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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
Alpena NFWCO Assesses Walleye in the St. Mary’s River
Region 3, October 6, 2008

During the week of October 6, fishery biologist Adam Kowalski traveled to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to assess walleye in the St. Mary’s River.  Using the Alpena National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office's (NFWCO) electrofishing vessel, Kowalski along with Chuck Payment of Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Ben Turschak and Dan Operhall of Lake Superior State University sampled five sites (three in Lake Nicolet, two in a Lake Nicolet side cannel) over two nights.  The objective of this work is to determine the percentage of hatchery reared walleye in the St. Mary’s River walleye population and to index juvenile walleye abundance.  Hatchery stocked walleye are immersed in oxytetracycline (OTC) prior to release which leaves a mark on calcified structures like otoliths and vertebrae that is detectable in the lab under a black light.  Data collected in this annual survey are used by management agencies to determine appropriate stocking levels and stocking locations within the St. Mary’s River.  The St. Mary’s River is part of 1836 Treaty waters, and stocked walleye help support recreational and tribal subsistence fishing.  This work is a priority for the St. Mary’s River Fishery Task Group of the Lake Huron Technical Committee and is accomplished through the cooperative efforts of the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, Michigan DNR, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Service.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov