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Lake Conservation Webinar Series: Walleye habitat: considerations for successful natural reproduction and stocking
Walleye occur naturally or through extensive introductions in many inland lakes throughout North Central North America and their persistence is influenced by factors including habitat, species interactions, exploitation, and stocking. Managers have expressed concerns about recent declining walleye recruitment and abundance in many inland populations, despite efforts such as stocking and strict regulations. Therefore, we synthesized the scientific literature to provide information on how habitat influences successful natural recruitment and stocking. Historical and more recent studies indicate walleye are most successful in coolwater, mesotrophic, intermediate-to-large (>100 ha) lakes and that they spawn close to shore, in shallow water, and predominately over gravel and cobble substrates. Recent studies suggest that age-0 recruitment bottlenecks are likely occurring between hatching and midsummer. Relatedly, survival of stocked walleye tends to be higher for large fingerlings over fry or small fingerlings. Modeling studies indicate walleye declines may be attributed to warmer water and increasing water clarity, especially in smaller lakes or those with higher Centrarchidae or northern pike abundance. Continued research is necessary to aid management that should focus on identifying and protecting high quality lakes and important habitats, along with understanding habitat and biological factors to determine whether walleye populations can be improved or in some cases not managed for altogether.

May 17, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Dr. Joshua Raabe
Associate Professor @University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
Joshua Raabe is an associate professor of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (UWSP). He has been at UWSP since 2014 and primarily teaches Life History of Fishes, Fish Population Dynamics, and Fisheries Research. His research interests include fish habitat, movements and migrations, passage, and survival, along with trying novel techniques. He received his PhD from North Carolina State University where he studied dam removals and then a nature-like fishway as a postdoc, and he obtained his MS from UWSP studying walleye spawning habitat. Josh enjoys advising the American Fisheries Society student subunit, fly fishing, bowhunting, sports, music, and spending time with his wife, two children, and dog - especially in the outdoors.