Fall walleye recruitment surveys done in northern Lower Peninsula

Recently the Department of Natural Resources assisted the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Natural Resource Department (LTBB NRD) with two fall walleye recruitment surveys on Lake Charlevoix (Charlevoix Co.) and Douglas Lake (Cheboygan Co.).

The surveys, which occurred in late September and early October, allow natural resource agencies to evaluate individual year-class strength of walleye that were either produced naturally or stocked that year. Electrofishing crews surveyed the shallow areas near the shoreline of these lakes at night with boom-shocking boats to capture young-of-year walleye.

No walleye were captured during the Douglas Lake survey, partially due to the fact the LTBB has only been stocking fish here since 2018. Young walleye were witnessed, but alluded capture. Two nights of surveys on Lake Charlevoix covered nearly 11.5 miles of shoreline. A total of nine yearling and young-of-year walleye were captured.

“Assessing year-class strength in both stocked and non-stocked lakes can affect decisions about future walleye research and stocking efforts,” said Emily Martin, a fisheries biologist with the DNR’s Tribal Coordination Unit. “This work gives us great insight into the status of younger walleye in the system.” 

Determining the primary sources of walleye reproduction is also important for assessing lakes that are identified in the 2007 Inland Consent Decree as “Walleye Lake Systems.” These assessments impact the population estimates for these lakes and potentially affect the quotas for Tribal spring walleye harvest permits.