Because of the near collapse of the fishery for walleyes (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) in Lake Erie in the late 1950's, walleyes of the 1959 year-class were studied to gain a better understanding of the life history of the species and the dynamics of the population. In the summer of 1959 most walleyes of the year-class were in water 10 to 20 feet deep along the south and west shores of the western basin. By fall they averaged about 10 inches long and were rather widely distributed throughout the basin. By September 1960 most had reached legal length (then 13 inches in Ohio), and in October they made up nearly the entire commercial walleye production and made the highest monthly contribution during the life of the year-class.
Walleyes of the 1959 year-class were cropped intensively and remained in the fishery for only a relatively short time. Estimated Ohio trap net production of the year-class was 261,000 fish in 1960, 168,000 in 1961, and 21,000 in 1962. Few fish survived beyond the spring of 1962. About 97% of the females of the year-class were caught before they had spawned once.
Additional publication details
Life history and production of walleyes of the 1959 year-class in western Lake Erie, 1959-62