REGION – Beginning in late September through early October, anglers throughout the state are asked to be on the lookout for Michigan Department of Natural Resources personnel conducting walleye recruitment surveys – a tool that helps fisheries managers determine how many walleye either were produced naturally or survived stocking in 2022 (commonly referred to as a given year’s “young-of-year” fish).
Using electrofishing boats, crews will survey the shallow areas near the shoreline of lakes at night with the goal of capturing young-of-year walleye. On larger lakes, two or more electrofishing crews using separate boats may operate at the same time to cover more area.
The crews will work both on lakes that have been stocked with walleye and lakes that have not.
“Conducting surveys on both stocked and unstocked lakes can affect decisions about future walleye research and stocking efforts and give valuable insight into the status of the younger walleye in the system,” said Emily Martin, DNR Fisheries Division biologist.
Biologists also will collect and keep a sample of young-of-year walleye from stocked lakes to determine whether the primary source of reproduction is natural or stocked. Many walleye that are stocked are marked with oxytetracycline, a chemical marker that can be observed within captured fish by using a microscope with an ultraviolet light source in a laboratory setting.
Some surveys will be conducted collaboratively with tribal agencies, and tribal natural resources departments also will be conducting surveys independently of the DNR.
Everyone is urged to use caution when fishing near the electrofishing boats, and those wading will be asked to exit the water when a boat approaches and during electrofishing work. Crews will be using bright lights to illuminate the water around the boats and running a generator on board, which may make it difficult to hear and talk with anyone on shore.
Learn more about how the DNR manages Michigan’s fisheries at Michigan.gov/Fishing.