DNR fisheries electroshocking boats worked the shoreline of Chicaugon Lake on May 13. The boats are equipped with boom shockers that extend off the front, nets, live wells and any other field equipment needed.
CRYSTAL FALLS—Spring spawning is the time to check population estimates by collecting data on area waters. It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s part of the job for the DNR fisheries division. It’s part of the experience for the volunteers that assist them in the field.
DNR Fisheries Technician Supervisor Mark Mylcheest explained the process that took place on Chicaugon Lake over a five-day period.
The fisheries crew consisted of Mylchreest, Fisheries Habitat Biologist Darren Kramer, Fisheries Technician Jacob McWethy and State of Michigan worker Tyler Walls. The volunteers were Matthew Korpi and Josh Kolbas.
On May 9, the team put their fyke nets along the shores of Chicaugon Lake. They ran the nets for three nights and pulled them on May 12.
At this time, they collected data from primarily muskellunge, northern pike and walleye. They also took samples from yellow perch and small mouth bass.
All the walleye handled were spawning mature fish.
A fin was clipped as part of the walleye population estimate process. This determination would be made after the second stage of the exercise was executed.
On the evening of May 13, two fisheries boats were launched at Chicaugon Lake for the recapture run. Both boats were equipped for electroshocking or boom-shocking, as it’s called. They worked opposite shorelines throughout the night.
Shocked fish were netted and brought aboard for data capture. Gender and size were recorded. Also a fin segment was taken for age and growth analysis.
The walleye that were handled were checked to see if they were a recapture with the fin clipped or an unmarked fish. The ratio of unmarked to marked walleye gives the DNR the population estimate.
“The age and growth data is processed at a later time,” said Mylchreest. “Preliminary findings show that there are a good number of walleye in the shallows spawning; that is good to see. The largest musky was 49-inches. There were a lot of nice-size musky and lake perch up to 13-inches. Overall, there’s nice fish out there for people to catch…and eat.”