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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Long-term Trends in age-0 Yellow Perch Perca Flavescens Abundance in Southern Lake Michigan

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AUTHORS: Jason Doll, Ball State University

ABSTRACT: Yellow Perch Perca flavescens are an important sport species in Lake Michigan and their population has undergone wide fluctuations over the past 30 years. In Indiana waters, they have been at very low densities since the early 1990s following a precipitous decline from peak abundance in the mid-1980s. Research on the decline in Yellow Perch abundance in Lake Michigan has focused on failed recruitment of year classes. Reasons for the decline have been attributed to changes in the ecosystem subsequent to the invasion by zebra mussels, over-exploitation of mature females, and competition with Alewife Alosa pseudoharengus. Unusually high catches of age-0 Yellow Perch were reported from multiple agencies across Lake Michigan following the 2015 sampling season. Thus, our objective was to investigate trends in age-0 Yellow Perch trawl catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) in southern Lake Michigan since 1983. Age-0 Yellow Perch were sampled at up to four sites in southern Lake Michigan in August from 1983 to 2016 with a semi-balloon bottom trawl. Trawling effort consisted of up to two hours per site each year. Annual age-0 Yellow Perch CPUE ranged from 1.8 to 2,966 fish/hr and exceeded 1,000 fish/hr in 5 out of the 34 years. The highest recorded catch was in 1984 (2,966 fish/hr) and the second highest was in 2015 (2,338 fish/hr). We believe trends observed in our dataset can serve as preliminary guidance to Yellow Perch year-class strength. However, Yellow Perch are not fully recruited to the trawl until age-2, thus bias in catch must be assumed consistent each year.

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

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