of these large predators in the Tahquamenon and around the world. Some anglers and sportsmen's clubs supported these management actions, while others strongly opposed them due to perceived effects on other sport fishes. However, it is unknown if and how these management actions may have affected populations of sport fishes. For example, increased abundance and size structure of Muskellunge may have reduced the abundance of other sport fishes. We used data from standardized electro-fishing surveys conducted between 1988 and 2016 to assess trends in population characteristics of the following sport fishes: Muskellunge, Northern Pike Esox lucius, Walleye Sander vitreus, and Yellow Perch Perca flavescens. It was our goal to determine if (1) annual catch-per-unit effort changed through time for each species, (2) the percent composition of species changed through time, and (3) trends in annual catch-per-unit-effort and total length were correlated among species. Our data analysis is ongoing, but our results should help inform future management actions that may benefit the Tahquamenon River sport fishery. Data analysis will be complete and a poster synopsis will be presented at the 2017 Midwest Fisheries and Wildlife Conference.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Lancaster Ballroom