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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Use of Lake Erie's Ohio Reef Complex by Walleye (Sander Vitreus) During the Spring Spawning Season

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AUTHORS: Andrew Bade, The Ohio State University; Stuart Ludsin, The Ohio State University; Tom Binder, Michigan State University; Christopher Vandergoot, The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife; Matt Faust, The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Multiple local walleye spawning populations (“stocks”) exist in western Lake Erie, each of which likely contributes recruits to Lake Erie’s recreational and commercial fisheries. While contributions of recruits to the adult population from any stock have not been quantified, the Ohio reef complex appears to be the largest producer of pre-recruits. However, the timing and success of reef spawning is highly variable between years in Lake Erie. This variation is likely driven by environmental factors (e.g., temperature, photoperiod, winter severity) and individual phenotypes (e.g., sex, size, age) that can alter walleye spawning phenology and ecology.  At present, numerous information gaps exist about the use of Ohio’s reef complex by walleye: 

- What environmental and biological variables influence the timing of spawning (or arrival of spawners) of walleye on the Ohio reef complex?

- How long do individuals remain on the complex during the spring?

- Are specific areas on the reefs used consistently more than others? (Do “hot spots” of spawning activity exist within the complex?)


Through the use of an extensive acoustic telemetry array on the Ohio reef complex, egg collections, and environmental monitoring data, we are quantifying the enviornmental and phenotypic variables driving spawning behavior. Preliminary findings suggest male walleye arrive earlier and remain on the reefs longer, while females exhibit a strategy of entering the reef complex sporadically for short durations. The beginning of the spawning period (defined by egg deposition and telemetry detections) appears to be controlled primarily by annual temperature variations. Activity is concentrated on the reefs rather than the surrounding area, with no apparent hot spots occuring within any single reef. These findings will add to a growing literature which seeks to explain annual variation in walleye behavior and recruitment success, and will guide future management decisions.

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

Attendees (3)