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Effects of recruitment, growth, and exploitation on walleye population size structure in northern Wisconsin lakes

Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management

By:
and
DOI: 10.3996/092013-JFWM-065

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Abstract

We evaluated the dynamics of walleye Sander vitreus population size structure, as indexed by the proportional size distribution (PSD) of quality-length fish, in Escanaba Lake during 1967–2003 and in 204 other lakes in northern Wisconsin during 1990–2011. We estimated PSD from angler-caught walleyes in Escanaba Lake and from spring electrofishing in 204 other lakes, and then related PSD to annual estimates of recruitment to age-3, length at age 3, and annual angling exploitation rate. In Escanaba Lake during 1967–2003, annual estimates of PSD were highly dynamic, growth (positively) explained 35% of PSD variation, recruitment explained only 3% of PSD variation, and exploitation explained only 7% of PSD variation. In 204 other northern Wisconsin lakes during 1990–2011, PSD varied widely among lakes, recruitment (negatively) explained 29% of PSD variation, growth (positively) explained 21% of PSD variation, and exploitation explained only 4% of PSD variation. We conclude that population size structure was most strongly driven by recruitment and growth, rather than exploitation, in northern Wisconsin walleye populations. Studies of other species over wide spatial and temporal ranges of recruitment, growth, and mortality are needed to determine which dynamic rate most strongly influences population size structure of other species. Our findings indicate a need to be cautious about assuming exploitation is a strong driver of walleye population size structure.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effects of recruitment, growth, and exploitation on walleye population size structure in northern Wisconsin lakes
Series title:
Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
DOI:
10.3996/092013-JFWM-065
Volume
5
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s):
Great Lakes Science Center
Description:
10 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
First page:
99
Last page:
108
Country:
United States
State:
Wisconsin