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Tuesday, January 30 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
STURGEON, ESOCIDS & COREGONIDS: Broad Scale Movement of Muskellunge in the St. Clair-Detroit River System: Implications for Interjurisdictional Management

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AUTHORS. Jan-Michael Hessenauer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Cleyo Harris, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Matthew Faust, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Stephen Marklevitz, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Darryl Hondrop, US Geological Survey

ABSTRACT. Muskellunge Esox masquinongy populations across the Great Lakes have declined from historic levels due to a combination of over exploitation and habitat degradation.  However, the St. Clair – Detroit River System (SCDRS), defined as the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, and portions of western Lake Erie have retained strong populations that support an intensive and economically important international recreational fishery in the United States and Canada.  Knowledge of the spatial ecology, habitat use and movement patterns of Muskellunge within the SCDRS are generally lacking, which complicates management as the movements of individuals across jurisdictional boundaries are unknown.  Our objective was to describe the movements of Muskellunge throughout the SCDRS using the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS).  A total of 39 individuals were tagged and released from three locations, two in the Detroit River (n =20 combined) and one in the Thames River (n =19) in 2016. To date 37 of the 39 individuals have been detected across the GLATOS network resulting in 79,650 total detections.  In general Detroit River tagged fish have stayed in the river or moved into Lake Erie, whereas Thames River fish have tended to remain in Lake St. Clair. Additional analysis and data collection is ongoing.  Our data provide insight into the spatial ecology and movements of Muskellunge and will inform future research and management objectives.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 3:40pm - 4:00pm CST