We examined diets of fishes from gillnet and egg pump collections conducted on reefs in western Lake Erie during walleye (Sander vitreus) egg incubation periods from 1994-1999 and 2004 to assess incidence of walleye eggs in fish diets. We collected no potential egg predators in samples taken in 1994 but from 1995-1999 and in 2004 we caught 22 different species of fish on reefs in addition to spawning walleye. In most years, white perch (Morone americana) stomachs contained more walleye eggs than any other species on the reefs averaging 253 eggs per stomach. We also found lower numbers of walleye eggs in the stomachs of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus; 53 eggs/stomach), johnny darter (Etheostoma nigrum; 2 eggs/stomach), logperch (Percina caprodes; 10 eggs/stomach), quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus; 184 eggs/stomach), rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris; 3 eggs/stomach), round goby (Neogobius melanostomus; 4 eggs/stomach), sculpin (Cottidae; 21 eggs/stomach), silver chub (Macrhybopsis storeriana; 3 eggs/stomach), spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius; 14 eggs/stomach), trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus; 30 eggs/stomach), white sucker (Catastomus commersonii; 20 eggs/stomach), and yellow perch (Perca flavescens; 181 eggs/stomach). Similar to other studies of predation on walleye eggs, our results indicate that prolonged incubation periods increase the potential for egg loss due to predation.
Additional publication details
Predation on walleye eggs by fish on reefs in western Lake Erie