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Benefits from incremental additions to walleye spawning habitat in the Current River, with reference to habitat modification as a walleye management tool in Ontario

, : Benefits from incremental additions to walleye spawning habitat in the Current River, with reference to habitat modification as a walleye management tool in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 53(SUPPL 1): 79-87

We increased the area used by walleye (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) for spawning from 143 to 711 m-2 in the Current River, Lake Superior, to test if (i) the abundance of spawning walleye increased in response to greater availability of spawning habitat and (ii) walleye spawning occurred on the man-made spawning habitat. The abundance of walleye in the Current River during the spawning period remained between 1100 and 1500 animals, 1991-1993. The area containing live walleye eggs increased by approximately five times, but we have no evidence to indicate that total egg deposition increased. From a survey of walleye habitat enhancement methods used in Ontario, we found that the rated success of habitat enhancement was "moderate" (43% of projects) when combined with introduction of walleye to new waters, "low" (17%) when used to augment a self-sustaining population, and 0 when used to support a population where reproduction was limited or lacking. Most evaluations of benefits from walleye habitat enhancement were subjective or preliminary; however, enhancement of spawning habitat rarely appeared to increase adult walleye abundance. Few circumstances may occur in the short term, where benefits from habitat modification are high and results will be unequivocal.

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Accession: 002763844

DOI: 10.1139/f95-263

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