Survey produces few walleye
Written by Cadillac News   
Wednesday, 02 November 2005 12:25
The good news was a recent survey in lakes Cadillac and Mitchell showed that each lake has lots of fish. The bad news was the survey was directed at finding walleye and the results were not what the Department of Natural Resources was looking for. The result means both lakes will again be stocked next spring or early summer, according to DNR Fisheries Biologist Tom Rozich.

A few weeks ago Lake Cadillac had the Serns survey or electro fishing done to find if the walleye plant done in 2003 was effective. Last week, the same survey was done on Lake Mitchell. The results on Lake Cadillac produced no walleye from the plant while a few were produced in the Lake Mitchell survey.

"We had a couple fish that were in the 11- to 12-inch range. They weren't young of the year but were from the plant," said Scott Heintzelman, technician supervisor at the DNR's Harrietta Field Station. "There was no sign of the young of the year that would indicate natural reproduction. It was not a stellar walleye survey."

Although the survey did not produce the walleye the team of technicians were looking for, Heintzelman said they did find numerous other species that included northern pike, perch, crappie and other pan fish. He also said not finding any walleye was not necessarily a surprise.

"When you start stocking the lakes you spend two or three years of effort to start catching. It is not uncommon," he said. "There was plenty of forage and plenty of stuff for them to eat. It seems to be a matter of getting them through that first summer."

Now that the survey has been completed, Rozich said some questions were answered about each of the lakes.

"I guess what we are going to do is stock next year based on what we found. I think we will try to make a big fry plant and fingerling plant," he said. "A fry plant is like a crap shoot unless it is a warm spring and there is lots of plankton. When I talk big, I mean millions. Although we didn't catch any of the 2004 plants in Lake Cadillac, it doesn't mean they aren't there."

The DNR accepted the fisheries management plan in fall 2003 and decided to plant 100,000 spring fingerling walleye in Lake Mitchell and 46,000 in Lake Cadillac.

The prescription was written as a proposed treatment for the lakes and was reviewed by other fisheries biologists around the state before the final OK was given from the DNR's home office in Lansing.

A Serns survey or electro fishing was done on both lakes in 2002 and 2003 using a 240-volt generator. For the survey, two boons are placed in front of a boat, which dragged positively charged and negatively charged, jellyfish-looking contraptions through the water. It takes two or three amps of power to temporarily disable fish within a 10- to 12-foot radius up to seven feet deep.

The lakes had not been stocked with walleye for many years and the last known stocking took place in the 1940s prior to the stocking last year.

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