Age, growth, sex ratio, and maturity of the whitefish in central Green Bay and adjacent waters of Lake Michigan

Fishery Bulletin of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


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This study is based on 1,023 whitefish, Coregonus clupeaformis (Mitchill)--819 in seven samples from five localitites in central Green Bay in 1948-49 and 1851-52 and 204 in a single 1948 collection from northwestern Lake Michigan proper. Records of age indicated unusual strength for only one year class--1943 which strongly dominated the 1948 sample from Lake Michigan and the 1949 sample from Green Bay and was well represented in the 1948 collection from green Bay. Collection of 1951-52 without exception were dominated by age group III. Length distributions of samples varied widely according to the age composition. Among fish more than 2 years old, the length distributions of age groups overlapped broadly. Several 1-inch intervals included fish of four age groups. The length-weight relation varied considerably among central Green Bay samples, but differences among localitites were nearly equalled by the year-to-year difference at a single locality. Lake Michigan whitefish were generally lighter than those from Green Bay. Weight increased to the 3.386 power of length in Green Bay (combined samples) and the 3.359 power in Lake Michigan. Growth in length, calculated by direct proportion from diameter measurements of growth fields on scales, differed among localities in central Green Bay and between samples of different years at a single locality. If permanent locality differences exist they are not large and can be obscured by the evident annual fluctuations of growth. The grand average calculated length of Green Bay whitefish (combined collections) exceeded that of Lake Michigan fish in all years of life. The advantage was greatest (2.2 inches) at 3 years (calculated lengths of 16.0 inches and 13.8 inches) and subsequently declined to 0.5 inch at 9 years (lengths of 24.6 and 24.1 inches). Both groups reached the minimum legal length of 17 inches during the fourth growing season. Green Bay whitefish also had the larger calculated weights. The advantage reached 9.3 ounces in 3 years (calculated weights of 22.4 and 13.1 ounces). In years of life 4-9, the weight advantage over Lake Michigan fish ranged from 8.7 ounces, (seventh year; weights of 74.4 and 65.7 ounces) to 12.2 ounces (ninth year; weights of 96.2 and 84.0 ounces). Comparison of growth of whitefish at four localities in northern Lake Michigan indicates that fastest growth is in central Green Bay and slowest near the Fox Islands. Growth is intermediate and similar in northwestern Lake Michigan proper and sorthern Green Bay. Youngest mature male whitefish in green Bay belonged to age group II and youngest mature females to age group III. All IV-group fish were mature. Shortest mature males were at 14.5-14.9 inches and shortest mature females at 16.5-16.9 inches. All males longer than 17.9 inches and all females longer than 18.4 inches were mature.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Age, growth, sex ratio, and maturity of the whitefish in central Green Bay and adjacent waters of Lake Michigan
Series title Fishery Bulletin of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Volume 63
Issue 3
Year Published 1964
Language English
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 619
Last page 634
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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